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Jul 01

A Look at the Tides Infield

With Manny Machado being suspended for the next four games, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at possible call-ups from Triple-A Norfolk 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 being the main guy the Orioles would 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, has a .405 on-base percentage, 12 RBI and has 17 stolen bases. Weeks is also tied for the team lead in triples with four.

As mentioned, Weeks is not with Triple-A 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 either being talked about or mentioned about being recalled to the Orioles is Steve Lombardozzi. As stated in an article I wrote a couple months ago, Lombardozzi was lighting up Triple-A pitching. Lately, he has been a little cold.

You can read the article here:

Over his last 10 games, Lombardozzi has hit .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 has picked up during his cold streak.

He has only struck out two times in his last 10 games but the outs he has been making have not been productive. However, Lombardozzi is still hitting .256 on the season, has 13 RBI, and has scored 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 good for the Tides this year. Casilla has a .285 average, .346 on-base percentage, and a .354 slugging percentage. He also has stolen eight bases and has 16 RBI in 41 games.

Ivan De Jesus Jr. has the best average among all of the Norfolk infielders. Ivan De Jesus Jr. is the son of former major league shortstop Ivan De Jesus. Ivan 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, over the last 10 games Britton has been hitting the ball really well, even better then when he was with Double-A. In the 10 games he is hitting .313, has hit two home runs and has a slugging percentage of .594.

The last person that is a non-first baseman of the Norfolk infield is Cord Phelps. Phelps has the lowest batting average of the team. He is hitting just .219 but has six home runs, 31 RBI and has 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.

Steve Lombardozzi has played five games at third base, 20 at second base, four at short stop, 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.

Ivan De Jesus Jr. has just played 1 game at third this season. He has played two games at second base, has been the DH in four games and has played the majority of his games, 59, at short stop. 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 have proved 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.

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