Evaluating the 2016 Prospects: Baltimore Orioles

What the Orioles lack in sure-thing big-league prospects, they make up for with an impressive collection of back-end starters, relievers and fringe regular/bench guys. At the top of the list are the same guys as last year, with Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey headlining the future hopes of a cost-controlled stable of young players. Unfortunately, both are dealing with time missed due to injuries, and the O’s will have to determine how to deal with Bundy’s conundrum of not being quite ready to stick in the majors but being out of options.

Jomar Reyes and Chance Sisco are the greatest hope for the Orioles to develop a cornerstone position player, though not without risk. Sisco has defensive shortcomings and questionable power projection, and Reyes just finished up playing in A-ball as an 18-year-old. Still, what has made their Major League roster fun to watch with Dan Duquette at the helm has been their propensity for putting bench players and fringy starters into positions where they are able to thrive. Though the overall picture may leave this farm system looking grim, there probably isn’t a better team than the Orioles at getting the most out of what they have to stay competitive.

Previous Evaluating the Prospects: Diamondbacks, Braves

Here’s the primer for the series and my scouting thoughts in general. The grades I put on players heavily weight the functionality of each tool in game situations, rather than just pure tool grades. Here is a table to understand the position player grades:

Scouting Grades in Context: Hitters
Grade Tool Is Called Batting Average HR ISO Baserunning Runs Fielding Runs
80 80 0.320 40 0.300 12 30
75 0.310 35-40 0.275 10 25
70 Plus Plus 0.300 30-35 0.250 8 20
65 0.290 27-30 0.225 6 15
60 Plus 0.280 23-27 0.200 4 10
55 Above Average 0.270 19-22 0.175 2 5
50 Average 0.260 15-18 0.150 0 0
45 Below Average 0.250 12-15 0.125 -2 -5
40 0.240 8-12 0.100 -4 -10
35 0.230 5-8 0.075 -6 -15
30 0.220 3-5 0.050 -8 -20

As well as one to understand what the overall grades approximate:

Scouting Grades in Context: Overall
Grade Hitter Starting Pitcher Relief Pitcher WAR
80 Top 1-2 #1 Starter —- 7
75 Top 2-3 #1 —- 6
70 Top 5 #1/2 —- 5
65 All-Star #2/3 —- 4
60 Plus #3 High Closer 3
55 Above Avg #3/4 Mid Closer 2.5
50 Avg Regular #4 Low CL/High SU 2
45 Platoon/Util #5 Low Setup 1.5
40 Bench Swing/Spot SP Middle RP 1
35 Emergency Call-Up Emergency Call-Up Emergency Call-Up 0
30 *Organizational *Organizational *Organizational -1

One other difference for the way I’ll be communicating scouting grades to you is the presence of three numbers on each tool instead of just two. The first number is the current grade. The second number is the likely future grade; or, if you prefer percentiles, call this the 50th percentile projection. The third number is the ceiling grade, or 90th percentile projection, to help demonstrate the volatility and raw potential of a tool. I feel this gives readers a better sense of the possible outcomes a player could achieve, and more information to understand my thoughts on the likelihood of reaching those levels.

In the biographical information, level refers to where they finished the year, unless they were sent down for injury rehab or other extraneous reasons. Ages are listed as of April 1, 2016. You can also find each player’s previous rank from Kiley’s list last year. Below, Dave Cameron shares his thoughts on the general state of the organization. Returning for his popular cameo, Carson Cistulli picks his favorite fringe prospect toward the end of the list. Next up will be the Boston Red Sox.

Organizational Overview
A streak of three straight winning seasons for the Orioles ended in 2015, as they finished right at .500, and are now at something of a crossroads; with major parts of the roster likely to depart in free agency and no real internal candidates to fill the holes those moves will create, it may very well be time for the Orioles to take a step back and rebuild. But with a prime-aged Adam Jones and a surging Manny Machado, it’s always easy to see the team as being capable of making another run, and so far this winter, Dan Duquette doesn’t seem inclined to look to the future. How aggressively the team pursues short-term upgrades, versus trying to bolster the internal stock of talent while being realistic about their 2016 chances, may go a long way to determining how quickly the Orioles can get back into the playoff picture.

50+ FV Prospects

Video courtesy of Mick Reinhard

1. Dylan Bundy, RHP
Current Level/Age: High-A/23.4, 6’1/195, B/R
Acquired: Drafted 4th overall (1st round) in 2011 out of Oklahoma HS by BAL for $4 million bonus
Previous Rank: 1

Since he went down for Tommy John surgery in June 2013, Bundy has had a rough time getting consistent development time under his belt. This year he made eight starts in Double-A before shoulder calcifications ended his season. He made enough progress toward the end of the 2015 season to throw two innings in the Arizona Fall League, which I was fortunate enough to see.

While his raw stuff was unimpressive compared to his previous levels, I was surprised to see how well he commanded his pitches. He didn’t look as fluid on the mound as before his surgery, in part due to a tighter midsection that didn’t allow for proper sequencing, but mostly because he just didn’t look like he was trying to air it out, understandably.

His fastball topped out at 94 with little movement but was well-spotted, and his slider had just enough break to be interesting, delivered with good arm speed. Despite being out of games since May, he showed feel for his curveball and changeup, though they too were not crisp in the movement department.

Bundy’s future basically sits in the same place as it did last offseason; he has a very high top-end potential, but getting healthy will be the key to reaching it. There are a couple twists, first of all that his command may be stepping forward despite the lost development time. Also, he is out of options this year, so the Orioles will have to make decisions quickly regarding his potential contributions.

He was shut down before throwing any more this fall due to forearm tightness, so we really don’t know what we’re going to get this year from him. If he can finally get healthy, he may have enough command and stuff even in a low-effort capacity to be a big league starter or valuable reliever. I can envision a scenario where he starts in the bullpen and progresses into the rotation as he gets stronger this year, but there’s pressure on his timeline being out of minor league options this season.

Fastball: 92-93 (94) 50/55/65 Curveball: 45/50/60 Changeup: 45/50/55 Slider: 45/55/65 Command: 50/55/60
Overall (Current, Likely Future, Ceiling): 50/55/65

Video courtesy of Mike Newman

2. Hunter Harvey, RHP
Current Level/Age: A/21.3, 6’3”/175, R/R
Acquired: Drafted 22nd overall (1st round) in 2013 out of North Carolina HS by BAL for $1.947 million bonus
Previous Rank: 2

Harvey was injured on a comebacker that fractured his right fibula in spring training, then suffered through elbow pain and discomfort the rest of the year. The most recent visit to Dr. James Andrews was a positive one, with Harvey’s elbow MRI coming back clean. Still, he hasn’t thrown a competitive minor league pitch since the end of July 2014.

When he’s healthy, he has an impressive fastball and curveball combo, and a changeup that lags behind but has potential. Though he’s been up to 93-97 on the fastball, we’ll have to see what he can come back with after so much time off, or if he’ll be able to go max effort without re-irritating his ailments. For now, the grades reflect where I would put him if his health was assured.

Mechanically, he has a few issues, but nothing big enough to really point to as a major contributor to his elbow problems. He lands closed and doesn’t open his hips until really late in his delivery, making the last portion of his throws rushed and a bit inconsistent in direction. He has some other small things which I think are mostly related to needing to develop physically, and he has a pretty clean arm action.

The Orioles say Harvey’s rehab is going well, and that he should be ready for the start of the 2016 season. He’s lost a lot of development time, but still has time to get back on track, only being 21 years old at the start of the season.

Fastball: 50/60/70 Curveball: 45/55/60 Changeup: 35/45/50 Command: 40/50/55
Overall: 40/55/65

Video courtesy of Tucker Blair

3. Jomar Reyes, 3B
Current Level/Age: A/19.1, 6’3”/220, R/R
Acquired: Signed in 2014 out of Dominican Republic by BAL for $350,000 bonus
Previous Rank: 6

After a short repeat in the Gulf Coast League, Reyes jumped into A-level Delmarva, where he more than held his own as an 18-year-old. Drawing praise for his raw power, he tallied 27 doubles and 5 homers in 335 plate appearances. He also works counts well and has a good idea at the plate, a good sign for a young, developing power hitter.

Being so young, he does have a tendency to force the barrel through the ball instead of letting it release naturally. That likely comes from Reyes trying to do too much as an unproven talent, but it is something that will require intentional work to improve. The over-manipulation of his barrel needs to be a focus, both from a performance standpoint and also in light of his broken hamate at the end of instructs a few weeks ago.

Reyes has very explosive hips and quick hands, without needing much effort to drive the ball. He has a swing path built for getting balls in the air, and as he learns to trust his strength rather than trying to force it he could become a very dangerous major league hitter. There is some risk if he is unable to make that adjustment, and his future grades reflect that possibility. His overall feel for hitting leaves me confident in him going forward at the plate.

I posted his listed height and weight, though as Kiley pointed out in last year’s list, he is estimated to be a few inches taller and ~20 pounds heavier since his official size was noted. A move to first base won’t hurt his status as a prospect if the rest of his profile develops as hoped, though it would be fun to see him use his plus arm stength at a less-crowded, “higher-skilled” position.

Hit: 30/55/65 Power: 35/55/70 Run: 35/35/35 Field: 45/45/45 Throw: 55/55/60
Overall: 30/55/65

Video courtesy of Craig Goldstein

4. Mychal Givens, RHP
Current Level/Age: MLB/25.9, 6’0”/210, R/R
Acquired: Drafted 54th overall (2nd round) in 2009 out of Florida HS by BAL for $800,000 bonus
Previous Rank: NA

Givens made quite an impression as a bullpen prospect this season after making the switch from shortstop in 2013. He had the distinction of only giving up two homers in 87+ innings between Double-A and the major leagues, with impressive control. His command is currently average to slightly above, but the vast improvement from his 2014 showing gives hope he has more left to give as he continues acclimating to pitching full-time.

Givens throws from a sidearm slot, though he doesn’t have the corresponding shoulder tilt most hurlers use to get the arm as low as he does. Though many pitchers with a low slot have platoon issues, Givens hasn’t had any issues getting lefties out at a good clip. It could be the novelty of his unique delivery that has granted him early success against opposite-handed batters, but I see a bit more deception from him than many others with similar releases.

He has shown solid consistency with his delivery, with an arm action that is natural to him. He has great sequencing with his lower half, with some stiffness in his shoulders limiting the ease of his arm’s finish. His two primary offerings are a plus fastball and an above-average slider, with a below-average changeup thrown in the mix against lefties. He did throw some cut-fastballs sparingly this year, which could be a pitch that helps ensure his ability to get left-handers out.

Overall, Givens has been able to really limit the quality of contact from opposing batters, and profiles as at least a solid righty setup guy with closing potential. If he can continue to hone his command a tick higher, or develop his changeup to more acceptable levels, he could really be a shutdown pitcher in the back of any bullpen.

Fastball: 90-96 60/60/65 Slider: 55/55/60 Changeup: 45/45/50 Command: 50+/55/60
Overall: 50/50/60

45+ FV Prospects

5. Chris Lee, LHP, VIDEO

Lee was acquired from the Astros earlier this season. A source with the Orioles said he sat 87-90 mph in Frederick with a good breaking ball and a decent change but not enough command. He moved to Double-A and changed his bullpen routines, coinciding with a big velocity jump on his fastball and slider. At the end of instructs, he was sitting 95 and touching 97-98 with a plus slider and changeup.

He has a lean, tall body with a quick arm. He can get too stiff with his front side, and will have continue working on his command. I’d like to see him against hitters again before going crazy on the ranking, but it sounds like Lee has a good chance of jumping up this list even further with his recent improvements. The grades here are a mix based on what he was in the season and what he’s reported to be now and in the future.

Fastball: 50/60/65 Slider: 45/55/60 Changeup: 45/50/60 Command: 40/45/55
Overall: 40/45-50/60

6. Chance Sisco, C, VIDEO

Sisco is a bat-first catcher who is in the conversation for top prospect in the system according to a team source. I’m a little hesitant to go that far with him, since I have concerns about how far his defense and power will develop. In Arizona this fall, I timed a couple throws to second right around 2.0 seconds, despite his below-average feet. I don’t see a ton of room for growth in his footwork, since across all parts of his game his upper body actions are much more projectable than his lower half.

Against AFL competition, Sisco looked very choppy with his swing with an easy-going approach. He doesn’t have much game power except to his pull side, but he really has to turn on the ball, and the ball carries poorly due to his swing path. He has looked more level in the past, though he’s consistently been a low line-drive hitter.

It should be noted that team sources said he was tired after a long season by the time I saw him in Arizona, and are big believers in his bat. I personally doubt he changes much given the success he’s had hitting for average and getting on base with his current approach.

Though he makes a ton of contact and has a good eye at the plate, his wavering swing path makes me want to grade him lower than where he could end up. The 55 hit grade takes into account the positives of his abilities to barrel up the ball and take his walks, as well as the negatives of a steep swing plane and a lack of enough power to make pitchers pitch around him at higher levels.

If he can continue squaring the ball up against better offerings, the 65 ceiling grade I have on him may end up being a tick low. Spending this season in Double-A and Triple-A will give us a clearer outlook on how far his bat can carry him.

Hit: 40/55/65 Power: 30/35+/50 Run: 35/35/40 Field: 45/50/55 Throw: 45/50/50
Overall: 35/45/60

7. David Hess, RHP VIDEO

Armed with a fastball that works in the low to mid-90s with great life, Hess has thrown enough strikes to make the Orioles very happy taking him in the fifth round in 2014. He made it to Double-A Bowie for a couple starts at the end of the season, and adds another interesting potential arm to the Orioles staff of the future.

His fastball has been tough enough to hit by itself that he hasn’t had to be as sharp with his offspeed pitches to get minor league hitters out to this point, touching 97 this year. His curveball shows flashes of being an above-average to plus pitch, but his release, arm speed and slot are different on all his secondary offerings that advanced hitters will be able to recognize them easily without more refinement.

He doesn’t have the best sequencing in his delivery, with Hess’ arm strength being the biggest contributor to his motion, throwing through a closed lower half that gets pulled around by his arm. His arm finishes awkwardly with a lot of effort and recoil at the end of his follow-through.

The effort with which Hess throws, coupled with the inconsistency of his offspeed releases, makes me think high-upside reliever is his future. He wouldn’t have to feel his way through his breaking ball and changeup releases, and use his stuff to get more swings and misses once he’s ahead with his fastball. He’s still thought of as a starter in the organization, projected as a solid number four starter, or a three if his breaking ball steps forward.

The pitch grades I list here could almost be thought of as what he could do as a starter versus reliever in the future, as I’m not sure he has the feel to develop an above-average secondary pitch in a starter’s role. In relief he can match the high-effort approach of his fastball throughout his arsenal, without having to worry about leaving something in the tank.

Fastball: 55/60/60 Curveball: 40/50/60 Changeup: 35/40/45 Slider: 35/40/50 Command: 40/45/50
Overall: 35/45/55

8. DJ Stewart, LF, VIDEO

Stewart had a decent start to his professional career in Low-A Aberdeen, demonstrating his abilities to get on base and hit for a bit of power. He moves around the field pretty well for a guy his size, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see him lose some of the fast-twitch in his thick lower half as he puts on muscle. Left field will be a fine home for him, though a move to first base could happen eventually if his hitting allows him to profile there.

I’m a little torn on his future abilities as a hitter. He makes good contact and has a good approach at the plate, showing his strengths working the count and being a difficult out. He has the strength to hit for above-average power, and has proven able to drive the ball to all fields. Stewart’s back arm is a bit weak in his swing, so he tends to pull his bat across the ball with his stronger lead arm, flattening out his swing plane.

I’m not sure if he has enough strength to get the ball to carry with his current bat path to expect big power developments. He will either need to add more muscle to his filled-out frame or create more lift with his swing, both of which may be tall orders. His hips are already pretty efficient, despite some of the concerns over his crouched stance. I see his hit tool staying ahead of his power unless something clicks for him, but regardless he should hit enough to be a big leaguer.

Hit: 35/50/60 Power: 30/45/60 Run: 45/40/45 Field: 50/50/50 Throw: 45/45/45
Overall: 35/45/55

9. Dariel Alvarez, OF, VIDEO

At 27 years old this year, Alvarez is reaching the point where he is what he is. What he is, is a player who has solid tools all around with some questions about how well they can show up in big league games.

His raw power is indisputably impressive, but a downward swing path limits the opportunities for him to put the ball in the air with authority. He makes a ton of contact in the zone, but he was exposed in his short MLB stint this year when he chased a ton of pitches outside the zone with little success. He has excellent sequencing in his upper body, particularly with his back arm action in the swing, similar to a lot of great big leaguers. He gets so steep that he needs to keep the same approach as in the minors, which consisted of attacking pitches in the zone mercilessly.

The rest of his profile is pretty solid: fringy range but a smooth glove, a legitimate plus-plus arm with a quick release, and below-average baserunning skills. At the plate, I think his contact ability shines through, which ends up hurting his power by allowing him to hit some balls that he’d be better off swinging through.

Hit: 55/55/60 Power: 40/40/45 Run: 45/45/45 Field: 50/50/55 Throw: 70/70/70
Overall: 45/45/50+

10. Trey Mancini, 1B, VIDEO

Breaking out with a big year between High-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie, Mancini put himself in the conversation for Chris Davis‘ replacement if he doesn’t come back to the O’s in 2016.

At the plate, Mancini’s front arm locks up in his load, adding to the time it takes to get the barrel to the ball. He has to really manipulate the barrel to square pitches up that are inner half or up in the zone. He shows some natural lift in his bat path, but because of getting locked up, he gets “wristy” as he approaches contact, making it difficult to get consistent lift as the barrel rolls across the ball.

On the strictly physical side of his hitting, Mancini really grew into some strength this year, and he continues to make a lot of contact as he climbs the ladder. It’s still tough to see him hitting for more than below-average power, but I’ll leave open the possibility he has a higher ceiling on account of his strength and hand-eye coordination.

Hit: 45/50/55 Power: 35/40/50 Run: 40/40/40 Field: 45/45/50 Throw: 45/45/45
Overall: 40/45/50


11. Parker Bridwell, RHP, VIDEO

Bridwell had a great year in Double-A Bowie this year before elbow tendinitis cut his season short. Team officials say he is healthy and will go through his normal offseason routine. He was placed on the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.

He brings a hard fastball to his game, with an excellent changeup and devleoping slider. He puts a lot of effort into each pitch with exceptional arm speed. That arm speed is repeated on both of his off-speed pitches, giving him a well-rounded arsenal as far as stuff is concerned.

His command limits his ceiling, but the stuff is good enough to see it playing up in a bullpen role, with swing-and-miss potential on all three pitches.

Fastball: 50/55/60 Slider: 40/45/50 Changeup: 50/55/60 Command: 40/45/50
Overall: 40/45/50

40+ FV Prospects

12. Jonah Heim, C, VIDEO

Heim is a big switch-hitting catcher who needs to rack up a lot of professional at-bats before really factoring into the big league picture. He has a much better swing from the left side in my limited looks, and he’s on the line in terms of both tools and swing athleticism whether he’ll be able to tap into his raw power in game.

A team source I spoke to believes Heim’s ability to hit is directly tied to maturing physically, which I can get behind. Both the scouting and player development groups in the organization are behind this guy developing offensively and defensively, with his defense being held in especially high regard.

He has a plus arm with just average feet, and should have good enough actions behind the plate to at least be an average big league receiver overall. The potential is high, but the variance in his possible outcomes is equally great. I’ve left him out of the top 10 until I can better evaluate him offensively, though I did move him up based on the Orioles’ unanimous opinions.

Hit: 30/40/50 Power: 25/35/50 Run: 35/35/35 Field: 50/60/65 Throw: 50/60/65
Overall: 35/40-45/55

13. Ryan Mountcastle, SS, VIDEO

Mountcastle draws high praise for his bat speed and resulting power potential, which is impressive to see when he squares the ball up. He hit balls hard in the amateur showcase circuit, enough to make scouts believe it would translate well to the professional level. However, I have concerns about his ability to utilize it in games because of sequencing and bat path qualities.

His upper body gets tied together at the beginning of his swing, making his hands rush forward and expose the bat head early. Because of that, his best hits are on pitches he catches pretty far out in front of his body, making his home run power almost exclusively relegated to left field. This makes his cuts very high risk/reward, since he will have to have fantastic pitch recognition to be consistently on time for different pitch speeds.

Defensively, he doesn’t change directions quickly in the field, which coupled with a long arm path makes his release time below-average. A move from short to third is likely in the future, though the outfield would be my bet for his endpoint based on his actions. His plus arm strength would be more operable in-game there, where he can have more time to position himself before throws. He has soft enough hands to possibly stick in the infield with a lot of work on his agility and footwork.

Mountcastle’s value will be tied to his bat, which will take a lot of refinement and improvement in feel to fully access his potential. Because of the risk involved, I think he ends up somewhere in the middle, leaving him more likely a bench bat. The potential is still there for him to become a starter if the hitting develops adequately.

Hit: 30/40/45 Power: 25/45/55 Run: 55/50/55 Field: 45/45/50 Throw: 45/55/60
Overall: 30/40-45/55

14. Mike Yastrzemski, OF, VIDEO

Young Yaz took a step backward this year after storming through three levels in 2014, both from a results and a swing standpoint. He went from having a smooth line drive swing in college and into last year to a choppy ground ball swing over the course of 2015, culminating in some uncomfortable looks in the Arizona Fall League.

He’s shown the ability to be an interesting hitter despite not having any outstanding raw tools, so the ceiling doesn’t change for me. The likelihood of him reaching that ceiling has to be lower if Yastrzemski is going to stick to his new approach. His high grades on the hit and power tools are predicated on him getting back to the swing that made him jump multiple levels in the Orioles system last season.

Hit: 35/45/60 Power: 30/40/50 Run: 45/50/55 Field: 50/50/55 Throw: 50/50/55
Overall: 35/40/50

15. Tanner Scott, LHP, VIDEO

Scott is a lefty that touches 100 with some deception. He also throws a slider and changeup, both of which are below-average pitches at present. He has some sequencing issues that force him to rely on his arm more than most, giving him some command issues. Still, a small improvement in either his command or his slider vaults him into closer territory at the big league level. It’s a little tough to envision that based on his current feel and delivery, but the fastball should be enough for him to pitch in a major league bullpen.

Fastball: 94-96 (98) 60/65/75 Slider: 40/45/50 Changeup: 35/35/40 Command: 40/40/45
Overall: 35/40/50

16. Jason Heinrich, OF, VIDEO

Heinrich held his own in Rookie ball this year after getting drafted in the fifth round. His carrying tool is his future power development, buoyed by his ability to provide good lift with his swing. He looked a bit stiff in some of the showcase events as he tried to muscle up on balls, but his game swings show a bit more conservative, repeatable approach.

Though there’s some swing-and-miss in his game, there are enough good things going for him at the plate to see his power and hit tools develop. He will need to keep putting balls in the air as he gets stronger so he can do the most damage with the contact he makes. Defensively he profiles as an average-ish right fielder or first baseman if he outgrows the outfield.

Hit: 30/45/50 Power: 35/50/60 Run: 40/40/40 Field: 40/45/50 Throw: 40/45/50
Overall: 30/40/50

17. Christian Walker, 1B, VIDEO

Walker has had stints with the big league squad both of the last two years, and depending on what the O’s do this offseason, should get an opportunity to compete for a starting job in 2016. He has shown potential as a power bat with positive developments in recent years, but he hasn’t been able to prove definitively that he can do enough damage to profile as a starting first baseman.

He has improved his contact in the minors, but he still projects to be below average there. His power production has stagnated a bit below acceptable levels relative to his positional peers, so he will need to improve one or both qualities to start. He should continue to put up respectable doubles totals even on his current trajectory.

At the plate, he makes up for some stiffness in his swing with good balance that allows him to stay on minor league offspeed offerings. He gets his bat into the zone deep and creates lift with his swing path, but the majority of his strength is to the pull side. His hands tend to push out in front of his back elbow, making his swing come across the ball if he hits it even slightly out in front.

He does enough well to tap into his power, but could be hindered by good offspeed from major league pitchers. Without more looseness or heavily-improved pitch tracking skills, his contact gains could take a step backward upon graduating to the parent club. I’ll take the middle ground, seeing his work ethic lead to improvement, but not quite enough to be more than a fringe option to start at first base.

Hit: 40/45/45 Power: 45/50/55 Run: 40/40/40 Field: 50/50/55 Throw: 45/45/45
Overall: 35/40/45

18. Tyler Wilson, RHP, VIDEO

Wilson made his big leage debut in 2015 after putting up impressive numbers the last few years in the high levels of the Orioles organization. His secondary stuff is overall relatively unimpressive, drawing positive marks in movement but below-average command.

His best pitch is his fastball that he throws 88-93, which he can sink, tail, and cut with good feel. Though his slider flashes average or above, he leaves a few too many of them in hitter’s zones to profile as more than a middle reliever without gains in command.

Fastball: 55/55/60 Slider: 45/45/50 Changeup: 40/40/40 Command: 40/45/45
Overall: 40/40/45

19. Jon Keller, RHP, VIDEO

Keller is a power bullpen arm with a hard fastball and sharp slider, both of which are limited by sequencing and general athleticism issues that weaken his command. He has a fun distinction of only having given up two homers in 155.1 professional innings, but the command is still enough of a question mark that his big league impact is currently all potential and not reality.

Fastball: 50/55/60 Slider: 40/45/55 Changeup: 35/40/40 Command: 40/45/45
Overall: 40/40/45

20. Oliver Drake, RHP, VIDEO

Drake may be able to make a bullpen career out of one pitch, a wicked splitter that he threw more than half the time in his big league stint this year. His fastball sits around 90 mph with little movement and so-so command.

Fastball: 45/50/50 Splitter: 55/55/60 Command: 40/45/45
Overall: 40/40/45

21. Adrian Marin, SS, VIDEO

Marin’s most projectable contributions are his defense and baserunning abilities, both because of his baseball skill and not raw tools. He has the hands and footwork to stay at shortstop and make his average arm play up a tick in-game. He swings for ground balls and putting the ball in play, but doesn’t always show the plus-plus speed he has to make it work.

He has the speed to be 4.1 seconds down the line according to team sources, but I had him at 4.5-4.6 on two times in Arizona last month. He’s still young yet, but his profile will require him to consistently hustle to get the most out of his game. The kind of player who can contribute in a lot of small ways, he could have a future as a utility infielder down the road.

Hit: 35/40/45 Power: 30/35/35 Run: 50/55/65 Field: 55/60/60 Throw: 50/55/55
Overall: 35/40/45

22. Tim Berry, LHP, VIDEO

Berry flashes average to above-average with all three of his pitches, but with his slight frame and stiff delivery, he will likely have to make the big leagues in the bullpen. His stuff is said to be more consistent and effective in short stints, and if he sharpens his secondary offerings should at least have a job getting lefties out with his big curveball.

Fastball: 50/50/55 Curveball: 40/45/50 Changeup: 35/40/40 Command: 45/45/50
Overall: 35/40/45

23. Gray Fenter, RHP, VIDEO

While lacking in smoothness and projectability on the mound, Fenter has a fastball and curveball that should work to get professional hitters out as he develops. His changeup and general command of his pitches are very much works in progress, and his overhand delivery is not without its issues. Nevertheless, he has the upside of a solid middle reliever if he can continue honing his command or getting some feel for his changeup.

Fastball: 45/50/55 Curveball: 45/50/55 Changeup: 35/40/40 Command: 40/45/50
Overall: 30/40/45

Players of Note

Ryan McKenna, OF, VIDEO
McKenna’s hamstring and ankle injury limited his games played this summer, but he’s a potential plus center fielder with an average arm. He battles at the plate and has surprised team officials with his strength. The organization has also had him take ground balls at second, which could be a future position for him based on his skillset. McKenna is the most likely to jump up this list once he mas more games exposure this season.

Ariel Miranda, LHP
Miranda signed out of Cuba for around $800,000 as a left-handed pitcher with the potential for solid-average stuff across the board. He did touch 94-95 in Double-A with his curve being his best secondary pitch. His changeup came along at the end of the year, but already at 27 years old this spring he currently projects as a back end guy.

Branden Kline, RHP, VIDEO
Kline is a hard-throwing pitcher with future reliever written all over him. He can’t seem to find a groove with his secondary pitches, and now he has a year of Tommy John rehab in front of him.

Josh Hart, OF, VIDEO
Hart is a center fielder with above-average speed who can steal a base and play a good center field, but will really have to change his work at the plate to project as a big leaguer.

Joe Gunkel, RHP
Gunkel throws a ton of strikes and has two average pitches in his sinker and changeup. He has good feel for pitching and his command may get him to the big leagues.

Drew Dosch, 3B, VIDEO
Dosch should continue making contact and has a good eye at the plate, but his swing is too pushy and doesn’t have enough power behind it to make his bat profile in the big leagues.

Quick Hits
LHP Garrett Cleavinger (VIDEO) flashes great stuff out of the bullpen, but he’s all over the place with his delivery and arm action. It has as much effort and inconsistency as you can ask for, and it’s hard to picture him finding enough feel to project highly. John Means is a big lefty that throws strikes and knows how to compete, but with fringe-average stuff will have to pitch himself to the big leagues. A no-hitter this year certainly helps the cause. RHP Lazaro Leyva is a bullpen guy working 94-97 with his fastball and sharp slider, but the command of both pitches isn’t there. While he’s still young, there are some concerns about his work ethic holding him back, but it’s hard to pass on a guy with his arm.

LHP Mitch Horacek doesn’t command the ball well enough and has given up homers as a result, but shows enough progress against same-sided hitters that he might be a lefty specialist in the big leagues. RHP Jean Cosme is a young kid with a loose arm and a fastball at 92-95, combined with a good changeup and breaking ball. He’s raw and undeveloped, with just OK control and command that lags behind. LHP Travis Seabrooke has a good body with some projection and shows signs of pitchability, but the stuff isn’t quite there yet.

Cistulli’s Guy
Corban Joseph, 2B

It has been said occasionally of Carson Cistulli that he is “allergic to reason.” It has also been said — more recently and by an actual medical professional — that he is “allergic to shellfish. Likely deadly allergic. Why do you continue to eat shellfish? You’re endangering your life in a very real way.”

The selection here of Joseph as Cistulli’s Guy marks an instance of the former allergy. Following a successful campaign at Triple-A in 2012 as just a 23-year-old, a combination of injury and underperformance rendered his 2013 season less successful. Nor did his 2014 season represent a great improvement. After it, he was released by the Yankees and then spent the 2015 season with (first) Atlanta’s and (then) Baltimore’s Double-A affiliates.

That’s not an inpiring resume for a 26-year-old, but the basic collection of skills persist. Joseph makes contact. And possesses modest power. And plays second base. And, as the video below reveals, hit a home run off of Danny Salazar as recently as June of 2014.

Dan is Fangraphs Lead Prospect Analyst, living in New York City. He played baseball for four years at Franklin & Marshall College before attending medical school. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @DWFarnsworth.

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THE Internet
8 years ago

WHAT!?!?!?! You ranked that guy differently than other lists? Well that’s the biggest load of bullflop to ever come out of Bullflop County.

(Ok, now that that’s out of the way, I’ll go back and read the article)