Aberdeen IronBirds pitcher Moisés Chace isn’t a lofty Orioles prospect but has impressed in High-A debut

Moisés Chace isn’t among the Orioles’ treasure trove of top prospects. His first few starts in High-A Aberdeen make that hard to discern.

He’s on the outside looking in to the list of Baltimore’s top-30 prospects, sharing the IronBirds pitching rotation with Jackson Baumeister (12th) and Juan Nunez (20th), but pitching like he belongs since being promoted from Low-A Delmarva.

The 20-year-old righty has pitched in four games thus far, surrendering six hits and two earned runs over 15 innings for a 1.20 ERA. Chace has walked 11 batters and struck out a team-high 22.

“Like the demeanor, like the presence,” first-year manager Felipe Rojas Jr. said. “Quiet kid but always going about his business. Physically, a kid that you knew was gonna get there. Since then, just the growth has been amazing. Watching him pitch his first couple of weeks has been very encouraging.”

Chace wasted no time.

He shoved four full scoreless innings in his IronBirds debut against the Wilmington Blue Rocks on April 9, tying his career-high nine strikeouts on 62 pitches. Five days later, he struck out six more without conceding a hit across four innings.

“It’s such a great feeling,” Rojas Jr. said, “because I’ve had him since he was signed. We had big hopes for him, we knew what his capabilities were. You have to go through the growing pains. You got to trust the process. You got to work hard and pay attention. He’s done that. Obviously that’s translating. He’s still a puppy but hopefully in a couple years, we’ll be talking about him as one of the best pitchers in the big leagues.”

Chace joined the Orioles organization as part of general manager Mike Elias and vice president of international scouting Koby Perez’s first international signing class. He signed for $225,000 out of Venezuela. According to Baseball America, the then-18 year old had reached 93 mph and paired it with a high-spin curveball, impressive for his age.

Chace is throwing a tad harder this season with his fastball now reaching 96 and, according to Baseball America, “He’s getting a high amount of whiffs both with a changeup that has good fade and separation off his fastball as well as a high-spin slider (2,700-2,900 rpm) that has sharp sweep across the zone.”

Rojas, having spent the last two seasons managing in Delmarva and before that as Dominican Academy Director, has seen much of Chace’s growing pains and the time and work it took to see this season’s tangible success on the mound.

“There’s definitely a gap [between Aberdeen and Delmarva],” Chace said, through Rojas as his interpreter. “Obviously, not taking away from hitters at the other level but there are more big hitters at this level. They’re gonna take close pitches. That forces me and helps me to concentrate and execute my pitches.”

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Chace credits his hot start this season to his ability to get up in counts on the first pitch. “Being able to attack the hitter from the beginning,” he said. “Get that strike. And if it doesn’t go my way, go back and make an adjustment.”

In past seasons, when Chace would lose his command or the game started to go wayward, he would spiral with it. Two years later, he said he has a much better grip on how to maintain his composure. Much of that has been his learning how to center himself before starts –– sometimes with a prayer or other mental exercises on the mound.

The result? His command and pitch execution has become more consistent. And his confidence on the bump has been striking to the manager by his side through it all.

“He’s gone through a few hiccups here and there,” Rojas said, “but it’s part of the development, part of the growing pains. He’s come a long way. His stuff was always there. … It was just a matter of time.”