Ranking the Top 10 Prospects in the Baltimore Orioles' Farm System

Mike Rosenbaum@GoldenSombreroMLB Prospects Lead WriterDecember 7, 2012

Ranking the Top 10 Prospects in the Baltimore Orioles' Farm System

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    The overall quality of the Baltimore Orioles’ farm system took a major hit last season with the graduation of Manny Machado, a consensus top-10 preseason prospect, to the major leagues. Luckily, the O’s boast the game’s top pitching prospect, right-hander Dylan Bundy, who reached the major leagues in mid-Sept. after opening the year with Low-A Delmarva.

    Beyond Bundy, though, their system begins to thin out in a hurry, as right-hander Kevin Gausman and infielder Jon Schoop are seemingly the only other players capable of contributing in the major leagues over the next two years.

    The Orioles do have some depth on the mound, though they need one of their less-heralded arms, such as Eduardo Rodriguez, Mike Wright or Branden Kline, to exceed expectations next season.

10. OF Xavier Avery

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    Position: OF

    DOB: 1/1/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’, 190

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Drafted/Signed: Second round, 2008 (Cedar Grove HS, Calif.)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Avery spent most of the 2012 season up and down between Triple-A Norfolk and the major leagues; batted .223/.305/.340 in 32 games with the Orioles, which wasn’t far removed from his .236/.330/.356 in 102 games at Triple-A Norfolk; is an excellent athlete capable with the plus speed and range to handle center field, though his reads still appear shaky.

    Avery’s always possessed the raw tools and athleticism but has never bridged the gap between them and his baseball-specific skill set; has the bat speed to hit quality pitching; lacks a consistent approach and needs how to make more in-game adjustments; struggles to recognize breaking balls out of the zone; gets out on front foot too often and flails at pitches that should be discernable balls.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A Norfolk

9. SS Arian Marin

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    Position: SS

    DOB: 3/8/1994 (Age: 18)

    Height/Weight: 6’, 165

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: Third round, 2012 (Gulliver Prep HS, Fla.)

    ETA: 2016

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: 6’, 165-pound shortstop had a solid pro debut (.286/.340/.352) last season in 53 games between the rookie-level Gulf Coast League and Low-A Delmarva; hard-nosed ballplayer with excellent instincts; plus speed gives him above-average range at shortstop, and his quick feet allow him to swiftly get through ground balls; more than enough arm strength to remain at the position.

    The big question regarding Marin is whether his bat will develop; he has strong wrists with good bat speed and hand-eye coordination; not a fan of his swing as it’s too armsy without a significant weight transfer; plate discipline was shaky, as expected; below-average power is realistic, but he should tally his share of doubles and triples; smart basestealer who could swipe 30-plus per season if his on-base skills improve; bat will determine how quickly he moves through system.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Low-A Delmarva

8. OF L.J. Hoes

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    Position: OF

    DOB: 3/5/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’, 190

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: Third round, 2008 (St. John’s HS, Wash D.C.)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Has gradually moved up the organizational ladder, but Hoes finally put everything together last season and was named the organization’s minor league hitter of the year after batting .287/.372/.388 between Double and Triple-A; right-handed hitter who understands how to use the entire field, though a majority of his hits are singles; power is yet to materialize and is the only thing holding him back; plate discipline continues to improve and pads his on-base percentage.

    Hoes is fast, but isn’t explosive in his actions; he’s a smooth runner with above-average range although it takes him a few additional steps to reach full speed; would suffice in center field in a pinch, though his range and arm are better suited for a corner spot; only question is whether he’ll have enough power to justify an everyday role; if not, he’s still a solid fourth outfielder.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A Norfolk

7. RHP Mike Wright

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 1/3/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’5”, 195

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: Third round, 2011 (East Carolina)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: 6’5”, 195-pound right-hander has physical and durable frame; reached Double-A in first full season as a professional, registering a 4.91 ERA over 12 starts; delivers low-to-mid-90s fastball on a good downward plane; pitch loses life when left up in the zone and is seemingly easy to drive.

    Wright has three secondary pitches in a curveball, changeup and slider, with the latter being the more consistent and effective of the three; if he can improve his overall command, the 22-year-old right-hander could serve as a solid No. 3 or 4 starter in the major leagues.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A Bowie

6. RHP Branden Kline

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 9/29/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 195

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: Second round, 2012 (Virginia)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: If you can look past his robotic tendencies on the mound—a product of his collegiate career at Virginia—Kline seemingly has untapped potential; may take him some time to develop as he’ll need to add fluidity to his delivery, as well as more explosiveness in general; he has good stuff, and I like how his arm works, but it’ll be interesting to track how he responds to the imminent mechanical alterations.

    Kline’s fastball sits at a consistent 92 to 96 mph but will flatten out when elevated; might be a guy who benefits from adding some sink to his fastball; his slider is his best pitch and especially effective when heater is around the plate; changeup is a fringy pitch at the moment and will ultimately determine whether he remains a starter or moves to the bullpen.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Low-A Delmarva

5. 1B Nick Delmonico

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    Position: 1B

    DOB: 7/12/1991 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 196

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Drafted/Signed: Sixth round, 2011 (Farragut HS, Tenn.)

    ETA: 2015

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Delmonico’s baseball bloodline continues to aid his overall projection; already has a slightly concerning injury history with back problems (2011) and left knee sprain (2012); 6’2”, 196-pound frame should mature favorably; played 51 of 94 games at first base in professional debut—also received significant playing time at second base; I hate the early relegation to first base, which only puts more pressure on his bat; offense ceiling would be more valuable as a third baseman; health will continue to determine where he plays.

    Left-handed hitter exhibits advanced plate discipline (73/47 K/BB in 338 at-bats in 2012) given his lack of experience; should help the development of his hit tool in coming years; has a clear feel for the strike zone with the ability to make in-game adjustments; sees the ball well out of the pitcher’s hand and spits on off-speed pitches out of the zone; still learning how to utilize his slightly above-average raw power; swing can get long and enable too much swing-and-miss, but it has some loft with extension after contact.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: High-A Frederick

4. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez

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    Position: LHP

    DOB: 4/7/1993 (Age: 19)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 175

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Drafted/Signed: Jan., 2010 (Venezuela)

    ETA: 2015

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: 19-year-old left-hander made an impressive full-season debut in 2012 for Low-A Delmarva (3.70 ERA, .243 BAA); 6’2”, 175-pound frame is highly projectable with plenty of room to mature physically; wiry arms and upper body create deception in his unique delivery, which he was able to repeat with more consistency last season; really like how his arm works as the ball jumps out of his hand with ease.

    Rodriguez enjoyed a jump in his fastball velocity last season, as he’ll now sit in the low-90s and occasionally pop 94 to 95 mph; secondary pitches are understandably raw and lag behind his heater, though both flash the potential to be above-average offerings; slider is difficult to recognize out of his hand and is sharper when he throws it with increased velocity; changeup is present but in nascent stage; No. 3 or 4 starter upside at the moment, possibly more if he can refine control and command, and miss more bats.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: High-A Frederick

3. INF Jonathan Schoop

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    Position: INF

    DOB: 10/16/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 195

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: Aug., 2008 (Curacao)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Spent entire age-20 season at Double-A Bowie where he was challenged; power began to develop as he amassed 24 doubles and 14 home runs; defensive versatility on the infield could get him to major leagues ahead of schedule; smooth footwork and defensive actions thanks to good instincts; have seen him play both second base and shortstop where he makes the plays, but lacks the agility and quick feet; solid glove and arm strength at each position is apparent; will likely lose a step as he adds strength, suggesting third base may be best fit in the major leagues.

    Important to not read too far into 2012 stats given his age relative to level; understands how to attack pitches and is comfortable driving the ball the other way; ball jumps off his bat; showcased ability to generate more backspin carry last season; both approach and pitch recognition skills leave something to be desired, but should improve with more experience; has a tendency to bar his front arm and wrap bat, making his vulnerable to premium velo on his hands; hit and power tool both have above-average potential.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A Bowie

2. RHP Kevin Gausman

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 1/6/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 185

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2012 (Louisiana State)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Excellent power pitcher’s frame at 6’4”, 185 pounds with room to fill out; wiry athleticism allows him to repeat active delivery and stay balanced throughout; knows how to use his lower half and doesn’t rely on pure arm strength; collegiate pitcher that still involves projection; should be a solid No. 2 starter after Bundy in Orioles’ rotation.

    Loose, fluid arm action results in easy fastball velocity in the mid-90s, and he’ll run it up to 97 to 98 mph on occasion; two-seamer is a few ticks slower with arm-side action; offers significant contrast to crisp four-seam; changeup in the low-to-mid-80s is a second plus pitch and is highly advanced for a pitcher his age; features both a curveball and slider—the latter draws more whiffs and projects to be an above-average pitch; refined command could make it a weapon in relation to his fastball-changeup combo.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: High-A Frederick

1. RHP Dylan Bundy

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 11/15/1992 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 195

    Bats/Throws: S/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Oswasso HS, Okla.)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: The unanimous top pitching prospect in the game, Bundy began his professional career with 30 scoreless frames at Low-A Delmarva; spent most of the season at High-A Frederick (2.84 ERA, 10.42 K/9) before late-season promotion to Double-A Bowie (3.24 ERA); called up to the major leagues in mid-Sept. and made two appearances out of the Orioles’ bullpen; 6’1” right-hander is physically gifted and possesses a feel for pitching well beyond his years; superstar potential is already obvious with a strong chance he reaches his incredibly high ceiling.

    Bundy boasts an advanced four-pitch mix highlighted by a mid-90s two-seam fastball with exceptional run; will also blow hitters away with a four-seamer that easily reaches the high-90s; breaking ball is a hammer and plus pitch, though he’s still developing command of the pitch and will occasionally leave it up in the zone; changeup is his most consistent secondary pitch at the moment with the potential to be another above-average offering; he also has a slider but primary breaking ball is the curve.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: MLB/Triple-A (Really hard to say at this point.)