While the 2019 season at the big league level didn’t provide much in the way of progress for the Orioles -- they recorded their second straight 100-loss season -- the rebuilding effort is moving very much in a positive direction.
It all centers around No. 1 prospect Adley Rutschman, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s Draft and the player who will soon be the face of this franchise. One of the best all-around catching prospects to ever come out of the Draft, his arrival automatically catapulted the Orioles up organizational rankings, but the good news is he’s now far from alone in this growing system, and there’s a good amount of talent ready to impact the big leagues this year.
On the offensive side of things, Top 100 prospect Ryan Mountcastle and outfielder Austin Hays will almost certainly impact the big league lineup this year. The top pitching prospects in the system, Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall, took huge steps forward in 2019 and are likely a year away, but Orioles fans can start dreaming about them leading the rotation in Baltimore soon enough.
General manager Mike Elias and his staff have worked to reestablish a presence in Latin America and the Orioles handed out 16 six-figure bonuses at the start of the 2019-20 international signing period, up from six the year prior. Add in the fact they have the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s Draft, and there’s plenty more impact talent to come.
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2019 preseason list to the 2020 preseason list:
Jump: Michael Baumann, RHP (2019: 24 | 2020: 8) -- He pitched his way to the Double-A Eastern League, and dominated there, in 2019, missing a lot more bats (10.3 strikeouts per nine) than previously in his career.
Fall: Blaine Knight, RHP (2019: 10 | 2020: 26) -- Durability concerns that dogged him in college still persist and his loss of feel, especially for his breaking stuff, led to an ugly 6.13 ERA in the Carolina League in 2019.
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 -- Rutschman
Power: 60 -- Rutschman
Run: 70 -- Zach Watson
Arm: 60 -- Rutschman (Hays, Gunnar Henderson, Cadyn Grenier)
Defense: 60 -- Rutschman (Hays, Watson, Grenier, Mason McCoy)
Fastball: 65 -- Rodriguez (Hunter Harvey)
Curveball: 60 -- Dean Kremer (Harvey)
Slider: 60 -- Rodriguez (Baumann)
Changeup: 55 -- Hall (Rodriguez, Alex Wells, Cody Sedlock, Brandon Bailey, Dillon Tate, Bruce Zimmerman)
Control: 60 -- Wells (Brenan Hanifee)
How they were built
Draft: 22 | International: 1 | Trade: 6 | Rule 5: 1
Breakdown by ETA
2020: 13 | 2021: 9 | 2022: 5 | 2023: 2 | 2024: 1
Breakdown by position
C: 1 | 1B: 1 | 2B: 1 | SS: 5 | OF: 5 | RHP: 11 | LHP: 6