Recapping the Aberdeen Ironbirds 2017 Season, Some Great Pitching and Hitting Numbers

We continue on with our 2017 season recaps for each of the Baltimore Orioles minor league affiliates. Today, we take a look at the Short-season A Aberdeen Ironbirds, who saw some very impressive numbers put up, both offensively and on the mound.

C Ben Breazeale
Photo: Patrick Cavey




The New York-Penn League is considered a "Rookie Level" league where you find a lot of current year college draft picks as well as previous years high school draft picks.

The Orioles' affiliate in the NY-PL, the Aberdeen Ironbirds, play their home games at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium, in one of the most gorgeous complexes you will find anywhere. The Ironbirds had a solid season that saw them in playoff contention down to the season's final week.

Aberdeen finished the year 41-34, good for third place in the McNamara Division. They finished five games behind the division champion Staten Island Yankees, while finishing 2.5 games behind Hudson Valley, who were the wildcard winners (Aberdeen finished second in wildcard standings). The Ironbirds were consistent, finishing 19-17 at home, while going 22-17 on the road.

As a team, they represented well both offensively and on the mound. Aberdeen finished the year with a team ERA of 3.13, which was good for fourth best in the NY-PL as well as a 1.17 WHIP, second best in the league. Offensive, the Ironbirds' .255 batting average was second best in the league and Aberdeen's 329 runs were third most.

Below are the team's leaders, both offensively and on the mound:

Offense

  • C Ben Breazeale, 22 - The NY-PL All-Star and O's minor league player of the month for July, Breazeale had quite the professional debut season after being selected by the O's in 7th round of this year's draft. Breazeale led the team with a .318 batting average and a .428 OBP, both of which were good for second best in the entire league. He also added five home runs, 32 RBI, 14 doubles and scored 29 runs over 57 games.
  • 3B Trevor Craport, 21 - The O's 11th round pick in this year's draft, Craport also had a terrific debut season. He hit .302 with 15 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 30 RBI and scored 31 runs over 52 games. He also owned a .388 OBP and a .857 OPS.
  • SS Mason McCoy, 22 - Baltimore's sixth round pick in this year's draft, McCoy joined the .300 club hitting .301 with 11 doubles, three triples, one home run, 29 RBI and scored 34 runs over 53 games. The NY-PL All-Star also owned a .382 OBP and a .791 OPS.
Pitching
  • RHP Brenan Hanifee, 19 - After not throwing an official pitch in 2016 after being selected by the O's in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, Hanifee had an impressive professional debut season for Aberdeen. He went 7-3 with a 2.75 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP over 12 starts and a team-high 68.2 innings pitched. He struck out 44 batters while walking 12.
  • LHP Zac Lowther, 21 - The 2nd (CBB) round pick of the O's showed why he was worth such a high pick. He went 2-2 with a 1.66 ERA and a minuscule 0.85 WHIP over 12 games (11 starts) and 54.1 innings pitched. He struck out an absurd 75 while walking just 11, and held opponents to a .182 batting average.
  • RHP Michael Baumann, 22 - The O's third round pick in 2017, Baumann was very good for the Ironbirds going 4-2 with a 1.31 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP over 10 games (9 starts) and 41.1 innings pitched. He struck out 41 while walking 19. He also made one appearance for the GCL Orioles.
  • RHP Scott Burke, 23 - Baltimore's 20th round pick in 2017, Burke was a bit of a surprise to most as he went 3-1 with a 1.35 ERA and a teeny-tiny 0.70 WHIP over 14 games (five starts) and 40 innings pitched. He struck out 43 while walking just six. Despite being drafted in the 20th round, Burke showed it doesn't matter when you're drafted, you just have to take advantage of the opportunity.
  • LHP Cameron Bishop, 21 - If Burke wasn't a big surprise, how about the 26th round pick in Bishop? All he did was go 1-1 with a 0.78 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP over eight starts and 34.3 innings pitched. He also struck out 38 batters while walking 16 and holding opponents to a .165 batting average. He also made one start for the GCL Orioles.
It's easy to see how the Ironbirds were so close to a playoff spot with several standouts, both offensively and on the mound. Unfortunately for Aberdeen, they fell just short of a playoff spot, but did provide fans with some terrific talent on the field.


                                                                                                                                                       
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