Top 45 Prospects: Baltimore Orioles

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 my own observations. As there was no minor league season in 2020, there are some instances where no new information was gleaned about a player. Players whose write-ups have not been meaningfully altered begin by telling you so. Each blurb ends with an indication of where the player played in 2020, which in turn likely informed the changes to their report if there were any. As always, I’ve leaned more heavily on sources from outside of a given org than those within for reasons of objectivity. Because outside scouts were not allowed at the alternate sites, I’ve primarily focused on data from there, and the context of that data, in my opinion, reduces how meaningful it is. Lastly, in an effort to more clearly indicate relievers’ anticipated roles, you’ll see two reliever designations, both on my lists and on The Board: MIRP, or multi-inning relief pitcher, and SIRP, or single-inning relief pitcher.

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 Future Value’s merits and drawbacks, read Future Value.

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.

Orioles Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Adley Rutschman 23.1 A C 2021 65
2 Grayson Rodriguez 21.3 A SP 2023 55
3 DL Hall 22.5 A+ MIRP 2022 50
4 Ryan Mountcastle 24.0 MLB LF 2021 50
5 Heston Kjerstad 22.1 R RF 2024 50
6 Gunnar Henderson 19.7 R 3B 2024 45+
7 Ryan McKenna 24.1 AA CF 2021 45
8 Jordan Westburg 22.0 R 2B 2024 45
9 Terrin Vavra 23.8 A 2B 2022 45
10 Dean Kremer 25.2 MLB SP 2021 45
11 Michael Baumann 25.5 AA SP 2021 45
12 Kyle Stowers 23.2 A- RF 2023 45
13 Coby Mayo 19.2 R RF 2025 40+
14 Jahmai Jones 23.6 MLB 2B 2021 40+
15 Anthony Servideo 22.0 R SS 2024 40+
16 Adam Hall 21.8 A SS 2022 40+
17 Tyler Nevin 23.8 AA 1B 2021 40
18 Zac Lowther 24.8 AA SP 2021 40
19 Yusniel Diaz 24.4 AA RF 2021 40
20 Rylan Bannon 24.9 AAA 3B 2021 40
21 Cadyn Grenier 24.3 A+ SS 2022 40
22 Hudson Haskin 22.2 R CF 2024 40
23 Carter Baumler 19.1 R SP 2025 40
24 Darell Hernaiz 19.6 R SS 2024 40
25 Isaac Mattson 25.6 AAA SIRP 2021 40
26 Garrett Stallings 23.6 R SP 2022 40
27 Ramón Urías 26.8 MLB 2B 2021 40
28 Bruce Zimmermann 26.1 MLB SP 2021 40
29 Drew Rom 21.2 A SP 2023 40
30 Hunter Harvey 26.2 MLB SIRP 2021 40
31 Kyle Bradish 24.5 A+ SIRP 2022 40
32 Alexander Wells 24.0 AA SP 2021 40
33 Mishael Deson 18.7 R CF 2025 35+
34 Zach Watson 23.7 A CF 2022 35+
35 Kevin Smith 23.8 AA SIRP 2021 35+
36 Joseph Ortiz 22.6 A- SS 2023 35+
37 Maverick Handley 23.0 A- C 2023 35+
38 Blaine Knight 24.7 A+ SIRP 2022 35+
39 Tyler Wells 26.5 AA SIRP 2021 35+
40 Ashton Goudeau 28.6 MLB SIRP 2021 35+
41 Andrew Daschbach 23.4 A- RF 2023 35+
42 Brenan Hanifee 22.8 A+ SP 2022 35+
43 Jake Zebron 21.1 R SP 2023 35+
44 Ignacio Feliz 21.4 A- SP 2023 35+
45 Felix Bautista 25.7 A SIRP 2022 35+
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65 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Oregon State (BAL)
Age 23.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr S / R FV 65
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 60/60 45/55 40/35 60/70 60

Rutschman is the total package, a physical monster who also has superlative baseball acumen and leadership qualities. From his sophomore season onward (and arguably starting in the Fall before that), he went wire-to-wire as the top prospect in his class, a complete player and the best draft prospect in half a decade. His entire profile is ideal. It’s rare for ambidextrous swingers to have polished swings from both sides of the plate, and even more so to have two nearly identical, rhythmic swings that produce power.

It’s more atypical still for that type of hitter to be a great defender at a premium position. Rutschman has a pickpocket’s sleight of hand and absolutely cons umpires into calling strikes on the edge of the zone, and resolute umpires end up hearing it from biased fans who are easier marks. Aside from two instances, all of my Rutschman pop times over three years of looks are between 1.86 and 1.95 seconds, comfortably plus times on throws often right on the bag. Rutschman has the physical tools to become the best catcher in baseball, provided he stays healthy (he had some shoulder/back stuff in college). He’s also an ultra-competitive, attentive, and vocal team leader who shepherds pitchers with measured but intense encouragement. It fires up his teammates and feels like it comes from a real place, rather than something he’s forcing. Aside from the questions that arose as teams scrutinized Rutschman’s medicals with a magnifying glass before the draft (it was described to me as “stuff consistent with catching and playing football”), he’s a perfect prospect subject only to the risk and attrition that all catchers face.

Because the 2020 minor league season was cancelled, we have no full-season looks nor data to alter or buttress this foundation, and Adley looked the same as ever in the Fall. I realize readers will have Matt Wieters flashbacks because Rutchsman’s frame and switch-hitting, upright stance are dead ringers for Wieters’, but this guy’s blood courses through his veins at a much different temperature. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League)

55 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Central Heights HS (TX) (BAL)
Age 21.3 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/55 55/55 55/60 40/50 90-95 / 97

After sitting 90-95 and touching 97 in 2019, Rodriguez’s fastball averaged 95 at the alternate site. He has now been steadily improving since high school, when he was a big-framed, maxed-out, pitchability sort with average stuff. A physical transformation coincided with a senior spring breakthrough, which was then bettered by cogent repertoire work in pro ball. Rodriguez’s changeup, which was an afterthought back in high school, has screwball action and has become very good, very quickly; it’s now the main event. He’s now tracking to have a four-pitch mix full of above-average pitches: a mid-90s fastball; a lateral, mid-80s slider; a two-plane, upper-70s curveball; and the low-80s change. His delivery isn’t great — there’s a little bit of a head whack, and Rodriguez has a tightly-wound lower half — but he’s never been injured and has thrown an acceptable rate of strikes to this point. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League)

50 FV Prospects

3. DL Hall, MIRP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Valdosta HS (GA) (BAL)
Age 22.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/55 50/55 30/40 93-96 / 98

Ultra-competitive, athletic southpaws with this kind of stuff are very rare. Here’s the list of lefty big league starters who throw harder than Hall, who averaged 94.9 mph on his fastball in 2019: Jesús Luzardo, Blake Snell. That’s it.

Because Hall’s release is inconsistent, not only did his walk rate regress in 2019, but the quality of his secondary stuff was also less consistent than it was during his very dominant mid-summer stretch in 2018, when his changeup clearly took a leap. Both of his secondaries are often plus; Hall simply has a higher misfire rate than most big league starters. He’s still just 21 and has All-Star upside if he starts locating better, which may not come until after he has a couple big league seasons under his belt. I have him projected as a multi-inning reliever. It’s a role I think he’d thrive in immediately, one that can impact the ballclub (Hall’s on-mound demeanor fits nicely in leveraged situations), provide him with enough in-game reps to try to hone starter’s control, and give him a foundation of innings to make a starter leap if he does. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Hagerty HS (FL) (BAL)
Age 24.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/60 60/60 45/55 45/45 30/30 30

Now that he’s coming off about a month of hitting .333/.386/.492 in the big leagues, I feel a little more safe projecting Mountcastle as a 50 even though he’s a free-swinging corner bat. He has great plate coverage and hits with power to all fields. His swing is gorgeous. He has a 4.5% career walk rate (it was about 7% in his small big league sample) and it’s rare for DH/LF sorts to walk that little and be star-level performers. DH types with OBPs in the .310-.320 range typically max out in the 2-3 WAR range, which is where I expect Mountcastle to peak. But his contact quality is quite good, and the visual evaluation of the hit tool and the on-paper performance have been strong for several years, so the degree of confidence that Mountcastle will hit is relatively high for a prospect with plate discipline issues. There are Nick Castellanos similarities in Mountcastle’s profile, frame, and swing aesthetic, and Castellanos was a back loaded 50. (Alternate site, MLB)

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Arkansas (BAL)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 55/60 35/60 50/45 45/50 50

Kjerstad performed against the best pitching in the country since the moment he set foot in Fayetteville, and in 150 career games with Arkansas hit .343/.421/.590, including a white hot .448/.513/.791 in 2020, during which Kjerstad hit in all 16 games he played. He’s kept his big, 6-foot-3 frame lean and speedy during that time, relevant for the corner-only prospect because Kjerstad puts a lot of balls in play down both baselines and runs well enough to turn them all into extra bases. He can drop the bat head and lift balls at his knees, and also get on top of pitches at the top of the zone. It’s plus bat control on a somewhat odd-looking swing. If there are concerns about Kjerstad’s cut, I’m not hearing them, as they’ve been drowned out by how well he’s performed. I considered him part of a deep 50 FV tier in the lead up to draft day and the Orioles were able to cut a below-slot deal with him since he didn’t have any likely suitors until closer to the back of the top 10. He was absent from the alternate site and instructs due to an extended bout of myocarditis, a heart condition that’s often a side effect of viral infection (though Kjerstad isn’t known to have tested positive for COVID-19), and can impact long-term heart health. (At-home dev, injury)

45+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Morgan Academy HS (AL) (BAL)
Age 19.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 50/55 20/50 50/50 45/55 60

Henderson has a very promising hit/power combination and is not only very likely to stay on the dirt, but might also be an above-average third base defender (he has an amateur shortstop pedigree). Henderson can drop the bat head to impact pitches down and in, or he can flatten it out to barrel pitches up and away from him, and he often laces the latter to left field. He does all of this with quiet control of his swing; he’s not selling out to generate the power or swinging conservatively just to make a ton of contact. Henderson raked as a high schooler, both against varsity pitching in the southeast and on the showcase circuit, and was advanced enough that he could have moved more quickly than most other 2019 high school draftees, but 2020 didn’t allow for that. Though he played shortstop during his initial pro trial, Henderson has a very tall (but narrow-shouldered) frame and is very likely to kick over to third base, and there’s even a chance he outgrows it, though I don’t think that will be until much later in his career. One of only a couple Picks to Click, we expect Henderson will hit enough to be on next year’s Top 100 list. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League)

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 4th Round, 2015 from St. Thomas Aquinas HS (NH) (BAL)
Age 24.1 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 45/45 30/40 70/70 55/60 50

There’s no change to this report since McKenna was at the alt site all year: McKenna can fly and he has all-fields, doubles power, peppering the right-center gap with inside-out swings. Some of the power production is speed-driven, but McKenna has enough strength to deal with big league velo. His walk rates may come down as pitchers attack him in parts of the zone where they don’t think he can hurt them (mostly on the outer half), but he has a shot to be a league average hitter who also plays a good center field. That’s an everyday player, just probably one without the pop to be a 50 or better on the scale. (Alternate site)

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Mississippi State (BAL)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 191 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 was one of several quintessential, up-the-middle college performers slated to go toward the back of the 2020 draft’s first round. He’s a physical middle infielder with the feet and actions to stay there, and a short, compact swing that is geared for contact at the top of the zone, while Westburg’s physicality brings the power. He may need a swing tweak so his barrel better mirrors the flight path of the baseball (if not, we might be looking at more raw power than in-game output), but he has the hand-eye/power combo to profile as an everyday middle infielder, more cleanly at second base because of his modest arm strength. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Minnesota (COL)
Age 23.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 40/40 35/40 50/50 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 I love how athletic his swing is and how well he tracks pitches deep into the hitting zone, and I think he’ll make enough contact to be a valuable multi-positional role player in the Eric Sogard mold. Vavra had a statistical breakout during his junior year at Minnesota — .386/.455/.614 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. Plus-hitting, lefty infield sticks play forever. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League)

10. Dean Kremer, SP
Drafted: 14th Round, 2016 from UNLV (LAD)
Age 25.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
50/50 55/55 40/40 50/50 55/60 91-94 / 96

Kremer showed a little bit of a velo bump in 2020, averaging 93 mph with his fastball (a mix of four- and two-seamers) after he sat 90-93 in the minors in 2019. I think Kremer’s curveball is going to be an early-count weapon rather than a put-away pitch, but I still consider it above-average because of its depth and bite. His little mid-80s cutter/slider is command-dependent, but I think he’ll have above-average command. Yes, he had walk issues over a small 2020 big league sample, which were largely due to a single, meltdown outing. Remember that Kremer threw 60% of his fastballs in the strike zone in 2019, and I think his issues last year were just small sample noise. He executes his slider location enough that it’ll be effective. I think he’ll eat a ton of innings thanks to his command and end up a 1.5 WAR-ish starter. (Alternate site, MLB)

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2017 from Jacksonville (BAL)
Age 25.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/50 50/50 40/45 40/45 92-95 / 97

Baumann had an ascendant 2019, moving from what I considered to be a two-pitch relief prospect to a nearly ready, four-pitch rotation piece. His 2020 was cut short by injury (other alt site pitchers typically threw 500 to 600 pitches there, while Baumann only threw close to 200). Not long after a horrendous late-August outing during which Baumann struggled to find the strike zone, he was shut down with a flexor strain. Because his arm action is so long, both command consistency and injury risk might be ever present here, at least as far as outsider perception is concerned. There’s No. 4/5 starter stuff, though. While compromised, Baumann was still up to 95 at the alt site (he sat 92-95 and was touching 97 in 2019). His heater’s angle and carry are its headlining attributes, as he generates plus-plus vertical movement that will miss bats at the letters. The rest of the repertoire is only okay, but it’s deep, and part of what I think is a viable north/south style of pitching. Baumann’s upper-80s slider is terse and cuttery, the type of pitch that induces weak contact rather than whiffs, while his more shapely curveball at times has some arm-side action that is helpful against lefties. He has enough changeup feel to mix that pitch in once in a while; it’s more likely to get groundballs than whiffs. If healthy, he’ll likely debut in 2021. (Alternate site)

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Stanford (BAL)
Age 23.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 55/55 35/55 50/50 50/55 60

Stowers swings so hard that he looks like he’s going to corkscrew himself into the ground, but he stilled performed at Stanford, slashing .280/.360/.490 despite a terrible freshman year. The Bellingerian cut makes Stowers’ whiffs seem worse than they are, and also makes his dingers very aesthetically pleasing. He can be beaten at the letters and by back foot breaking balls, but otherwise is capable of doing damage all over the zone. I liked him as a sandwich/early second round prospect and he ended up falling all the way to the top of round three. That prompted a reevaluation, as did Stowers’ rough post-draft summer, but ultimately there’s rare ability to rotate here and a chance for big, in-game power production, enough to at least be the larger half of a corner platoon in the Seth Smith/Matt Joyce mold if not as a regular. (Fall Instructional League)

40+ FV Prospects

13. Coby Mayo, RF
Drafted: 4th Round, 2020 from Stoneman Douglas HS (FL) (BAL)
Age 19.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 55/60 20/50 50/40 40/45 60

Mayo is a huge-framed third base prospect who I think is a better long-term athletic fit in right field, for which he has plenty of arm. If he does outgrow the infield, then Mayo will likely have added significant raw power to a profile that already has a lot of it. He also has surprising bat control for his size and can catch velo up in zone, but it doesn’t always look pretty and smooth. Mayo had among the most robust raw power projection in the 2020 draft class. He’s a talent to anchor the middle of an order, it’s just going to take time and maybe a mechanical overhaul for him to get there. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from Wesleyan HS (GA) (LAA)
Age 23.6 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 50/50 40/45 60/60 40/45 45

The Orioles acquired Jones for Alex Cobb in February. Jones had the worst offensive season of his career in 2019 and arrived in the Arizona Fall League having made yet another swing change, one that simplified his cut and leaned into Jones’ natural feel for contact. He ran an unusually low BABIP in 2019, his underlying TrackMan data was still favorable (39% of balls in play hit 95 mph or above), and he was still just a college-aged player who spent the whole season at Double-A. Then Jones spent 2020 at the alt site and had a three-game sip of coffee with the big league club. He’s made some progress as a defender (especially around the bag) and makes his share of impressive, effort-based plays, though he sometimes boots hard-hit grounders. I’m still betting on Jones’ makeup and athleticism, and think he’ll find a way to be a 1.5 to 2 WAR second baseman by making a ton of contact, hitting lots of doubles, and making an impact with his speed. (Alternate site, MLB)

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from Ole Miss (BAL)
Age 22.0 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 45/50 35/45 55/55 45/55 55

A defensive nomad early in his career at Mississippi, Servideo moved back to shortstop in 2020 (Grae Kessinger was an early Houston pick in 2019) and added a leg kick that unlocked new power. He is twitchy, athletic, and extremely cocky. His stock had a chance to continue rising as his defensive abilities at short became more clear, and as his bat was stress-tested against SEC pitching, but Servideo never got that chance because of COVID. I think the mechanical changes are evidence that he’s made substantive changes, that his 2020 in-game power improvements are real, and that Baltimore got in on the ground floor of a potential everyday player. He struggled to catch fastballs toward the top of the zone during 2020 instructs, and if that’s a continuous issue, then Servideo projects as a utility type, and could move quickly since he already has experience at several positions. (Fall Instructional League)

16. Adam Hall, SS
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Lucas HS (ON) (BAL)
Age 21.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 45/45 30/40 60/60 45/50 55

Hall’s speed has put several atmospheres of pressure on low-level minor league defenses. He puts lots of balls in play on the ground and hauls ass to first, to this point running a nearly .400 BABIP as a pro. He has advanced feel for contact for a 20-year-old with an odd developmental path (he left Bermuda as an adolescent to pursue baseball in Canada) and several catalytic qualities that fit in a traditional, perhaps regressive, top-of-the-lineup role. He’s stolen 56 bases in 70 career attempts (an 80% success rate) and is fast enough for that skill to keep playing as he climbs the ladder, though he showed up to 2021 spring training having added 15 pounds of muscle during the offseason, which may impact his speed. Hall didn’t lack big league physicality and his exit velos were close to big league average in 2019 when he was a little smaller, and he did lift the ball more that year, but power is unlikely to impact the profile. He’s tracking like an Everth Cabrera sort of player. (Fall Instructional League)

40 FV Prospects

17. Tyler Nevin, 1B
Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Poway HS (CA) (COL)
Age 23.8 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/55 50/50 40/45 35/35 40/45 50

It’s possible the change of scenery will do Nevin some good because while he has fantastic feel to hit, the list of current first baseman with premium contact skills but middling game power is full of players hovering around replacement level. He tracks pitches beautifully and can make quality contact with pitches all over the zone, but most of the damage I saw Nevin do in person while he was with Colorado (and via his spray charts) was to the opposite field. And while it’s impressive that he can threaten the right field foul pole, he probably needs to pull the ball with power to profile as either a below-average defensive third or first baseman. If not, then I like his chances to be some kind of four corners role player. His reps at third base dwindled while he was with Colorado and he mostly worked at first base at both the Rockies’ and Orioles’ alt sites, and played a few games in left field in 2019. (Alternate site)

18. Zac Lowther, SP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Xavier (BAL)
Age 24.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/40 45/45 55/60 45/50 88-91 / 94

He doesn’t throw very hard, but it takes hitters a few looks to get comfortable with Lowther, whose mechanical funk disrupts their timing. The sinking and tailing action on his heater makes it tough to square up, and the southpaw leans on his secondary stuff to finish hitters. His curveball has depth and it bites hard, but doesn’t pair very well with the sinker and is best deployed as a means to get ahead of hitters early in the count. The changeup, which has weird, floating/tailing action but almost no sink, has become Lowther’s out pitch. He fits in a swingman or bulk relief role. (Alternate Site)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Cuba (LAD)
Age 24.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 50/50 40/45 40/40 50/55 55

Two more IL stints in 2019 meant Diaz has now been shelved with an ailment six times since 2016. He had issues with his shoulder, hip, hand, quad, and hamstring during that time, and developed a tightly-wound lower half. He still hunts hittable pitches and can move the barrel around the zone, but this is an approach/contact-based skill set rather than one with loud, first division tools. He’s going to pepper the oppo gap with doubles contact but I worry about his ability to catch velo at the top of the zone because of the way his bat head drags through it. He performed above league average as a young pro so maybe moving off of Diaz here is premature, but I’m just skeptical of his swing working and rounding down because of his injury history, too. (Alternate site)

Drafted: 8th Round, 2017 from Xavier (LAD)
Age 24.9 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/50 45/45 40/45 50/50 40/40 45

There’s no change here: He isn’t especially graceful nor does he have great hands or actions, but Bannon plays an adequate, effort-based second and third base. More importantly, he can hit. His low load enables him to lift pitches with regularity, but he’s also short back to the ball and tough to beat with velocity. This becomes especially true with two strikes, when Bannon chokes up and spoils tough pitches. He runs deep counts and walks a bunch, and he’s going to hit a ton of doubles and play a shift-aided spot on the infield. He struggles to lay off of breaking stuff below the zone but as long as that’s not a devastating issue, I think Bannon will be a big league role player. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Oregon State (BAL)
Age 24.3 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 185 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

Grenier was neither at the alt site nor instructs (which perhaps is daming), and I have no info by which to alter his report: Grenier is a good defensive shortstop with some raw pop and elevated peripherals. His overt physical tools — the power, straight-line speed, arm, defensive ability — have been well-reviewed since Grenier was in high school, and they forced Nick Madrigal to move from shortstop to second base during the last year and a half of Grenier’s time with Oregon State. He was a swing-change candidate for pro ball and his hands do load a little differently now, coming toward his rising front knee before circling back around in a loop toward the ball. This is reminiscent of lots of Donaldson-esque swings in the minors right now. If something clicks, Grenier could be an everyday shortstop. For now, the strikeouts push him toward a lesser, middle infield utility role. (At-home dev)

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Tulane (BAL)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 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 was an age-eligible sophomore last year with plus speed and a quirky swing that he makes work. He has average power and can yank some pitches out to his pull side, but his swing doesn’t really let it play in games because he’s often cutting down at the ball. He does track pitches very well, though, and gets the barrel to balls all over the zone. He projects as a tweener fourth outfielder but a swing change that better enables Haskins to hit with lift could also raise his ceiling. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Dowling Catholic HS (IA) (BAL)
Age 19.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops
45/50 50/55 45/55 20/45 90-92 / 94

Baumler is your standard high school projection prospect with low-90s heat, breaking ball feel, and a skinny, 6-foot-2 foundation on which to build. He got an over-slot $1.5 million in the fifth round. Like a lot of Elias-era Astros picks and Orioles trade targets, he stays behind the ball and creates backspin on his fastball, which is nicely mirrored by mostly vertical action on his upper-70s curveball. There’s a lot of raw material with which to work here, and a wide range of outcomes depending on how Baumler’s frame and velocity develop. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from Americas HS (TX) (BAL)
Age 19.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/50 45/55 20/45 50/45 40/50 55

A GM once told me (I’m paraphrasing) that if a player is well-built and has some baseball acumen, they deserve serious consideration even if their tools are currently average. Such is the case with Hernaiz, who has a bunch of average tools right now, but could grow into a carrying, impact trait because he’s a well-built and athletic young man. He has pro ball pedigree (his father played throughout the ’90s), and average bat control, he rotates fast and creates leverage, and he’s athletic enough that he might stay at shortstop. This was a strong $400,000 signing; Hernaiz is one of the more interesting young players in this system. (Fall Instructional League)

25. Isaac Mattson, SIRP
Drafted: 19th Round, 2017 from Pittsburgh (LAA)
Age 25.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/55 40/45 45/45 92-94 / 96

Of the several backspinning fastball types the Orioles have collected via trade over the last couple of seasons, Mattson is the one whose velocity has climbed. His fastball was up a tick at the alt site and his slider velocity climbed about five full ticks (from about 81 mph to 86), though he seems to be sacrificing command for power now. His fastball’s carry makes it playable even at just 93 mph and I think that, plus his slider, will be enough for a middle-inning role. If he can learn to turn over a changeup consistently then he’ll be able to start, but I’m not betting on that as Mattson approaches age 26. (Alternate site)

Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from Tennessee (LAA)
Age 23.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/45 45/50 45/50 45/50 45/60 88-92 / 93

A growing number of teams shut down their newly-drafted pitchers during their first pro summer, which is what the Angels did with Stallings, who threw a career-high 103 innings at Tennessee during the spring of 2019. He’s 23 and still hasn’t pitched in a pro game yet. In 251 career collegiate frames, though, Stallings walked just 37 hitters, and he didn’t issue a single free pass during his pre-draft summer on Cape Cod. You’d think an extreme strike-thrower like this would have the most vanilla, stock footage delivery, but Stallings’ is actually kind of funky, and helps his stuff (which is very vanilla) play up a little bit. He’s a low variance fifth starter prospect who was traded to Baltimore as part of a two-player deal for José Iglesias. (Angels Fall Instructional League)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2010 from Mexico (TEX)
Age 26.8 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/55 45/45 40/40 40/40 40/40 40

I buy that second baseman Ramón Urías has above-average feel to hit, which makes him an above-replacement player with some sneaky trade value. Even at age 26, Urías has some roster flexibility thanks to two remaining option years and a service time clock that just started. He’s not a good defender and doesn’t have much power, but he puts the bat head on the ball consistently and can play second base, though not especially well. Urías has a .270/.360/.420 career line in the minors — after two DSL seasons with Texas, his rights were loaned and then sold outright to Diablos Rojos in Mexico City, where he hit .318/.402/.467 over five seasons before the Cardinals came calling in the spring of 2018 — and he’s hit well for two consecutive years at Double and Triple-A. His TrackMan data was strong in 2019 (91 mph average exit velo, 47% of balls in play at 95 mph or more), and I think he’d be an interesting, small-trade depth target for a contender. (Alternate site, MLB)

Drafted: 5th Round, 2017 from Mount Olive (ATL)
Age 26.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/40 50/55 50/50 40/45 60/60 90-92 / 95

Zimmermann has plus command of a three-pitch mix headlined by his fastball, which sneaks up on hitters because of its cut and carry. He has almost robotic control over his mid-80s slider, which only has real bat-missing length some of the time. He does a nice job of maintaining his fastball arm speed while throwing his changeup, but that pitch lacks the movement and velocity separation from his fastball to miss bats consistently. You’ll occasionally see a slower curveball from Zimmermann but he barely threw that pitch during his 2020 big league debut and I’m not sure whether it will come back in 2021 and beyond. He’s a major league-ready backend starter. (Alternate site, MLB)

29. Drew Rom, SP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from Highlands HS (KY) (BAL)
Age 21.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Splitter Command Sits/Tops
30/45 50/55 45/55 45/55 88-92 / 93

I spoke with a couple of sources for this list who saw Orioles instructs but none of them saw Rom, so all I have to add to his report is what I have from a pitch data source who told me he sat 86-92 in the Fall, and averaged 89. I’ll also add that Rom is going to make it a huge pain in the ass for FanGraphs writers to tag Rockies catcher Drew Romo in our pieces: After a 2018 post-draft velocity dip, Rom’s heater returned to the upper-80s in 2019 and missed a lot full-season bats, many more than fastballs like his typically do. It has a well above-average spin rate for its velocity and nearly perfect backspin. An equally important part of Rom’s success to this point — 150 strikeouts, 39 walks in 126 innings — has been his breaking ball command. He can vary shape and locate to his glove side, and Rom has a crude splitter with late dive that has a shot to miss bats. If he can add velo he’s going to really blow up, and he’s only 21. Velo gains aren’t a given though, and Rom has a mesomorphic build, not the sort that has a ton of room for mass. If he settles at this velo, he’ll be a backend starter. (Fall Instructional League)

30. Hunter Harvey, SIRP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2013 from Bandys HS (NC) (BAL)
Age 26.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Splitter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/55 40/40 40/40 92-97 / 99

Harvey still hasn’t graduated even though last year’s September roster days counted against his rookie eligibility. He continues to deal with intermittent injury while exhibiting high-leverage relief potential when healthy. In the brief look we had at Harvey last season, he threw fewer splitters and used more varied, in-zone fastball location rather than constantly attacking at the letters. (Alternate site, MLB)

31. Kyle Bradish, SIRP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from New Mexico State (LAA)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/50 55/55 45/50 30/40 92-94 / 97

So extremely vertical is Bradish’s arm slot that his fastball’s spin axis is actually on the left-handed side of 12:00, similar to Oliver Drake. Like a lot of power pitchers, his fastball plays best at the letters. Bradish’s issue is that he struggles to locate up there consistently, and when his fastball is toward the middle of the zone, it’s very hittable. Even though he had a velo spike at the alternate site (he averaged 93 and was up to 97 after averaging 91 and touching 95 in 2019), Bradish’s fastball swinging strike rate was still pretty average. It makes it more likely that Bradish ends up in a relief role where he mixes in his three other offerings pretty heavily. His mid-80s slider is the pitch opposing hitters seem to struggle most to identify out of his hand and Bradish can throw it for strikes, while his curveball is the pitch he’s more comfortable burying in the dirt. He also has an upper-80s changeup with some arm-side action. It’s a fourth starter’s stuff with a reliever’s control, control Bradish and the Orioles will try to develop in 2021 ahead of a likely 40-man roster add. He’s on the single-inning/multi-inning relief line for me. (Alternate site)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Australia (BAL)
Age 24.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
35/35 45/45 55/55 50/55 60/70 86-89 / 91

How good does one’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 but it has plus-plus vertical movement. This is also a lefty with a good changeup, and those tend to outperform projections. If Wells can find a breaking ball (his slow curveball has some utility, and he has a newly-developed slider), then he’ll pitch toward the back of a rotation for a long time. (At-home dev)

35+ FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 18.7 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding
25/55 30/50 20/50 60/60 40/55

An ultra-projectable teenage outfielder acquired from Colorado as part of the Mychal Givens deal, Deson has good feel for contact for someone his age and size, and runs well enough that he’ll likely stay in center field, at least for a while. He’s a high risk/upside type likely to stay on the complex in 2021. (At-home dev)

34. Zach Watson, CF
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from LSU (BAL)
Age 23.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 166 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 45/45 30/35 55/55 45/50 60

With geyser-like regularity, LSU churns out high-effort, tweener bench outfield prospects like Watson, who hit .311/.373/.484 while in college. He’s another of the many 23-year-old 2019 college draftees who has yet to have an upper-level opportunity due to the 2020 layoff. (Fall Instructional League)

35. Kevin Smith, SIRP
Drafted: 7th Round, 2018 from Georgia (NYM)
Age 23.8 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 50/55 45/50 45/50 87-90 / 92

Smith was acquired from the Mets in exchange for Miguel Castro and joins Zac Lowther as a soft-tossing swingman type of lefty with lots of tail on his fastball. Smith sat about 90 at the alternate site and tops out around 93. He had trouble working his sweeping slider to his glove side at both the Mets’ and Orioles’ alt sit locations and instead was limited to backdooring it to righties. When he can work it glove side, it has enough break and angle to be a finishing pitch, too. Fastballs like Smith’s tend to pair nicely with a changeup but while Smith has fair feel for locating his cambio, it lacks any kind of impact movement. He needs a way to neutralize righties to profile in a middle-inning long man role. Plus slider command is the likeliest avenue. (Alternate site)

Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from New Mexico State (BAL)
Age 22.6 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 40/45 30/35 55/55 50/60 55

Ortiz is a glove-first shortstop prospect whose offensive production in college was ultra-inflated by the Las Cruces altitude. His swing, unaltered since college to my eye, is long and only capable of doing pull-side damage. The glove gives him a good shot to be a utility infielder but that outcome is dependent on something more developing on offense. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 6th Round, 2019 from Stanford (BAL)
Age 23.0 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 40/40 30/35 50/50 45/55 40

Handley is an agile catcher who had terrific feel for the strike zones as a college hitter. His swing looks like it has changed a little bit since his time at Stanford, and now features a little bigger, slower leg kick than before. Handley’s quickness enables the arm to play behind the plate even though he’s short on pure arm strength. Without an impact offensive tool, he likely maxes out as a contact-oriented backup, but we’ll see what the new swing does for his power output. (Fall Instructional League)

38. Blaine Knight, SIRP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Arkansas (BAL)
Age 24.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 50/50 55/60 40/45 40/45 91-94 / 97

Knight was parked at 89-93 as a starter in 2019 then was more into the mid-90s during 2020 instructs in shorter outings, which has been portended for him since his underclass days at Arkansas when he’d be nails early then fall off later in starts. He was still working with four pitches in the Fall but I think his repertoire is likely to be pared down to his fastball (which hopefully will sit 93-95 out of the bullpen), slider (which has utility against left- and right-handed hitters) and maybe one of his curveball or changeup. He projects in relief. (Fall Instructional League)

39. Tyler Wells, SIRP
Drafted: 15th Round, 2016 from Cal St San Bernadino (MIN)
Age 26.5 Height 6′ 8″ Weight 265 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/50 55/55 55/55 92-94 / 96

One of two Orioles Rule 5 picks, Wells was selected from Minnesota. He missed 2019 rehabbing from Tommy John. His pitches have tough angle because of his size (he’s 6-foot-8) and arm slot. Pre-surgery, his secondaries (a slider and 12-6 rainbow curveball) were average and his heater was above. He came out of the 2021 spring training gate sitting 93-95 and has a fair chance to stick in a bullpen role, though he ultimately projects as an up/down type. (Injury rehab)

40. Ashton Goudeau, SIRP
Drafted: 27th Round, 2012 from Maple Woods JC (MO) (KCR)
Age 28.6 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/50 55/55 40/45 55/55 91-94 / 96

Goudeau came out of nowhere in 2019 and posted a 30% strikeout rate and 4% walk rate at Double-A, then allowed just four baserunners during the entire 2019 AFL season. He doesn’t have elite-looking stuff but throughout 2019 was generating near perfect backspin and seam uniformity on his heater, giving it bat-missing carry at the top of the strike zone where he would locate it perfectly over, and over, and over again. His plus curveball is almost indistinguishable from the fastball for most of its flight and Goudeau would also command that with precision. In 2020, that command consistency and Goudeau’s slider both disappeared, the Rockies waived him, and Goudeau hopped around on waivers during the offseason before landing with the Orioles, who plan to stretch him out as a starter during camp and reintroduce the slider. He’s a bounce-back candidate who I liked as an ultra-consistent middle relief option. (Alternate site, MLB)

Drafted: 11th Round, 2019 from Stanford (BAL)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 55/55 35/50 40/40 45/50 45

Daschbach is a right/right 1B/OF power bat with strength-driven thump. He smoked Pac-12 pitching as a sophomore and junior, but has a high offensive bar to clear because of where he fits on defense. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from Ashby HS (VA) (BAL)
Age 22.8 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Cutter Command Sits/Tops
55/60 45/50 40/45 45/50 91-93 / 95

There’s no change to Hanifee’s blurb as he was neither at the alt site nor instructs. He’s an older arm strength/frame prospect who needs to perform immediately in 2021: Baltimore had originally planned on taking Hanifee, who grew up an Orioles fan, in the third round of the 2016 draft but instead took Austin Hays, who they expected to be off the board by that point. Hanifee was still available the next time Baltimore was on the clock and he signed for $500,000. Our year-to-year notes on Hanifee have his velo down two ticks in 2019 (91-93 touch 95 in ’18, 89-92 touch 93 in ’19), and his control regressed, too. His appeal for the past two years had been his present arm strength and a lean, broad-shouldered, 6-foot-5 frame that foreshadowed more. That hasn’t happened, even as Hanifee’s gotten stronger-looking.

His delivery is odd. After his hands break, Hanifee holds the ball out and up above his head like a waiter carrying a tray, then his stride and arm stroke are both very short. It’s deceptive and strange. He’s a bounce-back candidate, and a reasonable outcome to hope for is a fastball-heavy reliever. (At-home dev)

43. Jake Zebron, SP
Drafted: 18th Round, 2018 from Colonel Richardson HS (MD) (BAL)
Age 21.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/45 50/60 30/45 35/50 88-92 / 94

There’s nothing new on Zebron, an interesting developmental pitching prospect: Baltimore was one of only a few teams that were on Zebron, who was pitching on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, before the 2018 draft. A year after becoming an intriguing summer sleeper, his fastball remains in the low-90s, up to 94, paired with a deep, two-plane curveball. (At-home dev)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (CLE)
Age 21.4 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

Just a minor league Rule 5 pick, I’ve been a Feliz fan for a while and am staying on him because of his athleticism and the shapes of his pitches. He only sits 87-92 but he’ll flash a plus breaking ball and I believe there’s a possibility for long-term pitch development here because Feliz is so athletic and new to pitching (he’s a converted shortstop). He’s now on his third org (Cleveland to San Diego in a 40-man crunch deal, then to Baltimore in the minor league Rule 5) and is admittedly a long-shot. (At-home dev)

45. Felix Bautista, SIRP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic (MIA)
Age 25.7 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Splitter Command Sits/Tops
65/65 45/45 30/35 93-98 / 100

There’s no change to Bautista’s blurb. He’s still on here because he has elite arm strength. Bautista is way behind the developmental curve — he was originally signed by the Marlins in 2012 and released in 2015 — but he has a huge frame and he sure does throw hard. He’s of the Tayron Guerrero ilk. (At-home dev)

Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Sleeper College Bats
Greg Cullen, 2B
Toby Welk, 3B
Johnny Rizer, CF
AJ Graffanino, SS

Both Graffanino and Cullen were acquired from Atlanta for Tommy Milone. Cullen was a good Day Three pick out of Niagra and could be a high-OBP, low-SLG infield reserve. Graffanino was a name high schooler (his dad is Tony) in Arizona but then underperformed in college (Washington) until his final year. He performed in the low minors early on, then missed all of 2019 due to injury. 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 New York Penn League fastballs. He probably fits at third base and would be one hell of a story if he turns into something. Rizer (out of TCU) is an above-average runner with some pop who needs to be more selective. He could be a lefty stick fourth outfielder.

Corner Power Bats
JC Encarnacion, 3B
Brett Cumberland, DH
Robert Neustrom, RF
James Rolle, 1B
Cristopher Cespedes, RF

Encarnacion is far too aggressive, but he has the best frame, athleticism, and defensive ability of this group, so he’s at the top of it. Cumberland might have trade value and utility if the universal DH is implemented. I expect him to be a .350 OBP, .410 SLG type of DH. 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. Rolle is one of a couple of Bahamian players in the system. He’s a stocky 6-foot, 240 pounds and has above-average pop. He’ll 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 in 2019, 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 Projection Bats
Luis Gonzalez, OF
Wilmer Feliciano, OF
Josue Cruz, OF
Stiven Acevedo, OF

Many of the international amateurs Baltimore has signed of late have been big-framed outfielders, many of whom hit left-handed. All except Acevedo here are lefty hitters. Gonzalez has the most polished feel to hit of this group. Feliciano was the most physically imposing prospect at a Scottsdale event a couple Januarys ago (I think? I don’t know when anything was anymore). Cruz is a little older than the others here at age 20.

International Signees From Last Year’s “Others”
Dax Stubbs, CF
Luis Ortiz, LHP

Stubbs hasn’t turned 18 yet. He’s got a good frame and can really rotate, so there’s power potential there. This Ortiz is not the Rich Garcesian righty who has some big league time but rather the semi-projectable lefty the team signed for $400,000 in July 2019. He has a vertical arm slot and some feel for a curve.

A Couple More Arms To Watch
Zach Peek, RHP
Mac Sceroler, RHP
Kyle Brnovich, RHP
Easton Lucas, LHP
Conner Loeprich, RHP
Ofelky Peralta, RHP
Dallas Litscher, RHP
Yeancarlos Lleras, RHP
Leonardo Rodriguez, RHP

Peek and Brnovich were part of the Dylan Bundy deal. They both have below-average arm strength with good underlying data traits. Peek was still just 90-91 in the Fall. Brnovich could be a breaking ball centric reliever. Sceroler is a Rule 5 pick who is up to 94; his fastball has upward angle and he’s deceptive. I thought he was the most surprising name taken in the Rule 5. Lucas was acquired from Miami, Loeprich from Pittsburgh, and like most of the pitchers Baltimore acquires, they have a backspinning fastballs. Loeprich’s has an awful lot of spin (nearly 2500 rpm on average) for how slow it is (89-92 in 2019). Peralta throws hard (94-97) but has zero feel to pitch. 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.

System Overview

We don’t have the benefit of a recent 40-round draft to use to look for patterns from the newer Baltimore regime, but because the Orioles have leaned so hard into a rebuild, we do have lots of trades to consider. Like a lot of teams that have made a concerted rebuilding effort lately, the Orioles have taken a go-wide approach, often picking up several players at a time and taking fliers on an awful lot of pitching in smaller deals. Combine that approach with actual participation in Latin America and this system is getting deeper. I think cutting a deal with Kjerstad enabled Baltimore to be the only team that got five potential impact prospects in the 2020 Draft.

Teams are always clamoring for pitching depth and this was especially true last year due to the combination of the typical rate of injury, whatever extra injuries were caused by the weird stop-and-start nature of the season, and COVID. This may be amplified again as teams not only have to deal with last year’s complexities but have to do so entering a season where all of their pitchers will be asked to carry a much heavier workload. Pitchers who can work multiple innings and pitchers with option years left are going to be at a premium as clubs attempt to deal with the situation and the Orioles have many of those on the roster. Post-hype Dillon Tate and Jorge López are also around; Tate had a velo uptick last year and started working with two different fastballs. There are lots of interesting young arms to watch, many who’ll get an opportunity here that they might not have elsewhere. Perhaps that will enable a Keuchel-colored rainbow to shine at the end of this long rainy day for Orioles fans.

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 Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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3 years ago

Is Keegan Akin no longer on the list?

3 years ago
Reply to  Mark

I was thinking the same thing-I think he graduated due to shortened-season service time rules. Wondering-is he 40+ FV?

Meg Rowleymember
3 years ago
Reply to  motleycrue84

You can see his prospect report at the time of graduation, including tool grades and his FV, on his player page.

3 years ago
Reply to  motleycrue84

He still has his rookie eligibility, I’m almost certain – he should be included here

Meg Rowleymember
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark

He graduated last year – you can see all the 2020 graduates on The Board (this view is filtered on Baltimore):,1&team=bal

3 years ago
Reply to  Meg Rowley

Are you able to elaborate on this? I’m not seeing how Akin hit 45 days active. He was recalled 8/8, optioned 8/15, recalled 8/25, optioned 8/27, recalled 8/30, stayed until end of season on 9/28. I get 41 days out of that count. Are there days active I’m missing? Baseball Reference lists him still as a rookie and he’s listed on other sites Orioles rankings for 2021 – two I could find off-hand are Baseball America and The Athletic.

3 years ago

Yep, I posted the same thing, but comment was disappeared “for moderation” (assuming because I used multiple links to the info you’re citing here which got flagged).

Shirtless George Brett
3 years ago

I could be wrong (I often am) but both FG and BR says Akin has 0.108 service time. Does that not signify 108 days? In which case he would not be a rookie.

3 years ago

That’s the 2020 season equivalent of 108 days, not the actual number of days on the roster. I don’t believe that those added days count against rookie/prospect eligibility. If they did, then Ryan Mountcastle (0.105) and Dean Kremer (0.053) would also be ineligible for this list.

Shirtless George Brett
3 years ago

Makes sense. I thought maybe he accumulated time prior to 2020. I dont follow the O’s that much (I’m not a sadist 😉 )

So if you do the math (each day of service time counted for 2.8 days in 2020) he was on the roster for 38-39 days in 2020. Seems like he is definitely not graduated then.

3 years ago

Yep, that’s the same count you get manually counting up from official transaction logs for 2020