Low Class A Delmarva, under the guidance of first-year manager Buck Britton, won their first seven games of the South Atlantic League season and could point to their six-man rotation as the primary reason for the fast start.
While quality outings have been plentiful, few have stood taller than 22-year-old righthander Michael Baumann, who went 2-0, 1.69 ERA in his first three starts. He allowed three runs in 16 innings, striking out 24 while opponents registered a .185 average.
A 2017 third-round pick out of Jacksonville, Baumann was given the ball on Opening Day and ran with it.
“That’s what they’re supposed to look like,” said Britton, the older brother of closer Zach Britton, on Orioles flagship station 105.7 The Fan.
“He’s a big, physical guy who fills out his uniform. But his fastball command has been amazing. He’s got good downhill angle on his fastball. When you can locate it down in the zone and then locate it up and in to righthanders with the precision that he has, it’s been impressive.”
Baumann spent most of his pro debut last year at short-season Aberdeen, where he recorded a 1.31 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 19 walks in 41.1 innings. His fastball can touch 96 mph and sits at 93, and he also wields a solid slider and changeup.
The Shorebirds won 11 of their first 13 games and Britton noted the significance of the record despite larger objectives.
“I’m a huge believer that winning is part of development,” he said. “Teaching players how to play to win is a huge part of development. Them getting off to this good start provides confidence, and they can relax and let their natural abilities take over. It is huge for that aspect.”
>> Third baseman Ryan Mountcastle began a hitting program in late April while recovering from a hairline fracture in his right hand. He had been cleared for all baseball activities except swinging a bat.
>> Righthander Cody Sedlock, the 2016 first-rounder out of Illinois, struggled in his first three starts at high Class A Frederick and was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder. He allowed 14 earned runs on 16 hits and nine walks in 9.1 innings while registering a 13.50 ERA and 2.68 WHIP.