Orioles honor Komminsk, Albany
Double-A manager, scout earn top organizational awards
BALTIMORE -- While the Orioles welcomed three of their prize prospects on Monday night, catcher Matt Wieters and pitchers Brad Bergesen and Cliff Flagello -- recipients of the Minor League Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year and Community Service Award, respectively -- they also took time to honor two of the men who are pivotal in fostering those young talents.
The Orioles honored Double-A Bowie Baysox manager Brad Komminsk with the Cal Ripken Sr. Player Development Award and scout Dean Albany with the Jim Russo Scout of the Year Award.
Komminsk, in his first year on the Orioles' staff, guided the Baysox to an 84-58 record and their first Eastern League playoff appearance since 1997. Bowie's season was ended in the first round by Komminsk's former team, the Akron Aero's, Cleveland's Double-A affiliate. Rehabbing for Cleveland, slugger Travis Hafner had a big hand in Bowie's defeat, with two game-winning home runs.
"It's disappointing to lose but we had such a great year," said Komminsk, who also garnered his second career Eastern League Manager of the Year honors and has now taken his teams to the postseason in five of his seven years as a manager. "It's hard to be really disappointed with that. Obviously, we would have liked to have gone a little bit further in the playoffs, but the way the guys played, guys got better, and it was a really good year for the organization."
The Cal Ripken Sr. Player Development Award is presented to a Minor League staff member who exemplifies Ripken's qualities, as the late Oriole is regarded as the architect of "The Oriole Way."
Albany, who has been a full-time scout with Baltimore since 2004, received the Jim Russo Scout of the Year Award. Russo spent 33 years in various scouting capacities with the Orioles, beginning with their move from St. Louis in 1954.
"Jim Russo's a legend," Albany said. "He's the guy who scouted [Jim] Palmer... and so [it's an honor] having his name on the plaque that I'm going to receive. I love the Orioles. We're all pulling for the same goal. Scouting is the grass roots of baseball... so, hopefully, it's a sign that we're doing a good job at getting players into the system and they're doing a good job of developing them."
Albany serves as an area scout for Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. In this year's Draft, Albany signed 12 players, including third-round pick Jerome Hoes and fifth-round pick Greg Miclat.
Both Albany and Komminsk spoke to the fact that the Orioles have made a conscious effort to improve their Minor League system, and both honorees agreed that the changes put in place to establish more homegrown talent seem to be working.
"I think the groundwork's been laid by [Orioles president of baseball operations] Andy [MacPhail] as far as what he's looking for to put into the system," Albany said. "Sound deliveries, power arms -- athletic kids that can play defense and make pitches where it counts. We went about things a little differently. ... I think the system's much improved."
Amanda Comak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.