* * * * *
Each week, Jared Wyllys digs into his notebook and shares some info on a prospect of his choice, then passes along some select entries from our 2018 Prospect Spotlight Library and 2018 Pro Scouting Report Library. This week, we get a closer look at 2017 third rounder Michael Baumann (RHP, Orioles (High A Frederick)), who is concerning himself more with approach and process than production in his first year of full season ball.
* * * * *
Prospect Focus: Michael Baumann, RHP, Orioles (High A Frederick, Carolina League)
Minor league life is a lot of trying to catch up on sleep while traveling on a team bus through the night to the next city. A lot of bleary-eyed disembarking in a new place and gearing up for the next series while trying to grow, adapt, and improve.
And a mid-season promotion for a minor leaguer, for as exciting as it might be, can often mean a solo trip to meet up with a new team, far removed from the luxury travel accommodations of their major league counterparts.
Orioles pitching prospect Michael Baumann has been there. He began his season with seven starts this year for Delmarva in the Class A South Atlantic League, striking out 47 in 38 innings and holding opposing hitters to a .180 batting average. Then on May 20, he learned he was being promoted to the High A Carolina League. Oh, and two days later, he’d be making his first start with his new team, the Frederick Keys.
In the whirlwind of packing his things and making the drive from Columbia, South Carolina – where Delmarva was then playing – to Frederick, Maryland, Baumann had time to plan.
“The first thing I [wanted to do] was get on the same page with my catcher,” Baumann told 2080 Baseball.
He and Stuart Levy, his batterymate at Frederick, game-planned almost as soon as Baumann arrived. He said they talked about how to approach the hitters he would be facing and went over his plan of attack. A big part of that was Baumann continuing to lean on his bread-and-butter pitch, the fastball. But his approach has grown since being drafted in the third round a year ago, and that has meant an increased reliance on his secondary pitches.
“My confidence in my slider and curveball have really grown this year,” Baumann said. “But I still look to attack first with my fastball.”
Baumann has the build of a future rotation staple at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, and has pitched like a true professional since being drafted by Baltimore. In 10 appearances in the Class A Short-Season New York-Penn League in 2017, Baumann gave up only 25 hits in 41 1/3 innings, and walked just 19 batters against 41 strikeouts. He has continued to stymie hitters this season, allowing an average of less than one baserunner per inning.
There’s a pretty simple answer for this success, according to Baumann. He said he trusts his favorite pitch – the fastball – to keep hitters off balance, and his growing confidence in further expanding his repertoire has helped as well. Baumann’s fastball is a slightly above-average pitch that touches the mid 90s, and if he truly can continue to develop his secondaries, his already steady climb through the Orioles system will continue.
In the meantime, Baumann will probably have to make a few more late-night road trips to meet up with a new team. He will need to keep developing his broadening arsenal and his command along the way, and provided that he does, there will be room one day for him in the Baltimore rotation. –Jared Wyllys
Weekly Featured Reports
- DL Hall, LHP, Orioles (Class A Delmarva) – Adam McInturff
- Ryan Mountcastle, 3B, Orioles (Double-A Bowie) – Adam McInturff
- Austin Hays, OF, Orioles (Double-A Bowie) – Adam McInturff
- Zac Lowther, LHP, Orioles (Class A Delmarva) – Adam McInturff
- Hunter Harvey, LHP, Orioles (Double-A Bowie) – Adam McInturff
- Keegan Akin, LHP, Orioles (Double-A Bowie) – Adam McInturff
- Gray Fenter, RHP, Orioles (Class A Delmarve) – Adam McInturff