IL Preview: Norfolk Tides
The Norfolk Tides are coming off a solid season in 2013, going 77-67 in the South division.
Last season, the Tides and Rochester Red Wings finished tied for the Wild Card spot, but Rochester advanced with a better head-to-head record against the Tides.
Third year skipper Ron Johnson will lead a very strong Norfolk team in 2014.
Pitching: The pitching staff could lead the group in 2014. The staff may feature talented prospects in Kevin Gausman and Eduardo Rodriguez, while having solid veterans in T.J. McFarland and Steve Johnson.
Gausman has moved through the minor league ranks pretty quickly. Last season, he made his major league debut in May after eight starts in Double-A Bowie. Gausman has an electric fastball that’s clocked in the mid-90’s and a split-finger fastball that he uses as his strikeout pitch. Gausman attacks the zone and works the count in his favor, as he has only walked 28 batters in 145 innings.
He will likely be joined by Rodriguez, who is rated the No.3 prospect in the Orioles organization according to Baseball America. The Orioles took a chance on a 17-year old Rodriguez in 2010, signing the southpaw to a $175,000 international contract. Since then, he has ascended through the minor league ranks, reaching Double-A at the young age of 20. He still has some growing up to do, but with a low-90’s fastball, slider and changeup, he would be ready to make the jump to the Majors by the end of the season.
Infield: The infield will have some solid veterans all over the diamond. David Adams is coming off a solid season for the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders in 2013. In 59 games, he hit .268 with five homers and 21 RBIs. He made his major league debut on 5/15, and played in 43 games for the Yankees, batting .193 with two homers and 19 RBIs.
In addition to Adams, will be Cord Phelps. Phelps played in 65 games with Columbus last season, hitting .267 with nine homers and 46 RBIs. Phelps is a lifetime .283 hitter with 53 homers and 300 RBIs, he will likely play one of the middle infield positions.
Jamile Weeks, Brett Wallace and Johnny Monell will likely fill out the rest of the infield. Weeks and Wallace were former first round picks in their respective drafts.
Outfield: The outfield will feature some speedsters and power. Quintin Berry and Julio Borbon will set the table and be movers on the basepaths, while Henry Urretia will provide the pop. Urretia is coming off of a phenomenal campaign, hitting .347 with nine homers and 50 RBIs across Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk in 2013. He was called up to the big leagues in July and played in 24 games with Orioles, hitting .276 with one triple and two RBIs. Berry and Borbon will be tough around the basepaths, as they stole a combined 44 bags in 2013.
At Norfolk: Arpil 7-10, July 10-13, August 15-17
At Gwinnett: April 14-15, May 22-25, August 7-10
Projected Depth Chart: