Baltimore Orioles 2013 Top 15 Prospects
The rest of Bullpen Banter’s 2013 Top 15 Prospects can be found on the 2013 Team Prospect Lists Bar on the right side of your screen. Thanks for reading! -BB
Bullpen Banter Baltimore Orioles 2013 Top 15 Prospects
Al Skorupa: Baltimore became a full fledged baseball town again in 2012 as the Orioles scrapped and fought their way to a playoff spot. I don’t think many would argue that the O’s got a bit lucky this season, so its good news that there is some help coming from the farm shortly. We’ve been singing the praises of Dylan Bundy for a long time now at BB, and there’s a not a pitching prospect in the game I’d rather have. Dan Duquette and company added another potential frontline starter in this year’s draft with LSU’s Kevin Gausman. I wouldn’t project Gausman as a true “Ace,” though. I see more of a strong #2 starter, as I’m not quite confident his command and control will reach the level we expect from a #1… but I’m kind of splitting hairs, as you won’t notice much difference game to game and I only mention it here to stress how special Bundy is. Gausman is also in the discussion of top pitching prospects in the game and would be the top arm in a whole lot of farm systems. I think Jonathan Schoop is an easy third choice to pref from this org. To wit, Jeff and I had an identical top 4 on our list. Schoop can potentially fit in a couple different spots in the infield for you and has plenty of bat speed and pop. He could take off quickly once he’s given a chance. Last year, Jeff and I warned O’s fans not to sleep on Nick Delmonico. He was not fully healthy most of last Spring, so amateur scouts who saw him came back with mixed reviews. I’ve gotten reports of improvement in his game since entering the pro ranks. While finding a defensive home is an issue, I think Delmonico will fit fine at third base. The Baltimore PD people really need to split him and Jason Esposito up. I’m just not convinced Esposito will hit enough to profile as a regular, and its a shame to be shoving Delmonico over and perhaps hindering his development by keeping these two at the same level.
There’s a drop off after that top 4, but the system continues to improve in depth and still has some other help soon pieces hanging around (ie. Eduardo Rodriguez). In terms of the arms, I think Mike Wright is not getting enough attention. He flashes some real good stuff and I’ve gotten reports of him topping 95 late into the game. His mechanics have some effort and he would fit nicely in the bullpen… but he’s a guy who could help you in the rotation for awhile, too. With guys like this who are (somewhat prematurely) pegged for the pen, people always seem surprised when they pitch very effectively out of the rotation for a few years. I mentioned Eduardo Rodriguez above. He’s a nice lefty in the upper minors with solid velo and stuff. If you’re expecting more than a mid to backend guy you’re probably going to be disappointed. It will be an interesting early season storyline to see whether Rodriguez solidifies the gains of last year and continues to repeat his altered delivery. I’m still a big fan of Parker Bridwell. Great athlete, former football player and still pumping low to mid 90′s with good stuff while tweaks were made to his delivery. When I saw Branden Kline pitch this season the stuff and velo (92-95) were standout, but his over the top delivery leaves his fastball dead straight and extremely hittable. I’m curious to see what the O’s will do with Kline’s development. Kline could end up a nice 7th inning arm as a backup plan. Glynn Davis remains an intriguing project who might take a while. I’m not sure L.J. Hoes has enough pop to start everyday, but he improved his chances in 2012. Torsten Boss looked good for Aberdeen and has improved from when I saw him on the Cape as an amateur, but its still kind of a tweener profile and there’s no real impact potential here.
I do like this system. Its lacking in depth, but heck – have to be super happy with Bundy and Gausman in the fold. Anything you get beyond those two is gravy.
Jeff Reese: In a way it’s fortunate that Manny Machado graduated in 2012. It was difficult enough to decide between him and Dylan Bundy as the top prospect a year ago; this year it would be excruciating. Instead Machado helped contribute down the stretch to the Orioles surprising postseason run, producing well enough to hold down third base offensively and defensively. Bundy saw major league time as well, throwing a couple of innings in September after his first full minor league season was completed. Even with the Orioles managing his innings and starting him in a league where he completely overwhelmed the competition, his ascent was even more rapid than predicted. The entire package is impressive: the demanding long toss program; his focused mound demeanor (Mike Newman labeled him a human pitching machine and I cannot think of him in any other way now); the incredibly smooth, low effort delivery; the dominant fastball and flashes of a monster curve ball; the nasty mid-90s cutter that was shelved but still were thrown by accident a couple times; advanced command and pitchability for his age. It all works out to the best pitching prospect in baseball.
Like last year, the Orioles do have a second elite prospect in their farm system. Kevin Gausman was touted for his high 90s fastball as a prep prospect, but the rest of the package depressed his stock and caused him to slip to the sixth round in 2010. Over his two seasons at LSU, Gausman has added a heavy two-seam fastball, a devastating changeup, and more control to his profile. Both his slider and curve ball show potential but are inconsistent and behind the rest of his arsenal; one will likely be scrapped in pro ball. The command still needs to improve as well and the delivery will have its detractors, but the upside is significant. Gausman has been a favorite of Evan’s and mine since early in his Freshman year (check out the college notes index for direction to more Kevin Gausman information: http://bullpenbanter.com/college-baseball-index/#G).
The Baltimore Orioles system is defined by those two elite prospects at the top. Jonathan Schoop bridges the gap somewhat, but the drop off is still swift and sharp. Schoop has solid offensive tools and the defense to hold down second or third base. Despite the somewhat underwhelming 2012 season, his stock hasn’t changed much for me. Nick Delmonico’s future will be defined by how much offensive noise he can make with his bat. He saw time at first and second base this year and was seen as a third baseman while a prep; first base is probably his long term home. LJ Hoes can hit and get on base, but the power needs to emerge now that he’s in an outfield corner. Xavier Avery continues to be a tremendous athlete who does enough at the plate to hope that there’s more to come in the future. Glynn Davis is somewhat similar in that he has plus-plus speed that serves him well on the bases and in center field, but the offensive side of his game is raw. Adrian Marin doesn’t quite have that level of athleticism, but he has enough where short stop is legitimately viable given his actions at the position.
The emergence of Eduardo Rodriguez gives the Orioles the pitching equivalent of Jonathan Schoop. He has a nice array of pitches from the left side and some feel for commanding them. Mike Wright’s upside is slightly below that of Rodriguez, but he too has the stuff to pitch in a major league rotation. Branden Kline moved from the back of Virginia’s bullpen to the Friday Night gig during his Junior season; his fastball and slider lost some of their electricity during the transition (which is normal), but he showed a cleaner delivery and a deeper arsenal. It’s too early to tell which role suits him best. Parker Bridwell has the high ceiling among pitchers not named (Dylan) Bundy or Gausman, but he remains raw and struggles to even control his arsenal. After that there are a number of guys who profile as relievers or back of the rotation starters.
RHP Dylan Bundy (Jeff Reese)
RHP Kevin Gausman (Evan Rentschler)
IF Jonathan Schoop (Peter Wardell)
IF Nick Delmonico (Jeff Reese)
OF Glynn Davis (Al Skorupa & Jeff Reese)
3B Torsten Boss (Jeff Reese)
1B Christian Walker (Jeff Reese)
OF Roderick Bernadina (Jeff Reese)
LHP Cameron Coffey (Jeff Reese)
LHP Bennett Parry (Jeff Reese)