Something that came up on every call with an Orioles official was their internal prospect list. Most teams I’ve talked to don’t have a consensus list; maybe a list a couple people in the office maintain with agreed-upon tiers of players, but not one that the whole organization refers to. Others in the org maintain their own lists as well. At one point or another, this master list was referenced enough that I saw some trends where the Orioles own list would diverge from my own.
They skewed high for the near big league ready players, with down list players like Dariel Alvarez and Henry Urrutia much higher than I have them and thus some lower level players like Stephen Tarpley lower than I have them. As you would expect, they also have some information a typical scout may not have, regarding injuries and progress in private workouts, so some players with subpar 2014 season are higher than I have them, like Urrutia, Michael Almanzar and Josh Hart. Other than those two main differences, our lists ended up being pretty similar, with only a handful of players we disagreed on that didn’t fall into one of those two groups.
There’s positives and negatives of having such a list. The official-ness of it means it gets referenced internally all the time and is the starting point for trade talks, so it can morph the internal dialogue about a player for better or worse. While it’s less divisive than it was 10 years ago, there is also still a scouts vs. stats divide on subjects like prospect lists in most organizations, since the evaluation method (particularly on high minors players with lots of data) differs a good bit. There’s also a positive to having the dialogue that leads to a consensus list, so various factions within the organization know where “their” guys stand and thus know when to speak up in-season if they think their guy warrants a better ranking.
The O’s have had solid drafts under the Dan Duquette regime; they haven’t had tons of extra picks or a high draft position to give them the money or opportunity to get the super elite prospect. That said, the early returns are solid considering that and their lower investment in international bonuses, with Jomar Reyes looking like a steal less than a year after signing. There’s also depth in pitching at the upper levels, with 5 of the top 12 prospects being pitchers that could contribute in the big leagues in 2015. From my current ranking of the farm systems of all 30 organizations, I have Baltimore 18th, which may still change before I formally publish those rankings.
Here’s the primer for the series and a disclaimer about how we don’t really know anything. See the links above for the ongoing series about how I evaluate, including the series on the ever-complicated hit tool.
Most of what you need to know for this list is in the above links, but I should add that the risk ratings are relative to their position, so average (3) risk for a pitcher is riskier than average risk (3) for a hitter, due to injury/attrition being more common. I’d also take a 60 Future Value hitter over a 60 FV pitcher for the same reasons. Also, risk encompasses a dozen different things and I mention the important components of it for each player in the report. The upside line for hitters is the realistic best-case scenario (a notch better than the projected tools, or a 75% projection while the projected tools are a 50% projection) and the Future Value encompasses this upside along with the risk rating for one overall rating number.
Below, I’ve included a quick ranking of the growth assets that the Orioles have in the majors that aren’t eligible for the list and Dave Cameron shares some general thoughts on the organization. Scroll further down to see Carson Cistulli’s fringe prospect favorite. Next up are the Yankees, followed by the Braves, A’s and Angels.
Big League Growth Assets
1. Manny Machado, 3B, Age 22, FV: 70
2. Kevin Gausman, RHP, Age 24, FV: 65 (Video)
3. Jonathan Schoop, 2B Age 23, FV: 55
4. Chris Tillman, RHP, Age 26, FV: 55
5. Zach Britton, LHP, Age 27, FV: 55
Organizational Overview by Dave Cameron
The Orioles return the core of a team that won 96 games a year ago, and with many of the team’s best players still heading into their primes, it’s easy to see this as a strong contender for the foreseeable future. But there are legitimate reasons for concern, starting with the potential exit of GM Dan Duquette and the front office uncertainty that is attached to that situation. The team hasn’t made any moves to replace three free agents who were a big part of their 2014 run, and most of the talk about the Orioles this offseason has been about whether they’ll have to give part of their television revenues to the Nationals. There’s still a lot of talent in place to build around, but it’s hard to remember a 96 win team with this cloudy of a short-term future.
50+ FV Prospects
1. Dylan Bundy, RHP
Current Level/Age: High-A/22.2, 6’1/195, B/R
Drafted: 4th overall (1st round) in 2011 out of Oklahoma HS by BAL for $4 million bonus, Agency: BBI Sports Group
Fastball: 55/65, Curveball: 55/60, Cutter: 60/70, Changeup: 45/55, Command: 45/50+
Scouting Report: Bundy was a known prospect as a sophomore in high school, if not earlier, and the Orioles knew about him early because they signed his older brother Bobby in 2008 before drafting Dylan in 2011. One reason Dylan was so well-know was that he was into the mid-90’s before he senior year but there were also many articles detailing the absurd pitch counts he was racking up, well over the standard 120-130 limits you see these days. It’s expected that this usage is what led to his June 2013 Tommy John surgery after soreness in March of that year, though some also blame an adjustment to quicken his delivery just before his MLB cup of coffee in 2012.
After signing, Bundy was a phenomenon in the low minors. The above video is from 2012 in Low-A, which was peak Bundy-mania. He sat 95-99 mph in that outing with a plus curveball and he threw one cutter (which the org wasn’t allowing him to throw at the time, to get him to focus on his other pitches) that was an 80, along with solid average changeup. His changeup and curveball tightened since then, but his velocity isn’t quite all the way back after surgery.
In 41.1 innings last year at the A-Ball levels, Bundy was mostly 90-93, hitting 94 mph with the command and curveball not close to what they once were. Later in the summer, he hit 96 mph and the curve and command were getting there, but he was shut down with an oblique problem, unrelated to his arm. He continued the upward trajectory in instructs and is expected to have stuff close to his peak stuff this year, but you can see from the above grades I’ve hedged a bit until we actually see it. There’s some belief that Bundy’s crazy work ethic and workout routine (his legs are tree stumps) may have led to him coming back too early, which explains the diminished performance out of the chute last year.
The organization made Bundy shelve his near unhittable cutter after signing to get him to focus on his curveball and changeup and also from some belief it may stress his arm. After his heavy high school usage, they were trying to be careful, but now that elbow ligament popped and the price was already paid, so the cutter is back on the table and anything is possible in 2015. Some in the organization are pushing for him to be considered for a rotation spot out of camp if the arm speed and command are where they need to be.
Summation: It’s basically a coin flip with Bundy and Harvey right now, but by midseason we should know which one is a better after we see if Bundy’s stuff improved and if Harvey is fully healthy, which Bundy having the edge due to a higher ceiling and being closer to the big leagues. If he gets all the way back to the arm speed in the video, we’re talking Jose Fernandez level stuff, which is just fun thinking about. A commenter correctly pointed out that Bundy has one option left, which he will use this year. This means Bundy has to make the Orioles out of 2016 camp or else pass through waivers, which he won’t clear even if his elbow pops again.
FV/Role/Risk: 60, #3 starter, Medium (3 on 1-5 scale)
Projected Path: 2015: AA/AAA/MLB, 2016: MLB
2. Hunter Harvey, RHP
Current Level/Age: Low-A/20.1, 6’3/175, R/R
Drafted: 22nd overall (1st round) in 2013 out of North Carolina HS by BAL for $1.947 million bonus, Agency: Beverly Hills Sports Council
Fastball: 60/70, Curveball: 55/60, Changeup: 45/50+, Command: 40/50+
Scouting Report: Harvey is the son of former big league righty Bryan Harvey and wasn’t well known until his draft spring as he opted to play Legion ball instead of hitting the showcase circuit. He went from sitting around 90 with a skinny, lanky frame to hitting the mid-to-upper-90’s in his draft spring, attracting first round attention.
It’s normal for prep pitchers to lose a couple ticks to their fastball after signing, as it’s the longest career of their lives. Baltimore was expecting that with Harvey, but his 90-93 mph fastball that had hit 96 mph suddenly was sitting 93-97 in the summer after he signed. Expectation adjust upward and Harvey delivered this year in his full-season debut, with ground balls and strikeouts in bunches.
Harvey threw very few innings as an amateur and had a low-impact, short stride motion, so his imperfect mechanics didn’t seem likely to cause an injury. The Orioles were careful with him, especially after some elbow soreness sent him to the DL in July. He hasn’t really seen the mound since then because Baltimore shut him down as he’d already reached his innings limit, so he wasn’t going to pitch much more anyway. Scouts are a little wary of a young pitcher with limited innings getting shut down with elbow soreness, so they’d like to see him throw a couple solid starts before totally buying back in.
At his best early in 2014, Harvey woudl sit 95-96 mph early in starts, but that tailed off a bit to 92-95, hitting 96 mph by midseason, The curveball flashed 60 as an amateur and is a 65 for some, with improving consistency. Harvey was frustrated that he was being forced to use his changeup in 2014 as he clearly didn’t need it, but it’s obviously best to develop for his long-term potential; it flashed above average at times but is still coming along.
Baltimore lengthened Harvey’s stride some and while he’s skinny, he should still add some weight, so that premium velocity may come back. The main challenge with his delivery is keeping Harvey him just slightly closed (8-12 inches off-line) rather than allowing him to become cross-body (14-16 inches off-line), which would add stress to his shoulder.
Summation: It may be midseason before we have a fair chance to know if the stuff is fully back to where it was early in 2015 and that’s Harvey is healthy enough to sustain it for a full season. If he is, he could shoot through the system, as he has feel and frontline type stuff.
FV/Role/Risk: 60, #3 starter, High (4 on 1-5 scale)
Projected Path: 2015: High-A, 2016: AA/AAA, 2017: AAA/MLB, 2018: MLB
3. Chance Sisco, C
Current Level/Age: Lo-A/19.9, 6’2/195, L/R
Drafted: 61st overall (2nd round) in 2013 out of California HS by BAL for $785,000 bonus
Hit: 20/55, Raw Power: 45/50, Game Power: 20/45, Run: 40/35, Field: 40/50, Throw: 55/55
Scouting Report: Sisco was an under-the-radar draft prospect that didn’t go to the big showcases and only started catching in his senior year as he pitched and played multiple positions. He’s still rough at times behind the plate, but it’s more due to a lack of experience with the little things than a lack of ability. The tools are there to stick behind the plate and be average, with enough arm for the position, though Sisco needs to work on quickening his release.
The carrying tool here is the bat and scouts grade it anywhere from 55 to 70 despite Sisco’s highest pro experience coming at Low-A. He’s got a handsy, loose leftt swing and advanced feel for the strike zone. His power is fringy now and should eventually be average, but that’ll likely play down a notch in games at maturity due to his level plane in games. One scout said Sisco’s approach and offensive tools are similar to former Orioles RF Nick Markakis.
Summation: The Orioles think Sisco is their third best prospect and is their catcher of the future. He’ll head to High-A next year and with some defensive progress, Sisco could find himself on the fast track.
Upside: .285/.350/.440, 12-15 homers
FV/Risk: 50, Medium (3 on a 1-5 scale)
Projected Path: 2015: High-A, 2016: AA/AAA, 2017: AAA/MLB
45 FV Prospects
4. Zach Davies, RHP Video: Davies was a 26th rounder in 2011 out of a Phoenix-area high school that signed for an over slot $575,000 bonus. He’s listed at 6’0/150 and likely never gets above 170 pounds, so there are understandable concerns about stamina and lack of projection, but Davies has done nothing but perform in pro ball, with good K/BB and ground ball rates. He sits 88-91 and hits 94 mph at this best with some life, a solid average curveball and a plus changeup that some scouts will hang a 65 or 70 on. Davies has above average command and likely starts in Triple-A next year, with Mike Leake comps, a high floor and 3rd/4th starter upside.
5. Christian Walker, 1B Video: Walker was a 4th rounder in 2012 out of South Carolina that had some hidden upside because he was recovering from a broken hamate bone in his hand during his draft spring. He still performed then and at every stop in pro ball, with his solid average power in his draft year blossoming into plus raw power due to the hamate injury. Scouts are still wary of Walker’s hit tool due to his 6’0/220 frame and some 4A slugger elements that came out in his big league audition.
The O’s attribute his struggles to getting eager and quick with his front side on the biggest stage where pitchers can notice and take advantage of any weakness. The upside is a 50 bat with walks and 25 homers that uses the whole field but is fringy to average defensively. The concern is it might be a tick or two less on the bat, with the lack of contact causing the power playing down in games, limiting Walker to the wrong end of a platoon. It’s worth noting that statistically-inclined organizations have shown interest in Walker in trades over the past six months.
Note: As referenced in the Nationals list, I’m now using 45+ and 40+ FV grades to further separate players. Davies and Walker are the 45+ FVs for the O’s, with Hess and Hart at 40+.
6. Jomar Reyes, 3B: Reyes signed for $350,000 out of the Dominican almost exactly 12 months ago and, despite still being just 17 years old, was so impressive in the GCL and instructs that scouts were telling me to move him up this list in the last few days (which I did). He’s enormous–Orioles officials were estimating he’s 6’6/240–which is a couple inches taller and about 20 pounds heavier than when he signed. You would be right in assuming that this Miguel Sano-type body won’t stay at third base very long (though Baltimore will leave him there for 2015), with nearly everyone I talked to conceding Reyes will be playing first base sooner than later, although he does have a plus arm.
The carrying tool here is raw power, which is also a 60, but Reyes also has the surprising ability to hit and work counts, given his size and age. One scout said his at-bats are just as advanced as Christian Walker or Dariel Alvarez, two of the more advanced hitters in the system. A big reason for that consistency is Reyes’ balanced, low-effort, loose, repeatable swing mechanics. He’ll be aged like a 2015 high school draft prospect and probably heads to Low-A next year, with a chance to take another step forward.
7. Tim Berry, LHP Video: Berry will develop alongside Davies in Triple-A next year and some in the org prefer Berry’s upside over Davies’ certainty. On the right day, Berry will show three above average to plus pitches, but Berry has a very slight 6’3 build and his arm speed will vary day-to day. On most days, Berry has three solid average pitches: a fastball that sits 89-91 and hits 94 at times along with a curveball that’s inconsistent but still ahead of his changeup. In short stints out of the bullpen, Berry’s stuff is firmer and more consistent, with one scout saying he looked like Red Sox LHP Henry Owens. The durability/consistency questions could shift Berry to the pen eventually, with a chance he follows the career path of Yankees LHP Andrew Miller; multiple teams have asked about Berry this offseason.
8. Mike Wright, RHP Video: Wright has been hanging around the upper levels the last couple years, with Baltimore waiting for him to develop a breaking ball and/or consistency; both improved down the stretch in 2014. The 6’6/215 righty sits 92-94 and hits 97 mph late into games with an above average to plus changeup and the control to throw lots of strikes, but command that came and went. His mechanics are partly to blame and Wright is a guy whose pitch counts go deep limiting how deep he can go into a game. His below average slider was a consistently average pitch down the stretch, so if he can continue that in 2015, he has a chance to start, though his short-term MLB role will be in the bullpen.
9. Stephen Tarpley, LHP Video: Tarpley was a wildcard in the 2013 draft, with questions surrounding his consistency, maturity and makeup dating back to his transfer from USC after his freshman year that led him to Scottsdale JC, the Fighting Artichokes (!). He lasted until the 3rd round but, like Wright, started to find consistency in the 2nd half of 2014. At his best, Tarpley sits 92-95 and hits 97 mph late in games, with a low-80’s curveball that flashes plus (one scout called it a 70), solid average changeup and average slider. The command shows flashes of average, but all five elements can be average to below on his bad days. There are signs that Tarpley is turning it around mentally and off-the-field with his full-season debut coming in 2015 as the next test.
10. Brian Gonzalez, LHP Video: Gonzalez was a known prospect in his sophomore year as a two-way prospect from powerhouse South Florida program Archbishop McCarthy, who has produced Nick Castellanos, Alex Avila and Nick Travieso, among others. He emerged as a better pitcher than power-hitting first baseman last fall and took a step forward this spring. His 87-89 mph fastball ticked up to 90-93, hitting 94 mph this spring, with the added arm speed helping his off-speed stuff: a solid average curveball and above average to plus changeup.
Gonzalez was a mature-bodied pitcher rather than thrower that snuck up on some scouts, many of whom had him in the 4th-6th rounds and thought he wasn’t signable. The Orioles gave him an over-slot bonus in the 3rd round and some teams were kicking his tires in the sandwich round. One O’s official said he saw some of Brett Anderson in Gonzalez, the whole organization loves his makeup and he already dropped 15-20 pounds after signing.
11. Jason Garcia, RHP: I wrote up Garcia as a 40 on the Red Sox list and he’s now a group higher after Baltimore took him in the Rule 5 draft. Going in the Rule 5 Draft means that for Baltimore to keep Garcia, they have to keep him on the big league roster for the whole season, despite his 2013 Tommy John surgery and his highest experience so far coming in Low-A. You may be asking why he moved up to a 45 FV despite not appearing in any games since I wrote the Red Sox list. I wrote something about this in general today, but there’s a fascinating story behind how Baltimore decided to pick Garcia and why he’s higher on the list now.
First the scouting report, which is pretty much the same from the Red Sox list: Garcia works 95-96, hitting 98 mph in multi-inning outings, working a tick higher and hitting 99 or 100 mph when he knows it’ll be a shorter outing. His slider flashes plus but is still inconsistent and more often average to above. Garcia mixes in a changeup to lefties that flashes solid average, but he doesn’t throw it much. If you think the stuff sounds like that of a starter, then you’re onto something because that’s what Garcia used to be and he worked 91-95 mph. Then he had Tommy John surgery, came back late in 2014 hitting 97 mph in shorter stints, then spiked another couple notches in instructs this fall.
The velo spike occurring in instructs is the key part of this story. The Red Sox camp is in Ft. Myers, FL along with the Twins, with the Rays in Port Charlotte and Orioles in Sarasota: the four clubs that play each other in instructs in a “pod” in southwest Florida to save on travel time/cost. Most teams had one report saying Garcia was a new kind of pitcher, but at best had an inning or two from one look from one scout. That’s hardly enough to base a Rule 5 pick on unless it happened to be a top scout, who rarely do instructs coverage.
The Orioles have a video system in Sarasota that logs every game at their stadium and when it came time to discuss Garcia for the Rule 5 Draft, they realized they had video of six innings of Garcia from instructs. In those six innings (where he recorded 18 outs), Garcia had 14 strikeouts and a 15th where the batter reached on a dropped third strike, along with a popup, fly out and two groundouts. Orioles execs concede they wouldn’t have been able to make the case to pick Garcia without this video, which included Garcia striking out multiple high level Orioles prospects, like Chance Sisco.
So, if Garcia pitched for any team other than the Rays, Twins or Red Sox, the Orioles couldn’t have picked him, since it would’ve just been a scout or two on short looks with no video. That’s what the Red Sox were counting on and why they didn’t push him much to me for their prospect list even after admitting he hit 100 mph, likely knowing they had a chance to sneak him through the Rule 5 Draft if the buzz was limited to a simmer.
I talked to two scouts that saw Garcia in instructs and they really liked him, but they similarly couldn’t have much conviction on a short look. Stats from instructs are private, so no one other than Boston was able to piece together what Garcia was doing. While the plan seems clever, one scout questioned why Boston would try to sneak Garcia through to save a 40-man spot and then use that spot on Dan Butler.
The Red Sox figured they could delay putting Garcia on the roster for another year since no team would have enough info or conviction to pull the trigger. The Orioles lucked out that the Red Sox happened to pitch Garcia for six innings in their stadium when the cameras were running. The Orioles traded up to the 4th pick in December’s Rule 5 Draft to make sure they got Garcia and the O’s office and field staff are all-in on this guy, with a good chance he sticks in the big leagues, likely facing his former team not long into the 2015 season.
12. Pat Connaughton, RHP Video: Connaughton can’t quite match Garcia’s crazy story, but he has a unique background of his own. The Orioles drafted him out of Notre Dame last June and signed him for $428,100, but he’s not getting in shape for Spring Training right now, he’s a 6’5 swingman for the Irish basketball team. Depending on whom you ask, Connaughton may have an NBA career as a bench player and that’s where his heart lies, so Baltimore is letting him pursue that but play baseball in the summer.
They’re hoping he comes up a little short and opts for baseball in the near future, because after only dabbling in baseball the last couple years, Connaughton is a real prospect. He hit 97 mph in the New York-Penn League All-Star Game and regularly hit 95 mph last summer. His curveball and changeup are both below average now, but flash above average at times and he’s just scratching the surface. He’s still tinkering with new grips for both pitches and names like Kevin Gausman and Jeff Samardzija are mentioned as comparables for Connaughton’s raw talent.
40 FV Prospects
13. David Hess, RHP Video: Hess already looks like a steal as a 5th rounder last summer out of Tennessee Tech, as Nathaniel Stoltz wrote earlier this year. His size and delivery are similar to Bundy and Hess has pretty firm stuff in his own right, sitting 92-95, hitting 97 mph and showing a solid average curveball and changeup to go with a usable slider. There’s back-end starter or setup man upside here, but Hess will stay as a starter for the foreseeable future.
14. Josh Hart, CF Video: I was a huge fan on Hart’s before the 2013 draft, seeing his only flaw as he regressing but fixable swing mechanics. If you talked to scouts that were high on Hart in high school, you’d get Curtis Granderson or Kenny Lofton comps, as a 70 runner with plus defense, and above average arm, solid average raw power, feel for the bat head and plus bat speed. His first extended pro experience was in Low-A and he failed, hitting .255/.301/.285 in 352 PA, with knee and hamstring issues at different points in the past year. Hart is still tweaking his swing mechanics and maturing mentally, but the O’s are confident he’s moved past both things. One club official has him 6th on his personal list and all of the player development staff rave about his offensive upside and adjustments he made at instructs.
15. Adrian Marin, SS Video: Marin was a 3rd rounder in 2012 out of a Miami-area high school and has been solid since signing, though most scouts see him as a utility player long-term. He’s anywhere from a 55 to 65 runner depending on when you see him and most scouts think he can stick at shortstop, with some in the O’s organization saying he’s a slam dunk to stick. It’s an average or so bat with 40 power for most scouts and he’s been young for each level so there’s still everyday upside, especially if he can put together a nice 2015.
16. Jonah Heim, C Video: Heim came in the same draft with Sisco and some in the org think he can be as good as Sisco with more reps. Heim is a 6’4/215 switch hitter with average raw power and an above average arm that’s still new to catching and facing high level pitching; he’s from the Buffalo area. Heim has high-level believers in the organization like Buck Showalter, Brady Anderson and Matt Wieters; he may take a huge step forward next year in his full season debut as he’s had limited exposure to pro ball thus far.
17. Mike Yastrzemski, LF Video: Little Yaz was seen as a double digit round org guy senior sign, which is what he ended up being in 2013. He turned down $300,000 from Seattle as a junior at Vanderbilt, then signed the next year with Baltimore for $25,000 in the 14th round, just before Seattle was set to draft him again. Yastrzemski has far outpaced all expectations Baltimore has had for him, hitting his way to Double-A in his second pro season. He’s in the top 10 for some in the org as a 50 FV left fielder, though most have him somewhere around this area.
The tools aren’t great but he gets the most out of them, with an average arm that plays up due to plus plus accuracy and a quick release and solid average speed with good enough instincts to allow him to play all three outfield positions. He’s lengthened his swing since college (where Vandy emphasized a contact approach) and is now an aggressive, fastball-attack hitter with fringy to average raw power. If he can keep this up, Yaz will be a very solid 4th outfielder or more, but when the tools are short, scouts tend to be cautious.
18. Jon Keller, RHP Video: Keller is a power bullpen arm that has had some injury issues (oblique the most recent) and command problems stemming from his delivery and arm action. At his best, Keller will sit 94-96 with life and hit 99 mph with a power curveball at 82-84 that flashes plus. If you catch him on that right day, you think he’ll be in the big leagues in a few months, which is why Keller’s name comes up trade conversations pretty often. He’ll be 22 this year and head to High-A with a chance to move quickly if he can find consistent command against advanced hitters.
19. Dariel Alvarez, RF Video: As I mentioned above, the org is very high on Alvarez, ranking him 8th on their list. There are some things to like about the Cuban defector, like a 70 arm and 50 raw power, but he’s a below average runner that’s limited to a corner so he can’t be a true 4th outfielder. The question is his plate discipline and if it will allow him to make enough contact to become the everyday player that the O’s think they have. He’s 26 and ready for a big league opportunity; he likely gives some sort of value but scouts aren’t too bullish.
20. Tyler Wilson, RHP Video: Wilson was a low profile college performer from UVA that signed for $20,000 in the 10th round in 2011. Then, his stuff ticked up 2013 and now he’s a big league arm of some sort. Wilson gets average or solid average grades from scouts for his fastball, slider and changeup (with a show-me curveball), but all three play up a tick in short stints. Given the organizational depth, his first MLB role would likely be in relief, so now he’s a threat to break camp with the club as a middle reliever that can also spot start and go multiple innings.
21. Steven Brault, LHP Video: Brault was an 11th rounder in 2013 out of Regis University in Denver, with some scouts turning in the plus runner with a plus arm as a hitter, but the Orioles opting to make him a pitcher. As he’s new to full-time pitching, the velocity will vary at times, sometimes 86-90 and other times 90-93. The better arm speed lets his slider and curveball play to solid average at their best and ups the deception for his above average to plus changeup. There’s also some deception to his delivery; the elements are here for a back-end starter if he can find more consistent arm speed.
22. Parker Bridwell, RHP Video: Bridwell has been on Orioles prospect lists for awhile as a projection prep arm that’s made slow progress. He got decent results in 2014 as a 22 year old in High-A, but the stuff worked better in relief in the Arizona Fall League. As a reliever, Bridwell sits 92-95 and hits 97 mph, a couple ticks higher than he was as a starter, with an above average changeup and curveball that’s solid average at times. The problem is his consistency to command his stuff, which will dictate whether he’s a generic middle reliever or setup guy. On the right day, his changeup is better than a 55 and he looks like a late inning guy, which is why some clubs have inquired on Bridwell.
23. Henry Urrutia, RF Video: Urrutia was the toast of the Futures Game in 2013, as the Cuban defector hit his way to the big leagues later that year in his first season at age 26. This year, he spent the year in Triple-A and had trouble matching his prior performance and was also bothered by a sports hernia. Urrutia has plus raw power but has trouble getting to it in games. He’s worked his way out of center field with just average speed, now making him a power-oriented swing-and-miss potential 4th outfielder for most scouts.
24. Drew Dosch, 3B Video: The book on Dosch out of Youngstown State was pure left-handed bat without enough power to profile everyday on a corner and that’s still the book. The 2013 7th rounder raked in his first pro experience (due to a knee issue) at Low-A at age 21/22 this year , but only hit 5 homers. The O’s would like him to add some weight and he’s just okay defensive at third base, with one scout comparing him to Greg Dobbs.
Bennett Parry, LHP
The 6-foot-6 Parry recorded only 10 starts in 22 appearances last season, but they all occurred over his final 11 appearances. His success in the role earned him a promotion to Class-A Delmarva, and the results were promising, as the left-hander produced a 27.1% strikeout rate against 107 batters over his last 23.2 innings of the year (again, all in a starting capacity). Parry sits at a pretty standard 90 mph with his fastball and his curve typically lacks bite, but his changeup offered enough to enthuse Nathaniel Stoltz last May.
Here’s an example of that pitch from Stoltz’s footage of same:
The near misses from the list are four pitchers: RHP Logan Verrett (Rule 5 pick from the Mets is the opposite of Garcia: a command with an average fastball and 55 slider), LHP Mitch Horacek (6’5 Dartmouth product has a fringy fastball, above average slider, average changeup and flashes advanced pitchability), RHP Branden Kline (Video former 2nd round pick is an enigma with ideal frame and arm action but no consistency; likely a bullpen arm that hits 96 mph at times with a solid average slider and changeup but can also be way worse than that) and RHP Jean Cosme (2014 17th rounder from Puerto Rico surprised after signing, hitting 96 mph and flashing a 55 curveball, but still too much of a thrower).
The other eight pitchers to watch are headlined by some power arms: RHP Oliver Drake (shows it in flashes in relief, with a plus fastball and above average splitter but consistency and health have been issues), LHP Tanner Scott (2014 6th rounder has hit 100 mph with life from the left side and a solid average curveball, but all kinds of command issues right now), RHP Mychal Givens (Video former 2nd rounder as a prep shortstop didn’t hit, but was up to 97 mph from sidearm slot in high school; he’s now back on the mound and already 92-95 mph with a solid average slider at his best, but with below average command and inconsistent arm speed) and RHP Jimmy Yacabonis (power arm has hit 97 mph with curveball that flashes 55, but command and consistency are bugaboos).
Two power arms that are still very raw and a ways off are RHP Derrick Bleeker (converted to the mound last year and hit 98 mph, with a slider that’s quickly improving; the O’s let him hit for a year after signing him, but had the mound in mind the whole time, after a crosschecker saw one electric inning at Arkansas) and RHP Ofelky Peralta (Dominican got $325,000 last year and didn’t show much polish in the DSL, but hit 97 mph and is still 17). Two lefties to keep an eye on with more average velocity are LHP Travis Seabrooke (6’6/205 Canadian tore his ACL in 2014 Spring Training, didn’t pitch all year but is just 19 and has flashed three solid pitches) and LHP John Means (2014 11th rounder out of West Virginia has average fastball and above average curveball that could fit as a back-end starter or multi-inning reliever).
Five position players not on the list worth noting: C/1B Mike Ohlman (Video 6’5/215, got a hair under $1 million out of high school, has above average raw power and a plus arm, but isn’t a good fit behind the plate and long limbs make for contact issues), CF Glynn Davis (Video former 80 runner added some weight and is now a 70 runner but has some feel to hit and has a good shot to end up a reserve outfielder), 2B Rey Navarro (signed 25-year-old free agent with no big league time to a big league deal; he’s a defense first guy with 50 speed that may play 2B/SS/3B in bigs this year), 3B Michael Almanzar (2013 Rule 5 guy from Boston still has everyday tools, shows flashes and Baltimore likes him, but most scouts have moved on) and 1B Trey Mancini (Video lanky slugger was college bash brother at Notre Dame with Yankees 3B Eric Jagielo and has all-fields plus power of his own, but his long swing holds him back so he’s opting for contact now)
Kiley McDaniel has worked as an executive and scout, most recently for the Atlanta Braves, also for the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates. He's written for ESPN, Fox Sports and Baseball Prospectus. Follow him on twitter.