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Baltimore Orioles Top 20 Prospects

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Nick Markakis and Val Majewski

  1. Nick Markakis, OF, B+
  2. Val Majewski, OF, B+
  3. Jeff Fiorentino, OF, B
  4. Hayden Penn, RHP, B
  5. Chris Ray, RHP, B
  6. John Maine, RHP, B-
  7. Tripper Johnson, 3B, C+
  8. Adam Loewen, LHP, C+
  9. Walter Young, 1B-DH, C+
  10. Jacobo Sequea, RHP, C+
  11. Eli Whiteside, C, C
  12. David Haehnel, LHP, C
  13. James Johnson, RHP, C
  14. Nate Spears, 2B, C
  15. Keith Reed, OF, C
  16. Rob McCrory, RHP, C
  17. Tony Neal, RHP, C
  18. Carlos Perez, LHP, C
  19. Jarod Rine, OF, C
  20. Freddy Deza, RHP, C
Another very thin system. I like all three of the outfielders at the top. Markakis could develop into a Steve Finley/Brady Anderson type, although he won't be ready for another year or two. Majewski is closer to being ready. He doesn't have Markakis' ceiling, but he does a lot of things well and should be a solid all-around player. Fiorentino could have the best bat of the trio, but will have to show he can control the strike zone adequately.

UPDATE: A reader points out that Majewski had surgery to repair a torn labrum last week and is expected to miss all of the 2005 season.

Hayden Penn and Chris Ray are both solid Grade B pitching prospects. We need to see how they do in Double-A, but both have a decent shot to develop into rotation starters, though I don't think either will be an anchor or ace. John Maine's stock dropped a bit last year, but I still like his chances long-term. Again, he won't be an ace. Adam Loewen has the highest ceiling of any of the pitchers, but hurt his labrum last summer and is now a big health questionmark. Jacobo Sequea has a chance to be an effective middle reliever.

Tripper Johnson has been on and off prospect lists. I've always liked him as a sleeper and he spiked his home run power last year, but will have to show his bat will hold up in Double-A. Walter Young fits into the Sam Horn/Calvin Pickering category: big, slow, lots of power, lots of strikeouts. These guys can be useful players: for all his weaknesses, Sam Horn's career OPS was 18 percent better than Major League average. Young could put up similar numbers.

Then you get into a big mass of Grade C guys. Eli Whiteside has a good glove but a questionable bat. He hit for power last year, but his batting average and OBP abilities remain shaky due to poor plate discipline. Keith Reed showed glimmers of finally putting his tools to use last year. . .in his third shot in Double-A. There are several guys who have live arms (Rob McCrory, Carlos Perez, Brian Finch) but have command problems and/or have not pitched yet at higher levels. Then you have guys who have pitched well (James Johnson, Zach Dixon, Luis Ramirez, Freddy Deza) but who have marginal stuff and may not hold up against better competition.

Overall, the Orioles have a lot of work to do rebuilding the system. People have been writing that for years. It is still true.

ANOTHER UPDATE: the original list I posted had Luke Hagerty, Rule 5 pick, on the list. That was a sloppy mistake on my part; he was traded by the Orioles to the Marlins after the Rule 5 draft. Sorry for the error.