Top 15 Orioles Prospects Through May
With two months of play in the books, BSL now provides a listing of our current Top 15 Orioles prospects.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
Honorable Mention - Henry Urrutia
2014 Stats AAA Norfolk: 82 ab’s, .220 baa, 0 hrs, 7 rbi, 6 doubles, 4 bb’s, 23 k’s, .543 OPS
Current 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.
Honorable Mention – Zach Davies
2014 Stats AA Bowie: 1-2, 3.92 era, 20.2 ip, 20 hits, 2 hr’s, 14 bb’s, 23 k’s
Current 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.
#15 - Adrian Marin
2014 Stats A+ Frederick: .257 baa, 2 hr’s, 19 rbi, 11 doubles, 1 triple, 7 bb’s, 35 k’s, .661 OPS
Current 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 – Trey Mancini
2014 Stats A- Delmarva: .318 baa, 1 hr, 33 rbi, 10 doubles, 2 triples, 12 bb’s, 48 k’s, .755 OPS
Current 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.
#13 – Michael Ohlman
2014 Stats AA Bowie – .211 baa, 2 hr’s, 13 rbi, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 22 bb’s, 36 k’s, .622 OPS
Current 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.
#12 – Dariel Alvarez
2014 Stats AA Bowie: .326 baa, 10 hr’s, 44 rbi, 17 doubles, 1 triple, 6 bb’s, 26 k’s, .895 OPS
Current 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.
#11 – Glynn Davis
2014 Stats A+ Frederick: .310 baa, 1 hr, 20 rbi, 15 doubles, 4 triples, 19 bb’s, 43 k’s, 10 sb, .813 OPS
Current 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.
#10 – Josh Hart
2014 Stats A- Delmarva: .266 baa, 0 hr, 15 rbi, 1 double, 7 bb’s, 37 k’s, 6 sb’s, .573 OPS
Current 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.
#9 – Branden Kline
2014 Stats High A Frederick: 3-1, 3.41 era, 63.1 ip, 68 hits, 4 hr’s, 13 bb’s, 41 k’s
Current 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?
#8 – Tim Berry
2014 Stats AA Bowie: 3-3, 4.12 era, 63.1 ip, 60 hits, 7 hr’s, 16 bb’s, 53 k’s
Current 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.
#7 – Mike Wright
Throws: R2014 Stats AAA Norfolk: 1-3, 5.61 era, 51.1 ip, 59 hits, 2 hr’s, 18 bb’s, 33 k’s
Current 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.
#6 – Christian Walker
2014 Stats AA Bowie: .319 baa, 15 hr’s, 47 rbi, 8 doubles, 1 triple, 21 bb’s, 46 k’s, .957 OPS
Current 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.
#5 – Chance Sisco
2014 Stats Low A Delmarva: .288 baa, 2 hr’s, 15 rbi, 8 doubles, 9 bb’s, 32 k’s, .748 OPS
Current 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.
#4 – Eduardo Rodriguez
2014 Stats AA Bowie: 1-2, 4.73 era, 26.2 ip, 24 hits, 1 hr, 9 bb’s, 19 k’s
Current 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.
#3 – Hunter Harvey
2014 Stats Low A Delmarva: 3-3, 1.68 era, 53.2 ip, 31 hits, 2 hr’s, 20 bb’s, 64 k’s
Current 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?
#2 – Dylan Bundy
2014 Stats: N/A
Current 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.
#1 – Kevin Gausman
2014 Stats AAA Norfolk: 1-3, 2.40 era, 41.1 ip, 36 hits, 3 hr’s, 17 bb’s, 42 k’s
Current Thoughts on Gausman: 2013 was a whirlwind for the O’s 2012 1st round pick. He had 82 combined innings at Bowie and Norfolk, with another 47.2 in the Majors. With now 51.2 Major League innings (a 4 inning start earlier this year); Gausman will be omitted from some prospect lists for passing threshold limits on how a prospect is defined. For me, he still belongs listed as such. However you want to define him, his importance to the O’s in 2014 and long-term can not be stated enough. For this year, he is a Wild Card who has the talent to potential elevate the O’s ML staff as a whole. Long-term, he is one of the central pieces you are building around. I said above that Bundy has the highest ceiling in the system to me. The reason I have Gausman as the O’s best prospect though, is because Gausman is the one who was pitching last year, and has been pitching this year. That, and the fact this is ability is certainly very high as well. Big power arm, with more movement then I think he sometimes gets credit for. I love his change-up. Some of the off-speed offerings need further refinement. He’s used to over-powering in the zone. I personally love that; but you want to see him get to the point where he can locate his fastball up/down/in/out vs. just attacking the heart of the plate. A lot has been made of the lack of success he’s has had in 6 ML starts. I can understand making the evaluation that there are parts of his game which will have to improve at the ML level; but I can’t get see having any concern of the results (or lack thereof). The talent is there. If the O’s can’t fully develop a talent like Gausman, that would be my concern. It also should be again pointed out that the promotion to Baltimore earlier this year did not do Gausman any favors. He had missed time at Norfolk due to pneumonia, and had made 1 return start with the Tides prior to coming up. The O’s bring him up on short-rest, and start him against maybe the best team in the American League. ‘Shockingly’ he did not have a great outing. The O’s have limited his outings throughout the year, to make sure he can be available to the O’s throughout 2014. Of course the pneumonia also ‘helped’ in that regard. For the year, Gausman has 45.1 combined innings at AAA and the Majors. It should be realistic to think he has another 120 innings in his arm this year. My expectation is that the majority of those innings will be in Baltimore. His individual performance is going to go a long way in determining the O’s team success.