Orioles pitching prospect Mike Baumann continues to recover with Double-A Bowie from an injury suffered last August. The 25-year-old sustained a right flexor strain at the Orioles’ alternate training site in Bowie, and although the injury did not require surgery, it ended the right-hander’s season.
Months after the injury, Baumann continues to get back to full strength with a Baysox team that he says produces “absolutely electric” energy levels. Entering play on June 17, the prospect-laden Baysox hold a 26-10 record and have nine victories in June. The team has collectively produced 221 runs and has hit .253/.354/.442 across 36 games.
Given that level of play, Baumann considers the team to resemble an actual Major League Baseball team.
“These guys can play, so it’s fun to watch [them on] the field each day. You know you’re going to get a show out of them,” Baumann said on Glenn Clark Radio June 10. “It’s a really well-balanced team. The guys blend together, mesh well. The camaraderie is there. The coaching staff’s on board, so it’s a great atmosphere to be a part of.”
Between the strength of the roster and the drive of the coaching staff, Baumann feels fortunate to be part of such a dominant team. He’s confident the group can help him reach the level he was pitching at during the 2019 season.
“I think you feed off of that. You feed off of winning, and winning is contagious,” the 2017 draft pick said, reflecting on the team’s success so far this season. “Let’s keep this momentum going through the next night and next thing you know, you’re stringing together wins when in six-game series. I think it’s a good environment to be a part of.”
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Baumann recorded a 2.31 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP across 70 innings with the Baysox in 2019. He even threw a no-hitter against the Harrisburg Senators on July 16, 2019. This season, the Jacksonville University product has posted a 5.28 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP across 15.1 innings with Low-A Delmarva and Bowie as he works his way back into form.
Baumann credits Orioles catching prospect Adley Rutschman for helping him push through his recovery as well as the success of the team as a whole, whether that is with his defense, hitting or interactions with both the players and coaches.
“He’s making these pitchers better, and he’s making the guys on the field a lot better, too,” Baumann said. “I think he’s really someone that we can get behind.”
Overcoming the flexor strain is not the only obstacle Baumann has faced recently, as he had to develop last year amid the unprecedented circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the pandemic forced the shutdown of spring training last March, Baumann focused on his training and searched for ways he could improve while back in Jacksonville before reporting to the Orioles’ alternate site in Bowie. Whether he was training in a garage or at a local park, the pitcher was constantly working out.
Throughout his training, Baumann continued to use the 2021 season as a source of motivation to go out and be the best pitcher he could be. Given that COVID-19 affected millions of people worldwide, the pitcher felt blessed to have had the opportunity to keep pitching.
For now, Baumann strives to regain the rhythm he had in 2019.
“Everything feels good. I’m happy with the way the ball is coming out and for me, I’m going to go out every five, six days and just focus on competing and staying true to who I was,” Baumann said. “I know it’s in there, and at the end of the day, I’ve just got to go out and compete.”
For more from Baumann, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: William Vaughan/Bowie Baysox