Three Red Wings prospects impress It's defense for McClain, Waszgis and Stephenson

Minor-league notebook

July 23, 1996|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

The Orioles shouldn't expect too much lift from their Triple-A club if they remain in the division and/or wild card race during September.

Although some former big-leaguers now at Rochester could help (Jeffrey Hammonds, Joe Hall, Rick Krivda and Jimmy Myers, for example), the list of young prospects can be counted on one hand.

Of those who have never appeared in the majors, third baseman Scott McClain, catcher B. J. Waszgis and onrushing pitcher Garrett Stephenson are the best bets.

Red Wings manager Marv Foley said McClain, who tied for the organization lead with 21 homers last season, is "still learning" at the plate.

"At this time, defense is his forte. He's top-notch at third with an above-average arm. At the plate, he's a big guy with power potential, but he's been more like steady, around .260 all year."

Waszgis has been alternating practically game to game with Cesar Devarez behind the plate.

"B. J. is the most improved player on the team," said Foley. "He's really impressed with his willingness to learn and has become an above-average defensive catcher who has improved calling a game."

McClain Waszgis, a converted infielder, is not producing big on offense, however, primarily because of the half-time duty.

Stephenson pitched in tough luck early in the year and felt his way along, but has come on strong.

The Maryland native is the hottest pitcher in the International League with three straight complete-game victories.

"He was unsure of himself when the year started," said Foley. "But he's now using his pitches well to go with his excellent control. One thing I like: The longer he stays in games, the better he gets."

End for a phenom

Two years ago, Harry Berrios seemed to have an unlimited future with the Orioles.

He had a minor-league season with three clubs that few in history could equal -- a combined .343 average, 113 runs scored, 107 RBIs, 56 steals, 26 doubles, 19 home runs.

Now, he has been released from the Frederick Keys.

Berrios never recaptured the magic, flopping twice at Double-A Bowie, then batting .230 with the Keys after his demotion this year.

Shorebirds are popular

Delmarva is within reach of becoming the first South Atlantic League team to draw more than 300,000 fans.

The Shorebirds entered the week at 202,199 with 21 home dates remaining. They are averaging 4,595 at the new Perdue Stadium.

"We're starting to see some results from the beach people getting interested," said general manager Keith Lupton.

Around the horn

Calvin Maduro, the first Aruba-born player to reach Triple-A, was called up for an emergency start for Rochester and responded with eight five-hit innings, striking out nine. But he lost, 2-0. . . . Wings 1B Billy Owens was in an 0-for-18 slump. . . . Hammonds had the second inside-the-park homer of his Rochester career against Richmond. . . . 3B Willis Otanez is hitting up a storm for Bowie while awaiting the birth of his baby. In seven games last week, Otanez had seven homers and 15 RBIs. . . . Bowie will soar above 1 million fans Saturday night with a fireworks show after the game. . . . Baysox OF Kevin Curtis and Rolando Avila are sitting out three games for their part in a brawl last week. . . . 3B Rick Short homered in the ninth Sunday to extend his hitting streak to 20 games, longest in Frederick history. He is batting .429 during the surge. . . . Nerio Rodriguez is in position to become the Carolina League ERA leader at 2.37. . . . The Keys have added IF-OF Maleke Fowler, who hit .390 with 17 steals at Bluefield, and CF Carlos Akins, .302 with 13 steals. Also added was C Adam McCollough to replace Jim Foster (sprained ankle). . . . High Desert won eight straight and moved within a game of the division lead in the California League.

Pub Date: 7/23/96

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