Season In Review: The Tides finished the season with a 74-76 record, placing them seventh in the International League East Division. It was Norfolk’s best record since 2015 when they went 78-66. They went 37-38 both at Harbor Park and on the road. Norfolk’s series record was 7-11-8. Norfolk started hot going 11-5, finishing April at 12-11, and then finished hot with a 16-10 record in September. Between April 23 and August 27, the Tides had the second-worst record in the International League (44-61).
Record-Breaking Transactions: The Tides came up one player short of the roster size franchise record in 2022, having 83 different players appear on the roster. Only two of those players did not play for the Tides (INF Mason McCoy and 1B Jesús Aguilar). Prior to the Tides breaking the roster size record last season (84), the previous high was 75 players on the roster in 2012 which set the International League record for a roster size at the time. The Tides recorded a franchise record 314 roster moves during the 2022 season, surpassing the previous mark of 262 set in 2021. That record has been broken in four of the last five seasons.
Offensive Team Records Set: With the season extending to a franchise-long 150 games this season, the Tides broke numerous team records. The offense boasted it’s most offense production it has ever had, scoring 800 runs (1987, 725) to average 5.33 runs per game (1987, 5.18). The production came in large part to the Tides getting on base frequently, ranking fourth in the International League in on-base percentage (.344). It set the highest on-base percentage as an Orioles affiliate (2019, .337) and was the highest since 1999 (.349). The Tides also crushed the franchise record in walks (663), beating 1973 (587), and hit-by-pitches (106), beating 2021 (63). The Tides also broke the single-season home run record with 175, topping 1971’s 151. The final offensive record broken was the 138 stolen bags, breaking the Oriole’s affiliate franchise record (2009, 132) and were the most since the 178 in 2003.
Keep It 100: Throughout the season, the Tides had six different players ranked in the Top 100 prospect rankings by MLB.com. Highlighting the Top 100 were Adley Rutschman and Grayson Rodriguez, who pitched and caught each other three times (May 7, 12, 17). Adley was ranked the #1 prospect for a short time prior to graduating from the list, while Grayson was the highest ranked pitching prospect all season. Gunnar Henderson finished the season ranked as the #2 prospect in all of baseball in the final rankings of 2022. The other three Tides were Colton Cowser, Jordan Westburg and DL Hall. The most Top 100 prospects to appear in one game for the Tides was on August 30 when Cowser made his Triple-A debut, Gunnar and Hall played their final Triple-A game, and Westburg making a start.
Weekly Awards: The Tides had five different Player or Pitcher of the Week winners in 2022. Kyle Bradish earned Pitcher of the Week in Week 2 of the season from April 11 – 17, setting him up to be recalled to Baltimore for the remainder of the season two weeks later. In May, the Tides had players win in back-to-back weeks, as Kyle Stowers won Player of the Week from May 16 – 22 followed by Grayson Rodriguez winning Pitcher of the Week from May 23 – 29. DL Hall would earn Pitcher of the Week from July 11 – 17 and Bruce Zimmermann would win the final weekly award as Pitcher of the Week from August 29 – September 4.
Stowers Powers: Setting the single season slugging percentage record as an Orioles affiliate this season was Kyle Stowers with .5272 (min. 351 plate appearances). He barely edged out Ryan Mountcastle (.5269) from his 2019 International League MVP season. Stowers was called up to the Orioles a day after he became a qualified International League leader, where he ranked in slugging (4th) and OPS (.884, 4th). His OPS ranked third all time as an O’s affiliate. He finished the season batting .264 (92-for-349) with 29 doubles, 19 home runs and 78 RBI. He also ranked among International League leaders in doubles (T-8th), extra-base hits (51, T-8th) and RBI (T-10th).
Top Gunnar: According to Baseball America, Gunnar Henderson was named the Minor League Player of the Year. He had a terrific season with the Tides, debuting in Triple-A with teammate Jordan Westburg on June 8. His most notable game was on June 28 vs. Gwinnett when he hit for the cycle, the first Tide to do so since Timo Pérez on June 9, 2000. He earned a Future’s Game Selection as well, becoming the seventh Tide to play in the exhibition since 2007. From his first game to his final game with the Tides on August 30, Gunnar led the International League in runs (60), while ranking among leaders in walks (T-3rd, 38), triples (T-5th, 4), hits (6th, 72), extra-base hits (T-7th, 28) and on-base percentage (8th, .390).
Grayson’s Gas Pump: On top of his Pitcher of the Week Award, Grayson Rodriguez would end up winning the International League Pitcher of the Month for May. He started in six games and recorded a 3-1 record, allowing a 2.25 ERA (8 ER, 32.0 IP). He limited opponents to a .177 batting average (20-for-113) and a 0.97 WHIP. He struck out 48 batters while walking 11. Rodriguez was one of four pitchers in the International League to make six starts, ranking among league leaders for the month in strikeouts (1st), innings pitched (1st), opponent’s average (2nd), WHIP (3rd), ERA (3rd), and wins (T-5th). The 48 strikeouts set a calendar month record for the Tides as an Orioles affiliate. Rodriguez would injure himself on June 1 with a lat strain, putting him out until September. Through June 1, Grayson was dominating the International League, ranking first in WHIP (0.84), opponent’s average (.168), opponent’s slugging (.254), and strikeouts (80), while ranking second in ERA (2.09).
Bull-Rutsch: After starting the season with triceps injury, Adley Rutschman’s MLB Debut was placed on hold through the end of May. He ended up playing 12 games with the Tides from May 6 – 19 before making his MLB Debut on May 21 vs. Tampa Bay. In the 12 games, he hit .233 (10-for-43) with five runs, three home runs, seven RBI, seven walks and three hit-by-pitches (.377 OBP).
Hall Monitor: Although he started the season late due to injury, DL Hall showed what all the hype was about with the Tides in 2022. In 22 games (18 starts), he went 3-7 with a 4.70 ERA (40 ER, 76.2 IP). He settled in to a grove in July, where in four starts from July 1 – 17, he went 1-1 with a 0.44 ERA (1 ER, 20.2 IP). He would strike out 14 batters on July 6, tying the single season record as an Orioles affiliate with David Hernandez (May 20, 2009 vs. Rochester). Hall went on to win Pitcher of the Week from July 11 – 17 and finished with 125 strikeouts, ranking tied for fifth in the International League and second-most in a season by a Tide as an Orioles affiliate (2019, Keegan Akin, 131).
Wild Wild West: Despite playing his first game with the Tides on June 8, Jordan Westburg finished with the team lead in runs (64), hits (99) and plate appearances (413). By reaching 405 plate appearances, he qualified as an International League leader in OPS (6th, .869) and slugging (7th, .508). From June 8 through the end of the season, he led the International League in doubles (25) and RBI (74) while also ranking in runs (2nd), extra-base hits (2nd, 46), hits (4th), home runs (T-4th, 18) and slugging (9th). Westburg recorded two five-hit games with the Tides (June 24 at Lehigh Valley, September 16 vs. Charlotte) and a two home run game on August 23 at Jacksonville. Westburg was awarded the Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year Award for his efforts.
Holy Cowser: Joining the Tides late was Colton Cowser, who made his Triple-A debut on August 30. In his time, he ranked among Triple-A leaders in hit-by-pitches (T-1st, 6) and runs (T-2nd). He started off slow, hitting .079 (3-for-38) in his first 10 games. However, he finished his final 17 games batting .299 (20-for-67) with 17 runs, seven doubles, four home runs, nine RBI, eight walks and two hit-by-pitches (.390 OBP). Cowser finished his season with 114 runs between three levels, ranking tied for third in all of Minor League Baseball.
Youngster Joey: Also joining the team August 30 was Joey Ortiz who had a strong finish with the Tides. Through the end of the season, Ortiz ranked among International League leaders in hits (T-4th, 36), runs (T-4th, 22) and average (T-7th, .346). Ortiz finished ranked as the No. 17 prospect in Baltimore’s organization by MLB.com.
The Grass is Grenier: Another record broken by the Tides this year was the players single season walks record as an Orioles affiliate. Cadyn Grenier walked 62 times, beating LJ Hoes who walked 58 times in 2013. Grenier finished 10th in the International League in walks. IT was the most by a Tide since Brian Daubach had 62 in 2005.
Our Vavr-ite: Earning himself a spot on the Orioles roster midseason was Terrin Vavra, who had a very efficient start to the season with Norfolk. In 45 games, he hit .324 (56-for-173) with 14 doubles, a triple, two home runs, 18 RBI and 28 walks (.435 OBP). He injured his hamstring on April 20, putting him out until June 8 but picked up right where he left off. In his final 32 games with the Tides, he hit .322 and had a .434 OBP, setting him up for his MLB Debut on July 29.
Nasty Nick Vespi: Tides southpaw reliever Nick Vespi put on one of the best performances you could ask for from someone in the bullpen. In 26 relief appearances, he didn’t allow an earned run (28.2 IP) and struck out 36 batters to five walks. Left-handed batters hit .051 against him (2-for-39) and Vespi recorded a 0.59 WHIP overall. Since 2007, it’s the most innings pitched in the International League without allowing an earned run, topping another Tides pitcher in Richard Zagone, who had 20.1 scoreless innings in 2012.
Cup of Coffee for Norby: Orioles prospect Connor Norby joined the Tides after the Double-A season ended with Bowie. In nine games with Norfolk, he stayed hot by batting .359 (14-for-39) with seven runs, two doubles, four home runs, seven RBI and three walks. With the home runs at the end of the season, he totaled 29 to lead the Orioles farm system.
Buck Britton’s Tides Debut: In his first season managing the Tides, Buck Britton had his first career losing season at 74-76. Buck reached 250 wins on June 22 at Lehigh Valley when the Tides won 7-6. In all, Buck improved his career Managerial record to 291-253 (.535).
Tyler, the Run Creator: Playing just 44 games with the Tides, Tyler Nevin still made his presence felt in Triple-A. He started off hot for the Tides, hitting .364 (24-for-66) in 17 games in April. That included an eight RBI game on April 15 at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, tying the franchise record set by Phil Lombardi in 1988. The strong first month earned Nevin a promotion to Baltimore, and only came back down for a week in late May to early June prior to returning to the Orioles until September when he finished the season with the Tides.
5,000th Home Run/25,000th Walk: On April 23, the Tides launched their 5,000th Triple-A home run. The milestone was hit by Brett Cumberland who launched a two-run shot off of Durham Bulls pitcher Seth Blair. On June 19 vs. Syracuse, Terrin Vavra led the seventh inning off with a walk by Mets’ pitcher Bryce Montas de Oca, marking the 25,000th in Tides Triple-A history.
Zombro Returns: On June 4, 2021, Durham Bulls pitcher Tyler Zombro was hit in the head by a 104 MPH line drive off of Brett Cumberland’s bat. The game was initially suspended, then subsequently called, resulting in a, 12-4, win for Norfolk. Zombro underwent a successful surgery for his fractured skull. His first game back was on April 24, 2022 at Harbor Park, tossing a scoreless inning.