MLB Pipeline unveiled its brand-new Top 30 Orioles prospects list Thursday, ranking the system as the fifth best in all of baseball. It’s an important distinction for a rebuilding club that’s prioritized development in recent years, reshaping its farm system through the Draft, trades and the international market under general manager and executive vice president Mike Elias.
The future might not exactly be now in Baltimore, but it’s quickly approaching.
With Thursday’s announcement, we felt it was the perfect time to dig into your prospect questions for a reactionary inbox of sorts, entirely Top 30 themed.
What follows are your inquiries, answered to the best of my ability:
I’ll start off with a hot take: Grayson is our best prospect; Hall should be #3; Diaz should not be in the top 10 and Mayo/Baulmer will be in the top 5 in a couple years.
Not a question, exactly, but thank you for sparking some conversation.
Carter Baumler would've been higher if not for his injury, absolutely. The O's love his upside. As for Yusniel Diaz, the O's are probably more concerned with whether he graduates altogether this year. That would mean he's in the big leagues.
Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall are both elite pitching prospects, ranking No. 27 and No. 70 overall in baseball, per MLB Pipeline, respectively. No. 2 vs. No. 4 is largely a matter of preference; if yours differs, that’s fine. But Rodriguez gets the nod because he’s a full year younger, and has shown better command thus far.
I’ve lost confidence in Sedlock . What has become of Blaine Knight? When could the lower O’s affiliates see an influx from the international pool (Ortiz #30) or more recent 1M dollar bonus pool players?
At this point, Cody Sedlock and Knight both profile as organizational depth. You'll see those younger international prospects in the DSL and GCL before the lower affiliates, probably next year for Luis Ortiz and some other members of the 2019-20 class.
It seems like one of the big complaints of the system in the past focused on developing talent. Have the Orioles turned a corner on that (especially pitching)? Can they more consistently develop the talent they draft and trade for?
I think how Dean Kremer (No. 8, per Pipeline), Michael Baumann (No. 9), Keegan Akin (No.11) and Zac Lowther (No.12) etc. perform at big league level will be a great litmus test. These were mid-tier prospects Mike Elias and company inherited in the middle of their development tracks, who all improved under their watch in the Minors.
What’s clear at this point is the lengths the O’s have gone to modernize their organizational development practices, especially in terms of technology, under Elias, Chris Holt and others. The fruits of that labor remain to be seen.
What's a good player comp for Gunnar Henderson?
The most common is Corey Seager.
Were any other international signings under consideration?
Outfielder Luis Gonzalez, a member of the O’s 2019-20 international class, just missed the cut. You'll likely see him before long, as others graduate early in the season.
Who is the first SS prospect to make the majors, not named Martin.
I’ll go with Jordan Westburg.
Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg look like stud SS. How do you think they affect the futures of Cadyn Grenier, Adam Hall, and Mason McCoy?
It definitely pushes them down the organizational depth chart, less so for Hall than the others. But what was a very weak position in the system has turned into a strength.
For sake of the question let’s assume Adley graduates this year... can Henderson realistically be their #1 prospect at the end of the year?
I don't think Rutschman debuts until 2022. But for argument's sake: If what you're proposing happens, I think Henderson could climb as high as top 3 by this time next year.
I think Rutschman will be really good but I’m afraid Witt Jr. is going to be great. In 10 years will Adley still be catching? I know the O's took the safest bet but I fear Witt will have the better career.
Fair concern, especially given the great springs Witt and White Sox 1B Andrew Vaughn are having. One spring doesn't make a career, though, and Rutschman was a generational prospect coming out of the Draft. The O's are still very happy with their decision, and super high on his future.
Do team executives care about these rankings? Are Sig and Mike popping champagne over this?
Team officials care about public perception, yes. Especially ones brought in to build -- and sell -- the future.
Any chance we see Grayson Rodriguez wears the orange and black in Baltimore this season?
No. He’s still at least a year off, and either begins '21 at High-A or Double-A. That’ll depend on what he shows in camp this spring. ICYMI: Rodriguez is supposed to arrive in camp this weekend.