Several years into their organizational rebuild, the Orioles have reshaped their farm system from one of baseball's weakest into one of its best.
The headliners are No. 1 prospect Adley Rutschman and No. 3 Heston Kjerstad, the top and second overall picks in the past two Drafts. Rutschman remains one of the best all-around catching prospects to ever come from the Draft, a switch-hitting backstop with plus power and defensive skills some believe are ready for the big leagues right now. The O’s manipulated their bonus pool to take Kjerstad second overall in 2020 and have high hopes for the slugging outfielder despite not seeing him yet due to myocarditis.
The system, ranked as the fifth-best in baseball, is heavy on pitching depth and highlighted by No. 2 prospect Grayson Rodriguez and No. 4 lefty DL Hall, who might have arrived this year had it not been for the pandemic. As it stands, those arms are still at least a year away, but several others should impact the big leagues in 2021, from Dean Kremer and Keegan Akin to Michael Baumann and Zac Lowther. On the offensive side, Ryan Mountcastle looks like a Rookie of the Year candidate, and Yusniel Diaz, the prize of the Manny Machado trade, is knocking on the door.
This year’s rankings reflect the work Baltimore's front office has done to reestablish its presence in Latin America, with the club’s first two seven-figure amateur Latin signings earning spots. More is on the way on that front after the O’s spent a club-record $5.75 million on their '20-'21 class. They also have the No. 5 overall pick in this year’s Draft.
Here's a look at the Orioles’ top prospects:
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2020 preseason list to the 2021 preseason list:
Jump: Kyle Bradish, RHP (2020: 20 | 2021: 15) -- His velocity jumped after arriving from the Angels in the Dylan Bundy trade, making him one of the top performers at the O's alternate training site last summer.
Fall: Drew Rom, LHP (2020: 16 | 2021: 29) -- The uptick in velocity many anticipate from Rom hasn’t come, dropping him behind many of the dozen prospects acquired in 2020 to make this year’s list. (Also: Kyle Stowers (2020: 16 | 2021: 26)
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 -- Adley Rutschman (Ryan Mountcastle)
Power: 65 -- Rutschman
Run: 60 -- Adam Hall (Ryan McKenna)
Arm: 70 -- Coby Mayo
Defense: 65 -- Rutschman
Fastball: 65 -- DL Hall (Grayson Rodriguez)
Curveball: 60 -- Dean Kremer
Slider: 60 -- Rodriguez (Michael Baumann)
Changeup: 65 -- Rodriguez
Control: 60 -- Alexander Wells (Garrett Stallings)
How they were built
Draft: 18 | International: 3 | Trade: 9 |
Breakdown by ETA
2021: 10 | 2022: 8 | 2023: 6 | 2024: 3 | 2025: 3
Breakdown by position
C: 2 | 1B: 1 | 2B: 2 |3B: 2 | SS: 5 | OF: 6 | RHP: 6 | LHP: 6