Delmarva Shorebirds break camp, unveil team roster


The Delmarva Shorebirds  have announced their break camp team roster, as assigned by their parent club, the Baltimore Orioles.

The initial roster features 27 players and includes both of Baltimore’s 2015 first round picks: infielder Ryan Mountcastle and outfielder D.J. Stewart.

Former ACC Player of the Year Stewart will make his 2016 full-season professional baseball debut in Delmarva. Stewart was selected 28th overall in the 2015 MLB First Year Player Draft after tearing up the college ranks at Florida State for three seasons.

Stewart drove in 50 or more runs in each of his three seasons as a Seminole, racked up 15 home runs as a junior, and amassed three year batting average of .344. In his pro debut last summer in Aberdeen, Stewart hit .218 in 62 games with 14 extra-base hits. Stewart projects to be the opening day left fielder for the Shorebirds.

Oviedo, Fla., native Ryan Mountcastle will begin his first full season of pro baseball with Delmarva as well.

Selected 36th overall in the 2015 MLB First Year Player Draft, Mountcastle was considered compensation for the Orioles’ loss of Nelson Cruz when Cruz rejected the team’s qualifying offer and signed with the Seattle Mariners prior to the 2015 season.

Mountcastle is ranked by Baseball America as the seventh best prospect in the Orioles’ farm system. He played in 53 games between the GCL Orioles and Aberdeen Ironbirds last season, hitting .296 with seven doubles, four homers and 19 RBIs. Mountcastle projects to be the team’s opening day shortstop.

Pitchers Brian Gonzalez, Lucas Long and Francisco Jimenez all return to Delmarva to start the season. Gonzalez threw over 100 innings as a 19 year old, starting all 23 games he appeared in. He projects to be in the rotation once again, as he has not come out of the bullpen in his two year career.

Long went 2-4 with a 4.91 ERA last year in 11 appearances, eight of which were starts. Jimenez is a 21-year old pitcher from the Dominican Republic who went 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts last year in Delmarva.

Catcher Alex Murphy and outfielder Ademar Rifaela are the only two position players returning to Delmarva. Murphy, a Monrovia, Md., native, clubbed 12 extra-base hits and drove in 28 runs in just 32 games for the Shorebirds last season.

Rifaela batted .262 in 59 games for the Shorebirds last summer. He turned 21 in November and is a native of Curacao.

The Shorebirds are also excited to see Natanael Delgado make his debut in the Baltimore Orioles system. Delgado spent almost all of spring training with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and he was acquired by the Orioles in a trade on March 29.

Delgado played for the Burlington Bees in the Midwest League last season, which is equivalent to the South Atlantic League. He hit .241 in 108 games with six home runs and 46 RBI.

Entering this season, Baseball America rated Delgado as the 29th best prospect in the Angels system.


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