Earlier this year we gave our thoughts on the Orioles Top 15 prospects through May, which can be found here. With roughly two more Months in the books, this is how we currently see the Top 15.
It should be noted this is mainly for discussion purposes only. We are utilizing public evaluations on these players, along with stats (which we readily acknowledge only tells half the story at the MiL level), to provide a general overview of the system. We aren’t out scouting these players on our own, nor are we privy to the working thoughts of the organization itself.
Disagree with our rankings? No problem, we are certainly not married to them. Let us know what you think we have wrong, and where you would differ.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
Honorable Mention – Brian Gonzalez
DOB – 10/25/95
Throws – L
2014 3rd round pick, 90th overall
Honorable Mention – Patrick Connaughton
DOB – 1/6/93
Throws – R
2014 4th round pick, 121st overall
Honorable Mention – Miguel Gonzalez
Age – 18
Throws – R
2014 International Free Agent – $400k bonus
Honorable Mention - Henry Urrutia
2014 Stats AAA Norfolk: 82 ab’s, .220 baa, 0 hr’s, 7 rbi, 6 doubles, 4 bb’s, 23 k’s, .543 OPS
2014 Stats GCL: 34 ab’s, .176 baa, 0 hr’s, 1 rbi, 0 bb’s, 8 k’s, .382 OPS
Previous Thoughts on Urrutia: In 2013, Urrutia had a combined .913 OPS over 314 ab’s at AA Bowie, and AAA Norfolk. He also had 58 ab’s in the Majors, and was named to the Arizona Fall League All-Prospect Team. Due to his age, and experience in Cuba; some enthusiasm for those numbers had to be mitigated. You would gladly see that production now though, as 2014 has been a mess for Urrutia. During Spring Training Urrutia dealt with shoulder soreness. As the numbers above illustrate, he was digging a large hole to begin this season; prior to undergoing sports hernia surgery in early May. Ultimately our projection of Urrutia’s upside has not changed. We think he could potentially help a Major League roster as a 4th OF, or Platoon DH. He’s probably another month+ from possibly getting back on the field. You would like to see him get back in early July, and hopefully finish strong. If he produces over July and August, he could be an option for a call-up to the O’s bench in September.
Current Thoughts on Urrutia: It’s basically a lost year for a player who had age/ceiling questions to begin with. Best case scenario is that things click for him shortly, finishes strong in August, and then produces in the AFL or Winter Ball somewhere.
Honorable Mention - Parker Bridwell
2014 Stats A+ Frederick: 5-7, 4.08 era, 106 ip, 92 hits, 5 hr’s, 51 bb’s, 100 k’s
Current Thoughts on Bridwell: By all accounts, Bridwell is one of the more talented arms in the system. The question going into this season was if he could find some positive consistency. That has occurred over the last 10 starts (4-1, 2.86 era). Turning 23 in a matter of days, he’s still young enough to continue to start and gain that experience. If you turned him loose as a reliever, he could have a meteoric rise. As it is, he’s on pace to begin 2015 at AA Bowie.
Honorable Mention – Michael Ohlman (Previously #13)
2014 Stats AA Bowie – .240 baa, 2 hr’s, 25 rbi, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 29 bb’s, 63 k’s, .642 OPS
Previous Thoughts on Ohlman: 2013 was a very successful season for Ohlman, as the Catcher posted a .934 OPS in 361 ab’s at High A Frederick. Moving up to the Eastern League has been a struggle. To his credit, after a horrific April, Ohlman did improve in May. His defense is not his calling card (see this FanGraphs article), so it his bat that he is relying on to move up. He is going to have to really get going the rest of the way, to stay on the radar of somewhat interesting O’s prospects. We recently spoke to Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline.com. Callis’ evaluation was that what we are seeing from Ohlman at Bowie this year, is a better representation of who Ohlman is vs. his production at Frederick last year.
Current Thoughts on Ohlman: After showing some signs of life in June (.301 baa), he has regressed again in July (.557 OPS). He’s an ‘Honorable Mention’ only based on what he did last year.
Honorable Mention – Mike Wright (Previously #7)
2014 Stats AAA Norfolk: 1-8, 6.15 era, 90.2 ip, 117 hits, 8 hr’s, 31 bb’s, 63 k’s
Previous Thoughts on Wright: In ’13, Wright was 11-3 with 3.26 era at AA Bowie. He got off to a strong start in April to begin ’14. In May, things fell apart as he had a 7.85 era over 6 starts. Supposed to be a strong arm that relies on his sinker. The projection has always been that he’s likely to be a reliever at the Major League level. I think the system should make a decision on Wright. If you think he has a chance to be more than a fringe ML starter, then continuing to start him is fine. If his ML ceiling as a starter is limited; then move him to the bullpen now. Get him comfortable being used in that capacity, maxing out a couple of innings at a time. I’d rather him be used like that personally, and think if he was – he could potentially be available to help the O’s bullpen at some point this year. One note, his splits vs. RH hitters are poor right now. However he is being used, that has to improve.
Current Thoughts on Wright: Ouch. RH hitters are batting .351 against Wright. When next year begins, he will be 25. Wright and the system should try and remove this season from memory, and start clean next year with him as a reliever.
#15 - Adrian Marin (Previously #15)
2014 Stats A+ Frederick: .249 baa, 3 hr’s, 30 rbi, 22 doubles, 1 triple, 12 bb’s, 63 k’s, .641 OPS
Previous Thoughts on Marin: A 3rd round pick in the 2012 Draft, Marin is not being completely overwhelmed at High A as a 20 year-old. That’s the positive for the young SS. The primary negative we see is that walk to k ratio. He is reported to have good range, with some question about his arm strength and ability to stay at SS long-term.
#14 – Tyler Wilson (Previously NR)
2014 Stats AA Bowie: 10-5, 3.72 era, 96.2 ip, 101 hits, 10 hr’s, 22 bb’s, 91 k’s
2014 Stats AAA Norfolk: 2-0, 2.00 era, 27 ip, 25 hits, 1 hr, 8 bb’s, 21 k’s
#13 – Zach Davies (Previously HR)
2014 Stats AA Bowie: 5-6, 3.78 era, 64.1 ip, 60 hits, 7 hr’s, 25 bb’s, 62 k’s
Previous Thoughts on Davies: Selected in the 26th round of the 2011 Draft, Davies had a productive 2013. In 26 starts for Frederick, Davies was 7-9 with a 3.69 era over 148.2 ip. Advancing to the Eastern League, his hits per IP, and K’s per IP look good. Listed at 6′, 150 lbs, he looks a bit frail.
Current Thoughts on Davies: It’s been a nice year for him, if anything I might be underselling him a bit. Maybe he should be a candidate to join Brady Anderson’s off-season training program?
#12 – Trey Mancini (Previously #14)
2014 Stats A- Delmarva: .317 baa, 3 hr’s, 42 rbi, 13 doubles, 3 triples, 14 bb’s, 52 k’s, .779 OPS
2014 Stats A+ Frederick: .236 baa, 3 hr’s, 21 rbi, 9 doubles, 8 bb’s, 19 k’s, .698 OPS
Previous Thoughts on Mancini: Mancini was the O’s 8th round pick last year out of Notre Dame. Last year he had 256 ab’s at Aberdeen, and hit for average. That average has continued in the South Atlantic League. The doubles are good to see; but he currently has 4 homers in 473 professional ab’s. Not what you want to see from a 1st baseman. Frankly, the average is only so impressive as well. An advanced College bat should be hitting for average in the NY / Penn & South Atlantic Leagues. The walk to k ratio is also concerning. Mancini being in the listing of Top 15 prospects is less about what he has achieved, and more the current limitations of the system.
Current Thoughts on Mancini: Good to see him moved up to High A, want to see him finish strong over the next 6 weeks.
#11 – Josh Hart (Previously #10)
2014 Stats A- Delmarva: .258 baa, 0 hr, 18 rbi, 1 double, 1 triple, 8 bb’s, 51 k’s, 6 sb’s, .563 OPS
Previous Thoughts on Hart: It would be crazy to bury a 19 year old kid for 143 poor at-bats in the South Atlantic League. He’s very young, and he is getting his first experience of full-season play. There is plenty of time for him to develop. That said, the only reason he is still among the O’s Top 10 prospects is that the O’s drafted him 37th overall last year. 1 XBH in 143 ab’s, and that walk to k ratio is about as poor as it gets. It also should be mentioned that he did nothing last year in the Gulf Coast League. The rest of the way, you are looking for month-to-month progression.
Current Thoughts on Hart: He’s currently back in the GCL, and is 4 for 24 in his time there. Presumably he was moved back to produce and get some confidence. It’s also an indictment on his play to date. (EDIT: I missed that he had surgery for a torn meniscus, and is just getting back.) Selected as high as he was, he’s an important player for this system, and his first full year of Pro Ball has been horrible. You obviously don’t give up on him though. Hart is going to need to work very hard this Winter, and be ready (physically, and mentally) to produce. Whatever the organization can do to help that, they should.
#10 – Dariel Alvarez (Previously #12)
2014 Stats AA Bowie: .309 baa, 14 hr’s, 68 rbi, 20 doubles, 1 triple, 13 bb’s, 35 k’s, .819 OPS
2014 Stats AAA Norfolk: 3 for 11
Previous Thoughts on Alvarez: What jumps out to you first is that Alvarez is turning 26. As with Urrutia, you have to factor in his age and Cuban experience when evaluating his MiL production. That said, Alvarez is controlling what he can control. He is performing, and should be on the radar of O’s prospects. Most evaluations I’ve seen of Alvarez point to him being a reserve OF at the ML level. It’s understood that there are often prospects with higher ceilings in the Eastern League vs. the International League, but I’d still like to see him moved to AAA. In the IL he would be facing pitchers with further experience, and more refined breaking stuff. I think that would provide a clearer indication of where Alvarez is as a player.
Current Thoughts: Alvarez did not maintain his early production at Bowie, but it was a productive 359 ab’s at the AA level. He now gets to finish the year in Norfolk, and we will see how that goes. As stated above, I think he’s potentially a reserve OF at the ML level.
#9 – Glynn Davis (Previously 11th)
2014 Stats A+ Frederick: .294 baa, 1 hr, 31 rbi, 21 doubles, 4 triples, 36 bb’s, 67 k’s, 19 sb’s, 8 cs, .752 OPS
Previous Thoughts on Davis: Davis is known as a good athlete, and he has rebounded from a poor 2013. Never going to hit many bombs, but you like seeing the gap power. The walk to k ratio is not horrible. Apparently relies on his athleticism in the outfield. If he become more refined in the OF; while keeping this offensive profile – he is an interesting prospect. Can he finish the year with an average above .300, 40 doubles, 40+ walks, and 30+ steals? If he can accomplish that as a 22 year-old in High A, he probably will deserve a spot in the O’s Top 10 prospects at year end.
Current Thoughts on Davis: The doubles rate has reduced over the last two months, and that is disappointing. That’s too many CS’s as well. Points to a guy that relies on his speed over technique and timing. That needs to tighten-up over the Winter. Hopefully he can get hot once again before this year ends.
#8 - Mike Yastrzemski (Previously NR)
Throws: L2014 Delmarva Low A: 258 ab’s, .306 baa, 10 hr’s, 44 rbi, 14 doubles, 10 triples, 19 bb’s, 64 k’s, 12 sb’s, 4 cs, .919 OPS
2014 Frederick High A: 93 ab’s, .312 baa, 1 hr, 19 rbi, 7 doubles, 2 triples, 8 bb’s, 16 k’s, 5 sb’s, 0 cs, .827 OPS
2014 Bowie AA: 6 for 12
Current Thoughts on Yastrzemski: In a system where there has not been much production in 2014, Yastrzemski’s season stands out. Orioles Player Development Director Brian Graham commented on Yastrzemski in a MASN article today. One knock – while the K/BB ratio improved at Frederick, it was poor at Low A Delmarva. Says something about the system as a whole, that one of the players you are currently most enthusiastic about, struggled in that capacity at the lowest full-season level and was still advanced. In the article linked above, Graham compared Yastrzemski to Nate McLouth. I would think Yas would be a candidate for the AFL.
#7 – Tim Berry (Previously #8)
2014 Stats AA Bowie: 4-5, 3.89 era, 104 ip, 101 hits, 11 hr’s, 34 bb’s, 91 k’s
Previous Thoughts on Berry: Made 27 starts, and throw 152 innings for Frederick last year. Has moved up to the Eastern League, and is being competitive. Hits per IP is solid, as are the k’s. Don’t know that there is much upside here, but he’s looking like a guy that could potentially become a back of the rotation arm. Most likely if he one day makes the Majors, you are looking at a LOOGY. I would have no issue with having Kline above him. I give Berry the slight nod for now, for performing at AA.
#6 – Christian Walker (Previously #6)
2014 Stats AA Bowie: .301 baa, 20 hr’s, 77 rbi, 15 doubles, 2 triples, 38 bb’s, 83 k’s, .884 OPS
2014 Stats AAA Norfolk: 4 for 9, 4 bb’s
Previous Thoughts on Walker: We mentioned above in the Ohlman profile speaking to Jim Callis. Callis also commented on Walker, saying he thought Walker’s upside was that of a RH Lyle Overbay. That’s not a knock – Overbay has had 5,000 ab’s in the Majors – but it does illustrate that Walker’s overall upside is seen as limited. Give Walker credit for doing everything he can to change perceptions though. He’s a 23 year old raking in the Eastern League. That counts for something.
Current Thoughts on Walker: He had a big year at the AA level, and is now getting AAA ab’s. Whatever his upside is, he has controlled what he can control. I’d be interested in hearing a bit more about his athleticism. He could make himself that much more valuable if he could play a ‘Steve Pearce’ esque LF.
#5 – Branden Kline (Previously #9)
2014 Stats High A Frederick: 6-4, 3.79 era, 109.1 ip, 118 hits, 8 hr’s, 25 bb’s, 81 k’s
Previous Thoughts on Kline: The Maryland native was the O’s 2nd round pick out of the University of Virginia in 2012. Most reviews I’ve seen on Kline indicate his future is in the bullpen. Right now, he’s a 22 year old having success starting in High A. The O’s will probably continue to have him start until he proves that is not the best utilization for him. Getting him additional innings and experience. If he was moved to the bullpen, he’s likely the type of arm that could fly through the system though. Last year he had just 35.1 innings for Delmarva. The question the rest of ’14 for Kline is probably how many innings can he give?
#4 – Eduardo Rodriguez (Previously 4th)
2014 Stats AA Bowie: 3-6, 5.15 era, 71.2 ip, 81 hits, 5 hr’s, 25 bb’s, 61 k’s
Previous Thoughts on Rodriguez: In 2013, Rodriguez was 10-7 with a 3.41 era at Frederick and Bowie combined. He was named as a Rising Star in the Arizona Fall League. In December, The Baltimore Sun passed along internal thinking from the O’s; that the Orioles were unlikely to move Rodriguez in a trade ‘unless they were blown away.’ Here in ’14, Rodriguez made 3 starts in April before a knee injury shut him down until May 22nd. He’s a quality arm, that some prospect lists had in their Top 100 overall to begin this year. The rest of 2014 is about consistently taking the ball (last year he had 25 starts, pitching 145 innings), and seeing where he is. If he gets in a groove, and the O’s need a spot starter; he would certainly be in that mix. If he gets hot over the next 6 weeks, and the O’s look to augment their ML roster – he’s probably also a leading candidate to be moved.
Current Thoughts on Rodriguez: He remains a candidate to be moved if the O’s go looking for help between now and the Non-Waiver Deadline. He’s overwhelming LH hitters, and getting knocked around by RH hitters. Three of his last four starts have been 4.1 innings or less. Want to feel better about the system? Rodriguez finishing with a flourish would be a start.
#3 – Chance Sisco (Previously 5th)
2014 Stats Low A Delmarva: .347 baa, 4 hr’s, 50 rbi, 21 doubles, 1 triple, 25 bb’s, 55 k’s, .875 OPS
Previous Thoughts on Sisco: A 2nd round pick last year for the Birds, Sisco is a prospect with real promise. Like his teammate Josh Hart, Sisco is a 19 year old playing full-season ball in the South Atlantic League. Unlike Hart, Sisco is currently producing, coming off a very strong May. It will be interesting to see how he finishes. A full-year is a lot of baseball for a young player, especially for a Catcher when they go through the dog days of Summer.
Current Thoughts on Sisco: I think it has been established that Sisco can hit South Atlantic League pitching! Will be interesting to hear reviews of his Catching ability. Moving up Frederick for the remainder of ’14 makes sense to me.
#2 – Hunter Harvey (Previously #3)
2014 Stats Low A Delmarva: 7-4, 2.94 era, 82.2 ip, 58 hits, 5 hr’s, 32 bb’s, 101 k’s
Previous Thoughts on Harvey: What’s not to like? Last year’s 1st round pick continues to impress all who see him. ESPN’s Keith Law recently listed Harvey as one of his Top 10 prospects in the game. With Harvey’s pedigree , it is not a surprise that he has not been overwhelmed as a professional. Answering my question above, the only ‘concern’ you currently see are the walks. Looking at the hits per IP, and the K’s; my takeaway is that the South Atlantic League is not particularly challenging for Harvey. Clearly he is very young, and you can take your time with him. However, if he is not going to be challenged at Delmarva, I’d like to see him moved to Frederick and ee what he can do in the Carolina League. A bigger question might be how many innings does he get for the year?
Current Thoughts on Harvey: There are some people beginning to pick on Harvey a bit, but it seems evident he’s established himself as one of the game’s high-end prospects. A pretty much ideal first full-season of pro ball.
#1 – Dylan Bundy (Previously #2)
2014 Stats Aberdeen: 0-1, 0.60 era, 15 ip, 10 hits, 1 er, 0 hr’s, 3 bb’s, 22 k’s
2014 Stats Frederick High A: 0-1, 9.26 era, 11.2 ip, 15 hits, 12 er, 6 bb’s, 6 k’s
Previous Thoughts on Bundy: Last Thursday (the 29th), Bundy threw 3 innings in an extended Spring Training game. He’s on the verge of getting back to a mound in the Minors (maybe end of June?). The first thing you will want to see, is Bundy being able to take the ball every 5th day. Then you will want to see consistently improving stuff. He went into 2013 as basically the best prospect in the game. For me, he continues to be the guy with the highest ceiling in the system. In 2012, Bundy spent time at Delmarva, Frederick, and Bowie before reaching the Majors for 1.2 innings. Including that brief ML work, he threw a total 105.1 innings for the year. He then missed all of 2013. Best case scenario seems to be maybe 50-60 innings here in 2014. How many innings is going to be capable of throwing in ’15? BSL has spoken to several analysts the last few Months about Bundy. Those analysts include Callis, Baseball Prospectus‘ Nick Faleris, and Bleacher Report’s Will Carroll. An understandable consensus opinion is that everything you do as an organization, should be with Bundy’s long-term benefits in-mind. I respect, and agree with that mind-set. However, I do continue to think that if Bundy gets in 50-60 innings of work at the MiL level over July and August (and his performance and stuff continues to improve); that we might see him in Baltimore in September. Not sure how the O’s would use him. Maybe as a reliever in short outings? The questions would be do you want him getting up and down as a reliever (something he has not done)? Can you use him in more scripted appearances if you are competing for the post-season? Those questions are TBD, but I’m fairly confident that if he is healthy and performing; the O’s are going to find a way to utilize him over that last Month. Of course in the scheme of things, that means very little in-terms of what you are hoping to get out of Bundy long-term.
Current Thoughts on Bundy: It’s exciting to see him back on a mound, and it is great that his stuff is already back to the level it is. I have every expectation that over time (into next year), he will fully find all of his prior arsenal. The current lack of success at Frederick means very little, other than it it further decreases the minimal odds which existed of Bundy possibly contributing to the O’s in some form in September. Of course, if he gets hot down the stretch; who knows? Looking towards ’15, the bigger question is going to remain how many innings is he going to be capable of next year? Right now he’s thrown 26.2 innings in ’14, after missing ’13, and pitching just over 100 in ’12. Even if he is healthy all of ’15, is he going to be able to throw 130+ combined (MiLB / ML) innings?