Short Season-A Aberdeen outfielder Dalton Hoiles -- whose father, Chris, was a catcher for 10 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles -- is looking to create his own path in professional baseball.
Dalton, 23, is playing in his second season with the IronBirds and is trying to solidify himself as a legitimate outfield prospect. While he says he tries not to put pressure on himself to live up to the family name, fans still ask him about his father and want him to sign memorabilia that already has Chris' signature.
Chris played his entire big-league career for the Orioles from 1989-1998. He was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 2006.
"I know dad's proud of me for getting to this level and I'm just trying to work hard to keep the Hoiles name pretty good," Dalton Hoiles said on
Glenn Clark Radio
Aug. 2. "For the most part, I just wanted to get to this level, to the professional level, with Hoiles on the back of [jersey]. Whatever happens, happens, but at least I can say that I got here."
"I take it more as a good motivational thing," he added, "but I just kind of go out there and do my business and don't let the name on the back of the jersey get in the way of how I play."
Hoiles is batting .255/.424/.392 for the IronBirds in 18 games this season, an uptick in every category from his 19 games for them last season. He also had a two-game stint for Double-A Bowie in late June.
He attributes his improvement in Aberdeen this season to having more time to adjust to the higher competition he wasn't accustomed to prior to pro ball. He currently sports the highest on-base percentage on the entire roster among active players.
"At this level, it's about slowing the game down. It's just a game out there, and if you try to speed it up that's when mistakes happen," Hoiles said. "You just kind of come to the ballpark every day and realize you're playing a kid's game and having fun out there. I've gotten to understanding that if I slow the game down and enjoy every minute of it that it's actually pretty fun when you see the results happening."
The highest-profile prospect in Aberdeen is 2019 No. 1 overall pick Adley Rutschman, who joined the team July 27. The 21-year-old catcher is one of the organization's most highly-touted prospects in years, but Hoiles says you'd never know if by being his teammate.
"I think [Rutschman's] poise is the biggest thing. He kind of just shows up to the field. We have five to 10 fans every time waiting for him at the bus when we roll in," Hoiles said. "He doesn't try to act like the person that everyone knows he is. He just kind of wants to blend in with all the other guys."
Hoiles says he's been impressed by the Orioles' young prospects during his two seasons with organization since leaving Shippensburg University (Pa.). Their skills and preparation, he says, make him play that much harder to try to move up the ranks.
Hoiles knows he'll never escape being linked to his father, but all he can do is focus on his own career, help his team win and not get rattled by outside noise and expectations.
"I just want to maintain what I've been doing, what I've been working hard for. Don't get too high, don't get too low, just stay at a nice even-keeled attitude," he said. "We'd like to go to the playoffs as a team, but I would just say I'm just going to try and keep myself even."
For more from Hoiles, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Kelley Dentry/Aberdeen IronBirds