Orioles Offseason Top 10 Prospects
The Orioles didn’t graduate any real prospects over this past season, although RHP Kevin Gausman came very close, but the system was weakened due to trades, injuries, and under performance. The Orioles traded away two or three prospects that would’ve made this top 10 (Nick Delmonico, Josh Hader, and L.J. Hoes) as well as some other notable names (Tyler Kelly, Xavier Avery). Players who before the season I looked at as having potential breakout seasons (Brenden Webb for example) failed to impress.
I guess thats the price you pay when you are a contender trying to make a push for the playoffs. Outside of the Delmonico for K-Rod trade, I didn’t really have a problem with any of the deals. Still, there are some promising players left in the organization, especially at the top of this list.
1. RHP Dylan Bundy – 20 years old
Did not play in 2013
Bundy entered spring training with a shot at making the team to start the season, but was most likely going to spend the first month or two at AAA before being called up. Unfortunately his velocity was down, he was sent to extended spring training to get his arm strength up, and it was later announced that he was having trouble with his elbow. At first it didn’t seem so bad as he was given a platelet rich plasma injection with a chance to pitch towards the end of the year, but that didn’t work and he eventually had Tommy John surgery, ending his season and most likely most of 2014.
I still have him as the number one prospect because even if he doesn’t pitch effectively until 2015, he would still be only 22 years old and all the potential is still there. The recovery rate with Tommy John surgery is very high with some cases of improved velocity afterwards. He’s still the guy that blew through the minors in 2012 with a 2.08 combined ERA over three levels. It’s a definite set back, but its a much better result than a lingering shoulder issue, a la Zach Britton.
Potential: Top of the rotation starter
2. RHP Kevin Gausman – 22 years old
Orioles: 3-5, 5.66 ERA, 47.2 IP, 49 K, 13 BBAAA Norfolk: 1-2, 4.04 ERA, 35.2 IP, 33 K, 9 BB
AA Bowie: 2-4, 3.11 ERA, 46.1 IP, 49 K, 5 BB
Speaking of a 22 year old right handed pitcher with a ton of potential — Gausman had a bit of an odd year. He moved up the system very quickly, perhaps arriving to the big leagues too soon. He showed flashes, but ultimately proved he wasn’t ready to be a starting pitcher in the major leagues just yet. The stuff is there with a high 90’s fastball and solid and improving secondaries but his command needs to improve. The control is there, witnessed by the low walk totals, but he isn’t accurate enough within the strike zone. He throws strikes, which is good, but he needs to locate them better. He pitched much better out of the bullpen with the O’s (3.52 ERA versus 7.66 as a starter) where he was allowed to just let it go over an inning or two. His future is still as a top of the rotation starter, but it’s nice to know that even if he doesn’t develop any further he could still be dominant out of the bullpen. I’d expect him to start 2014 back at AAA, but with the idea that he could earn a promotion at any time.
Potential: Top of the rotation starter
3. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez – 20 years old
AA Bowie: 4-3, 4.22 ERA, 59.2 IP, 59 K, 24 BB
A+ Frederick: 6-4, 2.85 ERA, 85.1 IP, 66 K, 25 BB
Rodriguez has had a slower ascent through the system than the top two guys but hes methodically improved and dominating along the way at a young age. The big lefty has a low to mid 90’s fastball with solid secondaries. As with most young pitchers the command is aspect that needs the most work. He still has a 2.5 to 1 K/BB ratio, but in order for him to reach his potential as a mid to top of the rotation starter that’ll need to improve. He dominated at Frederick, but struggled quite a bit when he first arrived at AA Bowie but was able to adjust and get his numbers down to a respectable level. He’ll start 2014 back at AA Bowie where can continue to improve and try to work his way to AAA before the season ends.
Potential: Mid to upper rotation starter
4. RHP Hunter Harvey – 18 years old
Short A Aberdeen: 0-1, 2.25 ERA, 12 IP, 15 K, 4 BB
GCL Orioles: 0-0, 1.35 ERA, 13.1 IP, 18 K, 2 BB
The Orioles selected Harvey with the 22nd overall pick in the first round of the 2013 draft. He had incredible stats in high school with a 0.38 ERA over 54.2 innings and 116 strikeouts. More importantly is his projectable frame. At 6’3”, 175 lbs and already a low 90’s fastball the Orioles have to believe they can work with him to improve on that with strength and conditioning as well as professional instruction. He impressed in his limited time at the end of the season with the GCL team and Aberdeen. There’s a chance he starts next season with A Delmarva but I would think Aberdeen would be more likely. It should be a slow rise for Harvey as he refines his mechanics and gains weight on his way to being a mid rotation starter.
Potential: Mid to upper rotation starter
5. 2B Jonathan Schoop – 22 years old
Orioles: .286/.333/.500, HR, RBI, BB, 2 K, 14 AB
AAA Norfolk: .256/.301/.396, 11 doubles, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 13 BB, 55 K, 270 AB
Short A Aberdeen: .571/.600/1.071, double, 2 HR, 9 RBI, BB, K, 14 AB
GCL Orioles: .360/.469/.800, 2 doubles, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 6 BB, 6 K, 25 AB
Schoop came into the season looking to make a bid for the second base job or at least look good enough to be under consideration for a call up at some point during the season. Unfortunately he struggled at AAA Norfolk before injuring his back with a stress fracture. When he finally got better he looked great in rehab games in the GCL and at Aberdeen and finished the AAA season relatively strong earning a spot on the Orioles roster in September. He did pretty well in limited action, hitting his first major league homerun in the process. At 22 hes still very young and will look to get back on track next year. He’ll be in the same position at spring training as he was heading into this year, hopefully he can capitalize upon the opportunity.
Potential: Starting second baseman, occasional all-star
6. RHP Mike Wright – 23 years old
AAA Norfolk: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 6.2 IP, 2 K, 0 BB
AA Bowie: 11-3, 3.26 ERA, 143.2 IP, 136 K, 39 BB
Coming into the season I looked at Wright as a reliever who was getting more experience as a starter until he was forced into the bullpen. Well he raised his stock a bit with this season, making the case that he won’t need to be moved to the bullpen at any point. I’m still not sure that will be the case but hes definitely delayed that option, at least for another year. He improved his strikeout rate and had a nice 3+ to 1 K/BB ratio. He’ll start next season at AAA Norfolk and look to keep putting up good numbers and prove that he can have a home near the back end of the rotation. If nothing else he should be a late inning reliever with the ability to fill a spot in the rotation in a pinch. That can be very useful.
Potential: Mid to lower rotation starter, late inning reliever
7. RHP Zach Davies – 20 years old
A+ Frederick: 7-9, 3.69 ERA, 148.2 IP, 132 K, 38 BB
Davies is a young slender right hander that the Orioles paid overslot money for in the 2011 draft. He’s a guy like Hunter Harvey that can build upon his frame, although not as much as he’s 6’0” and not 6’3”. He had a solid season for A Delmarva in 2012 and was able to improve on that at the next step up in competition. Good strikeout rate, over 3 to 1 K/BB ratio. He’s a guy that knows how to pitch and uses that to make up his less than stellar but improving stuff. I think he’s earned a promotion to pitch out of AA Bowie next year and if he can keep the momentum going he can continue to improve his prospect status.
Potential: Mid to lower rotation starter
8. C/1B Michael Ohlman – 22 years old
A+ Frederick: .313/.410/.524, 29 doubles, 4 triples, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 56 BB, 93 K, 361 AB
Ohlman was an overslot pick by the Orioles in the 2009 draft, getting a big pay day as an 11th round pick. Heading into the season he had disappointed ever since. Struggling until 2012 when he had a solid season for A Delmarva (.868 OPS) but was limited to 171 at bats due to injuries. He had a breakout season with Frederick this year putting together his patience at the plate and the power potential he had showed in the past while staying relatively healthy. Hes technically listed as a catcher but I don’t think his future lies there due to defense, probably more of a 1B/DH type. He’ll need to keep his numbers up if he wants to be an every day player in the major leagues at that position but hes certainly capable if he can stay healthy. He’ll get another test next year at AA Bowie.
Potential: Starting DH, back up catcher
9. OF Henry Urrutia – 26 years old
Orioles: .276/.276/.310, triple, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 11 K, 58 AB
AAA Norfolk: .316/.358/.430, 5 doubles, triple, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 8 BB, 15 K, 114 AB
AA Bowie: .365/.433/.550, 16 doubles, 7 HR, 37 RBI, 24 BB, 36 K, 200 AB
I wrote an article about Urrutia in late June before he was promoted to the Orioles and I stand by what I said then. He has a chance to be the starting left fielder at some point if Nate McLouth isn’t resigned as long as he continues to adjust to life in the US as well as to the speed of the game at the major league level. After his promotion he didn’t show the patience at the plate or even doubles power that we saw on his way up the system. But he did show the ability to make contact with major league pitching. Considering everything he went through over the past year and where he is now compared to where he was then, I’d say it was a successful season. Hopefully he can build upon his time with the Orioles and add back the walks, doubles, and occasional homerun to his game and compete for job in left field or as the fourth outfielder to start the season.
Potential: Starting left fielder
10. C/1B Caleb Joseph – 27 years old
AA Bowie: .299/.346/.494, 31 doubles, 2 triples, 22 HR, 97 RBI, 39 BB, 92 K, 518 AB
I wasn’t sure who to put in here at the 10th spot and it certainly wouldn’t have been Joseph if the Orioles hadn’t traded Delmonico, Hader, or Hoes but I just think having a back up catcher who can give you value at the plate and allow Matt Wieters to get more rest is a pretty good asset to have. Not to mention he had a tremendous season at AA Bowie. He was certainly old for the league but catchers can take more time to reach their potential as they have more to worry about than other positions. If he can come close to bringing those stats with him to the big league level he would be the best back up catcher the Orioles have had in quite some time. He can also play first base which just adds to his value coming off the bench. I would guess he’ll compete for the back up catcher job in spring training and start at AAA Norfolk in wait if he doesn’t win.
Potential: Starting catcher (backup catcher for the O’s)