Henry Urrutia’s for Real!

Rodger’s Pick: Henry Urrutia, Right Fielder, Bowie Baysox

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By Rodger M. Wood

I knew that Baltimore Orioles’ 26-year old Cuban defector Henry Urrutia was a bonafide major league prospect in the first inning of the AA – Bowie game on Sunday against Altoona, when Curve’s RHP David Bromberg threw him nothing to hit with a man of 3B and two outs.

Another good indication of his potential is his Eastern League leading 355 BA, with a 420 OBP, 7 HR, and 35 RBI in 48 GP.

Double A baseball is a good acid test for major league potential and Henry’s passing the test, hitting clean up and playing right field for the Bowie Baysox.

Bowie Baysox coaches and Orioles minor league staff swear by him and all indications are he listens to them closely in the batting cage hoping to shorten the time before he can use his five tool potential in right field at Camden Yards.

The son of Emidelio Urrutia, Cuban national team OF, Henry starred for Cuba in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, and hit 397 in the Cuba Series Nacional 2009-2010.

The Orioles signed him as a free agent for $775,000, but had to wait for him to pay these dividends on their investment until he cleared up visa problems in the 2012 season.

Tigers #1 Jonathan Crawford, Another Frank Lary?

By Rodger M. Wood

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While I shot photos of Detroit Tigers 2013 #1 (20th overall) draft pick, Jonathan Crawford, in the Norwich Dodd Stadium bullpen on June 17th, I couldn’t help but remember the Tigers’ old Yankee Killer of the late 1950s and early 1960s, RHP Frank Lary.

I asked the 21 year old if he had ever heard of Frank Lary, but of course, pitching forty years before he was born, I had to tell him who he was and added that unlike Lary, he would also miss out pitching in old Briggs Stadium, which brought many days of joy to my childhood.

Although Jonathan had not heard about the Tigers’ past, he could well be a large part of their future.

At Florida the past two seasons, the 6-2, 205 RHP pumped a 92-96 mph fastball and wicked curve past opposing batters. Pitching for a young Gators team in 2013 without much hitting early in the season, he went 0 – 4, but bounced back with a
3-2 record to close out the season with a 3-6 W-L record. The highlight of his season was pitching a 2-hit shutout against Ole Mississippi, who went on to do big things in the NCAA tournament.

Statistics are deceiving as Baseball America ranked Jonathan the 24th top prospect in the 2013 draft and he had a good 2012 collegiate season. In the opening round of the 2012 NCAA tournament, he limited Austin Peay to one run and four hits over 6 1/3 innings pitched and made the all tournament team.

Jonathan has lots of promise and while he reminded me of one of my old favorite, someday the reverse may be true. Looking at my old baseball cards of “Tatoes” Lary, I may well be reminded of an intense young Jonathan Crawford pumping his fastball in the bullpen that day in Norwich.