Baltimore Orioles Top 20 2013 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

Kevin Gausman - Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Here's a look at the current status of the Baltimore Orioles farm system. This is the PRE-SEASON LIST. It is NOT a new list. These are pre-season grades and rankings.

This list was originally published November 27, 2012. It was revised on January 15, 2013.

1) Dylan Bundy, RHP, Grade A: Out with Tommy John surgery.

2) Kevin Gausman, RHP, Grade A-: Strong start in Double-A (3.11 ERA, 49/5 K/BB in 46 innings) jumped him to the majors ahead of schedule, where he alternated between good and bad over 33 innings (6.21 ERA, 26/9 K/BB, 40 hits). Now back in Triple-A with not-great results (7.13 ERA, 26 hits in 18 innings but a sharp 16/5 K/BB). Talent is obvious, needs to settle in at one level, get some consistent innings to finish refining the breaking ball. Still one of the top prospects in baseball.

3) Jonathan Schoop, INF, Grade B: Just .254/.315/.366 in 36 games in Triple-A, but destroying rookie ball pitching in 11 injury rehab games for back injury lifts his season combined line to .295/.363/.486. Back with Norfolk now, 0-for-7 in two games since his return. Plate discipline remains biggest problem. Seems like trade bait.

4) Nick Delmonico, 3B-1B, Grade B-: Traded to Milwaukee Brewers for veteran reliever Francisco Rodriguez; hitting .240/.346/.463 with 13 homers in High-A on the season.

5) Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Grade B-: 2.85 ERA in 14 starts for High-A Frederick, 66/25 K/BB in 85 innings. Promoted to Double-A Bowie, 4.50 ERA with 22/12 K/BB in 22 innings. Young Venezuelan at age 20, projects as mid-rotation starter. Trade bait?

6) Branden Kline, RHP, Grade B-: 5.86 ERA with 32/14 K/BB in 35 innings for Low-A Delmarva, but has been out since mid-May after hurting his ankle during conditioning drills, requiring surgery. Good fastball and slider, struck out 13 in his 5.2 innings in his last start before getting injured.

7) Mike Wright, RHP, Grade B-: Borderline C+. 3.57 ERA with 101/32 K/BB in 108 innings for Bowie, 115 hits. Continues to build reputation as inning-eating strike-thrower with decent stuff, fourth starter projection. Trade bait?

8) L.J. Hoes, OF, Grade C+: Borderline B-. Hitting .304/.406/.403 with 58 walks, 56 strikeouts in 365 at-bats for Norfolk. Efficient line drive hitter with good plate discipline, but insufficient power to start at a corner. Trade bait?

9) Steve Johnson, RHP, Grade C+: Borderline B-. 8.49 ERA in 12 major league innings; 5.25 ERA in 24 minor league innings spread between three levels due to injury rehab, 31/10 K/BB. Turns 26 next month; I think he'll be on the margins of the majors for a long while.

10) Christian Walker, 1B, Grade C+: Borderline B-. Former South Carolina star performing well in pro ball so far, hitting combined .302/.364/.466 with 11 homers, 24 doubles, 32 walks, 63 strikeouts in 374 at-bats between Low-A, High-A, and Double-A. Main concern remains home run power from a right-handed hitting first baseman.

11) Adrian Marin, SS, Grade C+:
Hitting .282/.329/.362 with 19 walks, 74 strikeouts in 312 at-bats for Delmarva, good defensive shortstop, less prone to errors than most 19-year-olds and with sufficient range to stick. Needs to sharpen discipline but an intriguing prospect. Trade bait?

12) Xavier Avery, OF, Grade C+: Borderline C. .300/.391/.406 with 12 steals for Bowie in 39 games, .216/.291/.284 with 12 steals for Norfolk in 55 games. No change here: really good tools, but bat is shaky against good pitching. Profiles as a reserve for me.

13) Glynn Davis, OF, Grade C+: Borderline C. The "+" is difficult to defend sabermetrically but I'll go with instinct on this one. Blazing speed, will take a walk, and for some reason I can't pin down I think his bat has more juice in it than he's shown so far. That's what I wrote in January. So far, a bad call, as he's hitting just .234/.315/.322 for Frederick. 13 steals, but has to do more with the bat.

14) Tyler Wilson, RHP, Grade C+: Borderline C. Combined 3.49 ERA with 85/39 K/BB in 113 innings between High-A and Double-A, 93 hits allowed. Continues to throw strikes and get people out without exciting scouts, although I'd like to see more strikeouts before really pushing him as a sleeper.

15) Mike Belfiore, LHP, Grade C: Borderline C+: 3.79 ERA with a 60/21 K/BB in 55 innings for Norfolk, 60 hits. Still has some LOOGY possibilities.

16) Henry Urrutia, OF, Grade C: Borderline C+. This is what I wrote in January: Cuban defector, signed this summer for $778,500, but is still stalled with visa problems and hasn't played yet. I really have no idea where to rank him, but people will ask about him, so here he is. Scouting reports say he's a line drive hitter with good strike zone judgment, age 25, switch-hitter, doesn't run well enough to play center. Main question is how much home run power he'll show. This grade and ranking could be too low, but there is just no way to know right now. The Orioles were planning to send him to Double-A after he signed, but he hasn't played regularly since 2010 and likely has rust to work off. A real wild card.

As you know, the Orioles were right about him: he hit .365/.427/.531 between Double-A and Triple-A, and is 9-for-28 (.321) so far in the majors.

17) Devin Jones, RHP, Grade C: Borderline C+. 5.60 ERA with 80/31 K/BB in 92 innings between Frederick and Bowie, 107 hits allowed. Ground ball specialist has been a disappointment this season.

18) Michael Ohlman, C, Grade C
: Borderline C+. Tough grade. A top prospect in high school, he did nothing for three years, got suspended for "drug of abuse" this past spring, then played extremely well for 50 games after returning, showing the offensive and defensive skills that had been missing since high school. Was this a fluke? Or did he figure something out?

Well, my my. Ohlman is quietly having a terrific season, hitting.303/.401/.542 with 12 homers, 39 walks, and 66 whiffs in 294 at-bats for Frederick. High strikeout rate, but drawing walks, hitting for power and average. Not a great fielder, but he's hitting .304/.405/.507 in 119 games since returning from his drug suspension. Something happened here, something good.

19) Ty Kelly, INF-OF, Grade C: Traded to Mariners for Eric Thames, hitting a combined .287/.400/.396 between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Tacoma. Still see him as a potential utility player.

20) Brenden Webb, OF, Grade C: Good athlete but has serious problems with contact, hitting just .201/.298/.345 with 107 strikeouts in 293 at-bats for Frederick.

OTHERS: Roderick Bernadina, OF; Ryan Berry, RHP; Tim Berry, LHP; Torsten Boss, 3B; Parker Bridwell, RHP; Robert Bundy, RHP; Zach Clark, RHP; Zack Davies, RHP; Josh Hader, LHP; Joe Mahoney, 1B; Rafael Moreno, RHP; Connor Narron, SS; Stuart Pomeranz, RHP; Lex Rutledge, LHP; Clay Schrader, RHP; Tyler Townsend, 1B; Sebastian Vader, RHP; Hector Veloz, 3B; Brady Wager, RHP; Brandon Waring, 3B-1B.

Another system with a mixture of good and bad news with player development. Chris Tillman finally figured things out, a good example of why teams are reluctant to give up on live arms. Brian Matusz has been an effective reliever. Rookie Kevin Gausman was rushed to the majors with very mixed results but will be back.

Dylan Bundy's injury was unfortunate of course, but that's what happens with pitchers. The investment in Henry Urrutia looks like it will pay off, with the Cuban outfielder being at least a good role player and possibly more. Eduardo Rodriguez is developing nicely. Right-hander Zach Davies has pitched well for Frederick at age 20 and has pushed past some of the older pitchers who haven't developed as well. Keep an eye on him. Lefties Josh Hader, Lex Rutledge, and Matt Taylor have also pitched well enough to move up the charts.

The best news, of course, is Manny Machado and his outstanding sophomore season.

Overall, this is an average farm system that still lacks depth, but has shown improvement since Dan Duquette took over.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H2VLCkoZKY
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