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Baltimore Orioles Top Prospects, Who's Hot and Who's Not, April 20

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Baltimore Orioles Top Prospects, Who's Hot and Who's Not, April 20

The Orioles kicked off their 2011 campaign in style, sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays, and then taking two of three games from the projected 2011 A.L. Central champion Tigers. They hit a bit of a road-block in the Texas Rangers, and struggled against the Twins, Indians and Yankees, but three weeks into the season, they're 7-9 and much better than anyone expected. 

And they've managed to get out to such a decent start on the strength of their young pitching. Rookie Zach Britton (23 years old) has led the way, notching a team-leading two victories, while posting a 2.75 ERA. Chris Tillman (22) has been just as effective, throwing six-innings of no-hit ball against Tampa, following that gem up with 4.2 gritty innings against the Tigers. The right-hander leads the team with 16 strikeouts. And Jake Arrieta (25), fresh off of six shutout innings against the Twins, is tied for the team lead with two victories and paces the rotation with 21.1 innings.

Down in the minors, it's been more of the same.

Delmarva has benefited from great starting efforts from Tim Adelman, Luis Noel and Jacob Pettit, while Frederick has gotten quality starts from Oliver Drake and Ryan O'Shea, a favorite of mine because we share the same birthday.

In the upper levels, the O's minor-league stars have shone brightly. The team's top catching prospect, Caleb Joseph, has shaken off a slow start and has emerged as the team's best hitter, while at Norfolk, Brandon Snyder appears to have found his stroke once again.

A few of those names ended up on the first Orioles "hot" list of the season, while you'll see a few familiar names on the "not" list.   

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