Ranking The Baltimore Orioles Top 40 Prospects Right Now
As we continue to approach the trade deadline, it’s always interesting to see how the Orioles prospects are looking over halfway through the season. The 2017 draft has occurred and most of the Orioles top picks have made their professional debuts (4th rounder Jack Conlon was not signed due to medical issues).
While the Orioles farm system is not very well regarded around the league, a few jumps from some high profile prospects have made the top of Baltimore’s system a lot more appealing. Whether the O’s should trade any of their top guys is a question for another day, but there is potential Top100 MLB Minor League talent in this system right now, especially from the top four guys on this list.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
It’s important to note that this is how I see the Orioles system shaking out through the views and research I’ve had of these players So without further adieu, here are the Orioles Top 20 prospects now that we are over the midway point of the MLB season.
*All stats are updated through July 21, 2017
The Top 20
1. INF Ryan Mountcastle (Bowie Baysox)
Minors (AA): 2 G, .111 BA, .111 OBP, .111 SLG, .222 OPS, 0 2B, 0 HR, 2 K
Minors (A+): 88 G, .314 BA, .343 OBP, .542 SLG, .885 OPS, 35 2B, 15 HR, 61 SO
Mountcastle has been raking ever since the Orioles drafted him as a projectable youngster out of high school. After hitting for both average and power in High-A, the infielder is about to be tested in Bowie. Mountcastle will continue to hit for both contact and power using his loose and whippy swing as he continues to fill out. The only question is where he will play in the field? He’s not a shortstop, and will not stick at third base in Bowie because his arm is below-average. My best guess is that he settles as a “meh” second baseman who’s bat makes him a potential all-star.
2. OF Austin Hays (Bowie Baysox)
Minors (AA): 26 G, .315 BA, .342 OBP, .577 SLG, .918 OPS, 8 2B, 7 HR, 15 SO
Minors (A+): 64 G, .328 BA, .364 OBP, .592 SLG, .956 OPS, 15 2B, 16 HR, 40 SO
Like Mountcastle, Hays has really not stopped hitting since the O’s took him in the third round out of Jacksonville University last season. However, while the Orioles top prospect is looking for a defensive spot, Hays should be able to play any of the three OF positions. He probably works best in RF given his plus arm and aggressive style of play. He’s a free swinger in the box, so his on-base percentage won’t be great, but he’ll hit for solid enough power and average to find a place as an everyday starter. He’s been the true breakout star of the Orioles system in 2017. Hays could be an option for the Orioles early in 2018.
3. C Chance Sisco (Norfolk Tides)
Minors (AAA): 71 G, .285 BA, .354 OBP, .399 SLG, .754 OPS, 20 2B, 3 HR, 76 SO
Sisco came into this season as the consensus number one prospect in Baltimore’s farm system. However, he drops back a few spots because of the great years that Mountcastle and Hays are having. That’s not to take away from Sisco’s solid campaign in Norfolk, but there are a couple factors keeping him from the top two spots. One is that he doesn’t bring the power that the former two prospects have and he’s only really top 100 prospect valuable because he hits much better than normal catching prospects do. If he stays behind the plate, he’ll be a potential all-star offensively, if he doesn’t improve enough with the mit than he’s merely a solid hitting first baseman. Still, Sisco has done more than enough to make him the de facto heir to Matt Wieters former throne as the franchise’s long-term backstop.
4. LHP D.L. Hall (GCL Orioles)
Minors (GCL): N/A
Although Hall still hasn’t thrown a pitch as a pro, he’s got enough potential to be the top arm in the Orioles system right now. While the Orioles are having trouble keeping their last first round high school arm on the in field in Hunter Harvey, the O’s front office has to like that this lefty fell into their laps after being projected as a top 15 pick. He has the potential to sit in the mid 90’s with his fastball as he fills out and he has the makings of an above-average curveball and changeup as he matures in the minors. He’s athletic for a pitcher, brining a loose and and fluid motion that allows him to show flashes of command that will play at the higher levels. He’s obviously a project coming out of high school, but he has the chance to make it to the big leagues rather quickly for an 18 year-old given his rather advanced arsenal.
5. LHP Keegan Akin (Frederick Keys)
Minors (A+): 18 G, 18 GS, 89.1 IP, 3.63 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 100 K, 40 BB, 11 HR, 73 H, .224 ave.
Akin has officially jumped above 2016 first round pick Cody Sedlock in terms of who is more likely to stay in the starting rotation. I’ve seen Akin three different times this season and each outing was equally impressive. Akin has enough velocity to sit 92-94 and has the makings of an above-average slider that he can throw for strikes or just off the corners. His control has been a little rough as he’s walked more batters than he would probably like to. But he does have solid enough arsenal all around to profile him as a probably fourth starter in a capable major league rotation.
6. LHP Tanner Scott (Bowie Baysox)
Minors (AA): 18 G, 18 GS, 52.2 IP, 2.05 ERA, 67 K, 35 BB, 1 HR, 34 H, .189 ave.
While Hall and Akin may be the most likely pitching prospects to fins a spot in a MLB starting pitching staff, Scott is the most electric arm currently in the O’s minor leagues. He has a legit triple digit hitter that he throws by Double-A hitters with ease, and he does it while keeping a compact and fluid throwing motion. He’s not an overly big guy, but his arm is just special and it’s rare that you find a lefty who profiles the way Scott does. He’ll move off this three-inning start thing the Orioles are doing soon enough, and he has a legitimate chance to be a potential closer at his ceiling. The overall lack of control and weak slider makes him a more likely set-up man, which is something I’m sure the Orioles would take with many key relievers set to be free agents after next season. Buck may even get a chance to use him late this season.
7. RHP Hunter Harvey (GCL Orioles)
Minors (GCL): 1 G, 1 GS, 1.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 1 K, 0 BB, 0 HR, 2 H, .400 ave
Harvey has been a sad case for such a promising young arm. He’s had to rehab from two major arm injuries, which has severely hurt his prospects of being a MLB starter. However he’s still young and is back in the fold after logging an inning for the gulf coast league club this past week. He’s got the stuff to be a legitimate number three, but we’ll just have to see how he responds to this most recent rehab stint. Hopefully his talent will be able to play as he continues to get healthy. His upside only makes him a top ten prospect for the organization.
8. RHP Brenan Hanifee (Aberdeen IronBirds)
Minors (SS): 6 G, 6 GS, 34.1 IP, 2.10 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 26 K, 6 BB, 1 HR, 31 H, .242 ave.
One of the biggest risers in the Orioles system, Hanifee has looked fantastic in Aberdeen as a former high school top ten round draftee last season. A big and projectable right hander, Hanifee uses a low 90’s sinker with heavy and armside movement that make it difficult for right-handed hitters to make solid contact. He’s athletic in his delivery and maintains his tuff well because of how efficiently he conserves his energy throughout his start. His slider also flashes average and could become a swing and miss pitch when he plays it off the sinker. He’s still so young and his changeup has a long way to go before it becomes workable at the big league level. But Hanifee has all the tools to continue to climb this list in the year’s to come. If I’m an Orioles fan, I’m keeping my eyes on this young right hander.
9. RHP Cody Sedlock (Frederick Keys)
Minors (A+): 13 G, 13 GS, 62.2 IP, 6.46 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 53 K, 26 BB, 6 HR, 78 H, .299 ave.
Sedlock has probably been the biggest prospect disappointment in 2017 thus far. Sedlock came into the Orioles system as a pitcher who created a lot of weak contact by commanding his mid 90’s sinker down in the zone. He also had the makings of an average curveball and slider. But the sinker has taken a step back as it now sits in the low 90’s, with his command falling back as well, walking 26 batters in just under 63 IP. His delivery is not so athletic and it has a lot of moving parts as well. He also uses some effort in his mechanics so the Orioles are probably not as confident that he’ll be able to hold his stuff long enough to profile as a potential starter. He’s been on the disabled list for the past few weeks and I personally think that he profiles better as a late inning arm because his stuff and command will play better in shorter stints. Still, the team should give him every chance to start being that he’s still pitching in his first full professional season.
10. CF Cedric Mullins (Bowie Baysox)
Minors (AA): 42 G, .318 BA, .356 OBP, .543 SLG, .900 OPS, 13 2B, 8 HR, 29 SO
Cedric Mullins broke out during a tremendous spring with the big league club earlier this year, which put him on the team’s radar for the 2018 campaign. The former 13th round pick has way outperformed his draft slot because of the development of his power. He’s a smaller guy at just 5’8’’, 175 lbs, but he’s got strength throughout his frame, which allows him to drive the ball for potential plus doubles power, especially with the fantastic speed he flashes on the bases. His swing is quick and compact, which should make him a tough strikeout when he reaches the majors. His approach could use some work, as he swings at pitches out of the zone at times, but he’s got enough of an all around game to profile as a potential everyday starter, who at the very least will be able to platoon in left, which you know is something Buck loves to do.
11. RHP Tobias Myers (Aberdeen IronBirds)
Minors (SS): 5 G, 5 GS, 23.2 IP, 1.90 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 30 K, 4 BB, 0 HR, 17 H, .191 ave.
While Hanifee has been the guy everybody’s looking at in Aberdeen, this fellow former high school righty is showing real promise as well. Myers is smaller for a starting pitcher at just 6’0’’, but he has a projectable body at just 18 years old and he throws hard for his size and age as well. Myers sits at 92-93, topping out at 94, and can hold that velo pretty deep into his starts. He has a loose arm that should be able to develop his secondaries, although given his age, it’s expected that they play well behind his heater. He’s athletic for a pitcher too and does a nice job of fielding his position. The command isn’t great, and while the walk numbers look good now, a lot of hitters extend the zone because of how well his fastball plays vs. lower level competition. There’s a little concern that Myers won’t develop his curve and change enough to stay in the rotation, but it’s really early to proclaim anything right now. The Orioles are probably just pleased with what he show’s so far after jumping from the GCL to short season ball.
12. LHP Alexander Wells (Delmarva Shorebirds)
Minors (A): 18 G, 18 GS, 102.0 IP, 2.56 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 79 K, 10 BB, 13 HR, 92 H, .233 ave.
Wells has made a name for himself in the Orioles system because of his Australian routes and extremely low walk numbers. He’s maintained his excellent command/control in Low-A, walking only 10 batters in 102 innings, which is just absurd. The rest of his arsenal is underwhelming as his fastball sits more 87-89 and it probably won’t gain that much more velo given his lack of arm speed and smaller frame. He can throw all his pitches for strikes and work the corners well enough to profile as a potential innings eating number five/swingman, but his ceiling is limited because of his lack of typical starter stuff.
13. SS Adam Hall (GCL Orioles)
Minors (GCL): 2 G, .667 BA, .667 OBP, 1.000 SLG, 1.667 OPS, 1 2B, 0 HR, 2 SO
The Orioles second selection in the 2017 draft has made his debut for the GCL Orioles. Hall is originally from Canada, and while is frame is a little smaller, he still is an above-average athlete you has the potential to stick at short long-term. He should grow into a potential doubles threat and hit enough to become a potential starting caliber player long-term. It’s just going to be awhile before he sniffs the big leagues.
14. RHP Jesus Liranzo (Bowie Baysox)
Minors (AA): 23 G, 7 GS, 41.1 IP, 4.79 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 48 K, 26 BB, 8 HR, 37 H, .239 ave.
Like Tanner Scott, Liranzo is another hard throwing bullpen arm who the Orioles are stretching out for three innings every fifth day at Bowie. Liranzo can throw his heater in the high 90’s , reaching triple digits at times, which has led to him striking out over a batter per inning. The rest of his arsenal plays well behind the fastball with his control/command leaving a lot to be desired at the moment. Scott is the better relief prospect because of his ability to remain under control on the mound, while Liranzo is a bit more wild, with his release point wandering over the course of an appearance. However, he has the potential to be a high leverage relief arm at his peak if he can improve his ability to throw his fastball in the zone.
15. 3B Jomar Reyes (Frederick Keys)
Minors (A+): 21 G, .321 BA, .361 OBP, .426 SLG, .797 OPS, 6 2B, 1 HR, 18 SO
Reyes has been on the disabled list with an injury to his pinky finger since the spring after getting off to a tremendous start at High-A. Unfortunately, the reason for the broken finger is because the third baseman punched a wall. But that doesn’t mean that Reyes doesn’t bring some promise when projecting him as a potential major leaguer. His main draw his is power potential as he has plus raw pop and may be able to translate that enough to major league average home run totals if he gets regular playing time. He’s got a long swing path and poor spin recognition, but hopefully he’ll be able to continue to develop his approach when he gets back on the field.
16. LHP Garrett Cleavinger (Bowie Baysox)
Minors (AA): 26 G, 36.2 IP, 6.63 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 39 SO, 22 BB, 4 HR, 38 H, .255 ave.
Cleavinger came into the season as a potential high leverage lefty relief pitcher in the Orioles system. However, the 23 year-old is having his worst year of his pro career. He’s still pitching to a strikeout rate of over 9.0 K/9 IP in 2017, but the walks have been a problem. Cleavinger uses a tilt and bend in his delivery to add some deception to his stuff, but it’s also caused him to lose control of three-pitch mix. His fastball can play to plus and his curveball shows solid late action that can rack up a few swings and misses. He’s still a realistic future contributor to the Orioles bullpen, but his stock has fallen over the spring and summer.
17. LHP Zac Lowther (Aberdeen IronBirds)
Minors (SS): 4 G, 4 GS, 14.1 IP, 0.63 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 19 K, 2 BB, 0 HR, 9 H, .176 ave.
Lowther was the Orioles most recent second round pick and first college player that the front office selected during the 2017 draft. Lowther is not really projectable and relies more on his deception and location in order to stay effective against hitters. His fastball will play in the high 80’s, touching the low 90’s throughout an outing. His change and curve grade out as potential average offerings, but don’t play as high because of his average FB. I lean more toward the idea that he’s a capable lefty out of the pen because his stuff won’t play as well as it does now when he reaches the higher levels of the minors, but he’s a top 20 prospect in a bit weaker farm system given the success he’s had at college and now with the IronBirds.
18. RHP Ofelky Peralta (Frederick Keys)
Minors (A+): 18 G, 18 GS, 71.2 IP, 6.28 ERA, 1.95 WHIP, 76 K, 62 BB, 7 HR, 78 H, .275 ave.
Peralta has always been a longshot to stay in the starting rotation given his horrendous walk rates and inability to sit in the zone consistently. However, Peralta has an electric fastball and a changeup that plays close to average. He’s also only 20 years old, so he’s still young for High-A. He’s faced challenges this season, which has lowered him on the prospect list overall, but there is still some upside for him to eventually contribute to the major league pen at some point.
19. RHP Matthias Dietz (Delmarva Shorebirds)
Minors (A): 19 G, 19 GS, 95.2 IP, 4.61 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 65 K, 34 BB, 7 HR, 103 H, .279 ave.
Dietz was a high draft pick in 2016, but didn’t show too well in Aberdeen last season. He’s struggling a bit in Delmarva in 2017, but he’s shown signs of why the Orioles thought so highly of him to take him in the first day of last year’s draft. Dietz’s fastball plays in the low 90’s as a starter, but should ramp up to 94-95 in a relief role that he’s destined to have. He’s a bigger bodied guy who has trouble maintaining his mechanics. He hasn’t struck out as many hitters as his pure stuff would indicate in Low-A, but he’s still a top 20 player in the Orioles system given the potential upside of his entire profile.
20. C Ben Breazeale (Aberdeen IronBirds)
Minors (SS): 24 G, .430 BA, .519 OBP, .640 SLG, 1.159 OPS, 9 2B, 3 HR, 18 SO
Despite being a seventh round pick in the team’s most recent draft, Breazeale has gotten off to an absolutely incredible start in the New York-Penn League this season. Whenever a catcher hits it’s something to take note of, but Breazeale is hitting over .400 and driving the ball as well. Oddly enough, when I see him, his hard contact comes frequently to the opposite field because his bat is a little late through the zone. This will mean that he’ll need to make adjustments against better stuff, but for now he’s made a name for himself given his numbers. His swing is a little loose and he can get long to the ball, but the bat speed and natural barrel control is there to project Brezeale to keep hitting at the lower levels of the minors with his ability to catch being the separator of whether he can profile as potential major leaguer.
The Next 20
21. RHP David Hess (Bowie Baysox)
Minors (AA): 19 G, 18 GS, 104.0 IP, 4.24 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 84 K, 42 BB, 9 HR, 98 H, .247 ave
22. RHP Ryan Meisinger (Bowie Baysox)
Minors (AA): 28 G, 43.1 IP, 3.12 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 51 K, 15 BB, 2 HR, 39 H, .236 ave.
23. RHP Jhon Peluffo (Delmarva Shorebirds)
Minors (A): 18 G, 9 GS, 68.2 IP, 3.54 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 58 K, 17 BB, 6 HR, 67 H, .260 ave.
24. LHP Chris Lee (Norfolk Tides)
Minors (AAA): 18 G, 18 GS, 82.2 IP, 6.21 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, 53 K, 42 BB, 9 HR, 109 H, .319 ave.
25. RHP Lucas Humpal (Delmarva Shorebirds)
Minors (A): 30 G, 28 GS, 1450.0 IP, 3.98 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 72 K, 24 BB, 7 HR, 109 H, .249 ave.
26. RHP James Teague (Aberdeen IronBirds)
Minors (A): 5 G, 5.2 IP, 6.35 ERA, 2.82 WHIP, 5 K, 4 BB, 3 HR, 12 H, .444 ave.
Minors (SS): 8 G, 8.2 IP, 1.04 ERA, 0.46 WHIP, 17 K, 3 BB, 1 HR, 1 H, .034 ave.
27. LF D.J. Stewart (Bowie Baysox)
Minors (AA): 88 G, .263 BA, .356 OBP, .425 SLG, .781 OPS, 15 2B, 11 HR, 64 SO
28. RHP Mike Baumann (Aberdeen IronBirds)
Minors (SS): 3 G, 2 GS, 9.0 IP, 2.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 9 K, 5 BB, 0 HR, 5 H,, .161 ave.
Minors (GCL): 1 G, 1 GS, 0.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 2 K, 0 BB, 0 HR, 2 H, .400 ave.
29. RHP Gabriel Ynoa (Norfolk Tides)
Majors: 4 G, 12.2 IP, 4.26 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 12 K, 2 BB, 3 HR, 17 H, .321 ave.
Minors (AAA): 13 G, 13 GS, 58.0 IP, 7.14 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, 32 K, 17 BB, 5 HR, 84 H, .337 ave.
30. RHP Stefan Crichton (Norfolk Tides)
Majors: 8 G, 12.1 IP, 8.03 ERA, 2.43 WHIP, 8 K, 4 BB, 2 HR, 26 H, .456 ave.
Minors (AAA): 16 G, 31.0 IP, 1.74 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 32 K, 3 BB, 1 HR, 22 H, .193 ave
31. RHP Steve Klimek (Delmarva Shorebirds)
Minors (A): 26 G, 51.0 IP, 2.12 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 57 K, 6 BB, 1 HR, 40 H, .211 ave.
32. LF Randolph Gassaway (Frederick Keys)
Minors (AA): 9 G, .185 BA, .313 OBP, .185 SLG, .498 OPS, 0 2B, 0 HR, 2 SO
Minors (A+): 79 G, .304 BA, .347 OBP, .386 SLG, .733 OPS, 14 2B, 3 HR, 60 SO
33. RF Ademar Rifaela (Frederick Keys)
Minors (A+): 83 G, .298 BA, .347 OBP, .507 SLG, .853 OPS, 18 2B, 15 HR, 85 SO
34. CF Jake Ring (Delmarva Shorebirds)
Minors (A): 84 G, .284 BA, .337 OBP, .489 SLG, .826 OPS, 27 2B, 11 HR, 103 SO
35. CF Josh Hart (Frederick Keys)
Minors (A+): 25 G, .263 BA, .330 OBP, .413 SLG, .742 OPS, 9 2B, 1 HR, 24 SO
36. LHP Brian Gonzalez (Frederick Keys)
Minors (A+): 27 G, 27 GS, 90.2 IP, 5.56 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, 75 K, 45 BB, 9 HR, 120 H, .323 ave.
37. CF Lamar Sparks (GCL Orioles)
Minors (GCL): 10 G, .308 BA, .386 OBP, .359 SLG, .745 OPS, 2 2B, 0 HR, 7 SO
38. LHP John Means (Bowie Baysox)
Minors (AA): 19 G, 18 GS, 104.1 IP, 4.40 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 84 K, 26 BB, 12 H, 116 H, .277 ave.
39. SS/2B Adrian Marin (Bowie Baysox)
Minors (AA): 81 G, .285 BA, .332 OBP, .361 SLG, .693 OPS, 19 2B, 0 HR, 69 SO
40. SS Mason McCoy (Aberdeen IronBirds)
Minors (SS): 17 G, .314 BA, .424 OBP, .490 SLG, .914 OPS, 7 2B, 0 HR, 10 SO