Baltimore Orioles Top 45 Prospects by Eric Longenhagen and Kevin Goldstein February 9, 2022 © Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Baltimore Orioles. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as our own observations. This is the second year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here. All of the numbered prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here. Top Prospects Team Lists 2022 2021 ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG Orioles Top Prospects Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV 1 Adley Rutschman 24.0 AAA C 2022 70 2 Grayson Rodriguez 22.2 AA SP 2023 65 3 D.L. Hall 23.4 AA SP 2022 55 4 Colton Cowser 21.9 A CF 2024 50 5 Gunnar Henderson 20.6 AA 3B 2024 50 6 Coby Mayo 20.2 A RF 2025 50 7 Kyle Bradish 25.4 AAA SP 2022 45+ 8 Kyle Stowers 24.1 AAA RF 2022 45 9 Jordan Westburg 23.0 AA 2B 2024 45 10 Heston Kjerstad 23.0 R RF 2024 45 11 Terrin Vavra 24.7 AA 2B 2022 45 12 Leandro Arias 17.0 R SS 2027 40+ 13 Connor Norby 21.7 A 2B 2025 40+ 14 Cesar Prieto 22.7 R 2B 2024 40+ 15 Drew Rom 22.2 AA SP 2023 40+ 16 Reed Trimble 21.7 A CF 2025 40+ 17 Kyle Brnovich 24.3 AA SP 2023 40 18 Carter Baumler 20.0 R SP 2025 40 19 Darell Hernaiz 20.5 A SS 2025 40 20 Maikol Hernandez 18.3 R SS 2026 40 21 Mishael Deson 19.6 A LF 2025 40 22 Mike Baumann 26.4 MLB SIRP 2022 40 23 Joseph Ortiz 23.6 AA SS 2023 40 24 Anthony Servideo 22.9 A SS 2024 40 25 Donta’ Williams 22.6 A CF 2025 40 26 Hudson Haskin 23.1 A+ CF 2024 40 27 Zach Watson 24.6 AA CF 2022 40 28 Jean Pinto 21.1 A SIRP 2024 40 29 Cadyn Grenier 25.3 AAA SS 2023 40 30 Jahmai Jones 24.5 MLB 2B 2022 40 31 Alexander Wells 25.0 MLB SP 2022 40 32 Brandon Young 23.5 A+ SP 2024 35+ 33 John Rhodes 21.5 A 3B 2025 35+ 34 Felix Bautista 26.6 AAA SIRP 2022 35+ 35 Bryan Baker 27.2 MLB SIRP 2022 35+ 36 Logan Gillaspie 24.8 AA MIRP 2022 35+ 37 Carlos Tavera 23.3 A MIRP 2025 35+ 38 Morgan McSweeney 24.4 AA SIRP 2023 35+ 39 Tyler Burch 24.4 AA SIRP 2023 35+ 40 Keagan Gillies 24.0 R SIRP 2025 35+ 41 Tyler Nevin 24.7 MLB 1B 2022 35+ 42 Kevin Smith 24.7 AAA SP 2022 35+ 43 Cole Uvila 28.0 AAA SIRP 2023 35+ 44 Ignacio Feliz 22.3 A+ SP 2023 35+ 45 Isaac Mattson 26.6 MLB SIRP 2022 35+ Reading Options Detail Level Data Only Full Position Filter All All C 1B 2B SS 3B OF LF CF RF LHP RHP 70 FV Prospects 1. Adley Rutschman, C Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Oregon State (BAL) Age 24.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr S / R FV 70 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 45/60 60/60 45/55 40/30 60/70 60 Rutschman is a complete, franchise-altering prospect, and one of the most exciting young players in the entire sport. He’s a switch-hitter with a hit/power combination that would probably make him an All-Star anywhere on the diamond, while also being a plus defender at the most demanding position in baseball, and an intense, vocal, charismatic leader. His track record of superlative statistical performance and unanimous scout adoration has continued uninterrupted for nearly half a decade now, and in our eyes, he is in a tier of his own as the best prospect in baseball. From the fall after his freshman season onward, Rutschman went wire-to-wire as the consensus top prospect in the 2019 draft. He ended up slashing .353/.473/.559 throughout his career at Oregon State, where he also briefly kicked for the football team, and stood apart from the other members of Collegiate Team USA. To nobody’s surprise, he was drafted first overall in 2019 and signed for an $8.1 million bonus. Because of the pandemic, 2021 was Rutschman’s first full pro season. The Orioles sent him straight to Double-A Bowie, where he slashed .271/.392/.508 and earned a promotion to Triple-A Norfolk. Across the entire season, he hit .285/.397/.502, with nearly as many walks as strikeouts and 50 extra-base hits. In the middle of all that he went to the Futures Game, where his batting practice session was among the loudest and most impressive of the elite talents there. He’d switch sides of the plate mid-session and just start sending balls into the Coors Field seats without needing any swings to get comfortable from that side. Rutschman’s swing is absurdly athletic for a guy his size and even though it’s often an effortful cut, he barely ever whiffs, posting a 6.7% swinging strike rate in 2021, among the best in the minors. That mark would rank Rutschman 16th among qualified big leaguers in 2021, slightly better than Jose Altuve and Justin Turner in this particular statistical department. Rutschman catches from a traditional squat but will sometimes fall to one knee as he’s receiving a pitch to improve its presentation to the umpire. He’s extremely strong and can frame pitches at the bottom of the strike zone without letting his target sag below it first, which lots of other catchers need to do to frame pitches there. His best pop times hover around 1.90 and are right on the bag, though Rutschman’s longer levers and big frame can sometimes mean a few extra tenths to get out of his crouch when he has to reach across his body to catch an errant pitch on steal attempts. His fiery on-field makeup is tailored to the situation. Sometimes, he calmly shepherds pitchers along; sometimes, he’s in full Brian Dawkins mode, lighting a fire under the team and the crowd. Rutschman is a nearly-perfect prospect and inspired internal discussion about whether he deserved to be our second-ever 80 FV player. We decided against it largely due to the nature of the catcher position, which tends to reduce the number of games played and often comes with (sometimes long) fallow offensive stretches due to the physical toll catching takes. There’s also a little gap between Rutschman’s measured raw power and his visual report, and his barrel rates in 2021 were a little below the big league average. Adley makes a ton of contact but not always on the sweet spot of the ball, leading to what we anticipate will be all-fields doubles spray rather than elite home run totals. Still, he projects as a perennial All-Star and consistent MVP threat, the next decade’s best catcher in baseball. 65 FV Prospects 2. Grayson Rodriguez, SP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Central Heights HS (TX) (BAL) Age 22.2 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / R FV 65 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 70/70 70/70 70/70 55/60 60/60 40/50 96-98 / 100 The 11th overall pick in 2018 out of a Texas high school, Rodriguez saw his stuff tick up immediately after turning pro. He experienced another jump during his time at the alternate site in 2020 before somehow finding another gear last season, turning in a dominant performance in the minors that saw him post nearly three times as many strikeouts as hits allowed. It’s hard to argue for anyone other than Rodriguez being the best pitching prospect in baseball, and no one can match his pure stuff in terms of both the depth and quality of his arsenal. His fastball now sits 96-98 mph and has scraped triple-digits on multiple occasions, and he’s added a low-90s cutter that has come along quickly and already grades as plus. As good as the velocity and movement on his fastball are, his secondary offerings are even better, as his two power breaking balls have both earned 70 grades from some scouts thanks to the big sweep and bite on his low 80s slider and the hard downward action on a curveball with similar velocity. His low-80s change gives him a fifth plus or better option and features big velocity separation to go along with plenty of fading action. He has a starter’s frame and has cleaned up many of the flaws in his delivery, with an awkward finish that ends with him nearly turned away from hitters the only nit to pick. Those changes keyed a transformation from a pitcher with a control-over-command reputation to one who can better locate all of his pitches in the zone. It sounds almost too good to be true, but there’s very little not to love in terms of Rodriguez’s present ability or future potential. Rodriguez will likely make his big league debut in 2022 and has the potential to be a No. 1 starter and Cy Young candidate. 55 FV Prospects 3. D.L. Hall, SP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Valdosta HS (GA) (BAL) Age 23.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / L FV 55 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 55/60 55/60 30/40 93-96 / 98 Hall paved over Double-A hitters for the first month-and-a-half of the 2021 minor league season — 31 innings, with just 16 hits and 56 strikeouts — before being shut down with elbow tendinitis. It was supposed to be just a few weeks, but Hall had a setback in July and imaging revealed a stress reaction in his elbow; he was done for the year and didn’t throw off a mound again until January of 2022. Ultra-competitive, athletic southpaws with this kind of stuff are very rare. Hall has incredible arm speed and his fastball has flat, bat-missing angle. Only two big league lefty starters threw harder than Hall in 2019 (he averaged 95 mph), and he enjoyed a two-tick velo bump to start last season and was sitting an incredible 97 mph before shutting things down. His slider also became more distinct from his curveball in 2021, averaging about 4 mph more than his curveball. Both breaking balls are death to left-handed hitters, as Hall lines up on the extreme first base side of the rubber and has a cross-bodied delivery that they struggle to pick up, but his breakers’ angle plays to the back foot of righties, too. His changeup doesn’t have huge movement but still garners embarrassing swings from hitters trying to cheat to catch up to his fastball. Because Hall’s arm action is long, his release is inconsistent, and he comes with pretty sizable relief risk, risk that was heightened by the 2021 injury. If he ends up in a bullpen, then we’re talking about an elite reliever, as close as you can get to karmic retribution for the Josh Hader trade. More likely, Hall ends up as an inefficient starter in the Blake Snell mold, though Hall is a better athlete than Snell and has a better shot to hone his command as a result. Regardless of the specifics of his eventual role, Hall is going to be an impact big league arm, and probably very soon. 50 FV Prospects 4. Colton Cowser, CF Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Sam Houston State (BAL) Age 21.9 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/70 40/45 30/45 55/55 45/55 50 Cowser entered the spring of 2021 as a potential first round pick, but moved toward the top of draft boards with a campaign at Sam Houston State that elevated his stock greatly in the eyes of both scouts and statistical models. Cowser is a well-rounded player, but the big appeal comes from his hit tool, as he offers plus-plus contact skills and the ability to make consistently hard contact against both velocity and spin. Unlike many young, high-contact types, Cowser is also a highly disciplined hitter who is aggressive in the zone, yet rarely swings at pitches out of it. He’s not a huge source of power, but he has enough to be dangerous and projects for 15-20 home runs annually down the road. He’s a plus runner with a solid arm who should be able to stay in center field for at least the remainder of the decade. Cowser’s skill set should allow him to move quickly through the minors. He combines a very high floor with a star ceiling. 5. Gunnar Henderson, 3B Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Morgan Academy HS (AL) (BAL) Age 20.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/50 50/55 40/55 50/40 45/60 60 Henderson was still 19 when the Orioles assigned him to Low-A Delmarva to start the 2021 season. He hit the ground running there, slashing an incredible .313/.391/.613 and moving into our 50 FV tier. Then the strikeouts started to pile up; he K’d in roughly 35% of his plate appearances over the rest of the season. Henderson is best when he can drop the bat head to impact pitches at the bottom of the zone. He’s shown glimpses of flattening his path to hit pitches at the top of the strike zone, though not as consistently, and making adjustments in this area was part of Henderson’s focus at the Orioles fall camp. The further up and away from Henderson a pitch is, the more likely he is to hit it to the opposite field. It’s exciting that he has the power to do damage that way, but his inability to turn on some of these pitches may be an indication he’ll struggle with rise-and-run fastballs of big league velocity. Henderson’s power, ball/strike recognition, and what we project will be plus third base defense still present a skill set befitting an average everyday player, even if he ends up with a 40 bat. Any indication of potential swing-and-miss issues here are new. Henderson raked as a high schooler against both varsity pitching in the southeast and on the showcase circuit, and was seen as among the more advanced 2019 prep hitters, a good bet to move though the minors faster than the other hitters from his draft class (which he has). There’s plenty of time for some of this stuff to get polished up and while it increases Henderson’s perceived variance, our view of his ceiling hasn’t changed. He’s just going to have to walk an unexpected path to get there. 6. Coby Mayo, RF Video Drafted: 4th Round, 2020 from Stoneman Douglas HS (FL) (BAL) Age 20.2 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/55 50/70 30/60 50/40 40/45 60 Mayo was the highest-ranked prospect among the overslot players Baltimore drafted with the pool space opened up by Heston Kjerstad’s underslot deal. Bullish as we were on him last year, a .320/.426/.555 line split between the complex and Low-A during his first full season exceeded our expectations. At Mayo’s size, we still think he’s destined for an outfield corner, but he’ll likely add so much strength as he matures that he will have enough power to support an everyday profile there. Mayo made frequent contact as an amateur and it was often hard, but his swing was odd-looking and featured a strange, choppy stride. His stance is more upright now and he’s moved off the plate a little bit, but for the most part his swing has stayed the same and Mayo has performed anyway. Recall the batting line Mayo just posted. This is an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” situation at the moment, but Mayo’s underlying hit data (just an 8% barrel rate in 2021) indicates there’s still room for improvement in the contact quality department. Mayo has the talent to anchor the middle of a big league order and got out of the blocks more quickly than expected. There aren’t strikeout red flags here, which is rare in conjunction with this kind of power projection and frame. 45+ FV Prospects 7. Kyle Bradish, SP Video Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from New Mexico State (LAA) Age 25.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 50/50 55/55 45/50 40/45 93-96 / 97 Bradish had some of the more interesting pitch data in the 2018 draft but questions about his ability to throw strikes dropped him to the fourth round. He kept the ball in the zone more than ever in 2021 while also seeing his velocity tick up, leaving more evaluators than ever convinced he can stay in a starting role. Bradish’s unique delivery, which features a dramatic hip tilt in his load, creates equally unique (and effective) fastball shapes, as his over-the-top release produces nearly perfect backspin on one of the more vertical fastballs around. Once sitting in the low-90s while touching 95 mph, Bradish now parks his fastball in the 94-96 mph range, and while the qualities of the fastball make it quite difficult to locate within the lower half of the strike zone, he uses the upper half to great effect. He complements the fastball with a pair of good breaking balls, with his downer curve giving him a classic vertical attack and a sweeping slider adding a horizontal aspect to his game. Bradish’s firm changeup is on the fringy side, but good enough to be utilized in the right places. Nobody is going to call Bradish precise, and he tends to rack up high pitch counts, but he’s cut down the walks enough to project as a five-and-dive type of starter who just out-stuffs opposing hitters on the right day. He’s lined up for a 2022 big league debut. 45 FV Prospects 8. Kyle Stowers, RF Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Stanford (BAL) Age 24.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/40 55/55 45/55 50/50 50/55 60 Stowers was a steady performer at Stanford, but his showings on Cape Cod are what led to him being a second round pick in 2019. He reached Triple-A in his COVID-delayed 2021 full-season debut, putting up good overall numbers to go along with concerns about the general utility of his hit tool. Stowers’ best assets are his approach and his well above-average power. He makes good swing decisions, which allow him to hang in well against left-handed pitching, and he has the ability to drive the ball out of any park and to any field. He has a tendency to get overly conscious of his power, which leads to over-swinging and an uphill plane, and a big strikeout rate is just something teams will have to live with; it limits his ceiling to a five- or six-hole hitter with a low batting average but plenty of walks and bombs. He’s a solid athlete who runs well and has enough arm for right field, but his future will be defined by what he can do at the plate. Like many in the Baltimore system, Stowers is poised for a 2022 major league debut. 9. Jordan Westburg, 2B Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Mississippi State (BAL) Age 23.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 203 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/50 50/50 30/50 55/55 40/45 45 Westburg improved every year during his three at Mississippi State, and a fantastic showing during the 2019 Cape Cod season helped push him into the end of the first round in ’20, where the Orioles selected him with the 30th overall pick. His COVID-delayed 2021 pro debut began with a blistering start at Low-A Delmarva, and Baltimore moved him aggressively; he finished the year at Double-A Bowie, where he saw his first struggles but rebounded with a flurry at the end of the season. Westburg is a physical infielder with a simple, uncomplicated stroke and above-average raw power. Improved swing decisions were a key developmental focus for him heading into the season, and positive changes were clear from day one. He can get a little stiff with his swing and has trouble covering the entirety of the vertical span of the strike zone, which means he’s likely to always make less contact than desired. But he moves well for his size and can play an acceptable shortstop at a 45-grade clip while providing plus defense at both second and third base. There are no special tools on display, but Westburg should be a decent hitter with decent power while providing decent defense at multiple positions. That all adds up to an everyday player who keeps you well above replacement level while you wait for a star to come along. 10. Heston Kjerstad, RF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Arkansas (BAL) Age 23.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr S / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/50 55/60 35/60 50/40 30/50 50 Kjerstad is a difficult prospect to line up on a list. The second overall pick in the 2020 draft after putting up a 1.011 OPS during his three years at Arkansas, Kjerstad was diagnosed with myocarditis shortly after signing, and while he turns 23 this week, he’s yet to step into the box in an official pro game. Kjerstad’s calling card is plus or better power for the left side and the ability to drive baseballs to all fields. He’s an aggressive hitter who will need to tighten up his swing decisions as a pro, and some scouts saw him as more of a power-over-hit type who might run into some strikeout issues against pro pitching. He’s a fringy runner with a solid arm who projects as a solid defender in right fielder. All we can really talk about is what Kjerstad looked like nearly two years ago, but by all accounts he’s healthy now and ready to hit the ground running once spring camp kicks off. His long-anticipated pro debut will give everyone, including the Orioles, a much better idea of his future. 11. Terrin Vavra, 2B Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Minnesota (COL) Age 24.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 50/60 35/35 30/35 55/55 50/50 50 Vavra isn’t very physical and likely won’t have the kind of power necessary to be an impact everyday player, but his swing is super athletic, he tracks pitches deep into the hitting zone, and we think he’ll make enough contact to be a valuable multi-positional role player capable of manning a variety of premium positions. Vavra had a statistical breakout during his junior year at Minnesota — posting a .386/.455/.614 line with 10 homers, and everything way up from his sophomore year — and has walked at an impressive 13% clip in pro ball while hitting a bunch of doubles and swiping nearly 30 bags in just about a full season’s worth of plate appearances. He is adept at picking out pitches he can drive until he has to expand with two strikes, peppering the middle of the diamond with liners. He has 35-grade raw power, but lefty sticks with Vavra’s feel for contact who can also play up the middle (both middle infield spots and, starting in 2021, center field) tend to be luxury utility types. 40+ FV Prospects 12. Leandro Arias, SS Signed: July 2nd Period, 2022 from Dominican Republic (BAL) Age 17.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/60 20/45 20/40 55/60 45/60 55 Arias has a slighter build than some of the other players who ranked very highly among our 2022 international prospects, but otherwise he has a complete skill set and very favorable general profile. He’s a slick-fielding defensive shortstop with advanced feel for contact from both sides of the plate. Arias could have a huge breakout if he ever starts to fill out and add power. 13. Connor Norby, 2B Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from East Carolina (BAL) Age 21.7 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 187 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/55 40/45 30/45 50/50 40/50 40 Norby had some of the best numbers in college baseball last spring, hitting .415/.484/.659 at East Carolina while finishing the year with an impressive performance against much better competition in the postseason. Ultimately going in the second round to the Orioles, he put up a .413 OBP in 26 games at Low-A Delmarva and is already seen as one of the better pure hitters in the system. Norby doesn’t wow anyone with his tools, but he makes up for it once you watch him play. He has an outstanding approach at the plate and exceptional hand-eye coordination that generates oodles of contact with enough sneaky pop to get to double-digit home runs annually. He’s not much of a runner and he’s a fringy defender at second base, but he should be able to stay there as an offense-oriented infielder as he develops. Norby really has to hit due to his defensive inflexibility, but every indication so far is that he’s going to. 14. Cesar Prieto, 2B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2022 from Cuba (BAL) Age 22.7 Height 5′ 8″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 50/60 40/40 30/40 50/50 30/45 40 While playing pro ball in Cuba, Prieto broke Kendrys Morales‘ rookie hits record, then broke the Serie Nacional’s hit streak record (40 games) in 2020 while striking out just six times in 250 plate appearances. His swing and game resemble Eric Sogard’s, as Prieto is super compact and sprays lots of contact to all fields but doesn’t have a lot of power. He signed with Baltimore in January and projects as a quick-moving infield role-player, though if he ends up with a plus-plus hit tool, he could just play every day. 15. Drew Rom, SP Video Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from Highlands HS (KY) (BAL) Age 22.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Splitter Command Sits/Tops 40/50 50/55 45/55 45/55 88-92 / 93 It looks like the velocity is starting to arrive for Rom, the missing link to a profile that already includes bat-missing fastball shape, natural breaking ball feel, and advanced command. In logged pitch data from 2019 and ’20 instructs, Rom was averaging just 89 mph and sitting anywhere from 86-92. In 2021, he averaged 91 mph. If he grows into even average velocity, the heater’s other traits and Rom’s command will season the pitch enough to make it play like a 55- or 60-grade fastball. It has a well above-average spin rate for its velocity, nearly perfect backspin, and a flat angle that makes it tough for hitters to get on top of, and Rom’s arm action is quick and tough to time. An equally important part of Rom’s success to this point — he’s notched a career 2.89 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 54 outings since 2018 — has been his breaking ball command. He can vary shape and locate to his glove side, and Rom has a crude split/change with late dive that has a shot to miss bats since arm actions like this tend to eventually yield deceptive changeups. Tracking like a fifth starter throughout his first four seasons in pro ball, the arrow is officially pointing up on Rom’s arm strength. He has a shot to break out in 2022. 16. Reed Trimble, CF Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from Southern Mississippi (BAL) Age 21.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 50/55 35/50 60/60 45/60 55 Trimble hit .345/.414/.638 during his pre-draft spring and the Southern Miss schedule was no cakewalk even though they’re a mid-major: it included 12 games against eventual regional host and top-16 team Louisiana Tech, as well as games against Mississippi State, Alabama, Florida State and Ole Miss, and four against South Alabama, who made a deep regional run. Trimble does have an expansive approach and is apt to chase, but he is ultra toolsy for a smaller-framed prospect. A switch-hitter, he is an explosive rotator from both sides of the plate. He has pull-side power as a righty hitter but will take you deep to any field from the left side. Both of his swings have natural loft, but they’re not all that long because Trimble is so compact. He’s also a plus runner with gap-to-gap range in center field and an above-average arm (he can get a little carried away trying to throw guys out), so there’s room for him to profile even if the approach hurts his offensive production. Also remember that Trimble missed most of his true freshman season because of the pandemic, reducing his amateur sample size, and he walked a ton during his post-draft pro debut. He’s a toolsy stick of dynamite with more variance than is typical for a college prospect. 40 FV Prospects 17. Kyle Brnovich, SP Drafted: 8th Round, 2019 from Elon (LAA) Age 24.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/40 55/60 45/50 55/60 88-92 / 94 Brnovich fills the zone, his fastball has enough action that it isn’t easy to square up, and he has a legit out pitch in his unique, double-knuckle curveball, a traditional-looking curveball that Brnovich puts both his fore and middle fingers’ first knuckle on. The pitch snaps out of Brnovich’s hand with nearly perfect end-over-end tumble and is a real weapon despite it’s incredibly low spin rate. He’s a high-probability back-of-the-rotation guy who will eat a ton of innings because he works so efficiently. 18. Carter Baumler, SP Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Dowling Catholic HS (IA) (BAL) Age 20.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 50/55 45/55 30/50 30/45 90-92 / 94 Coming from an Iowa high school, Baumler was already a bit raw when the Orioles gave him a $1.5 million bonus as a fifth round pick in 2020 and he’s yet to pitch in a game as a pro due to Tommy John surgery. In high school, Baumler featured an effective vertical attack with a low-to-mid-90s fastball with rising action and a deep, upper-70s curveball that showcased some natural ability to spin a baseball. His changeup was rarely seen, but he showed some ability to deaden the ball. He was a two-sport star in high school and is a fantastic athlete with a repeatable delivery who tends to keep the ball in the strike zone. Still just 20 years old, Baumler has plenty of reps to make up but plenty of time to do so. He’s healthy and will be ready for minor league camp in March. 19. Darell Hernaiz, SS Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from Americas HS (TX) (BAL) Age 20.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/50 45/55 30/45 50/45 40/50 55 While his numbers during his full-season debut are merely decent, Hernaiz’s 2021 campaign excited the Orioles, as he entered professional baseball as a raw talent and was one of the youngest players in the Low-A East, taking only eight plate appearances against pitchers younger than he was. Hernaiz has plenty of tools and great makeup, which should help those tools actualize. He’s a plus runner with graceful defensive actions, and while he’s been primarily a shortstop so far, some wonder if he’ll need to slide left or right as his frame fills out, as he’s already much more physical than he was in high school. There’s plenty of bat speed on display here, but Hernaiz fails to really drive balls or stay through on his swing, and more than 80% of his hits in 2021 were singles. He’s a player with plenty of upside, but there’s still a good bit of time and distance between what he is now and what he could be. 20. Maikol Hernandez, SS Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Venezuela (BAL) Age 18.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/45 30/50 20/50 50/40 40/45 60 Hernandez was one of the top players from the Baltimore international class that signed in January of 2021, part of a reinvigorated international operation that lay dormant under the previous regime. While his pro debut failed to impress in terms of performance, scouting the stat line in the DSL is a dangerous undertaking and Hernandez’s numbers and underlying data improved throughout the season. Hernandez provides a rare combination of size and athleticism that fits the casting call for a modern, star-level shortstop. He has an eye-popping frame, but there are some concerns as to just how big he will be at physical maturity and if that will lead to him needing to change positions. For now, he’s more than toolsy enough to stay up the middle, with graceful actions, fundamentals beyond his years and a plus arm. Offensively, Hernandez has plus bat speed and power potential as he grows into his frame, but he’s prone to over-swinging at times and has too much pre-swing movement to give him the mechanical consistency he’ll need as he moves through the system. Hernandez has a massive ceiling, but we are still years away from knowing what his chances of reaching it are. 21. Mishael Deson, LF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (COL) Age 19.6 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/60 40/55 20/50 45/30 30/50 45 An ultra-projectable teenage outfielder acquired as the Player to be Named Later from Colorado in the Mychal Givens deal, Deson has good feel for contact for someone his age and size, and he has lots of room on his frame for more weight and strength. Deson was pushed to full-season ball at the end of the 2021 season after slashing .369/.416/.515 on the complex. His swing decisions and feel for lift lag behind, but Deson won’t turn 20 until the middle of the 2022 summer, so that’s fine right now. He’s not particularly explosive and obviously looks destined for an outfield corner now that he’s started to fill out a little bit. There will need to be a hit/power combination here for Deson to profile but the most important aspect of that combination seems to be present, and Deson’s frame makes him very likely to end up with more power as he matures. 22. Mike Baumann, SIRP Drafted: 3rd Round, 2017 from Jacksonville (BAL) Age 26.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 70/70 45/45 40/45 40/40 92-95 / 97 Baumann’s 2020 ended with a flexor strain but all of his velocity was back in ’21, when he was once again sitting in the 93-95 mph range. The length of Baumann’s arm action and his delivery’s violence give him a relief look, but he developed four distinct pitches and threw enough strikes in 2019 to convince a large swath of the industry he could start. While Baumann throws pretty hard and has a nasty slider, he doesn’t really generate any in-zone whiffs, and barely any whiffs at all with his changeup and curveball. That pushes him comfortably into the bullpen for us, though a velo spike out of the ‘pen could mean high-leverage relief. 23. Joseph Ortiz, SS Video Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from New Mexico State (BAL) Age 23.6 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/45 40/40 30/35 55/55 55/60 55 Ortiz put up some silly offensive numbers as an amateur, including a .422/.474/.697 line as a college junior. But that performance took place at New Mexico State, a school that produces silly numbers across the board due to the offensive environment, which is the best in college baseball. The Orioles selected Ortiz in the fourth round based just as much on his defensive prowess, and he’s lived up to expectations so far as a pro. Ortiz is a plus defender anywhere in the dirt who makes up for a lack of twitch with outstanding instincts, strong fundamentals and a plus arm. He has a decent approach and a feel for contact, but he rarely impacts the baseball, which limits his offensive upside. Despite hitting from the right side, he struggles against left-handed pitching and tends to be much more effective against fastballs as opposed to off-speed pitches. The Orioles have given him plenty of time at second and third base as a pro, which is further indication that they agree with the external projections of Ortiz as a solid utility player. 24. Anthony Servideo, SS Video Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from Ole Miss (BAL) Age 22.9 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 45/50 35/45 55/55 45/55 55 Servideo was a model darling coming out of the University of Mississippi because of his phenomenal on-base skills, and scouts liked him as a legitimate defender in the dirt who could really run. His first 20 pro games produced a bizarro batting line of .246/.489/.312 at Low-A Delmarva before his season was cut short by surgery to repair a sports hernia. Servideo had a walk rate over 20% over his last two college seasons, and that spiked to more than 30% during his brief pro debut. Obviously, he has plate discipline to spare, but he also seems to stand passively in the box looking for a walk at times. Those scenarios lead to pitcher’s counts, and there are questions about what Servideo can do when forced to swing a bat, as his bat-to-ball skills are a bit questionable and his power is well below average. He can provide good defense at both second base and shortstop and will likely play both positions if he gets to the big leagues, where he future is that of a pesky utility player who works the count. 25. Donta’ Williams, CF Drafted: 4th Round, 2021 from Arizona (BAL) Age 22.6 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding 35/55 40/40 30/35 60/60 55/60 Williams was draft-eligible in 2020 and had a good (short) pre-pandemic run, but he went unselected. He repeated his performance in 2021, walking more than he struck out while playing a solid center field and hitting for doubles power at hitter-friendly Hi Corbett Field. Williams has a simple cut and peppers the middle of the field with liners. He runs well enough to stay in center field long-term, but he has below-average power. He profiles as a traditional fourth outfielder, which might be a modern fifth outfielder. 26. Hudson Haskin, CF Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Tulane (BAL) Age 23.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/55 50/50 30/40 60/60 45/55 60 Haskin had an incredible freshman year at Tulane, but his COVID-shortened season got off to a slow start, at least in the power department. Teams wrote that off as a small-sample quirk and he still landed in the second round of the 2020 draft. His in-game power has still not returned as a pro and most feel that his funky swing is what’s preventing that from happening. Haskin is a big, athletic center fielder with a major league frame. He runs well and plays a solid center, and he should be able to stay up the middle well into his prime. His approach at the plate is good enough, but his swing generates far more line drives than loft and has some holes both up and down in the zone, leading to elevated strikeout rates. Haskin has been good, but he still frustrates evaluators because it seems like he should be better. He has a fourth outfielder floor but there is some wild variability from there. 27. Zach Watson, CF Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from LSU (BAL) Age 24.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 166 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/30 60/60 30/40 70/70 60/70 60 Watson has the kinds of tools that would be the envy of many a Top 100 prospect despite a smallish frame, but a miserable approach and ugly swing continue to be his undoing. Watson’s plus raw power and 70-grade speed give him 30/30 potential, as evidenced by his 21 home runs and 24 stolen bases in just 105 minor league games in 2021. He covers tremendous ground in center field, but his arm, while not a liability, is a bit on the fringy side. At the plate, Watson swings at far too many pitches, while his multi-part, disconnected stroke creates additional swing-and-miss issues. He’s an extreme chaser who rarely sees good counts, and his weaknesses will likely be exploited even further by advanced pitchers who are more comfortable attacking out of the zone. Watson’s tools alone make him a slam dunk fourth outfielder, but without some kind of dramatic, unexpected change in his swing decisions, that’s also going to be his ceiling. 28. Jean Pinto, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (LAA) Age 21.1 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/60 60/60 40/45 30/50 90-94 / 96 As we compile our lists, we ask our sources to tell us who they think we missed during the prior year’s version of the exercise. During this cycle, Pinto was mentioned by every single source. Pinto is one of six players on this list who Baltimore acquired from the Angels via trade, in this case for José Iglesias. He posted an 86-to-17 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 66 innings last year, but most scouts think he’s a reliever despite the sterling numbers. Pinto is short and stocky and already doesn’t have much room on his frame at age 21. He sits 90-94 mph with natural cut and carry, enabling him to attack the zone with imprecision and get away with it. Pinto’s low-80s slider has plus, two-plane action right now, while his changeup could use more velo separation from his fastball at 85-88. His frame and longer, catapult-like arm action are relief indicators, too. Pinto has a middle relief floor, with a shot at a more impactful role if his velo ticks up in shorter stints. 29. Cadyn Grenier, SS Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Oregon State (BAL) Age 25.3 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 188 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/35 50/50 35/45 70/70 50/55 60 The stout and strong Grenier is a good defensive shortstop with some raw pop and elevated peripherals. His overt physical tools — the power, straight-line speed, arm, and defensive ability — have been well-reviewed since he was in high school, and forced Nick Madrigal to move from shortstop to second base during the last year and a half of Grenier’s time with Oregon State. His odd swing hampers his ability to make contact, but because of his feel for the zone and power, Grenier’s overall offensive performance has been just shy of league average, which is pretty good for such a sound middle infield defender. He’s in a crowded field of role-playing prospects and was left off Baltimore’s 40-man, so consider Grenier upper-level depth for now, but gloves like his tend to find their way onto a big league bench. 30. Jahmai Jones, 2B Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from Wesleyan HS (GA) (LAA) Age 24.5 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 45/45 50/50 40/40 60/60 35/35 45 Jones has been lauded for his tools since he was selected in the second round of the 2015 draft and while he began to tap into his raw power in 2021, his game still hasn’t really come together and his brief big league stint inspired more questions than answers about his future. Jones has always enticed with his combination of plus speed and strength. He’s an eye-catching athlete, but it hasn’t all translated into baseball ability. He can impact a baseball, but some length in his swing creates contact issues and big league pitchers were able to blow him away with good velocity. For the most part, his power surge has come against left-handed pitching, while righties can still tie him up on the inner half. He’s been shuttled between second base and the outfield as a pro and while he’s capable of flashy plays in the dirt, he also boots too many routine plays and lacks the quality jumps needed to be effective in center field. The upside is here for a permanent big league role, but it’s looking more and more like an up-and-down career is in the cards for Jones. 31. Alexander Wells, SP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Australia (BAL) Age 25.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 30/30 45/45 50/50 40/45 55/70 86-89 / 91 How good does a pitcher’s secondary stuff and command need to be to succeed in today’s game with an upper-80s fastball? We may be about to find out. Baltimore’s rebuild should give Wells an opportunity to perform six innings’ worth of surgery every fifth day. His fastball only sits 87-89 mph but it has plus-plus vertical movement and Wells locates it up and to his glove side with remarkable consistency. His most-used secondary pitch is a cartoonish, low-70s curveball, which wreaks havoc on hitters’ timing and balance, often making them look like basketball players trying not to commit a lane violation. His slider is more typical-looking (in the 78-80 mph area), while Wells’ changeup is entirely reliant on his command. All of these pitches live in areas where they’re either tough to hit or not hittable at all, allowing for fifth starter projection despite below-average stuff. 35+ FV Prospects 32. Brandon Young, SP Undrafted Free Agent, 2020 (BAL) Age 23.5 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 45/50 55/55 50/55 30/50 91-94 / 95 An undrafted senior (he spent two years at Howard JC, then two at University of Louisiana-Lafayette) from 2020, Young had a great debut season split between Low- and High-A, striking out a third of the hitters he faced while working about four innings per start. Young mixes in a changeup, curveball, and slider very evenly around his fastball, which sits 93 mph. His curveball has nearly elite spin, but Young actually deployed his mid-80s changeup a little more frequently than Uncle Charlie last year, and his bevy of offerings makes him unpredictable. His stuff quality will be stress-tested at the upper levels, but Young looks like a potential backend starter, which would be a great outcome for an undrafted free agent. 33. John Rhodes, 3B Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Kentucky (BAL) Age 21.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/35 50/55 30/45 50/50 30/40 55 Originally set to be eligible in 2022, Rhodes became eligible for the 2021 draft when the selection date moved due to COVID. Remember, sophomores are eligible to be picked if they turn 21 within 45 days of the draft, and Rhodes was one of a few prospects with an August birthday who benefitted from the shift. He entered the year as a young-for-the-class infielder coming off a strong shortened 2020 season. Rhodes’ swing is grooved and he swung and missed in the zone a lot in 2021, but he still reached base at a .400 clip and slugged a shade over .500 thanks to bat speed rather than lift in the swing. This is an athletic young player with experience at several different positions. Rhodes caught in high school but moved off the position due to a broken back. He played both infield corners and all three outfield positions at Kentucky but was exclusively 1B/LF/RF during his first pro summer. He could be a power-centric, multi-positional player but there’s risk the hit tool bottoms out the profile here, and if Rhodes is limited to first base and the outfield corners, it’s going to be tough for him to profile as anything more than a 40. Still, he’s a young, athletic prospect with two years of good statistical performance in the SEC backing up the visual evaluation of his power, so he’s a developmental prospect to watch. 34. Felix Bautista, SIRP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic (MIA) Age 26.6 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Splitter Command Sits/Tops 70/70 45/45 30/35 93-98 / 100 Bautista has elite arm strength (sitting 97-99 mph and touching 101) and a power curveball in the 82-85 mph range, which has good depth for a pitch at that velocity. He also has very little idea of where they are going, which has been the case for Bautista’s entire career. So wild was Bautista that, after his second season with Miami back in 2014, he was released after walking nearly two batters per inning that year. He spent a combined four years in the DSL between Miami and Baltimore, which makes his 2021-22 offseason add to Baltimore’s 40-man roster an incredible achievement for both Bautista and the Orioles’ dev group. Notes from 2019 on Bautista have him utilizing a splitter, so the curveball is fairly new here. This is a huge big league fastball, enough to pitch in a lower-leverage, up/down relief role due to the inconsistency of Bautista’s control. 35. Bryan Baker, SIRP Drafted: 11th Round, 2016 from North Florida (COL) Age 27.2 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 245 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 40/40 45/50 30/30 96-97 / 99 Baker was drafted by the Rockies and traded to Toronto as the PTBNL in the Seunghwan Oh 오승환 deal. He reached Triple-A with the Blue Jays in 2019 and was back there for all of ’21, where his walk rate was dialed down into a more palatable range. He made his big league debut in early September with Toronto. He was eventually squeezed off the Jays roster, though, and was claimed off waivers by Baltimore in November 2021. Baker throws really hard, sitting 96-97 mph and touching 99, which is up two ticks from 2019 when he was only sitting 94. His secondary stuff is solid: a mid-80s changeup garners most of the whiffs while Baker’s slider relies on its low-90s velocity. If the strike-throwing improvements hold, then Baker will grab hold of a middle relief job rather than spending the next couple of years going back and forth between Baltimore and Norfolk. 36. Logan Gillaspie, MIRP Video Independent Ball, 2018 (MIL) Age 24.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 45/50 45/45 40/45 40/40 94-97 / 98 Gillaspie is a converted high school catcher who spent a little bit of time at a JUCO, then quickly began to cut his teeth in indy ball at age 20. His arm strength grew as he gained exposure to more cogent training programs and he went from sitting in the upper-80s to touching the mid-90s during United Shore League All-Star Game in 2018. The Brewers, who are among the best teams at plucking prospects out of indy ball, signed Gillaspie on the strength of that look; he pitched in Milwaukee’s system for a couple of years before being released after 2019. He rehabbed a knee issue during the early part of the pandemic and caught on with Baltimore in the middle of 2021, signed in June, and was thrown right into the fire at High-A, where Gillaspie thrived and was quickly promoted to (and missed bats at) Double-A Bowie. He then came to the Arizona Fall League, where he was seen by the whole industry. In a league thin on pitching, he stood out. Gillaspie would often sit 94-97 mph and touch 98 during his fall outings, and he’d bend in a bevy of fringe secondary pitches. The depth of his repertoire is probably enough to keep hitters at bay in a long relief role. He’s a great story and now that he’s on Baltimore’s 40-man, he’s likely to debut as a bulk middle-inning reliever in 2022. 37. Carlos Tavera, MIRP Drafted: 5th Round, 2021 from UT Arlington (BAL) Age 23.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 45/45 60/60 35/50 90-94 / 95 He was walk-prone in a small post-draft sample but Tavera threw strikes in college and is likely to be developed as a starter in pro ball, at least for a while. Synergy Sports has his average fastball velocity at 91 mph from prior to the draft, but summer pitch data had him averaging 94. Tavera’s fastball has big carry, too, but his money pitch is a dastardly changeup with trapdoor action. His sliders are okay when they’re located. The velo bump came in a small sample after Tavera had a couple months away from pitching, and he was working in shorter outings. It’s not certain that it will hold, but he stands a chance to race up this list if it does. If not, then the deceptive elements of Tavera’s fastball are better suited for working once through a lineup. 38. Morgan McSweeney, SIRP Drafted: 17th Round, 2019 from Wake Forest (BAL) Age 24.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 55/55 60/60 30/40 94-96 / 97 Another good prospect out of Wake Forest, McSweeney reached Double-A in 2021, his first full season, and struck out a batter per inning, often while working two frames at a time. He enjoyed a velo spike in 2021 and went from maxing out around 95 mph in ’19 to sitting 95 last season. He also has a plus slider with big vertical depth and near elite spin rates. Because it’s just two pitches, McSweeney projects in a single-inning relief role. If he can remedy some strike-throwing consistency issues, he could just be a 40 FV middle reliever, but for now he looks like an up/down type. 39. Tyler Burch, SIRP Undrafted Free Agent, 2019 (PHI) Age 24.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 55/55 60/60 30/40 93-96 / 97 An undrafted free agent signed by the Phillies in 2019 out of NAIA powerhouse Lewis and Clark State, Burch has missed plenty of bats and thrown plenty of strikes so far as a professional; he was acquired by Baltimore at the 2021 trade deadline for Freddy Galvis. Burch has the stuff out of the bullpen to support his impressive numbers. His fastball isn’t overwhelming, but it sits at a solid 93-95 mph with the kind of hopping action that the Orioles covet. He pounds the zone early with his fastball, using it to get ahead in the count so he can break out a plus low-to-mid-80s slider with impressive two-plane break. Burch has shown a tendency to not elevate his fastball enough, leading to some home run problems, but he’s ready to return to Double-A to start the year, and while a 2022 major league debut is unlikely, isn’t out of the question. His ceiling is likely that of a good middle reliever. 40. Keagan Gillies, SIRP Drafted: 15th Round, 2021 from Tulane (BAL) Age 24.0 Height 6′ 8″ Weight 255 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 40/45 45/50 30/30 30/40 92-96 / 98 Gillies was a fifth year senior sign who had a big velo boost after he transformed his body later in his college career. He’s built like a construction crane at a lanky 6-foot-8 and went from topping out at around 92 mph to pumping some 98s, and the pitch has big carry. At least one of Gillies’ two seldom-used breaking balls will need to develop (per Synergy Sports, he threw 73% fastballs in 2021) for him to even be a big league reliever, but his curveball has promising vertical shape. He’ll also need to hold his velo all year, since it fell off closer to the draft and Baltimore only allowed him to throw one inning in affiliated ball before Gillies was part of their fall camp. He’s a late-blooming sleeper relief prospect. 41. Tyler Nevin, 1B Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Poway HS (CA) (COL) Age 24.7 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 50/55 50/50 40/40 30/30 40/40 50 The 2021 season was a pivotal one for Nevin, his first in the Orioles org after he was traded from Colorado as part of the Mychal Givens deal in ’20. Nevin’s terrific feel to hit led to lots of aesthetically-pleasing doubles contact while he was a Rockie, but the game power it generated was insufficient as Nevin trended down the defensive spectrum into the 1B/LF area due to arm strength and accuracy issues. A fresh start with Baltimore increased the possibility of a shift in Nevin’s approach and while his swing doesn’t have overt differences compared to the 2019 version, his batted ball output was more air-oriented in ’21 than ever before. He set a career-high in homers (16) with Norfolk, but all the fly balls helped tank his BABIP and he slashed .227/.305/.392 as a 24-year-old. Nevin’s feel to hit is still good, his swing is balanced and deft, he makes contact all over the zone and he’s especially adept at opening his hips and ambushing pitches on the middle third. He lacks the power typical of a player fit for a part-time corner role but he hits enough to project into a low-end version of that role for a while, and he’s a candidate for eventual transition to a foreign pro league. 42. Kevin Smith, SP Drafted: 7th Round, 2018 from Georgia (NYM) Age 24.7 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/40 55/55 45/50 45/50 87-90 / 92 Smith is a low-slot lefty with a long-arcing, low-80s slider, a beautiful pitch with gigantic sweeping action. His command of that pitch is great and those elements alone make him a lefty-extinguishing bullpen option, at least. He doesn’t throw very hard, only about 90-92 mph, mixing in four- and two-seamers. Righties get a long look at that fastball and Smith’s changeup isn’t quite good enough to keep them off it. LOOGYs don’t really exist anymore, and that’s what Smith presents as at a glance, especially after a command/control regression in 2021. His repertoire depth puts him in the sixth-to-eighth starter mix (teams tend to need those, too) or perhaps in a bulk middle-inning role. 43. Cole Uvila, SIRP Drafted: 40th Round, 2018 from Georgia Gwinnett College (TEX) Age 28.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 206 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/55 50/50 55/55 30/40 93-95 / 97 A 40th round pick of the Rangers who came to Baltimore via the minor league Rule 5 draft, Uvila’s spin rates were down a couple hundred rpm in 2021 compared to ’19, when he looked like a three-pitch relief prospect. His velo, however, is up. He may now have to lean more heavily on his screwball-style changeup; the deceptive elements of his delivery will help. He’s in an up/down relief bucket now rather than squarely in a big league bullpen. 44. Ignacio Feliz, SP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (CLE) Age 22.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/45 50/55 40/50 40/50 86-90 / 92 The 22-year-old converted shortstop had a little bit of a velo bump in 2021, going from sitting 87-92 mph in 2019 to sitting more 91-93. While small-framed, Feliz is a plus on-mound athlete and his pitches have good shape and action, especially his curveball. There’s a possibility for long-term pitch development here because Feliz is so athletic, still fairly new to pitching, and now on his third org (he went from Cleveland to San Diego in a 40-man crunch deal, then to Baltimore in the minor league Rule 5), but he is admittedly a long-shot prospect for whom we have a soft spot. 45. Isaac Mattson, SIRP Drafted: 19th Round, 2017 from Pittsburgh (LAA) Age 26.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/55 40/40 45/50 40/40 45/45 92-94 / 96 Ones of the many pitchers who came back from the Angels for Dylan Bundy, Mattson pitched very well early in the year at Triple-A Norfolk before struggling in a small big league sample during his debut. He was shut down for most of the second half with a shoulder injury but returned to Triple-A in late September with velo in his usual 91-95 mph range. Mattson seemed to add a second breaking ball in 2021, as he’d show you an upper-70s curve with vertical shape and a mid-80s slider with lateral shape. While breaking ball dev is something to monitor, Mattson’s fastball’s riding life is the carrying trait here and has him set to be an up/down contributor in 2022. Other Prospects of Note Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category. Upper-Level Pitching Depth Zach Peek, RHP Garrett Stallings, RHP Zac Lowther, LHP Adam Stauffer, RHP Rickey Ramirez, RHP Nolan Hoffman, RHP Peek and Stallings are the final acquisitions from the Angels who you’ll read about on this list. Peek has two breaking balls that spin at 3,000 rpm and he throws a ton of strikes, but the visual evaluations of his stuff are more vanilla and he has starter No. 7-10 projection. So does Stallings, who sits about 90 mph and has five pitches. Lowther is a former FanGraphs fave due to his delivery’s deceptive elements but they haven’t stood up to upper-level bats and he now a depth evaluation, too. Stauffer, a former high school selection out of Coatesville, PA, has put up great numbers in a long relief role but nobody — neither eyeball scouts, nor data folks — can figure out how he’s doing it. The 23-year-old doesn’t have an especially weird delivery or anything, but he has a career 3.27 ERA and great strikeout-to-walk ratios for the last couple of years. Ramirez, 25, and Hoffman, 24, are both former minor league Rule 5 picks, with Hoffman going first overall this offseason. Ramirez, picked from Minnesota, has a bevy of pitches, some of which have plus-plus spin, and he sits 94. He was old for A-ball in 2021. Hoffman is a side-armer whose fastball has huge tailing action, and he throws strikes with it. He has a bullpen shot. Young International Players to Watch Braylin Tavera, OF Anderson De Los Santos, 3B Moises Ramirez, 3B Isaac De Leon, SS Tavera got $1.7 million a few weeks ago and is a well-rounded corner outfield prospect with medium projection. De Los Santos and Ramirez are both somewhat mature teenage third base prospects who performed in the DSL and FCL, respectively. De Leon didn’t perform with the bat in 2021 but scouts still like his glove and body projection. Catching Depth Samuel Basallo, C Creed Willems, C Connor Pavolony, C Maverick Handley, C Basallo was the youngest prospect on Baltimore’s DSL team and hit for power down there. He has a low-ball swing with above-average bat speed but is physically maxed out already at 17. Willems is a stout over-slot high school draftee with power and risk of moving to first base. Pavolony and Handley were college draftees who had good careers at huge schools. Handley (Stanford) is the better catch-and-throw athlete, while Pavolony (Tennessee) has some power and a great frame. Developmental Arms Raul Rangel, RHP Alejandro Mendez, RHP Dylan Heid, RHP Justin Armbruester, RHP Deivy Cruz, LHP Juan De Los Santos, RHP There was support for Rangel as high as the 40 FV tier. He’s a projectable teenage righty with a delivery that drew mixed reviews. He throws strikes, though, and already sits 90-93 mph at age 19, which pairs with a changeup that flashes plus and a workable slider. Mendez, 20, is pure arm strength, sitting 96 and touching 100. Heid was the O’s 11th rounder out of tiny Pittsburgh-Johnstown. He sits in the low-90s with backspin/carry elements, can turn over a changeup quite well, and has a fringe slider. Armbruester is a deceptive righty out of New Mexico, garnering in-zone whiffs despite sitting 90-92. He and Heid are potential arrow-up types with pro dev tools at their disposal. Cruz is a super loose, athletic 17-year-old lefty who carved the DSL sitting 86-87 with a shapely slider. He’s a deep athletic projection guy at this point. De Los Santos, 19, pitched on the complex sitting 89-94 with cut, a mid-80s slider, and a change that flashes average. Water-Carrying Raw Power J.D. Mundy, DH Andrew Daschbach, 1B TT Bowens, 1B Cristopher Cespedes, RF Isaac Bellony, 1B This entire group is at or near the bottom of the defensive spectrum and has a power-over-hit offensive profile. Mundy, 23, spent some time at Virginia Tech before transferring to Radford, where he was a senior sign. He’s a husky lefty power bat with big early-career performance in a sample that’s a little small in part due to a long IL stint. Daschbach hit for power at Stanford and had 16 homers in 2021, but struck out 35% of the time as a 24-year-old in A-ball. Bowens, 23, was a senior sign out of Central Connecticut State, the second alum of that school in FanGraphs prospect list history (J.P. Sportman of the A’s was the other), who also performed consistently in college and now in A-ball. Cespedes, 23, had some of the bigger exit velos in the 2019 minors while in Cleveland’s system, and was a Baltimore minor league Rule 5 pick. He’s still hitting for power despite a poor approach. Bellony, a 20-year-old switch hitter from the island of St. Thomas, is the most projectable of this group but also the farthest away. System Overview Nobody promised that the turnaround would be quick when Mike Elias became the general manager of the Baltimore Orioles prior to the 2019 season. Instead of focusing on the quality of the major league roster, Elias and company put all of their efforts into generating a productive player pipeline. They built one of the better analytics groups in the game, overhauled their player development system, brought modernity to their draft process, and built an international operation from scratch, including a new complex in the Dominican Republic that is scheduled to open in 2023. Nonetheless, three years in, a composite winning percentage of .341 at the big league level has created some restlessness among Orioles fans, who want to see results and understandably so; the club hasn’t made the playoffs since 2016 and has finished in the American League East’s basement eight times in the last 15 seasons. 2022 represents the year when the first returns from all that recent work should start to manifest on the field in Baltimore. Nobody is saying the Orioles are going to win the division this year; nobody is saying they’ll compete for a playoff spot or even have a winning record. But what we should expect is a team that finally has some exciting young players on the major league roster, players who can provide optimism for the future of the franchise, and as something more than trade chips. Outside of Adley Rutschman and Grayson Rodriguez, this isn’t an especially star-studded system, but it’s certainly a deep one and it’s hard to criticize any collection of minor leaguers that features both the best overall prospect in the game as well as the best pitcher, both of whom should see Camden Yards this year. But that’s been Elias’ game since he ran the draft with the Astros: find as many big leaguers as possible, even if they don’t have overly-high upside at the time, and let some of them surprise you by exceeding expectations. That’s not to say that the current regime is overly conservative when it comes to player acquisition. While the Orioles are still college-centric drafters, of the 11 seven-figure-or-higher bonuses the team has given out over the last three years, four have gone to prep talents, and the club hasn’t shied away from spending equally large sums in the even riskier international market. There are certainly some safety plays here, but the team isn’t afraid to diversify either. The Orioles finished 48 games out of first place in the division in 2021, but perhaps even more jarring is the fact that they were 39 games out of fourth place. It just goes to show that even with the optimism this system is likely to inspire in long-suffering fans in 2022, the road to actually mattering in the standings remains a long and arduous one.