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  1. Alex Wells - LHP 6' 1" 190 Bats: L Throws: L Age: 19 2016 Team: IronBirds SS Most Likely Major League Role: 4th starter Ceiling: #3 starter Floor: Left-handed reliever Background: Wells was signed by the Orioles as an 19-year old free agent out of Australia in September 2015 for $300K. Has an identical brother (Lachlan) pitching in the Minnesota minor league system who is also a left-hander. Started playing baseball when he was 10-years old and after starting out as outfielders, they settled in as a left-handed pitchers. Lachlan signed first as a 17-year old before Alex signed a year later with the Orioles after contemplating going to an American college. 2016: After starting the year in extended spring training, Wells was assigned to Aberdeen and made his professional debut on June 17th against the Hudson Valley Renegades. Was consistently good from the get go going at least five innings and allowing two runs or less in seven of his first eight starts against the mostly older competition. Allowed more than two runs only one time all season when he allowed three runs in three innings of work against Hudson Valley on August 28th, ironically he tied his career high with seven strike outs in that outing. Was one of only nine teenagers to get at least 10 starts in the NY Penn League and he put up the lowest ERA of the group. Led the Ironbirds with 50 strike outs and his 5.56 SO/BB ratio was best in the organization for starters with at least 10 starts. Was named the Ironbirds 2016 stats (Aberdeen) ERA: 2.15 IP: 62.2 H: 48 (6.9/9) HRA: 1 (0.1/9) BB: 9 (1.3/9) SO: 50 (7.2/9) AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS: .216/.248/.284/.532 RHB Slash: ..219/.243/.300/.543 LHB Slash: .194/.250/.231/.481 GO/AO: 0.94 Scouting report (now and future) FB: 45/50 CB: 50/60 CH: 40/50 What we know: Wells has a three pitch mix that he commands well around the strikezone. He has an easy repeatable delivery. Has fastball sits 86-89 MPH though he will vary the velocity from 84-91 from pitch to pitch. Never seems to throw the same fastball velocity from pitch to pitch allowing his fastball to play up despite the premium velocity. He also commands the pitch in the zone moving in and out and up and down. His curveball is his best pitch and can flash plus at times with late tight break. Like his fastball he will vary the speed of the pitch between 71 and 77 MPH. He gets swings and misses from both right-handed and left-handed hitters on the pitch within the strike zone. His change can be an average offering at times but remains his 3rd best pitch at this time. What we don't know: Will he gain more velocity as he gets older and pitches more? Some believe he could add some velocity and that he's not done growing. If his velocity doesn't increase, will his command and speed variation play up against more advanced hitters? What he needs to improve: Gets some arm-side run on occasion but his fastball can be fairly straight at times. His changeup gets some fade, but not a lot of drop and he throws it a bit hard (81-83). Summary: It may be aggressive to put a 19-year old with a high 80s fastball this high on the list, but Wells' ability to command three pitches and his advance feel for pitching gives him an excellent chance to move quickly through the system and end up a solid #3 or #4 starter in the majors. If he gets a jump in velocity his celling could go higher, but his ability to vary his velocity while commanding his pitches makes him an excellent prospect to watch in 2017. Wells will most likely start the year in Delmarva but if he has success, a mid-season promotion to Frederick would not be out of the question. Think a left-hander version of Zach Davies.
  2. SHOREBIRDS TO SEND THREE TO SAL ALL-STAR GAME Clare, Ring, Wells will represent team in Columbia this month Shorebird Press Release by Will Deboer CLEARWATER, FL - The Delmarva Shorebirds will send three players to represent the team at the 58th annual South Atlantic League All-Star Game, announced by the league office on Tuesday. Pitcher Alex Wells, outfielder Jake Ring, and infielder Chris Clare will represent the Shorebirds for the Northern Division at the league’s midsummer classic at Columbia’s Spirit Communications Park on June 20. Ring will start for the North in center field, while Clare was selected as a utility infielder and Wells as one of 11 pitchers. Ring is in the midst of a historic season at the plate for the Shorebirds. The Ingleside, Ill. native is batting .326, good for fifth in the league. He is the league’s active leader in RBIs (38), doubles (19), extra-base hits (31), slugging (.609), total bases (112), and ranks in the top five in several other offensive categories. A 31st-round pick out of Missouri in the 2016 draft, Ring has been a revalation for Delmarva this season, earning SAL Player of the Week for April 6-16 and Baltimore Orioles Minor League Player of the Month for April. His finest moment came on May 16 when he hit a walkoff two-run double - with two outs and two strikes against Greenville all-star closer Stephen Nogosek - to give the Shorebirds a 6-5 win over the Drive. A New York-Penn League all-star last year in short-season Aberdeen, Wells has continued his hot start to his professional career with the Shorebirds. The Australian national from Newcastle, New South Wales is 4-2 with a 1.74 ERA through 10 starts, walking eight and striking out 40 through 51.2 innings. He boasts the third-lowest ERA in the SAL, as well as a team-best 1.03 WHIP and six quality starts. Wells has three scoreless starts this season of at least six innings, including seven three-hit shutout frames in a win on June 1 against Hickory. Clare has been the glue for the Shorebird infield all season, starting primarily at shortstop but seeing half a dozen reps at both second and third base. The Fort Mill, S.C. native is currently batting .274 with a team-best .377 on-base percentage, notching nine extra-base hits and 25 RBIs along the way. Clare introduced himself to the Perdue Stadium faithful in a big way, batting .571 (12-21) with seven RBIs and nine runs scored over a season-opening seven-game homestand from April 13 through 19. The 21st-round pick from High Point in 2016 strung together a seven-game hitting streak from May 7 through 18, notching four multi-hit games in that span. Clare’s hometown of Fort Mill is just 75 miles north of Columbia. The Northern Division team will be managed by Hagerstown manager Patrick Anderson, while Jose Leger of the hometown Columbia Fireflies will lead the South. “The amount of talent that is showcased each year in this game is tremendous, and this year certainly continues that tradition,” said SAL president Eric Krupa of this year’s all-star teams. “Columbia Fireflies President John Katz and his staff have been working for more than a year in order to put together one of the most anticipated events on the baseball calendar.”
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