Shorebirds Announce 2019 Break Camp Roster
SALISBURY, MD - The Delmarva Shorebirds, Class-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, have announced their break camp team roster, as assigned by their parent club. The team features 27 players, including seven of the Orioles' top 30 prospects and 12 returning Shorebirds.
Right-handed pitcher Grayson Rodriguez was the Orioles' first round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft (11th overall) and is the organization's fifth-best prospect in 2019, per MLB Pipeline. The Nacogdoches, Texas native and Central Heights High School product made nine appearances in the rookie Gulf Coast League in 2018, starting his career with six straight scoreless outings and finishing the summer with a 1.40 ERA and 20 strikeouts over 19.1 innings. Rodriguez, 19, becomes the second straight Orioles first-rounder to open his first full season in Delmarva, following lefty DL Hall in 2018.
Joining Rodriguez on the pitching staff is right-hander Blaine Knight, himself the No. 10 prospect in the Orioles system. The Bryant, Ark. native pitched the University of Arkansas to the College World Series championship round last June before the O's made him their third-round pick (87th overall). Knight made four abbreviated starts with short-season Aberdeen in 2018, sporting a 2.61 ERA over 10.1 frames.
Lefty Drew Rom rounds off the blue-chippers on the Shorebirds' staff, coming in at No. 29 on the preseason pecking order. The 19-year-old southpaw became Baltimore's fourth-round pick (115th overall) out of Highlands High School in Fort Thomas, Ky. last summer. He pitched 10 times for the GCL Orioles, notching a 1.76 ERA in 30.2 innings.
Headlining the newcomers to the Shorebirds' everyday lineup is shortstop Adam Hall. The 19-year-old Canadian national blossomed with the Aberdeen last summer, batting .358 (.913 OPS) over his final 36 games, including a 19-game hitting streak from August 4-28. Hall, a second-round pick (60th overall) in 2017, finished the season with a .293 average, 12 extra-base hits, and 24 RBIs over 62 games for the IronBirds, earning postseason Organizational All-Star honors.
Outfielder Robert Neustrom cracks the top prospects tally at No. 30. The Sioux City, Ia. man and former Iowa Hawkeye went to the O's in the fifth round of last year's draft. With the IronBirds Neustrom batted .272 with a team-high 16 doubles, four homers, and 29 RBIs in 61 games.
The other two top position players are familiar faces to Shorebird fans. Shortstop Cadyn Grenier (No. 17) returns to Delmarva after making his professional debut with the Shorebirds last July. The Henderson, Nev. native became the O's first-round compensation pick (37th overall) on the way to helping his Oregon State Beavers win a dramatic College World Series title (over teammate Blaine Knight's Arkansas Razorbacks). Grenier spent 43 games on the diamond for Delmarva, batting .216 with 15 extra-base hits and 13 RBIs while playing a flashy defense at short.
Third-baseman Jean Carlos Encarnacion (No. 13) arrived on the scene in Delmarva in August and will begin 2019 back at his first home on the Baltimore farm. The Dominican national joined the Orioles system at the trade deadline from the Braves as part of the Kevin Gausman trade. Between Rome and Delmarva, Encarnacion batted .273 with 27 doubles, seven triples, 12 home runs, and 64 RBIs over 123 South Atlantic League games. The lanky 21-year-old showed remarkable raw talent in his 26 games as a Shorebird, sealing the deal on a SAL Postseason All-Star campaign.
Joining Grenier and Encarnacion are 10 other former Shorebirds making the return to Arthur W. Perdue Stadium. Standing out from bunch is 2018 SAL All-Star first-baseman Seamus Curran. The slugging first-baseman played in 85 Class-A games last year, batting .221 with 16 doubles, 13 home runs, and 52 RBIs. Curran opened 2018 with a bang, driving in six runs in an April 7 win over Asheville and going 5-for-5 with two doubles, a homer, three runs, and four RBIs on Memorial Day against Lakewood. After returning from an injury and rehab in Aberdeen, Curran played the hero against Charleston on August 4, delivering a walkoff single in the bottom of the 10th to win it for Delmarva 6-5.
Other 2018 Shorebirds returning to the Eastern Shore include infielder Branden Becker (93 games, .273 BA) and outfielder Will Robertson (111 games, 8 HR, 37 RBI). Five pitchers spent all or part of 2018 with Delmarva: Gray Fenter (26.2 IP, 6.75 ERA), Nick Gruener (25.2 IP, 31 K), Tim Naughton (32.1 IP, 33 K), Jhon Peluffo (16 starts, 4-6), and Nick Vespi (9 SV, 62.2 IP, 2.15 ERA, 1.07 WHIP).
Two former Shorebirds return to Salisbury after more than a season removed from the team. Catcher Daniel Fajardo spent all of last season with High-A Frederick; he played 67 games for Delmarva in 2017, batting .240 and throwing out would-be basestealers at around a 40 percent clip. Right-handed pitcher Ofelky Peralta also makes it back to Delmarva after spending two seasons starting for the Frederick Keys; Peralta started 23 games for the Shorebirds in 2016, going 8-5 with a 4.01 ERA.
Here is a complete roster breakdown, sorted alphabetically by position:
Right-Handed Pitchers (11) Matt De La Rosa, Gray Fenter, Nick Gruener, Hector Guance, Tyler Joyner, Blaine Knight, Jalen Miller, Tim Naughton, Jhon Peluffo, Ofelky Peralta, Grayson Rodriguez
Left-Handed Pitchers (3) Matt Hammonds, Drew Rom, Nick Vespi
Catchers (2) Daniel Fajardo, Cody Roberts
Infielders (6) Branden Becker, Seamus Curran, Jean Carlos Encarnacion, Andrew Fregia, Cadyn Grenier, Adam Hall
Outfielders (5) Nick Horvath, Robert Neustrom, Will Robertson, Robbie Thorburn, Doran Turchin
The Shorebirds will announce their 25-man roster at noon on Thursday, April 4, before their season opener at the defending SAL champion Lexington Legends. Delmarva opens the home slate on Thursday, April 11 against the Lakewood BlueClaws.
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