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Top 20 PRE-SEASON Baltimore Orioles Prospects

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Chris Ray

Top 20 Orioles PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

This is the PRE-SEASON list. That means it was generated BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED and that the grades were PRE-SEASON. Anyone complaining about the grades based on 2006 performance will be smacked up the side of the head with an Ed Rogers autographed bat.

1) Nick Markakis, OF, Grade A-
Hitting .233/.310/.312 in 66 games for the Orioles. He has been rushed and it shows, but if he maintains his confidence I think he will be OK in the long run.

2) Brandon Snyder, C, B+
Hit just .194/.237/.340 in 38 games for Class A Delmarva. Now at short-season Aberdeen, is 7-for-25 in six games. Sample sizes are too small to draw broad conclusions, though I note that his strikeout rate (61 in 44 games) is frighteningly high.

3) Chris Ray, RHP, B+
3.38 ERA with 19 saves in 20 attempts for the Orioles. He's doing well and should continue to do so.

4) Adam Loewen, LHP, B
7.12 ERA in five starts for the Orioles. Control has been a major problem for him in the majors, which is not surprising. Before his promotion, he had a 2.72 ERA in Double-A, but a 55/26 K/BB in 50 innings. . .too many walks. The component ratios would predict that he would struggle in the majors, and indeed he has.

5) Val Majewski, OF, B
Hitting just .214/.313/.382 in 40 games for Triple-A Ottawa. Lots of rust I think, trying to shake off his '05 shoulder injury.

6) Nolan Reimold, OF, B
Hitting .268/.397/.482 for Class A Frederick, 10 homers, 11 steals, 44 walks, 69 strikeouts in 62 games. Good power and speed production, but strikeouts are higher than I'd like.

7) Garrett Olson, LHP, B
Was 4-4, 2.77 in 14 starts for Frederick, 77/19 K/BB in 81 innings. Just promoted to Double-A, was hit hard in his first start. A fine prospect.

8) James Johnson, RHP, B
6-3, 3.92 in 15 starts for Bowie, 72/33 K/BB in 83 innings. Doing OK, but I'd be careful about promoting him too quickly.

9) Brandon Erbe, RHP, B
4-5, 2.73 in 14 starts for Delmarva, 82/20 K/BB in 66 innings, 54 hits and just ONE homer allowed. Doing very well. An excellent prospect.

10) Hayden Penn, RHP, B-
2-2, 1.48 in five starts for Ottawa, before going down with an appendectomy. That's better than going down with a torn labrum.

11) Jeff Fiorentino, OF, B-
Hitting just .205/.288/.351 in 49 games for Double-A Bowie. Quite disappointing. Is it possible that he was hurt by his premature promotion directly from A-ball last year?

12) Chris Britton, RHP, B-
2.81 ERA in 22 games in the Orioles bullpen. Doing very well, a nice combination with Ray and Birkins in the bullpen.

13) Radhames Liz, RHP, B-
2.72 ERA in 14 starts for Frederick, 89/40 K/BB in 76 innings, just 48 hits allowed. Impressive K/IP and H/IP ratios but control is still an issue.

14) Dave Haehnel, LHP, C+
0-5, 6.18 in 15 starts for Frederick, 47/39 K/BB in 63 innings, 13 homers allowed. Nothing good here, all numbers are less than impressive, or worse. Status is dropping quickly.

15) Kurt Birkins, LHP, C
1.23 ERA in 20 games for the Orioles. Should/could have a long career in the bullpen but probably won't close very much.

16) Brian Finch, RHP, C
3-7, 3.02 in 14 starts for Bowie, 52/36 K/BB in 83 innings. Holding his own, nice ERA, but I'd like to see his walks come down. Has given up a large number of unearned runs. Not ready for promotion at this point.

17) Ryan Keefer, RHP, C
Hasn't pitched this year due to elbow injury.

18) Blake Owen, RHP, C
5-1, 4.28 in 28 games for Delmarva, 20/12 K/BB in 27 innings. Nothing here to get excited about....numbers aren't terrible but aren't exactly enough to get him onto more prospect lists.

19) Paco Figueroa, 2B, C
Sleeper prospect, hitting .303/.372/.385 with 18 steals for Frederick. Good line drive hitter but lacks power.

20) Wilfredo Perez, LHP, C
Out with Tommy John surgery

Some pitching depth here as the Orioles have made strides boosting the amount of talent in their farm system. Lack of impact hitters could be a problem, although I still believe in Markakis and Reimold has a lot of potential. Premature promotion of Loewen might be a big mistake if it hurts his confidence.