The Aberdeen IronBirds have been on fire to say the least. After 31 games into the season, the IronBirds find themselves sitting all alone in first place at 24-7 in the South Atlantic League North.
They have the best record in the SAL by five games, lead their division by 7.5 games and have a run differential of +60. To say Aberdeen is dominating would be an understatement.
This past week, the IronBirds played the Hudson Valley Renegades and finished the series winning five of six, ending on a four-game winning streak in the process.
César Prieto, the Orioles’ No. 12 prospect, was one of the highlights of the series. Coming off the seven-day IL, Prieto would make his presence known in the series.
Not only did he bat .500 in the three games he played, he currently has a six-game hitting streak by series’ end.
In the IronBirds 3-2 victory Sunday, Prieto would go 4-for-5 on the day, picking up his fifth double and third stolen base. Playing DH for the game and batting leadoff, Prieto would help lead Aberdeen to victory in the tight affair.
On the season, Prieto is now batting .354 with an OPS of 1.086. He is tied for the team-lead with seven home runs and has batted in 18, to go with three stolen bases. Even with missing nine days, Prieto remains amongst the team leaders in most offensive categories.
Shortstop Collin Burns returns to our list of stand-outs, after batting .375 for the series and carrying a five-game hitting streak into the next series. On the season, Burns is batting .349 with 12 RBIs and has stolen six bases. He holds an OBP of .398 for the year as well.
In Wednesday’s 6-5 set back, it was Burns who did all he could to keep the IronBirds in the game. Going 2-for-4 at the dish, he would collect four of his six RBIs in the series and collect two doubles.
He added a walk and a run in the losing effort, as the Renegades scored three unanswered runs in the bottom of the eighth.
John Rhodes makes our list this week because of his interesting series. Though he would record two hits in 13 official at-bats, it was his five RBIs, six walks and four stolen bases that made him stand out.
In the IronBirds’ 8-3 victory Friday, Rhodes would have one official plate appearance in four strolls to batters box. His one hit was a three-run homer that would be part of a six-run first inning.
To go with Rhodes’ homer, he would be walked three times and collect two stolen bases. His line for the game read: 1-for-1, three RBIs, one run, three walks and two stolen bases.
Rhodes is now batting .279 for the year with 20 RBIs and eight stolen bases. His 16 walks have aided in his OBP of .423. On the year, Rhodes has more walks than strikeouts (16 to 15).
A big contributor for the series was catcher Ramón Rodríguez. Playing three games this series, Rodríguez would go 5-for-12 (.417).
Rodríguez would come up big in the first game of the series, a 12-4 IronBirds victory. In four plate appearances, he would collect three hits, including a triple.
He would collect two RBIs, as well as his first two stolen bases of the season and be involved in the game’s only double play, a strike ’em out, throw ’em out in the first inning.
Rodríguez improved his season average to .236. He has eight RBIs and three stolen bases after the series. On the season, he has thrown out 25% of would be base stealers and is unblemished in fielding for the year.
Carlos Tavera storms his way into the spotlight this week with another stellar showing. So far in May, Tavera has yet to allow a run in two appearances.
On May 14, Tavera would put forth his best outing of the year. He would pitch 5.1 innings, allowing just two base runners, one via a hit, the other a walk. Of the Renegades 12 strikeouts, six of them would come via the arm of Tavera.
For the year, Tavera has pitched in six games picking up one win. He has 29 strikeouts across 23.1 innings pitched, with an ERA of 3.47.
In May alone, Tavera is 1-0 across two starts with nine innings pitched. He has given up just one hit and collected 11 strikeouts, and opponents for the month are batting .037, while his WHIP stands at 0.88.
Another pitcher standing out this week is Connor Gillispie. Another pitcher yet to give up a run in the month of May across two appearances, Gillispie made his mark in relief this past week, earning him South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week honors.
Picking up the victory Friday, Gillispie would enter in the fourth inning and one-hit the Renegades the rest of the way. He would add eight strikeouts, as he only threw 66 pitches in the outing, 47 for strikes.
The victory was Gillispie’s third on the year, as he moves to 3-1 in six games across 25.0 innings. He has collected 34 strikeouts to go with a 3.60 ERA.
Aberdeen will come home to start a series with the Rome Braves as part of a nine-game home stand. As these IronBirds continue to fly high, different players are stepping up and making this young team an exciting one to watch.
Will Aberdeen continue to dominate the league, or will Rome come crash the party? May 17, starts the showdown, as two of the top-scoring teams clash.
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