Despite it's relative weakness in terms of depth (Baseball America recently ranked Baltimore's system 21st), the Orioles still have one of the most intriguing farm systems in Major League Baseball.
Aside from a few standouts (Zach Britton and Manny Machado), they don't have much elite talent and very few polished prospects.
They've got a good smattering of high-upside guys (Xavier Avery and Bobby Bundy) and some very safe prospects (Matt Angle and Wynn Pelzer), but what they have the most of is guys who we still have no idea about. The kind of player who has a career-year one season, and the falls back to earth in a dramatic fashion (Caleb Joseph).
Or, the kind of guy who was drafted with huge promise, but has failed to make any sort of impact because he's been injured the whole time (Mychal Givens).
And then, there's a wide array of characters who have shown brilliant flashes, but still have a long ways to go to establish themselves as guys who have a long-term future in Baltimore (Joe Mahoney, Ronnie Welty, L.J. Hoes, Tyler Townsend, Connor Narron, etc.).
So begins an examination of Baltimore's farm system, what it looks like heading into the 2011 season, who the best (and worst) talent is, and who does what better than the rest.