Maybe the Orioles aren’t thought of as having an embarrassment of riches when you talk about their minor league talent, yet. But within the next couple years, their top prospects will make even O’s cynic, Keith Law of ScoutsInc.com, smash some crow.
Dylan Bundy — according to every baseball talent evaluator out there — is as “can’t miss a pitcher prospect” since the likes of Stephen Strasburg was drafted. Last year’s first round selection, RHP Kevin Gausman, has already been clocked in the upper 90’s (98 MPH a couple times) in early spring training games. Second base prospect Jonathan Schoop has continued to excel at every level and could be your starting two-bagger in 2014 and we already reaped some early returns of what Manny Machado can do.
I’m not foolish enough nor have I spiked my orange kool-aid on this early afternoon day to try and sell you on the Orioles as a top flight MLB minor league organization, far from it. But if they were a stock on Wall St, their arrow would be pointing up for sure. Dandy Dan Duquette might look like a serial killer with those 1950’s sunglasses he seems to sport on a consistent basis, but that nerd evaluates talent like a Hustler Club owner.
Beside the top flight prospects that most Oriole fanatics know, there are a growing number of “2nd tier” guys making a name for themselves down on the farm. First base prospect (God do we need one), Nick Delmonico seems to be a fan favorite, at least online. Orioles message boards have jocked this 2011 6th round pick out of Knoxville, TN like he was the second coming of Will Clark. At 6’2” and a shade under 200 pounds, this dreamboat seems to fit the mold of what a power hitting corner infielder should look like. Adding upper body strength will be crucial for him to develop into that “Eutaw Street” power left-handed bat that the club has been dying for since that cheat Rafael Palmeiro left town. Last year at Delmarva (A-Ball), he hit a modest .249 with 11 bombs and 54 RBI in just under 400 plate appearances.
Other that you might see shagging BP balls in the outfield at OPACY in the coming years include, outfielder LJ Hoes, RHP Mike Wright, and LHP Eduardo Rodriguez who turns 20 in April and could be the club’s best left handed pitching prospect of them all. And I haven’t even pointed out the likes of RHP Stevie Johnson (one of my personal fav’s), OF Xavier Avery and RHP Stuart Pomeranz, as all three already have collected a big league per diem.
And like I stated before, I’m not peeing down your leg and telling you it’s raining by suggesting the Orioles rival the Tampa Bay Rays when it comes to Minor league systems. But what I can say with pretty solid certainty is between Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette there will be no more Chris Smith-type drafts. There will be no more Syd Thrift and his confederate money roaming the 3rd floor of the warehouse. There will be no more of the dual GM’s (Beattie/Flanny RIP) bit that brought such “talents” like Devi Cruz and Javy Lopez. Nope those years are in the rear view mirror for Orioles Nation!