Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Baltimore Orioles. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed, you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.
All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It can be found here.
Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.
Welk was drafted in the 21st round out of Penn State Berks, a D-III satellite campus of Penn State. He’s the second ever player drafted out of that conference. Welk is a big, athletic guy with average power and shocking feel to hit for someone who just got done seeing bad amateur pitching. His timing is great and his top hand gets over quickly, which enabled him to get around on NYPL fastballs. He probably fits at third base and would be one hell of a story if he turns into something. Rizer is an above-average runner with some pop who needs to be more selective. He could be a lefty stick fourth outfielder.
Encarnacion is far too aggressive, but he has the best frame, athleticism, and defensive ability on this heap, so he’s at the top of it. Low-A assignments are fine for Big Ten hitters and Neustrom played well during his. He has 55 raw and a chance for a 50 bat. Reyes had a good year repeating Hi-A (111 wRC+) as a 22-year-old, but he’s still very impatient and likely to wind up at first. Rolle is one of two Bahamian players in the system. He’s a stocky 6-foot, 240 and has above-average pop. Cruz is a little older but leaner and might get stronger. Both are teens who have to hit all the way up the ladder. Cespedes was a minor league Rule 5 pick from Cleveland. He had one of the highest average exit velos in all the minors, averaging 96 mph off the bat, albeit as a college-aged hitter in the AZL. He spent several years in rookie ball and those guys almost never pan out.
International Signees. Seriously.
Dax Stubbs, SS
Luis Gonzalez, OF
Luis Ortiz, LHP
Stubbs hasn’t turned 17 yet. He’s got a good frame and can really rotate, so there’s power potential there. Gonzalez is a feel-to-hit corner outfielder. This Ortiz is not the Rich Garcesian righty who has some big league time but rather the semi-projectable lefty the team signed for $400k in July. He has a vertical arm slot and some feel for a curve.
Brnovich is the final piece of the Dylan Bundy deal. He could be a breaking ball centric reliever. Fenter has arm strength but his development has been very slow. Litscher has a sneaky heater and good curveball spin rates, but he’s relatively old. Lleras is 19 and touches 95; he was a day-two pick out of Puerto Rico in 2018. Rodriguez, 22, is into the mid-90s, too, but his delivery isn’t great.
Baltimore’s rebuild, even the parts of it that began during the previous regime’s final year, has been one focused on quantity, at least as that applies to acquiring pro talent. The Machado, Gausman, and Bundy deals all netted a bunch of players rather than premium singletons. They’ve made seven Rule 5 picks in three years and two prominent minor league Rule 5 picks this past draft (Cespedes is mentioned above, and I also like Wilbis Santiago a little bit, and think he’s been stifled by the middle infield depth in Cleveland’s system). They’ve taken a college-heavy draft approach with lots of signable performers from big programs, while arms in their mid-20s have been slow to graduate.
Baltimore appears headed down the Houston scouting model pathway toward video and data-heavy analysis. They’ve fired some scouts and hired Scouting Analyst Consultants. “Consultant” titles in baseball don’t have to be included on org ledgers so a team can have a lot of them and other teams/general folks don’t always know about it. How Lunhow-y things get in Baltimore is officially up in the air after the namesake’s grizzly end in Houston. Part of the reason baseball’s collective disdain for Houston grew was because of the scout firings, so maybe Baltimore (and Milwaukee) won’t go that far.
Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.