he Baltimore Orioles have a brutal history of failure when it comes to developing talent.
With the exception of Manny Machado, many of the Orioles past elite prospects have disappointed at the major league level. Brian Matusz, Kevin Gausman and Matthew Hobgood are just a few of the Birds former top prospects who have had few, little, or absolutely no success in the majors.
However, the Orioles have done a spectacular job of developing little-known prospects into producers at the major league level. Whether it be for their own club (Mychal Givens, Trey Mancini) or for other teams (Jake Arrieta, Josh Hader (Hader was a 19th-round pick in 2012 and did not become a well-known prospect until his days with the Houston Astros)), the Orioles have a way of turning sleeper talent into major league production.
At 23-56, a colossal rebuild is on the horizon in Baltimore. Manny Machado should get the Orioles off to a nice start, but other than a few relievers, there’s little trade value on the major league roster.
Given the lack of trade value, all signs point to it being a long rebuilding period for the Orioles. Developing current talent and building through the draft will be the primary method of rebuilding for the Orioles, but the impact of a few Arrieta-like prospects would certainly speed up the process.
Lets take a look at a few prospects who could become impact talent for the soon-to-be rebuilding Baltimore Orioles.
Three of your Shorebirds are headed to the #SouthAtlanticLeague All-Star Game in Greensboro! Read up on @TrevorCraport, @SeamusCurran_, and @jarrett_zach here: https://t.co/a7LmZYuU68 #FlyTogether pic.twitter.com/777vsyCpK1— Delmarva Shorebirds (@shorebirds) June 5, 2018
Single-A Sleeper Prospect: Zach Jarrett
All three of the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds All-Stars are non-top 30 prospects picked in the later rounds of past drafts.
The most productive of the three is Zach Jarrett. Jarrett, a power-hitting outfielder, was selected in the 28th round of the 2017 draft out of Charlotte.
Jarrett has put up big numbers for the Shorebirds in his first full professional season, hitting .310 with ten home runs and 43 RBIs in 271 at-bats.
Jarrett struggled mightily in rookie ball last season, hitting .201 with just two home runs. The 23 year-old’s unlikely resurgence makes him a serious candidate to continue to break out throughout the season. A promotion from Low-A is likely in the near future for Jarrett, where he’ll have an opportunity to validate his gaudy first-half numbers.
Drafted in the eighth round out of high school in 2015, Seamus Curran had a rough go of things in the minors up until this season. The All-Star has slugged 11 home runs, six more than his previous season-high of five back in 2016. Curran has struck out 74 times in 220 at-bats, so the lack of plate discipline leaves reason to believe than Curran’s breakout might not last much longer than one season.
The third of three power hitters on this list, Trevor Craport has hit ten home runs to go along with 47 RBIs at the hot corner for the Shorebirds. Craport is the youngest of the three at 21 years-old, and therefore could have the highest ceiling of the three due to his raw power (15 home runs in 52 games last season).
All-Star Alert— Frederick Keys (@FrederickKeys) June 11, 2018
Four members of the Keys have been named Carolina League Midseason All Star team!!! to Ryan McKenna (@Ry_mac35), Preston Palmeiro (@Ppalm25), Alex Wells (@A_Wells27) and Cristian Alvarado who have all been selected!
Read More: https://t.co/9juhjE2CI9 pic.twitter.com/qZ2CEAB8wI
High-A Sleeper Prospect: Christian Alvarado
The High-A Frederick Keys had five (four pictured above, Tyler Erwin was added late) Carolina League All-Stars, good for the third-most in the South Division.
Of the five, three are top-30 prospects, headlined by eighth-ranked Alex Wells.
Despite not being on the Orioles top-30 prospects list, Venezuelan right-hander Christian Alvarado has had a quality season for the Keys.
The 23 year-old has registered a 7-5 record with a 3.64 ERA in 14 starts at High-A. Alvarado struck out 68 batters against just 14 walks in 84 innings.
After an atrocious 5.00 ERA in 25 starts for the Keys last season, Alvarado’s bounce-back season, coupled with his quality control, are a great sign for the Orioles. A Double-A promotion is likely approaching given the fact that Alvarado has already spent a full season at the High-A level.
High-strikeout percentage in high-leverage situations are a common equation for success, as proven by Keys closer Tyler Erwin. The 23 year-old lefty has 42 strikeouts in 37.1 innings, converting seven of ten save opportunities. If Erwin can hold his 1.93 ERA, the Orioles might have found themselves their next Zach Britton.
Double-A Sleeper Prospect: Audry Perez
The Bowie Baysox aren't your typical Double-A team.
While most organizations Double-A teams are filled with the best of the young prospects, the Baysox are composed of several players in their late twenties-to-early thirties.
Of those “old” prospects is Audry Perez, a 29 year-old catcher from the Dominican Republic.
Perez has quietly had a huge season for the Baysox, hitting 11 home runs with 28 RBIs in 33 games. Perez has struck out just 15 times in 116 at-bats.
With Matt Weiters long gone and Chance Sisco struggling to produce for the Orioles, Perez could be a source of short-term production for the club come September.
Unlike most of the players on this list, Perez almost certainly isn't a future piece, but his display of power in just 33 games could net him a “try-out” in Baltimore during September.
This one is purely off of name recognition rather than production. The older (yes, older) brother of Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop, Sharlon Schoop has hit just .221 between Double-A and Triple-A in 2018, but his .278 average thus far with Bowie could vault him into the Orioles immediate plans once infielders are moved in the next month.
Triple-A Sleeper Prospect: Jimmy Yacabonis
Jimmy Yacabonis made his first major league start for the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday, and it was well-deserved after a great showing for the Triple-A Norfolk Tides.
Yacabonis registered a 3.14 ERA in thirteen starts, striking out 39 batters in 51.2 innings.
After making zero starts in five minor league seasons, Yacabonis looks to have made a nice transition to the rotation.
For an Orioles team whose current major league rotation is an absolute disaster, Yacabonis could provide stability despite his lack of experience.
At the age of 26, the time is now for Yacabonis to produce at the major league level. A great first-half in Triple-A has certainly solidified Yacabonis a spot on the Orioles in the near future, as Yacabonis could be a hidden gem beneath the horror in Baltimore.
Drew Dosch might just have the biggest opportunity to shine for the Orioles in a month or so, as once Manny Machado is gone, the Orioles could turn to Dosch to replace his spot on the left side of the infield. Dosch has hit .299 in 194 at-bats on the season, hitting four home runs and driving in 28.