These past two seasons have seen the Orioles graduate more top prospects than nearly any other franchise.
According to Baseball America's 2009 top prospects list, four members of the Orioles top 10 graduated to the Majors, and eight of the top 29.
This season, the team has seen five of the top 10 players move on to the greener pasture that is Camden Yards, including prospects number one (Brian Matusz), two (Josh Bell), and four (Jake Arrieta).
The result is that the Orioles organization is pretty bereft of top-level talent. The first-year player draft helped a bit with that, infusing some much needed talent in the form of five-tool shortstop Manny Machado, reliever turned starter Daniel Klein, and the stable of projectable arms like Parker Bridwell, Clayton Schrader, and Matthew Bywater. They were also able to snag hard-throwing reliever Wynn Pelzer in a trade with the Padres.
But in terms of homegrown talent, the Orioles feature one of the least impressive compilations in baseball. Aside from Machado and Zach Britton there aren't many sure-fire future big-leaguers, which means ranking the organization is mostly about projection.
Last year, I did my best to rank the Orioles top prospects (through 30) and I hit on a few guys that Baseball America didn't rank too highly: Brandon Cooney, Ronnie Welty, and Jesse Beal. Unfortunately, I also drank the Kool-aid on guys like Brandon Erbe, Pedro Florimon Jr., and Kam Mickolio.
This year, I've expanded the list to 40, although I won't go one-at-a-time with each prospect until I hit the top 30, same as last year.
I'll try to do my best to provide some solid background on each player, especially the ones that nobody has ever heard of, and then give a couple takes on each guy, a little bit from Baseball America and a little from the general public's perception, but mostly my projection of how helpful I think each prospect will be to the big league team going forward.
Feel free to let the discussion juices flow.