Are promotions coming for more O’s prospects?

June 12th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Jake Rill's Orioles Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

BALTIMORE -- The first player from the Orioles’ 2023 MLB Draft class to reach Double-A Bowie wasn’t first-round pick Enrique Bradfield Jr. It also wasn’t any of the 10 players selected by Baltimore between the second and ninth rounds.

Instead, it was , a 22-year-old outfielder taken by the O’s in the 10th round of last year’s Draft out of the University of Southern Mississippi. Etzel moved up from High-A Aberdeen to Double-A on Tuesday, and he went 1-for-4 with a single and a stolen base in his debut during Bowie’s 2-1 win over Harrisburg.

Etzel’s promotion was well deserved, as he put up big numbers for Aberdeen this year. In 51 games, he slashed .306/.379/.478 with 12 doubles, four triples, four homers, 37 RBIs and 31 stolen bases.

“He showed up to Spring Training looking really good. Really exciting,” IronBirds hitting coach Zach Cole said last month. “He was putting the barrel on the ball pretty consistently, and he’s still rolling with that so far.”

Here are four more prospects who are also putting themselves in position for a potential promotion in the near future:

OF , Double-A Bowie (O’s No. 7 prospect)
2024 stats: .267/.371/.460 with eight doubles, one triple, eight homers and 25 RBIs in 49 games

A Competitive Balance Round A pick in the 2022 Draft, Beavers has played in 83 Double-A games over the past two seasons. The 22-year-old has proven he can handle the pitching at the level, hitting .290 with an .858 OPS overall during his time with the Baysox.

Triple-A Norfolk’s outfield mix has been a bit crowded at times in the first half, with Heston Kjerstad (O’s No. 4), Connor Norby (No. 6), Hudson Haskin (No. 25) and Billy Cook (No. 30) among the prospects at the affiliate. But it could soon be time to get Beavers his first look at upper-level Minor League pitching.

OF , High-A Aberdeen (O’s No. 5 prospect)
2024 stats:
.256/.330/.346 with eight doubles, three triples, 11 RBIs and 26 stolen bases in 41 games

Bradfield may not have been the first player from Baltimore’s 2023 Draft class to reach Double-A, but he could be the second. The 22-year-old has had mixed offensive results at High-A, though he had a solid showing in May (a .745 OPS in 20 games) and nearly has a full year of professional ball under his belt.

The excellent speed and defense have been as advertised by Bradfield, who could benefit from getting his first crack at Double-A pitching later this summer.

RHP , Double-A Bowie (O’s No. 10 prospect)
2024 stats:
2.75 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and 43 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings over 11 starts

Johnson is 25 and would likely already be in at least Triple-A if he hadn’t undergone Tommy John surgery in August 2022. The righty made only one Double-A appearance among his five starts in ‘23, so this year has marked his true first taste of the level.

After a tougher start to the season (4.82 ERA through six outings), Johnson has pitched to a 0.87 ERA in 20 2/3 innings over his past five starts. Members of the Orioles’ organization have raved about Johnson’s pure stuff, and it may be time to see how it will play in Triple-A.

RHP , High-A Aberdeen (O’s No. 18 prospect)
2024 stats:
1.88 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 53 strikeouts in 43 innings over 11 starts

What a pro debut it’s been for Baumeister (a 2023 Competitive Balance Round B pick), who is the only pitcher Baltimore has selected within the first two rounds of a Draft since Mike Elias became general manager prior to the ‘19 season.

Baumeister has yet to allow more than three earned runs in a High-A start, and he’s been especially dominant of late, pitching to a 0.50 ERA in 18 innings over his past four outings. The 21-year-old right-hander may not have a long stay at Aberdeen.