Baltimore Orioles PRE-SEASON Top 20 in Review
1) Nick Markakis, OF
Combined for .310 average, 41 doubles, 15 homers, .390 OBP, .504 SLG for Class A Frederick and Double-A Bowie. An excellent prospect who continues to improve.
2) Val Majewski, OF
Out for the whole year with shoulder injury.
3) Jeff Fiorentino, OF
Hit .286/.346/.508 for Frederick with 12 steals. Solid season, although his early promotion to the majors may have created unrealistic expectations in the minds of some.
4) Hayden Penn, RHP
3.83 ERA in 110 innings for Bowie, 120/37 K/BB. Hit hard in eight starts for Baltimore, but at age 20 that is hardly damning. A solid prospect but I think they rushed him.
5) Chris Ray, RHP
2.66 ERA in 41 games for Baltimore. Should be ready to take a larger role soon. I like him a lot.
6) John Maine, RHP
6-11, 4.56 in 23 starts for Triple-A Ottawa, though his component ratios were up to previous standards. Hit hard in 10 games in the majors, with a poor 24/24 K/BB in 40 innings. I still think he will be a useful pitcher but I don't like him as much as I used to.
7) Tripper Johnson, 3B
Hit .249/.309/.387 for Double-A Bowie. On-base skills have deteriorated and power has been disappointing. Another guy I used to like a lot who has not panned out.
8) Adam Loewen, LHP
10-8, 4.12 in 27 starts for Frederick, with 146/86 K/BB in 142 innings. Excellent stuff, command still a problem but appears to be improving. Best news is that the labrum problems of 2004 turned out not to be serious. For awhile it looked like a major problem, which hurt his status on this list, but he rehabbed successfully without surgery.
9) Walter Young, DH-1B
Hit .288/.334/.438 with 13 homers for Ottawa. Cut his strikeout rate, but at the expense of power. Needs to find the middle ground somehow.
10) Jacobo Sequea, RHP
Dumped by the Orioles after he fell apart at Ottawa, posting an ERA in excess of 7.00 with loss of velocity and command. Claimed by Nationals, sent to Double-A where he posted an ERA over 6.00. Pitched 53 innings this year but total collapse in all phases of his game is certainly odd.
11) Eli Whiteside, C
Hit .233/.283/.347 for Ottawa. Decent glove but will not hit.
12) David Haehnel, LHP
Combined for 2.11 ERA, 71/20 K/BB in 68 innings for Class A Delmarva and Frederick. Good command, successful in relief with 20 saves. Faces Double-A transition in '06.
13) James Johnson, RHP
Went 12-9, 3.49 in 27 starts for Frederick, 168/64 K/BB in 160 innings. A solid pitching prospect, one of the brighter lights in the system. Still needs improved command but I like his chances.
14) Nate Spears, 2B
Hit .294/.349/.429 in 112 games for Frederick. Fair gap power, good polish, a typical scrappy second base type.
15) Keith Reed, OF
Hit .292/.316/.458 in 80 games for Ottawa. Had made some progress improving his skills, but on-base abilities remain substandard and too old to improve much further.
16) Rob McCrory, RHP
Went 2-1, 3.28 in five starts in the New York-Penn League. Good arm, but a long way from being ready to help.
17) Tony Neal, RHP
4.85 ERA for Frederick, 29/10 K/BB in 26 innings, eight saves but blew four chances. Went on the shelf in August, status unclear.
18) Carlos Perez, LHP
11-8, 4.28 in 27 starts for Delmarva, 146/61 K/BB in 151 innings. Nice strikeout rate, but he gave up more than a hit per inning and draws mixed reviews from scouts.
19) Jarod Rine, OF
Horrible year. Hit .209/.289/.279 in 115 games for Frederick. Stole 21 bases, but no power, weak on-base skills limited his chances.
20) Freddy Deza, RHP
6.12 ERA, 64/36 K/BB in 104 innings for Frederick, 134 hits allowed. Prospect status fading quickly.
A bad list or a bad farm system? Probably both. This is another team where the 2006 list will be very different from the 2005 list.