Here are the Orioles' 2023 Top 30 prospects
The rebuild in Baltimore is over. Gone are the days when the Orioles’ system gradually improved year to year, while the big league team floundered waiting for reinforcements to arrive. Now the O’s are trendy upstarts in the American League East, and their system is loaded, again considered one of the sport’s very best.
Last season saw Adley Rutschman firmly entrench himself in the Majors and Gunnar Henderson debut to great fanfare. 2023 should bring similar excitement. Baltimore’s eight Top 100 prospects are the most in baseball; the O’s are also the only team with two players ranked in the Top 10. They have baseball’s top overall prospect in Henderson and second-ranked pitching prospect in Grayson Rodriguez, who probably would’ve debuted last season if not for a nagging lat injury.
The system sports six other Top 100 prospects: 2022 top overall pick Jackson Holliday (No. 12), ’21 first-rounder Colton Cowser (No. 40), No. 74 Jordan Westburg, No. 80 Heston Kjerstad, No. 97 DL Hall and No. 99 Joey Ortiz. Rodriguez, Westburg, Hall and Ortiz could all join Henderson in the Majors by mid-summer.
A little more than four years after executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias took the reins in the Charm City promising to rebuild the club into a winner through smart drafting and player development, the future in Baltimore is officially now.
Here's a look at the Orioles' top prospects:
1. Gunnar Henderson, 3B/SS (MLB No. 1)
2. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP (MLB No. 7)
3. Jackson Holliday, SS (MLB No. 12)
4. Colton Cowser, OF (MLB No. 40)
5. Jordan Westburg (MLB No. 74)
Complete Top 30 list »
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2022 preseason list to the 2023 preseason list:
Jump: Joey Ortiz, SS (2022: 16 | 2023: 8)
The slick-handed Ortiz might be the best defender in the Orioles' system. Last year his bat began to catch up with his glove, with Ortiz obliterating his career high by socking 19 homers and reaching Triple-A in September. He raked in Triple-A as well, and seems to be knocking on the door amid a system flush with middle infield talent. (Also: Frederick Bencosme 2022: Unranked | 2023: 23)
Fall: Maikol Hernandez, SS (2022: 21 | 2023: 28)
Hernandez received a $1.2 million bonus that was one of the largest in franchise history to headline the O’s historic international class two years ago, but the toolsy infielder has struggled to translate his athletic ability into results in Rookie ball. There is still time for the 19-year-old to rebuild his stock, but this is a big year for a player who drew comparisons to Carlos Correa and Alex Rodriguez when he signed.
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.
Hit: 60 -- Gunnar Henderson (Jackson Holliday)
Power: 65 -- Gunnar Henderson
Run: 60 -- Jackson Holliday (Hudson Haskin, Braylin Tavera)
Arm: 70 -- Gunnar Henderson (Coby Mayo)
Defense: 65 -- Joey Ortiz
Fastball: 70 -- Grayson Rodriguez
Curveball: 55 -- DL Hall (Carter Baumler)
Slider: 60 -- Grayson Rodriguez
Changeup: 70 -- Grayson Rodriguez
Control: 60 -- Grayson Rodriguez
How they were built
Draft: 18 | International: 7 | Trade: 3 | Free agent: 2
Breakdown by ETA
2023: 10 | 2024: 8 | 2025: 7 | 2026: 4 | 2027: 1
Breakdown by position
C: 1 | 2B: 1 | 3B: 3 | SS: 8 | OF: 7 | RHP: 6 | LHP: 3