2014 Shorebirds Preview
After a disappointing 2013 campaign, the Delmarva Shorebirds are headed into the 2014 season with a new manager and new expectations for the stars of their 2013 draft class, with pitcher Hunter Harvey, outfielder Josh Hart and catcher Chance Sisco — the Baltimore Orioles’ top three draft picks last season — all expected to make strides.
Former Shorebirds Manager and Orioles infielder Ryan Minor makes his return to Delmarva after managing the Frederick Keys, an Advanced A Orioles affiliate, for the 2013 season. Prior to managing the Keys, Minor had spent five seasons as a coach for the Shorebirds, serving as manager for the 2010-2012 season and a hitting coach in 2008 and 2009.
“I live here. I love it here. So I’m happy to be back,” said Minor on his return. “It’s great for me. I’ve been here since 1997, and my wife’s from here — it’s a good situation.”
Minor will be joined by 12-year Major League Baseball veteran and former Orioles reliever Alan Mills, who will be the team’s pitching coach, and former Shorebirds second baseman Paco Figueroa, who will serve as the team’s hitting coach and is already familiar with a few players on this year’s roster after having coached them in Aberdeen last season.
“That’s also very beneficial to myself to have a guy that’s worked with the hitters and seen their swings and knows what they did last year,” Minor explained. “I like this group of guys — good core group of guys from last year in Aberdeen, playoff team down there. Hopefully, they can continue the momentum into this season.
“That’s a big plus when guys move up a level together, because they’ve had the opportunity to play together and know each other a little bit. It makes it a lot easier on the staff, too.”
One of the key players from last year’s squad in Aberdeen expected to step up will be first-baseman Trey Mancini, who played in 68 games for the Ironbirds in 2013, carrying a .328 average and racking up 35 RBIs.
Leading the pitching staff for the Shorebirds will be 19-year-old 2013 draft pick Hunter Harvey, who played three games for the Ironbirds last season and is expected to get the call up to the majors within the next couple seasons.
“He’s gonna be a guy that’s gonna be fun to watch,” Minor said of the future Orioles prospect. “He’ll be able to go out and compete from the get-go. They want him to pitch into late August-September.
“Hunter’s one of those guys that’s gonna come in here and do well right off the bat. We expect good things out of him. Hope he pitches well and gets out of here. You want these guys to move on.”
While Harvey looks to be the most talented of the pitching prospects, Minor highlighted the strength of the bullpen as a whole.
The Shorebirds were set to start the season on Thursday, April 3, (after Coastal Point press time), on the road against Asheville. They’ll return until Thursday, April 10, to face Greeensboro at 7:05 p.m.
For tickets, call (410) 219-3112, and for Shorebirds coverage, and promotion and giveaways information throughout the season, follow @CPointSports on Twitter.