ALTOONA, Pa. – The Baltimore Orioles recently needed outfield help after Craig Gentry fractured his right ring finger. The Orioles made a move in order to help their playoff chances, but unfortunately hurt the Bowie Baysox in their first round playoff matchup last weekend.
Baltimore called up power-hitting outfielder Austin Hays, who had 16 homers, 54 RBI and an impressive .330 batting average in just 64 games with the Baysox since coming up from Single-A Frederick. However, the move drastically hurt the Bowie lineup, as the Baysox scored just five runs in three games, dropping decisions of 2-0, 8-4 and 6-1, as the Altoona Curve swept Bowie in a best-of-five series to lock up the Western Division championship.
Bowie was the top offensive team in the Eastern League this year, but could not get it going against the Curve. Still, the team has made the playoffs twice in the last three years after finishing second in the division this year.
Hays, meanwhile, made his major league debut last Thursday in Baltimore, coming in late and grounding out in the ninth inning during a 9-1 loss to the New York Yankees. It all seemed pretty magical to him.
“It was very surreal to be able to step in a big league box for the first time,” Hays said. “That’s better than I ever could have imagined. I wish the circumstances would have been different and could have gotten a ‘W.’”
Rosa named MVP
Bowie utility man Garabez Rosa was selected as the Eastern League’s Most Valuable Player, the league announced last week.
Rosa topped the Eastern League in batting average (.310), hits (162) and RBI (91). Rosa also took second in total bases (232) and tied for second in runs scored (75). He is the third Baysox player to earn MVP honors. Calvin Pickering won the honor in 1998, while Lou Montanez did it nine years ago.
Rosa, the Cotui, Dominican Republic native, and had three hitting streaks of at least 10 games and posted a .363 average with runners in scoring position. He is the team’s all-time leader in games (590), hits (650), RBI (306), runs scored (273) and doubles (107). Also, Rosa made the 2017 Eastern League All-Star game earlier this season.
He also showed his versatility in different ways. He played six different positions – each outfield position along with first, second and third base.