Ranking the 10 Best Prospects in the Orioles' Farm System
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We have already gotten a chance to see a little bit of what the Orioles have to offer for the start of this season, but what remains to be seen is the talent of those yet to get the call to the big leagues.
10. Glynn Davis: Frederick Keys (Outfielder)
Orioles prospect Glynn Davis is currently with the Frederick Keys organization.
Outfielder Glynn Davis has come a long way from being an undrafted free agent out of the Community College of Baltimore County. The young outfielder has made a name for himself with his elite speed and base stealing ability.
During his three seasons in the minor leagues Davis is a career .264 hitter and has a .347 on-base percentage. He has also stolen 61 bases during his short career in the minors and was walked a respectable 63 times during the 2012 season.
Where Davis seems to lack is in power, having hit only 33 doubles and two home runs in 193 career games as a minor leaguer.
Davis likely has a long way to go before getting his call-up to the majors. Due to his lack of power he will have to continue to improve his average and show that he can remain patient at the plate like he has thus far.
At only 21 years old, Davis is certainly young enough to be a key prospect for the Orioles moving forward. What might hurt Davis' chances in the majors is that the Orioles appear to have locked up two of their three outfield spots for the long-term future in Adam Jones and Nick Markakis.
With other top outfield prospects in their system, it could be a long climb to the top for Davis.
9. Mike Wright: Bowie Baysox (Pitcher)
Mike Wright has moved up through the Orioles' minor league system at a fast pace.
Mike Wright was a third-round draft pick by the Baltimore Orioles in 2011 and has made a quick climb through the minor leagues. For a farm system that has great depth in pitching prospects, Wright seems to have all the right stuff to one day make a move to the majors.
Wright has a 13-7 record in the minors and a 4.49 career ERA. Wright made his way up to the Bowie Baysox following a strong performance during his time with the Frederick Keys. As a member of the Keys, Wright posted a 5-2 record while posting an ERA of 2.91. The problem with Wright early on has been inability to retire hitters.
His 4.49 career ERA is largely due to the fact that the young pitcher has been very hittable, allowing opposing hitters to hit .279 off of him in 2012. Wright's high batting average against can likely be credited to his ability to pitch in the strike zone, only walking 33 batters in 33 games pitched while striking out 124 hitters.
Wright's quick climb through the minors will certainly not go unrecognized as he continues his journey, but he will need to find ways to retire hitters and lower their averages against him.
8. Xavier Avery: Bowie Baysox (Outfielder)
Xavier Avery has seen some time in the majors but struggled to hold a spot on the Orioles' 2012 roster.
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Before Nate McLouth joined the Orioles last season and established himself as their left fielder late in the season, the Orioles got a brief glimpse of outfielder Xavier Avery. Avery was called up in early May and played in 32 games for the Birds in 2012.
Avery hit just .223 for the Orioles last season with a .305 on-base percentage, stealing six bases in nine attempts. Not only was Avery unable to hold down a roster spot with Orioles, this season the young outfielder has found himself playing for the Orioles' Double-A affiliate Bowie Baysox.
The story for Avery in the minors has been his inability to put the ball in play. In six minor league seasons Avery has struck out 557 times, including four seasons of 100 or more strikeouts, striking out a career-high 156 times in 2011.
Avery has proven to be a productive player once he gets on base, posting three minor league seasons of 30 or more stolen bases, but has lack of productivity at the plate has left him in the minors hoping for another chance with the Orioles.
7. Branden Kline: Delmarva Shorebirds (Pitcher)
The Orioles drafted pitcher Branden Kline in 2012.
Last June the Orioles drafted pitcher Branden Kline from the University of Virginia. While Kline has seen limited work in the minors, a high-velocity fastball and other developing pitches give the Orioles hope for Kline's future.
Kline has four pitches in his repertoire that he uses to get hitters out, including a 95-mph fastball that could prove to be effective out of the bullpen.
Kline pitched only four games last season for the Aberdeen IronBirds, posting a 4.50 ERA and allowing hitters to hit .273 against him. Kline also managed 12 strikeouts in his brief first season in the minors, as opposed to just four walks. Despite his short stint in Aberdeen in 2012 the Orioles liked him enough to promote him to Delmarva to start 2013.
In his only start for the Shorebirds this season Kline pitched six innings of shutout baseball, striking out three hitters and walking two. In an ever-flourishing crop of young pitchers, Kline could continue his ascent through the minors in his first full season with the Orioles organization.
6. L.J. Hoes: Norfolk Tide (Outfielder)
L.J. Hoes saw a brief stint with the Orioles in 2012.
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The Orioles called up outfielder L.J. Hoes last season, and he was at least able to play in two games for the Birds, registering only one at-bat in which he did not record a hit. Outside of that, Hoes was one of the top minor league hitters for the Orioles organization last season.
Hoes hit .287 in the minors in 2012, splitting time with the Bowie Baysox and Norfolk Tide. It was with the Tide that Hoes posted his most productive numbers, playing in 82 games while hitting .300 and stealing eight bases.
Of all the minor league outfielders in the Orioles' farm system, Hoes appears to be the one most ready for a major league call. While he will likely have to wait for a poor season out of Orioles' outfielders Nate McLouth or Nolan Reimold, Hoes could see some time with the Orioles at some point during the season.
5. Nick Delmonico: Frederick Keys (First Baseman/Second Baseman)
Nick Delmonico has seen time at both first and second base during his time in the minors.
The Orioles used a sixth-round draft pick in 2012 to select versatile infielder Nick Delmonico. During his first year in the minors Delmonico was named to the South Atlantic League All-Star Game, where he took home MVP honors in the game.
Delmonico hit .249 last season with the Delmarva Shorebirds, knocking in 11 home runs and driving in 54 RBI while posting a respectable .351 on-base percentage. While Delmonico still has plenty of room to improve at the plate, he is also a serviceable infielder.
Delmonico has played his fair share of games at both first base (57) and second base (31). Delmonico still needs to improve his glove on defense after committing 22 errors in the 88 games he appeared defensively; however, his versatility makes him an attractive prospect for the Orioles.
The 20-year old infielder won't be seeing time in the majors anytime soon, but in a few seasons we could be hearing Delmonico's name in the starting lineup for the Birds.
4. Eduardo Rodriguez: Frederick Keys (Pitcher)
The Orioles signed undrafted free agent Eduardo Rodriguez out of Venezuela in 2010.
Eduardo Rodriguez tore through the Dominican Summer League in 2010 for the Orioles, posting a 3-4 record with a 2.33 ERA in 12 starts. Rodriguez has three pitches that he uses, but uses them effectively enough in the minors for now.
Having not played at a level any higher than Single-A Delmarva, Rodriguez will start 2013 with the Frederick Keys.
Rodriguez is the lone left-handed pitcher in the Orioles' farm system who is currently viewed as a top-10 prospect, and has gotten early experience as a starter in the minors. The Orioles currently have only one lefty in their starting rotation in pitcher Wei-Yin Chen.
While Rodriguez still appears to be a long way from the majors, being the top lefty starter in Baltimore's minor league system makes him a nice prospect for the Birds.
3. Jonathan Schoop: Norfolk Tide (Second Baseman)
Jonathan Schoop represented the Netherlands in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
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The Orioles may have found Brian Roberts' future replacement player in young infielder Jonathan Schoop. While Schoop has also been viewed as a potential third baseman and shortstop, with J.J. Hardy and Manny Machado already filling those spots for the Orioles, Schoop could get his chance to flash the leather at second base sometime this season.
Schoop's rise through the minors began to really take off in 2010, when he hit .290 over 62 games between three of the Orioles' minor league teams. In 2011 Schoop again hit .290, this time with the Delmarva Shorebirds and Frederick Keys. While Schoop has spent much of his minor league career on the rise, he suffered a slight setback in 2012.
Schoop spent all of the 2012 season with Double-A Bowie, playing in 124 games, posting a .245 average and striking out a career-high 103 times. Schoop still managed a .324 on-base percentage for the Baysox last season thanks to the 50 times he drew a walk, also a career high for the young second baseman.
Schoop spent 88 games at second base last season for the Baysox, finishing the season with a .970 fielding percentage, committing 13 errors at second base.
The Orioles appear to be content at second base right now despite Brian Roberts recently being placed on the disabled list. The Orioles have turned to veterans Ryan Flaherty and Alexi Casilla to man the duties at second base for now.
Schoop will likely make his major league debut sometime in 2013, but for now the Orioles are fine with letting the youngster continue his development in the minors.
2. Kevin Gausman: Bowie Baysox (Pitcher)
Starting pitcher Kevin Gausman could likely find himself on the Orioles roster sometime in 2013.
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With the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, the Orioles drafted pitcher Kevin Gausman out of LSU with the hopes that he would be in the majors sometime within the next season or so.
After being drafted last season, Gausman began his young career with the Aberdeen IronBirds. His stint in Aberdeen was short, pitching only two games for the IronBirds while not giving up a run and striking out five hitters.
Following his short time with the IronBirds, Gausman moved on to the Frederick Keys, where he would close out his 2012 season. This season Gausman is a starting pitcher for the Bowie Baysox.
Gausman still has to improve on his command before the Orioles will be ready to give him his chance in the majors, but heading into his first full season as a member of the Orioles, the sky is the limit for this young pitcher.
1. Dylan Bundy: Bowie Baysox (Pitcher)
Pitcher Dylan Bundy is the top-rated prospect for the Orioles in 2013.
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Like Gausman, the Orioles drafted pitcher Dylan Bundy with the fourth overall pick in the draft, only in the 2011 draft. Bundy dominated the minors in his first full season in 2012.
During 2012 Bundy saw time with three of the Orioles' affiliates. The end result was a 9-3 record with a 2.08 ERA, including 119 strikeouts with only 28 walks in 103.2 innings pitched. Bundy's performance in 2012 was so good that the Orioles decided to call him up in September just to give him a taste of the big leagues.
A brief time was all Bundy received in the majors in 2012. Bundy appeared in two games for the Orioles out of the bullpen and pitched only 1.3 innings without striking out a batter.
Bundy has the ability to top his fastball out in the high 90-mph range, at times hitting 98 mph or higher on the radar gun. He posted a very nice stat line for this Orioles this past spring training, but the Orioles opted to send him down to the minors for the time being.
Bundy was placed on the seven-day disabled list after experiencing stiffness in his elbow, but fortunately for the Orioles an MRI showed nothing serious. While this may be a minor setback for the young phenom, Bundy will likely get a call-up to the majors sometime during this season and will likely not be seeing any more time in the minor leagues once he arrives.