Recapping the Delmarva Shorebirds' 2016 Season, C Yermin Mercedes Wins Batting Title

After having recapped the Baltimore Orioles' Rookie-League and Short-season A affiliates' 2016 seasons, we have now reached the full-season affiliates and today we recap the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds' season. The Shorebirds had a ton of talent this season and had several standouts, both on the mound and at the plate.


RHP Cristian Alvarado
 Photo: Patrick Cavey




Delmarva is the Orioles' Low-A affiliate and is normally the location of previous year's draft picks and young players working their way through the system. It is the lowest level of the full-season affiliates, but Low-A is the proving ground for young players to show both that they are legit prospects, but also that they can handle the vigorous full-season that is professional baseball.

The Shorebirds play their home games at Perdue Stadium and are a short drive away from Ocean City, MD. If you vacation at OC, then I highly recommend you do what my family likes to do, and that is carve out an evening to catch the Shorebirds in action while on vacation.

Delmarva finished the year as the only Orioles' affiliate with a winning record, going 73-66. Unfortunately for Delmarva, that wasn't enough to earn a playoff spot in the South Atlantic League, and a large reason for that was a 31-39 record in the second half of the season after going 42-27 in the first half. The Shorebirds actually had a better record on the road (39-32) than they did at home (34-34) this season. They did finish the season strong, winning eight of their last ten games.

As I mentioned earlier, the Shorebirds had a ton of talent on this year's squad and saw several players win awards, named to All-Star teams and get promoted to higher levels. Below you will find the team leaders, both on the mound and at the plate.

Offense
  • C Yermin Mercedes - The 23-year old catcher had a season to remember in 2016. I have touched on his year before, but a season as good as his deserves as much recognition as possible. Mercedes played 91 games with the Shorebirds before being promoted to High-A Frederick in August. While with the Shorebirds, Mercedes hit .353 with 14 home runs, 25 doubles, five triples, 60 RBI and scored 58 runs. He also posted a .411 OBP and a .990 OPS. He won the South Atlantic League batting title with his .353 average (played enough games to qualify), and led the league in OPS, OBP and slugging percentage as well. Mercedes earned mid-season and post-season All-Star recognition in the SAL, won the SAL Player of the Month award for July, and two SAL Player of the Week honors.
  • SS Ryan Mountcastle - The 2015 first round draft pick had a very nice first full-season in the Orioles' organization. The 19-year old played in 115 games for the Shorebirds and hit .281 with 10 home runs, 28 doubles, four triples, 51 RBI and scored 53 runs. He also posted a .319 OBP and a .426 slugging percentage. Mountcastle won a SAL Player of the Week award this year for the week of June 6-12.
  • OF Cedric Mullins - The soon-to-be 22-year old (turns 22 on Oct 1), had himself quite a season in 2016. The 2015 13th round pick was a stable at the top of the lineup for the Shorebirds and hit .273 with 14 home runs, 37 doubles, 10 triples, 55 RBI and scored 79 runs in 124 games. He also posted a .321 OBP and had a .464 slugging percentage. In addition, Mullins stole 30 bases while only being caught six times (83% success rate). Mullins' 240 total bases ranked second in the SAL and he was named the SAL Player of the Week for the final week of the season.
  • C/1B Alex Murphy - The 2013 sixth round pick out of Calvert Hall had a solid year for the Shorebirds, both offensively, and behind the plate. At the plate, Murphy hit .252 with 16 home runs, 28 doubles, one triple, a team-high 63 RBI and scored 54 runs in 124 games. He also owned a .335 OBP. Behind the plate, Murphy threw out 33% of potential base stealers. Murphy also played 42 games at first base this season in addition to his 57 games behind the plate. Murphy was a SAL mid-season All-Star this year as well.
Pitching
  • LHP Brian Gonzalez - The 2014 third round pick had a breakout year in 2016. The 20-year old lefty went 10-8 with a 2.50 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP over 27 starts this season. Gonzalez struck out 111 batters while walking 58, and he allowed nine home runs over 147 2/3 innings pitched. Gonzalez's 2.50 ERA was third best in the SAL and his 147 2/3 innings pitcher were also third best. His 2016 season landed him several honors, which included being both a mid-season and post-season SAL All-Star, as well as being named the Orioles' Minor League Pitcher of the month for August.
  •  LHP Reid Love - The 2015 10th round pick had a nice first full season as a professional. Love, 24, went 9-10, but had a 3.29 ERA with a 1.20 WHIP in 27 appearances (25 starts) and 139 1/3 innings pitched. Love struck out 106 batters while walking just 33 this season. 
  • RHP Cristian Alvarado - The Venezuelan product got to experience his first year at a full-season affiliate, and did not disappoint. Alvarado went 10-9 with a 3.41 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP over 27 starts and 148 innings pitched. He struck out 148 batters and walked just 29 for a strikeout per walk ratio of 5.10! Alvarado led all Orioles' minor leaguers with his 148 strikeouts, and also finished second in the SAL in that category. Alvarado was named the Orioles' Minor League Pitcher of the Month for June, as well as earning the SAL Player of the Week for the week of June 27-July 3).
If you got a chance to watch a Shorebirds game this year, you got to see some serious talent, both at the plate and on the mound. Delmarva wins the unofficial, O's Minor League Affiliate of the Year award in my eyes since they were the only affiliate to post a winning record. You are going to see several 2016 Shorebirds in Frederick next year and you could even see some of them in Bowie as well.

                                                                                                                                                        
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