A look at the Baltimore Orioles Pre-Season Top 20 list.
1) Nick Markakis, OF.
Hitting .291/.370/.466 for Class A Frederick, with 10 homers and 21 doubles but just 2 steals. Speed seems to be dropping off, but his power is increasing. A fine prospect.
2) Val Majewski, OF.
Will miss entire season due to shoulder injury.
3) Jeff Fiorentino, OF.
Hitting .268/.326/.455 for Frederick. Received a brief surprise cup-of-coffee as an emergency player this spring, hitting .250 in 13 games for the Orioles. Plate discipline has slipped lately, he may be pressing.
4) Hayden Penn, RHP.
3-4, 3.79 with 65/20 K/BB in 59 innings for Double-A Bowie. Promoted prematurely to the Orioles, has a 6.75 ERA and poor 14/19 K/BB in 7 starts. A solid prospect but was rushed ahead of schedule.
5) Chris Ray, RHP.
1.10 ERA and 37/6 K/BB (and 15 saves) at Bowie. Promoted to the Majors, has a 15/3 K/BB in his first 12 innings, allowing just 1 run. Doing very well, and if he maintains this sort of command his success will continue.
6) John Maine, RHP.
6-7, 4.19 in 17 starts for Triple-A Ottawa, with 86/32 K/BB in 97 innings. Doing OK, holding his own, should receive a September call-up.
7) Tripper Johnson, 3B.
.266/.323/.415 at Bowie. Marginal numbers for a third baseman. I've been up-and-down with my opinion about Johnson throughout his career, really like him at times, but also disappointed frequently. I really don't know what to expect from him.
8) Adam Loewen, LHP.
4.62 ERA in 17 starts at Frederick. Showing good stuff with 92 strikeouts in 86 innings, but has serious control problems with 59 walks. Has to get that under control (no pun intended).
9) Walter Young, 1B-DH.
.291/.345/.459 with 10 homers for Triple-A Ottawa. Has reduced his strikeouts this year, but at the cost of some power. Still on the Sam Horn career course.
10) Jacobo Sequea, RHP.
Totally lost his command, 7.59 ERA with 10 walks and 27 hits in 19 innings for Ottawa. Dumped from the roster, picked up by the Nationals and still struggling (5.40 ERA for Double-A Harrisburg).
11) Eli Whiteside, C.
Hit .263/.311/.415 in 63 games for Ottawa. Good glove, but unlikely to hit much better than that in the Majors.
12) David Haehnel, LHP.
0.79 ERA in 28 games for Class A Delmarva, 16 saves, 34/10 K/BB in 34 innings. Just promoted to Frederick, where he has 8 strikeouts in his first 5 innings. Sharp lefty, will have to prove himself in Double-A.
13) James Johnson, RHP.
7-4, 3.12 ERA in 17 starts at Frederick, with 106/41 K/BB in 98 innings. Just promoted to Bowie, threw 7 shutout innings in his first start. Big-time sleeper prospect, will move up the list quickly.
14) Nate Spears, 2B.
Hitting .312/.365/.439 for Frederick. Reasonable contact hitting skills with some gap power (20 doubles).
15) Keith Reed, OF.
.233/.270/.398 for Ottawa. Still has all those great tools, sometimes flashes skills, but not reliable. Wouldn't be a prospect in deeper systems.
16) Rob McCrory, RHP.
1-1, 3.66 in his first 4 starts for Aberdeen in the New York-Penn League. Good arm, a long way from being ready to help.
17) Tony Neal, RHP.
4.85 ERA, 29/10 K/BB in 26 innings at Frederick. Good K/IP ratio, other numbers are mediocre. Not much to get excited about.
18) Carlos Perez, LHP.
7-5, 3.79 with 89/36 K/BB in 95 innings at Delmarva, 96 hits allowed. Good K/IP ratio, but a few too many walks and mediocre H/IP keep his ERA in the upper 3.00s rather than lower. Good arm but needs better command to thrive at higher levels.
19) Jarod Rine, OF.
Hitting .193/.273/.274 in 67 games for Frederick. Only positive is 10 steals, everything else is well below average. Quite disappointing.
20) Freddy Deza, RHP.
5.14 ERA in 12 starts at Frederick, with 38/24 K/BB in 63 innings, 68 hits allowed. Only positive is adequate control, but K/IP is quite weak and a bad sign for higher levels.
Two bright spots with Markakis and Ray, but overall this remains a weak farm system.