No Manny, What Now?

Tides Talk

Byline IanWith Manny Machado being suspended for the next few games, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at possible call-ups from Triple-A Norfolk that the Orioles could make to replace him. Norfolk has had plenty of infielders, non-first baseman, on the roster this season but, interestingly enough, none of them are listed as third basemen.

The one name that has been linked to the Orioles for a call-up is Jemile Weeks. Though he currently is not with the Norfolk Tides, he was moved off their roster so he could easily get to Baltimore.

In 39 games for Norfolk this season, Weeks is hitting .282 and owns a .405 on-base percentage, 12 RBI and 17 stolen bases. Weeks is also tied for the team lead in triples with four.

As mentioned, Weeks is not with Norfolk at the moment. Weeks was sent down to Single-A Aberdeen on June 28. In two games for Aberdeen, Weeks is hitting .429, has an on-base percentage of .556 and has a slugging percentage of .571.

Another name that is always being talked about being recalled to the Orioles is Steve Lombardozzi. Early this year, Lombardozzi was lighting up Triple-A pitching. Lately, he has been a little cold.

Over his last 10 games, Lombardozzi is hitting .161, going just 5-for-31. In that stretch, he has only picked up three RBI and has an on-base percentage of .200. A positive to look at is the low number of strikeouts he’s recorded during his cold streak.

He only struck out two times in his last 10 games but the outs he’s making have not been productive. However, Lombardozzi is still hitting .256 on the season, and has 13 RBI and 13 runs.

A familiar name to Orioles fans of the past few years is part of Norfolk’s infield too. Alexi Casilla surprisingly, to some, has been really strong for the Tides this year. Casilla has a .285 average, .346 on-base percentage, and a .354 slugging percentage. He also has eight stolen bases and 16 RBI.

Ivan De Jesus Jr. owns the best average among the Norfolk infielders. De Jesus Jr. is the son of former major league shortstop Ivan De Jesus. De Jesus Jr. has played the second most games (66) of the Norfolk infield behind first baseman Brett Wallace. De Jesus Jr. is hitting .294, has 31 RBI, has hit 15 doubles and has a slugging percentage of .408.

Buck Britton is another player who started the season hot with Double-A Bowie, but has since cooled down. With Bowie, Britton hit .344, had 15 RBI, hit four home runs, had an on-base percentage of .382 and had a slugging percentage of .492. With Norfolk, he is hitting .245, hit seven home runs, has 28 RBI, a slugging percentage of .453 and a .269 on-base percentage.

Though he has cooled off since his promotion to Triple-A, Britton has been hitting the ball really well over the last 10 games, even better then when he was with Bowie. In the 10 games he is hitting .313, has two home runs and a slugging percentage of .594.

The last non-first baseman in the Norfolk infield is Cord Phelps. Phelps has the lowest batting average on the team. He is hitting just .219 but has six home runs, 31 RBI and an on-base percentage of .299.

As I alluded to before, none of the infielders mentioned are listed as third baseman. However, that does not mean they have not played third base. Steve Lombardozzi, Buck Britton and Ivan De Jesus Jr. have all either played third base this season for the Tides or earlier in their careers.

Lombardozzi has played five games at third base, 20 at second base, four at shortstop, 17 in left field and one as the DH. Buck Britton has played 39 games at third base, two at first base, one at second base, two in left field and has even pitched in two games.

De Jesus Jr. has just played one game at third this season. He played two games at second base, four at DH and the majority of his games, 59, at shortstop. Last season at Triple-A Indianapolis, he played 11 games at third base.

Of the Norfolk infielders, I believe Jemile Weeks and Steve Lombardozzi have the best shot at being called up to the Orioles later this week. Both have proved to be versatile and they can hit at the major league level. Weeks will probably be called up first, with him being in Aberdeen, but Lombardozzi’s name could pop up too. I would not be surprised to see any of the players mentioned be September call-ups for the Orioles either.

Infielders on Orioles’ 40-man roster

19 Chris Davis L-R
3 Ryan Flaherty L-R
2 J.J. Hardy R-R
12 Steve Lombardozzi * S-R
13 Manny Machado Suspended * R-R
28 Steve Pearce R-R
6 Jonathan Schoop R-R
1 Jemile Weeks * S-R
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