Orioles' Avery Accustomed To Being Challenged





BALTIMORE—Outfielder Xavier Avery accomplished a lot before his 21st birthday.

Avery, born on New Years Day 1990, began the season at high Class A Frederick and ended it as Double-A Bowie's leadoff hitter and center fielder.

"I feel like there are a lot of things I still have to learn at this (Double-A) level, but I've gotten better since I've been here, too," he told MASNsports.com. "At the beginning of the season, I knew I was going to Frederick. It was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to be in Bowie by the end of the season."

Avery, a second-round pick in the 2008 draft out of Georgia's Cedar Grove High, batted .271/.337/.386 with 31 doubles, six triples, seven homers and 66 RBIs in 554 at-bats at two levels of the farm system. He also stole 38 bases in all and was 10-for-10 at Bowie.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Avery was batting .283 in his first 15 games with the Baysox before falling into an 8-for-47 slump.

After posting a .306 on-base percentage at low Class A Delmarva last year, Avery concentrated on working the count this summer and improved to .349 at Frederick.
 
"It's showing up here as I'm getting into deep counts," he said. "You see more than fastballs when you get deeper in the counts. It's a good thing to learn and see more pitches. That is one of the things that goes into being a good leadoff hitter."

Avery isn't done playing this year. He'll join the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League and continue his professional education.

"It means a lot," he said. "It's an opportunity and I'm going to take it, a chance to get better and see better pitchers. Some of the best talent in the minor leagues will be there."

As usual, he'll be of the youngsters.

"Basically, my whole minor league career I've been pushed," he said. "I was 19 at Delmarva, and 20 at Frederick was still young. I'm kind of used to being the young guy."

Bird Seed

• First baseman Tyler Townsend also will play for the Scorpions in the AFL, joining seven other Orioles minor leaguers. Townsend will be part of the taxi squad, but he could get some additional at-bats in the Australian Baseball League.

• Four Orioles minor leaguers elected to become free agents: third baseman Scott Moore, first baseman Michael Aubrey, righthander Cla Meredith and lefthander Alberto Castillo. Aubrey was the only player who didn't get called up to the majors this summer.