6-7 Stahl has O's thinking big

After shaky start, lefty shows stuff at Delmarva

Minor-League Baseball


May 08, 2000|By Kent Baker | By Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Richard Stahl is raw, but he could be the next pitching phenom in the Orioles' farm system.

A 19-year-old left-hander from Georgia, Stahl (pronounced Staw) has the kind of arm that makes scouts drool and managers smile. And at 6 feet 7 and 185 pounds, he could be a younger version of Randy Johnson.

"He's an exciting guy with some arm," said Joe Ferguson, his manager at Single-A Delmarva. "All he needs to do is get his feet on the ground."

Stahl nearly slipped away from the Orioles, not signing until Aug.23, the day he was to report to classes at Georgia Tech. He wasn't sure he wanted to play professionally so soon, especially with the school only 30 minutes from his home. But the Orioles fattened their signing offer, and he is happy with his choice.

"I like it so far, even though I have to deal with failing more than ever before," said Stahl, the 18th player taken in last summer's draft. "There is steeper competition than I believed. I guess I was surprised how much they hit me in my first two starts."

After a shaky beginning, he entered the weekend with 18 scoreless innings, a 2-2 record and 1.44 ERA. Opponents were batting .165 against him, and he had 28 strikeouts in 25 innings. Seven of the 11 runs he had allowed were unearned.

His scoreless streak ended yesterday, however, when he allowed six runs in 2 1/3 innings in a loss to Greensboro.

Early on, Stahl was showing signs of anxiousness and impatience. He had a bad inning in each of his first two starts, partially of his own creation when he made errant throws.

"He just needed to stay a little more focused," Ferguson said. "He was getting a little too interested in guys on base. They were kind of affecting him."

"I've got things to learn," Stahl said.

Triple-A Rochester

The Red Wings are scrambling for a third baseman now that Ryan Minor is in the majors. Manager Marv Foley is experimenting with numerous players at the position. ... Al Reyes became the closer with two saves in three outings, supplanting Ryan Kohlmeier. Reyes led Double-A ball with 35 saves six years ago at Harrisburg. ... Starter Rick Krivda has won three straight after an 0-2 start and is 10-1 lifetime at Frontier Field. Javier de la Hoya is unbeaten with a 1.15 ERA, and Josh Towers is true to form with 21 strikeouts, four walks and five homers allowed in 28 2/3 innings. Towers has a 2.83 ERA. ... Matt Riley told a teammate he has "never felt better" and wants to rejoin the club in two weeks. He has a strained rotator cuff in his left shoulder. ... IF Eddy Martinez was demoted to Frederick. ... Calvin Pickering was struggling at .197 and playing shaky defense.

Double-A Bowie

Baysox pitcher Maximo Heredia was suspended indefinitely by the Eastern League for instigating a 20-minute "bean-brawl" against the Erie Seawolves in a game last week. IF Carlos Casimiro and C Chad Epperson drew three-game penalties, as did three Erie players. The fight started when Heredia threw the ball at a runner during a rundown. The Orioles later released Heredia. ... P Rick Bauer is second in the league with a 1.17 ERA. He had not allowed an earned run in three of five starts and had not permitted more than two runs per outing. ... Altogether, the Baysox had four starters with ERAs under 3.00 and the fifth, John Parrish, also was at that level before being promoted. ... Rick Short had an eight-game batting streak, led the league with 34 hits and was battling for the top in average. ... Ivanon Coffie and Darnell McDonald were right behind Short with 33 hits, and Coffie led the league with 24 RBIs.

Single-A Frederick

Papy Ndungidi was named the Carolina League Player of the Month for April. The native of Zaire, who grew up in Canada, batted .309 with a league-leading .605 slugging percentage, accumulated five home runs, seven doubles, a triple, 17 RBIs and five steals. Ndungidi, 21, was a first-round draftee in 1997. ... The Keys had four different league leaders entering the weekend: Ndungidi (five homers), Franky Figueroa (24 RBIs), Tim Raines, Jr. (25 steals and 20 runs scored) and Richard Paz (.485 on-base percentage). ... DH Tom Hage was released. ... Opponents are batting .176 against reliever Aaron Rakers, who has 22 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings.

Single-A Delmarva

A three-game sweep of Charleston, W.Va., brought out the Shorebirds' offense, as the team batting average climbed from .233 to .255. ... The roster added OF Steven Salago and P Sean Jones from Frederick and P Jason Pruitt from extended spring. P Shawn Babula went to the Keys. ... P Erik Bedard is on the disabled list with a hip problem

Independent Aberdeen

The Arsenal got off to a quick offensive start, hitting an Atlantic League-high .324 in their first six games. David Steed led the league in hitting at .526 with Yuri Sanchez at .455 with a league-leading 12 RBIs and T.R. Lewis at .444. ... Milestones for the first-year team: Sanchez (first homer), Gil Martinez (first hit), Maleke Fowler (first RBI), Zac Stark (first win). ... Attendance lagged for the initial three-game homestand, averaging 739 per game.

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