Re-Ranking the Orioles Top 30 Prospects After the 2013 MLB Draft
The Orioles farm system has been depleted the past few seasons.
The call-ups of Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz and now Kevin Gausman have left them with little depth and the front office has had a hard time replenishing the pool of talent.
The 2012 draft helped a lot, providing the O's with several of their top performers this season, including RHP Branden Kline (second-round), SS Adrian Marin (third), 1B Christian Walker (fourth), LHP Lex Rutledge (sixth) and LHP Josh Hader (19th).
Similarly, this season's crop of new blood should also help improve the status of their farm system. RHP Hunter Harvey (first-round), OF Josh Hart (competitive balance round), 3B Drew Dosch (seventh), 1B Trey Mancini (eighth) and RHP Reed Reilly (18th) all appear to have big league potential and should help fill out one of the weakest minor league systems in baseball.
It's time to check in and see how the list of Baltimore's top prospects has changed since the arrival of these players. Also taken into account are the performances by prospects so far this season.
Without further ado, let's take a look at the re-ranking of Baltimore's top 30 prospects.
30 Through 21
30. Hector Veloz, 1B, 19
Veloz has only made eight appearances outside of the Gulf Coast or Dominican Summer Leagues, but he's shown flashes of talent which have made the O's more comfortable with the $300k signing bonus they handed him back in 2010. At 6'2'' and 190 lbs, Veloz has room to add some more bulk to his frame, and with the added muscle should come improved power.
29. Michael Ohlman, C, 22
2012 was a tough year for Ohlman, who spent time on the DL with a shoulder injury he suffered in a car accident. Unfortunately, he drew a 50-game suspension for a second positive substance abuse test. Despite the distractions, he still managed to hit .304 with a 33/27 BB/K ratio as a 21-year old in Low-A ball. This season, Ohlman has showed the hitting ability (.277/.403/.446) that warranted a $995k signing bonus back in 2009.
28. Trent Howard, LHP, 23
The O's hoped they were getting a seasoned pitcher when they took Howard in the seventh-round in 2011, but he's already been bumped to the bullpen in an effort to speed his climb to the Majors. In 11 relief appearances this season, Howard has been dominant, surrendering just two earned runs in 24 innings. He's even looked brilliant in two recent spot starts, tossing eight shutout innings. Howard seems destined for a Troy Patton-like role at the big league level.
27. Gregory Lorenzo, OF, 22
Another product of Baltimore's renewed efforts in the Dominican Republic, Lorenzo has shown flashes of elite talent during his four-plus seasons in the organization. He's already racked up 20 stolen bases, at a 91 percent success rate no less, in just 58 games this season. He hit .323/.373/.460 last season across three levels, but his average has dropped to .201 this season. He's clearly struggled to make consistent contact, as he strikeouts in 33 percent of his at-bats.
26. Jake Pettit, LHP, 26
A former 42nd-round selection, Pettit has won 28 games the past two-plus seasons, and has been Baltimore's most consistent starting pitching prospect. He's back at it again this season, racking up five victories and 71 innings pitched across Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk. Even more impressive, is the fact that Pettit has been dominant utilizing a fastball that rarely creeps over 90-mph.
25. Jacob Bray, RHP, 20
The O's plucked Bray from the JUCO ranks, where he actually saw more time as a third baseman. When on the mound, however, he's flashed a 92-96-mph fastball and an above-average slider. He could move fast as a reliever, but the front-office will try him out as a starter first.
24. Lex Rutledge, LHP, 21
After bombing as a starter (0-3, 9.49 in six starts), the O's transitioned Rutledge back to the bullpen in 2013. He had success there last year (1.64, 13/3 K/BB in 11 IP) and has shown the same ability this season. In nine relief appearances, he's allowed just six hits and two runs, while racking up 14 strikeouts in 17 innings. He even looked sensational in a recent spot-start, tossing three innings with seven strikeouts and only one run allowed. Rutledge's best pitch is a knee-buckling curve that plays well off of his low-90s fastball.
23. Caleb Joseph, C, 26
Joseph has been a frustrating prospect for the Orioles, alternating sensational years with terrible ones. This year appears to be the former, as Joseph has already set a career-high with 13 home runs. He's on pace to shatter marks in RBI, doubles, runs and even average. Of course, this is the fourth consecutive season that he's spent at Double-A Bowie, so maybe it's time to bump the 7th-round pick up to Triple-A for good.
22. Drew Dosch, 3B/1B, 20
Dosch was taken one round ahead of Trey Mancini, showing how much the Orioles believe in the former Youngstown State star's bat. He not only makes consistent contact, but has shown flashes of great power. Defensively, he doesn't offer much, so his advancement will depend on his bat.
21. Tyler Wilson, RHP, 23
One of the most accomplished pitchers in UVA history, Wilson has already earned his way to Double-A Bowie, needing just 44 starts to do it. While he's never going to be much more than a No. 5 starter or a long-reliever, Wilson continues to pitch his butt off and rack up innings. He could also be a guy that the big league club turns to for the occasional spot start, even as early as later this year.
20 Through 16
20. Dylan Rheault, RHP, 21
At 6'9'' and 245 pounds, it's impossible not to notice Rheault, the O's 19th-round pick in this year's draft. Hailing from Central Michigan, which produced fellow farmhand Trent Howard, Rheault has yet to see much success, but the O's are banking on his impressive size and fastball (94 mph with sink) to develop into either a inning-eating starter or a dominant reliever.
19. Mike Wright, RHP, 23
Wright has put his name on the map, racking up 19 victories in 44 appearances (40 starts) as a professional. This season, he's rocking a 6-0 record, a 3.86 ERA and he's succeeded in raising his K/9 rate from 6.6 K/9 in 2012 to 8.8 K/9. In six May starts, Wright went 4-0 with a 1.85 ERA and a 37/8 K/BB ratio. He possesses a low-to-mid-90s fastball that generates ground-balls at an incredible rate and a slider that grades out as an above-average offering. Wright has already logged 24 starts at Double-A, and could finish the season in Triple-A Norfolk.
18. Reed Reilly, RHP, 21
Reilly was used as a reliever at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, but he has the stuff to start at the pro level, including a mid-90s fastball and a solid slider and changeup. He used those three pitches to dominate as Cal Poly's closer the past two seasons, giving the O's a solid backup plan should be fail to succeed as a starting pitcher.
17. Zach Davies, RHP, 20
Baltimore's 26th-round pick in the 2011 draft, Davies has quietly ascended to High-A Frederick in his second professional season. He has found great success, holding down a 3.82 ERA and showing the ability to dominate, racking up 51 strikeouts in close to 70 innings. He's only surrendered seven home runs so far this year, and he's cut down his walk-rate from 3.6 BB/9 to 2.4 BB/9.
16. Robert Tyler, RHP, 17
The Orioles' 28th-round selection, Tyler will demand a hefty price to sign. Assuming he does, he'll likely ease his way into the 11-15 range. Arguably the top high school pitcher from the state of Georgia, Tyler has flashed a 93-95 mph fastball with good movement and two potential above-average offerings in a curve and changeup. Tyler has good size and could be the steal of the draft.
15 Through 11
15. Glynn Davis, OF, 21
The O's have hit pay-dirt with some local kids the past few seasons and Davis might be the best of them all. He's a legit leadoff hitter with speed oozing out of his pores. He's racked up 67 steals in 224 games and has shown plate discipline beyond his years. Making consistent contact will be key to his development, and right now it has to be a concern with his average slipping from .284 to .236 this season.
14. Trey Mancini, 1B, 21
Mancini actually put up better offensive numbers for Notre Dame than first-rounder Eric Jagielo. While Mancini slipped to the eighth-round, he does offer plenty of potential for Baltimore. At 6'5'' and 205 pounds, Mancini offers power, although he's had trouble tapping into it during games. He's a capable defender, but his development hinges on his ability to make enough contact to utilize his power.
13. Branden Kline, RHP, 21
A starter-turned-reliever-turned-starter, Kline has largely underachieved so far for the Orioles, although his last start (5.2 IP, 13 K) does offer some insight as to just how dominant the right-hander can be. He didn't need much more than his mid-90s fastball as a reliever at UVA, so development of his slider and changeup will be crucial to his survival.
12. Tim Berry, LHP, 22
Berry has been hit hard the past few seasons, but this season it looks like he's finally hitting his stride. Possessing a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a devastating curveball, he's struck out a batter an inning. His performance in April (3.21 ERA, 35/4 K/BB) was astounding.
11. Adrian Marin, SS, 19
Marin flashed five tools coming out of Gulliver Prep (Fla.) in 2012, and he's actually shown incredible polish at the plate in his time in the pro ranks. This season, at Low-A Delmarva, his average is up to .261 thanks to a .315/.378/.427 line during May. He's shown great defensive range and impressive speed. It's still too early to tell what kind of player he'll become but he's shown great progress so far.
10. Christian Walker, 1B, 22
It's hard to imagine a better start to Christian Walker's career than the kind of season he's putting together.
The former two-time College World Series champion hit .353 with 20 RBI in 31 contests for Low-A Delmarva, before earning a promotion to High-A Frederick, where he's been just as good, hitting .331 with nine doubles and 19 RBI in 30 games.
It's not at all surprising when you consider how great a hitter Walker was at South Carolina, but there's no denying he's opened some eyes with his play so far.
At the plate, Walker has it all. He makes consistent contact, has great plate discipline and offers amazing power. He once out-homered Bryce Harper in a high school home run derby, and he's on pace to make a run at 20 in his first professional season if he can stay healthy.
Defensively, Walker is average, although with his bat it's unlikely the Orioles will care too much.
It's hard to want to slap a Chris Davis comparison on Walker, but he profiles as a similar player if he can reach his ceiling.
2013 stats: .342/.405/.479, 14 2B, 6 HR, 39 RBI, 28 R, 21/42 BB/K, 0 SB
9. Josh Hart, OF, 18
It may scare some to hear the Orioles' second draft pick from this year's draft compared to current farmhand and under-performer Xavier Avery, and while there are several comparisons to be made (both toolsy, both from Georgia), it would be a disservice to Hart to lump them together.
The Orioles considered Hart a first-round talent in this year's draft, and have to feel lucky to have gotten him with the 37th-overall pick.
Hailing from the high school that produced Jeff Francoeur, Hart has shown legitimate skills. Speed is currently his best tool and it serves him well both on the basepaths and in the field. Like Avery, he can cover a lot of ground in center field. He too should be a threat to steal 30+ bases per season.
At the plate, he's more advanced than Avery was coming out of high school. He too is a slap hitter that doesn't offer much power, but he makes more consistent contact than Avery ever did, or likely ever will.
The MLB.com draft tracker compared Hart to Denard Span and Ben Revere. At this point, that's something I think the O's would have to be thrilled about, having seen numerous leadoff hitters come and go as they've searched for a long-term replacement for the oft-injured Brian Roberts.
2013 stats: None (drafted in 2013)
8. L.J. Hoes, OF, 23
Few Orioles' prospects over the years have shown as much consistency as L.J. Hoes, the team's third-round pick back in 2008.
Despite consistently being one of the youngest players in his league, Hoes has shown above-average hitting ability and plate discipline beyond his years. He's been at it again this year, hitting .291 for Triple-A Norfolk, while showcasing an impressive skill set that proves he may be ready for a big league challenge.
Hoes is a proven hitter who makes consistent contact. He's hit .290, .285 and .287 the past three seasons, averaging 24 doubles and 17 steals along the way. He's also drawn, on average, 58 walks during that same period, compared to just 76 strikeouts.
With just 23 home runs in the professional ranks, he may never offer much power, although he did slug nine of those during a banner year in 2011.
This season, Hoes is currently on pace to shatter career-highs in runs, doubles and walks.
2013 stats: .291/.391/.395, 15 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 26 RBI, 39 R, 32/35 BB/K, 6 SB
7. Henry Urrutia, OF, 26
The Orioles haven't discovered much big league talent through their international efforts, and as a result their farm system has very little depth.
In Cuban defector Henry Urrutia, however, the team seems to have found a golden nugget. If his performance this season is any indication, Baltimore could quickly find themselves as a new player on the international stage.
Urrutia signed with the O's after displaying an impressive combination of power and hitting ability in the Cuban National Series.
This season, Urrutia has put up a .358/.418/.552 line in 42 games. He's slugged six home runs and driven in 31, and his 14 doubles rank him near the top of Orioles farmhands. To put into perspective just how incredible the 26-year-old's performance has been, however, you have to remember that before this season, the last time he played competitively was in Japan back in 2010.
Despite his impressive statistics, the front office has no plans to promote him to Triple-A, wishing him to get more at-bats at the Double-A level while easing his way into American life.
If he keeps hitting like this, fans will clamor for him to be bumped straight past Norfolk and on to Camden Yards.
2013 stats: .358/.418/.552, 14 2B, 6 HR, 31 RBI, 26 R, 17/31 BB/K, 1 SB
6. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, 21
The Orioles' breakout prospect of 2013, Rodriguez has turned a lot of heads so far this season, putting up some incredible numbers for High-A Frederick.
Fresh off an incredible run in the month of May, in which he went 5-0 in six starts with a 2.23 ERA, Rodriguez has clearly found his groove. The promotion of Kevin Gausman and the likely ascension of Dylan Bundy, when he returns from injury, could allow Rodriguez to be the organization's top pitching prospect by the end of the year.
The O's haven't been incredibly active on the international stage, but Rodriguez may very well represent the turning of the tide. Hailing from Venezuela, the team scooped him up during the 2010 signing period and have watched him blossom into a legitimate prospect in less than three years.
As he's matured physically, Rodriguez has added some velocity and his fastball now sits in the low-to-mid-90s. He complements the pitch with a slider that looks above-average at times and a changeup that is still a work in progress.
In just three seasons, Rodriguez has gone from organizational filler to a legitimate starting pitcher prospect.
2013 stats: 6-3, 2.99, 12 GS, 75.1 IP, 71 H, 25 ER, 3 HRA, 61/21 K/BB, .252 AVG
5. Nick Delmonico, 3B, 20
Delmonico was in the midst of a great offensive seasons last year when he was felled with a knee injury that caused him to miss a good chunk of the 2012 season.
Playing as a 19-year-old in the South Atlantic League, Delmonico was showing all the tools that caused the O's to shell out a $1.525 million signing bonus back in 2011. In just 338 at-bats, he had slugged 11 homers, clubbed 22 doubles and walked an impressive 47 times.
This season, Delmonico has returned to the diamond and pretty much picked up where he left off, albeit at a higher level, High-A Frederick. Facing superior pitching and many prospects who are older than him, Delmonico has thrived, hitting .281/.387/.595 in 33 contests.
He's already one home run shy of tying the mark he set last year and with a 21/32 BB/K ratio, he's showing the same incredible plate discipline displayed last season.
The only question that remains about Delmonico is what position he'll play. He's already seen time at first, second and third base, and there's no doubt he could handle an outfield spot. The O's would love to keep him in the infield but they'll find room somewhere for his bat.
2013 stats: .281/.387/.595, 8 2B, 10 HR, 24 RBI, 20 R, 21/32 BB/K, 1 SB
4. Josh Hader, LHP, 19-Years Old
A former 19th-round draft pick, not too much was expected from Hader.
Checking in at 6'3'' and 160 pounds, it doesn't seem like he's capable of that much either.
However, 27 appearances into his career, the Maryland native has adjusted quite nicely to pro ball, making a name for himself as a legitimate prospect along the way.
His performance this season, as the youngest member of Low-A Delmarva's roster, has been mind-blowing. A 2.00 ERA and a .201 average against. Fifty strikeouts in 54 innings. And a spot on the South Atlantic League All-Star team.
Not bad for a guy who garnered a paltry $40,000 bonus.
Hader has made great strides since turning pro, turning a mid-to-high-80s fastball into a low-90s heater. He complements the pitch with three other offerings, including a curveball and changeup.
Despite checking in at No. 19 on Baseball America's list of top prospects in the Baltimore organization, director of pitching development Rick Peterson likened Hader to another lanky lefty, Chicago's Chris Sale.
"He has that kind of body type and his delivery. He changes some arm angles and we let him do that right now because he is a strike-thrower with nice arm action. He has nice aptitude as well."
2013 stats: 2-2, 2.00, 10 GS, 54.0 IP, 38 H, 12 ER, 3 HRA, 50/27 K/BB, .201 AVG
3. Jonathan Schoop, 2B/SS, 21
Like so many of Baltimore's talented prospects, Schoop has spent more time off the field than on it in 2013.
His ailment has come in the form of a stress fracture in his back, an injury that requires anywhere from 6-8 weeks of rest before starting any kind of rehabilitation activities.
Schoop's debilitating injury came at a terrible time, seeing as how he was enduring one of the most impressive stretches of his professional career at the plate. In 11 games in May, he was hitting .348 with two homers and eight RBI in just 11 games. That strong finish had bumped his season line to .268/.331/.386, numbers more than respectable for one of the International League's youngest regulars.
And this was coming on the heels of his impressive performance for team Netherlands during this year's World Baseball Classic.
When healthy and at his best, Schoop offers an incredible skill set. He has shown incredible power, slugging 27 the past two seasons, despite playing both of those campaigns as one of the youngest regulars in the South Atlantic, Carolina and Eastern leagues.
He's also been a doubles machine, racking up 48, and for a 21-year-old already achieving success at Triple-A, he's shown incredible plate discipline.
Schoop offers decent speed, but he's more quick than fast. That quickness shows in his play in the field, where he can capably man three infield positions. He's shown his best defensive work at shortstop, but with J.J. Hardy, and eventually Manny Machado, stationed there, it's likely he'll be forced to shift to either second or third base.
He should be able to handle both, capably, while offering 20-25 home runs per season.
2013 stats: .268/.331/.386, 6 2B, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 12 R, 9/25 BB/K, 1 SB
2. Hunter Harvey, RHP, 18
Harvey was Baltimore's first-round pick in this year's draft.
The son of former big league pitcher Bryan Harvey, Harvey has all the tools to one day pitch at the front of a rotation. With Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy ahead of him, however, it appears he might never have to shoulder that kind of pressure.
Harvey has good size and great stuff, including a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a curveball that looks like it will develop into an above-average offering. His changeup lags way behind his other two pitches, but he rarely has had the occasion to use it. As with most talented pitchers out of high school, a 90-mph fastball and a decent breaking ball are good enough to dominate.
As noted in Mike Rosenbaum's prospect profile on Harvey, he comps closely to Jarrod Parker.
2013 stats: None (drafted in 2013)
1. Dylan Bundy, RHP, 20
With the promotion of Kevin Gausman to the Majors, Bundy has ascended to the throne as the Orioles' top prospect, even with all of his injury concerns.
Bundy's road to recovery began when he was diagnosed with elbow and forearm soreness earlier this season. After a platelet-rich plasma injection, administered by Dr. James Andrews, Bundy was prescribed six weeks of rest.
Bundy was cleared to begin a throwing program at the end of last week and Monday he made good on that promise, completing a session that included 25 tosses from 60 feet.
According to MASN's Roch Kubatko, Bundy completed the session without any incident.
While there is no definite timetable for Bundy to return, the organization would love to see him rejoin Double-A Bowie sometime after the All-Star break.
2013 stats: None (injury)