(Photo Credit: MiLB twitter)

Michael Baumann is off to a hot start in 2018 for the Delmarva Shorebirds, the Baltimore Orioles’ Low-A affiliate. Baumann is currently rated as the Orioles’ 15th-best prospect in the system. Much like his former teammate from Jacksonville University, Austin Hays, Baumann might soon find himself near the top of the list.

Michael Baumann was drafted in the third round of the First-Year Player Draft in 2017. Coincidentally, this is the same round in which former teammate Hays was drafted by the Orioles the previous year. Baumann was originally drafted in 2014 by his hometown Minnesota Twins out of Mahtomedi Senior High School in the 34th round. Michael Baumann was the Atlantic Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2015. Previous winners of the award include Chris Sale (‘10), Corey Kluber (‘07) and current Oriole Richard Bleier (‘08).

He has a fastball that usually sits in the 92-94 MPH range but can reach back for more when necessary, topping out at 97 on the gun before. Baumann pairs that with a slider that’s rated above average. He has a changeup and curveball that he’s still working on developing more but both are around average.

In his first taste of professional ball last year Baumann went 4-2 with a 1.28 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) and 42.1 innings pitched. Baumann had a .175 average against and a 1.09 WHIP. He allowed 13 runs (only 6 earned) on 27 hits (only 2 home runs allowed). He struck out 43 and walked 19. His first taste was almost entirely with the Single-A short-season Aberdeen Ironbirds

So far in his 2018 campaign, he has started three games going 2-0 (Delmarva has won all starts) with a 1.69 ERA. Baumann currently leads the South Atlantic League in strikeouts with 24 in 16 innings pitched. He has given up 10 hits and 3 runs (all earned) so far. He has helped lead Delmarva to a 10-2 record including a South Atlantic league-best team ERA and WHIP. It helps that he is joined by fellow 2017 draft picks DL Hall and Zac Lowther (who has been turning some heads recently as well).

Entering the season the main knock against Baumann was his control. So far he has issued 7 walks in his three starts. 4 of those came in his last start on 4/18 against Hagerstown. His 19 walks in 42 innings was not incredibly terrible last season it could and should be improved upon. As he continues to work on his changeup and curveball and get a better feel the walks could improve and make him into a legitimate Major League starter eventually. At worst he could be a great addition to the bullpen.

If Baumann stays healthy and consistent he has a chance to progress up to Frederick before the All-Star break and maybe even Bowie by September. The Orioles have something special brewing down in Delmarva with a good crop of arms coming up in the next few years between Baumann, Hall, and Lowther even if they all are two to three years away still. The Orioles might finally be getting some homegrown rotation help.

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