The Minor League Baseball season has been underway for a little while now, and while we are still early on, I have put together five observations/questions about different prospects moving forward.
So, without any further ado, let’s get right into it:
5. Is there a possible under-the-radar ace in the making?
Becoming an ace in MLB is a huge accomplishment for any pitcher. You put your name in with legends like Jim Palmer, Nolan Ryan and Jacob deGrom.
The Orioles already have a future ace in right-hander Grayson Rodriguez. But have we maybe seen another pitcher start to make an argument for an ace status?
We’re talking about O’s left-handed prospect, Cade Povich.
Now, bear with me because I know that this could be considered outlandish. Povich had a rocky start as an O’s prospect in 2022 after being traded by the Twins for All-Star closer Jorge López. But something about him this year seems different.
A good ace needs to be able to stay out of his head and not be extremely rattled, and Povich has been just that this year.
In his two starts for Bowie, Povich is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in eight innings pitched. He’s allowed six hits, two earned runs, five walks and 10 strikeouts.
Povich has this locked-in mentality when he is on the mound, and you can see it, especially when you’re at games. He always seems focused and never lets anything rattle his cage. Povich, within the next two or so years, could put up a fight for that ace position.
4. Norby, Westburg or Ortiz – Who is first to debut?
The burning question of the season is which prospects are going to debut this year. We have already seen one in Grayson Rodriguez, and we almost saw one because of unfortunate circumstances, but it might be time to figure out who is next to debut.
Connor Norby, Jordan Westburg and Joey Ortiz are most likely the top three candidates to debut next, and honestly, it is really hard to choose because each are three completely different players.
I think one major thing comes into effect and is the reason that Ortiz will be the first of the three to debut. The Orioles in the offseason had to put Ortiz on the 40-man roster to save him from Rule 5 Draft eligibility. With Ortiz already being on the 40-man roster, it makes the most sense for Ortiz to be the first to debut out of the bunch.
3. Heston Kjerstad at first base? Yes, please!
It’s very difficult for a player to completely change positions at a young age and still have success defensively. But that is anything but the case for Heston Kjerstad.
Bowie Baysox manager Kyle Moore has been putting Kjerstad as a first baseman in some games, and he is showing that he is nothing less than versatile on the field. From what I have seen, Kjerstad has made great picks and really stretches out while keeping his foot on the bag.
Kjerstad playing first base is actually something that is needed as a “just for safe” measure in the future. We saw this last year with Gunnar Henderson playing some first base in Norfolk before being called up for his debut.
2. Will César Prieto be a September call-up?
César Prieto has broken out this season, to say the least, and could possibly be fighting for a September call-up.
Prieto is currently on pace to be one of the best hitting prospects in MiLB, as he already has a .370 average with 17 total hits in 46 at-bats. The Cuban native has also played exceptional defense at second base and shortstop.
Obviously, the September call-up is a hard spot to get because it highly depends on who debuts before then and what is needed at the time. Also, Prieto would have to be added to the 40-man roster. However, Prieto is someone who has the perfect tool set that the Orioles could use this season.
1. Jackson Holliday was the correct choice at No. 1.
When looking back at the 2022 MLB Draft, I remember looking at how mixed people were about Jackson Holliday over Druw Jones or Elijah Green. Now, I hope people see that Holliday was 100% the correct choice.
Holliday has been a hitting machine so far this season, and right now, he might be considered to fly up the system with ease. The 19-year-old second-generation player is currently hitting .385 with a .510 on-base percentage and 1.074 OPS. He also has 10 RBIs and stole two bases.
Holliday has also played exceptionally well on the defensive end of the ball at short. Despite only being 19, Holliday looks more and more like a pro every day and is the future for the Orioles.
Obviously, there is still an entire season to go, and things could change at the drop of a hat. But, it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye out on these things and see how much our system has improved and developed.
What do you think of these observations? Let us know in the comments below! Make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook, Twitter and TikTok, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!
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