Today we continue our summer reviews of the pre-season Top 20 Prospects lists with the Baltimore Orioles.
This is a review of the pre-season list.
It is not a new list.
These are the pre-season grades.
This list was originally published December 1, 2014
1) Dylan Bundy, RHP, Grade A-: Pitched well in five Double-A starts (3.68, 25/5 K/BB in 22 innings, 21 hits) until going on DL with shoulder trouble. There’s little doubt about his talent but durability is an increasingly serious concern.
2) Hunter Harvey, RHP, Grade B+: Missed season with bad elbow, will reportedly pitch in instructional league.
3) Chance Sisco, C, Grade B: Hitting .306/.385/.423 with five homers, 39 walks, 52 strikeouts in 310 at-bats between High-A and Double-A, has maintained production after promotion. Progressing with glove and I like the bat. Just 20.
4) Christian Walker, 1B, Grade B-: Hitting .254/.323/.412 with 30 doubles, 15 homers, 45 walks, 125 strikeouts in 488 at-bats in Triple-A. Strange year, no power early but has slugged .506 in last 40 games, kills lefties (.297/.361/.543) but trouble with RHP (.237/.307/.360).
5) Dariel Alvarez, OF, Grade B-: Hitting .275/.305/.424 with 16 homers, 16 walks, 63 strikeouts in 512 at-bats in Triple-A at age 26. Cuban defector, has some pop but would like to see better on-base skills.
6) Tim Berry, LHP, Grade C+: Horrific season: 7.32 ERA with 57/34 K/BB in 82 innings in Double-A, 107 hits, way off previous standards, currently on DL with a knee injury. He pitched well in Double-A in 2014 so this represents catastrophic collapse.
7) Zach Davies, RHP, Grade C+: Good year in Triple-A, 3.30 ERA with 102/45 K/BB in 128 innings, 129 hits, traded to Milwaukee Brewers at the deadline. Fourth starter projection.
8) Jomar Reyes, 3B, Grade C+: Hitting .279/.335/.442 with five homers, 18 walks, 72 strikeouts in 308 at-bats in Low-A at age 18, credible performance given his age. Glove at third base has improved dramatically in last 12 months. I like him.
9) Mike Yastrzemski, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .242/.314/.372 with 29 doubles, five homers, 40 walks, 92 strikeouts in 433 at-bats in Double-A. Decent fielder, makes contact but lacks big tools, hasn’t been much with the bat after reaching Double-A last summer. Reserve outfielder type it appears.
10) Brian Gonzalez, LHP, Grade C+: Ineffective in Low-A, 5.71 ERA with 81/59 K/BB in 106 innings, 98 hits. Shows potential for three quality pitches but inconsistent in his approach, young at 19.
11) David Hess, RHP, Grade C+: 3.58 ERA with 110/53 K/BB in 133 innings in High-A, 112 hits. A typical Orioles pitching prospect; low-90s fastball, average breaking ball and curve, could be a fourth starter or a more dominant reliever, needs to tighten command some.
12) Stephen Tarpley, LHP, Grade C+: Traded to Pittsburgh Pirates after this list was published, very successful year in Low-A (11-3, 2.49, 97/23 K/BB in 105 innings, 97 hits), has the upside of a number three starter if he proves durable enough.
13) Oliver Drake, RHP, Grade C+: Outstanding season in Triple-A, 0.63 ERA with 66/16 K/BB in 43 innings, just 21 hits, 22 saves in 22 attempts. Should be a solid middle reliever.
14) Tyler Wilson, RHP, Grade C+: 3.05 ERA with 58/18 K/BB in 91 innings in Triple-A, 2.19 ERA with 7/5 K/BB in 25 innings in the majors, on DL with strained oblique. You have to respect his refusal to walk anyone but he’ll always live on the margins without much of a fastball, which doesn’t mean he can’t have success for awhile.
15) Mike Wright, RHP, Grade C+: 2.40 ERA with 60/24 K/BB in 75 Triple-A innings, 4.99 ERA with 19/11 K/BB in 31 major league innings. Seems like a plausible four/five starting candidate going forward.
16) Steve Brault, LHP, Grade C+: Traded to Pirates, excellent season going 11-4, 2.69 with 118/40 K/BB in 141 innings, 128 hits between High-A and Double-A, no loss in performance after promotion. Classic strike-throwing lefty.
17) Parker Bridwell, RHP, Grade C+: 18 starts in Double-A, 3.99 ERA with 93/38 K/BB in 97 innigs, 96 hits. Making progress with his command until going on DL in late July with "elbow tendinitis". Status unclear; I still like his potential if healthy.
18) Mike Ohlman, C, Grade C+/C: Sold to the Cardinals in spring training, has performed well in Double-A (.281/.363/.428), regaining power stroke he lost in 2014. Texas League observers seem to like him although the report I have came during his June/July hot streak (nine homers, .325 average those two months).
19) Pat Connaughton, Grade C: Drafted in second round of NBA draft, hasn’t played the proper game this year.
20) Henry Urrutia, OF, Grade C: Regained his power after difficult injury-plagued 2014 season, hitting .292/.344/.414 with 10 homers, 37 walks, 76 strikeouts in Triple-A, .265/.306/.382 in 34 at-bats for Orioles. Limited upside at age 28 but Cuban defector seems like he can be a useful role bat.
The major league club stands at a disappointing 63-64 and prospects haven’t done much to remedy the situation this year. Injuries have plagued top talents like Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey and nagging physical issues have hampered several others. There are a few bright spots: Chance Sisco still looks good and Jomar Reyes could break out in a big way next year. I still think Henry-U could become an very valuable player though that’s more a gut feeling than an objective analysis. There are still several potential back-of-the-rotation arms but injuries to Bundy and Harvey knock out the two most obvious arms with staff anchor possibilities. Lefties Brault and Tarpley have both had strong campaigns, alas after being traded to the Pirates.
Holdover prospects with rising stock include right-hander Mychal Givens, a converted shortstop who has found his niche in relief (1.73, 79/16 in 57, just 38 hits, 15 saves in Double-A) and has performed very well in his major league trial (1.26 ERA, 18/2 K/BB in 14 innings). He throws very hard and his control has been surprisingly good. First baseman Trey Mancini is having a terrific season (.335/.369/.546 between High-A and Double-A) and is putting pressure on Christian Walker to find a consistent power stroke. Right-handers Tanner Scott and Lazaro Leyva have some breakout potential for next year.
The 2015 draft adds Florida State slugger D.J. Stewart, who stands out for patience and power though he’s off to a slow start in pro ball (.226/.289/.354 in the NY-P). Many scouts also like the potential of shortstop Ryan Mountcastle, hitting .307 in rookie ball although with his future position rather unclear. Arkansas high school pitcher Gray Fenter (RHP, seventh round) has projection and long-term potential worth tracking. Same goes for Garrett Cleavinger, LHP from the University of Oregon drafted in the third round. He has command issues but can be overpowering.
Trade acquisition RHP Joe Gunkel from the Red Sox has gone 10-5, 2.58 with a 103/24 K/BB on the season thanks to a low-90s sinker and a good slider.
Overall, the system isn't completely empty but there aren't many impact players on the horizon and much depends on Bundy and Harvey returning to health.