Top 20 Prospects: Baltimore Orioles

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Baltimore Orioles. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

Orioles Top Prospects
Rk Name Age High Level Position ETA FV
1 Austin Hays 22 MLB RF 2018 50
2 Chance Sisco 22 MLB C 2018 50
3 Hunter Harvey 22 A RHP 2018 45
4 D.L. Hall 19 R LHP 2020 45
5 Tanner Scott 22 MLB LHP 2018 45
6 Cedric Mullins 23 AA CF 2019 45
7 Ryan Mountcastle 21 AA LF 2019 45
8 Cody Sedlock 22 A+ RHP 2019 40
9 Matthias Dietz 22 A RHP 2020 40
10 Zac Lowther 21 A- LHP 2019 40
11 Brenan Hanifee 19 A- RHP 2021 40
12 Anthony Santander 23 MLB 1B/OF 2018 40
13 Chris Lee 25 AAA LHP 2018 40
14 Luis Gonzalez 26 AA LHP 2018 40
15 Lamar Sparks 19 R CF 2022 40
16 D.J. Stewart 24 AA LF 2019 40
17 Gray Fenter 22 A- RHP 2021 40
18 Mike Baumann 22 A RHP 2021 40
19 Keegan Akin 22 A+ LHP 2020 40
20 Jomar Reyes 21 A+ 3B 2020 40

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from Jacksonville
Age 22 Height 6’0 Weight 205 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 60/60 45/50 50/50 50/50 60/60

Hays had a spectacular 2017 breakout campaign, hitting 32 homers and 32 doubles between High- and Double-A, prompting Baltimore to give him a look in the majors in September. His hands are electric and they allow Hays to turn on just about everything — which is what he tries to do and which is what prompted big-league pitchers to work him down and away last year. It may take an adjustment for Hays to max out his offensive potential, as his overly aggressive approach may be exploited in the majors. That said, he has bat speed and power, and should play an above-average right field fairly soon.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2013 from Santiago HS (CA)
Age 22 Height 6’2 Weight 195 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/55 50/50 40/45 30/30 45/50 40/40

Sisco didn’t start catching until his senior year of high school and has quelled long-standing doubts about his ability to stay there while slowly working toward an everyday big-league catching role. He’s become a pretty good receiver and ball-blocker, and he hits enough that you’re willing to overlook his remaining defensive shortcoming: arm strength. Sisco has excellent feel for contact, controls the strike zone, can bunt against the shift, and has more raw power than his career numbers indicate, especially now that he’s better incorporated his lower half into his swing. He has the bat control to make the new approach work. He projects as an average, everyday big leaguer with a chance for a bit more if the in-game power he’s flashed becomes consistent.

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2013 from Bandys HS (NC)
Age 22 Height 6’3 Weight 175 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
60/60 60/60 40/50 40/45

Harvey’s career was derailed by multiple injuries. Chronic elbow soreness led to Tommy John in 2016 that, coupled with a shin fracture and hernia surgery, has limited him to just about 30 pro innings since the end of the 2014 season. He was finally back midway through 2017 with a noticeably stronger frame and was sitting 93-96 with a plus curveball. Harvey, who is pitching on a fairly conservative throwing schedule at Double-A, is an obvious injury risk and has lost season’s worth of changeup and command development because of injury. There’s a strong chance he’s a reliever, at least initially, but he has the stuff to be a really good one, especially if his fastball ticks up out of the bullpen.

4. D.L. Hall, LHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Valdosta HS (GA)
Age 18 Height 6’0 Weight 180 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
55/60 55/60 45/55 40/50

Lefties who touch 97 and flash a plus curveball are typically off the board in the top 15 picks. Makeup issues pushed Hall, who would eventually sign for an overslot $3 million, toward the back of the first round. Though Hall struggled to throw strikes after signing, he projects to have a pretty nasty three-pitch mix and average command. His fastball lacks projection because Hall has a 6-foot frame, but it’s already hard. He projects as an above-average big-league starter and comes with the standard applicable risk associated with teenage arms.

Drafted: 6th Round, 2014 from Howard College
Age 22 Height 6’2 Weight 220 Bat/Throw R/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
80/80 55/60 40/45 30/40

Scott’s stuff is as good as any relief-only prospect’s in baseball. He has an upper-90s fastball, a hard, upper-80s slider that spins at a supernatural rate for a breaking pitch that hard, and also exhibited a good changeup — seemingly out of thin air — during last year’s Fall League. Scott’s long, stiff arm action is difficult to repeat. He’s a passable big-league athlete but not so dynamic that he can clearly throw consistent strikes with this delivery, and this is reinforced by what he’s done statistically.

He has a chance to be a very special late-inning reliever if he develops better command. At 23, there’s plenty of time for Scott to find a way to make it work, even if it doesn’t happen until his late 20s — the way it looks like Tayron Guerrero might have — because guys with this kind of arm strength get chances chances until that arm strength disappears.

Drafted: 13th Round, 2015 from Campbell
Age 22 Height 5’8 Weight 175 Bat/Throw S/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 50/50 35/45 60/60 45/55 45/45

In defiance of his draft position, Mullins has reached Double-A in his second full season. He’s hitting for power, making occasional highlight-reel catches in center field, and stealing bases. The tapestry of industry opinions is still checkered by fourt- outfield projections or, more frequently now, platoon projections based on Mullins’ issues against lefties. But he’s trending up, has tools and athleticism, and has performed, on paper, every year.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Hagerty HS (FL)
Age 20 Height 6’3 Weight 195 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/55 50/55 35/50 40/40 30/40 30/30

Mountcastle can hit. He has above-average bat speed and barrel control as well as natural, pull-side loft that should enable him to hit for some power, too. There are two very concerning aspects of Mountcastle’s profile, however. First, he’s one of the least selective hitters in the minors and owner of a 4.2% career walk rate. Second, he’s unlikely to stick at third due to issues with throwing efficacy. His raw arm strength is fine when Mountcastle can gather himself and make a routine throw. When he has to make them from odd platforms, though, he struggles.

The list of left fielders (where we have Mountcastle projected) with walk rates as low as Mountcastle’s career mark is short. Since 2015, Gerardo Parra matches Mountcastle’s 4.2% and Corey Dickerson, Starling Marte, Eddie Rosario, and Yasmany Tomas are all under 5%. The players on that list have been pretty volatile performers — save for Marte, who’s tooled up in many other ways. We buy Mountcastle’s bat, but there are strong signals that his value is going to be limited by other things.

40 FV Prospects

8. Cody Sedlock, RHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Illinois
Age 22 Height 6’3 Weight 190 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
45/50 60/60 55/60 50/55 40/45

Sedlock was drafted as a raw, big-framed college power pitcher who had a starter’s repertoire but poor command. He was up to 97 at times at Illinois and had two quality breaking balls, but his delivery was not ideally clean. Last year, Sedlock’s delivery and fastball backed up and his velocity was mostly down in the 88-91 range, albeit with sink. If his velocity bounces back, then he has a pretty nasty four-pitch mix and it matters less how his command develops — he’d at least be a pretty interesting multi-inning weapon. If the mechanical regression that coincided with the drop in velocity is here to stay, however, then he’s already too high on this list.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Logan CC (IL)
Age 21 Height 6’5 Weight 220 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
55/55 50/55 45/50 40/50

Dietz was up to 96 at Logan and flashed a 55 slider. He was also an innings-eating force and finished eight of his 13 starts as a freshman. His stuff was down after he signed but was back up in 2017, when Dietz was touching 98 with the fastball and sitting 92-94. While the slider is still just a 50, his changeup is developing. The secondary stuff and command are just okay, and unless something develops beyond expectation, the ceiling here is modest, but Dietz is progressing nicely as a No. 4/5 starter.

10. Zac Lowther, LHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Xavier
Age 21 Height 6’2 Weight 235 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
50/55 55/60 45/50 45/55

Lowther is a low-slot lefty with vexing funk, and he somehow blew 88-91 past college hitters. There are all sorts of other things going on that enable this. He gets down the mound well, his delivery has an odd cadence, his arm action is noisy, etc. Lowther seems to be in control of all these moving parts and throws a sufficient volume of strikes. He also has a 55 curveball and knows how to work it to righties so he doesn’t have to rely as much on a fringe changeup. Not a lot of big-league starters look like this, but once you buy into the fastball playing up above what the radar gun says, it’s easy to see a quality big-league arm of some kind.

Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from Ashby HS (VA)
Age 19 Height 6’5 Weight 180 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
55/60 50/60 40/45 40/45

Hanifee is a size/athleticism projection arm who was a multi-sport athlete in high school. He missed what would have been his first pro summer with a back injury, so he’s a little behind even for a multi-sport high schooler, but he’s already sitting 92-93 with sink, showing good plane, and flashing an average slider. He’s a high-variance arm but the right tail of his potential outcomes is more impactful than most of the other players in the system.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Venezuela
Age 23 Height 6’2 Weight 205 Bat/Throw S/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 55/60 30/50 40/30 40/45 50/50

The O’s stashed Santander on the DL (injuries have been a career theme for Santander) after taking him in the 2016 Rule 5 draft, then sent him to the Fall League to pick up at-bats. He’s had some experience at first base but has mostly played the corner-outfield spots and has tools commensurate with fringe regularity there. He profiles as a low-end regular or luxury bench bat, and there’s a chance he develops late after losing so many reps to injury earlier in his pro career. He could become a solid everyday guy.

13. Chris Lee, LHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2011 from Santa Fe College
Age 24 Height 6’3 Weight 180 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
60/60 45/45 45/50 40/45

Lee sits 92-95 and touches 98. It plays down due to poor extension, but his two viable secondaries make it likely that he’s a solid lefty bullpen option.

14. Luis Gonzalez, LHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2009 from Dominican Republic
Age 26 Height 6’2 Weight 170 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
55/55 55/55 50/50 40/45

Gonzalez had a velo spike in 2017 and now sits 92-95, touching 96, with a delivery that seems to make hitters uncomfortable. His slider benefits from this deceptive juju, as well, and he’ll show you a good changeup now and then. On the surface, Gonzalez appears to be a good lefty-specialist prospect, but his changeup gives him the potential for more than that.

15. Lamar Sparks, CF
Drafted: 5th Round, 2017 from Seven Lakes HS (TX)
Age 18 Height 6’2 Weight 170 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 30/45 20/45 60/60 40/55 60/60

Sparks was billed as a raw high-school athlete on draft day but showed impressive bat control after he signed. He has a chance to be a good defensive center fielder and hit — and a lesser chance to add impact power to his somewhat projectable frame as he ages. He’s one of the toolsier prospects in this system and might have the opportunity to blow up once he starts getting stronger.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Florida State
Age 23 Height 6’0 Weight 230 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/40 60/60 40/55 40/40 40/45 40/40

Stewart’s 2017 was a promising bounce back from a disastrous 2016 season, after which many wrote him off. He’s not the kind of athlete nor runner his stolen-base totals suggest, but Stewart has regained some of the twitch and explosiveness that made him an enticing, bat-first draft prospect. He projects as a low-end regular in left field or at DH.

17. Gray Fenter, RHP
Drafted: 7th Round, 2015 from West Memphis HS (TN)
Age 21 Height 6’0 Weight 200 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
55/55 40/45 55/60 40/45 40/45

Fenter signed for $1 mil as a seventh-round pick in 2015, and his career has been slow to get going as Tommy John wiped out his entire 2016 season and limited his ability to work in 2017. When Fenter began pitching in games late last June, his sinking fastball and curveball were both terrific, so the foundations for his amateur prospectdom remains intact. Fenter was old for his graduating class. He is already 22 and entered the year with just 50 pro innings to his name. He’s behind but has stuff that profiles in some kind of bullpen role should his growth as a starter stall out.

18. Mike Baumann, RHP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2017 from Jacksonville
Age 21 Height 6’4 Weight 225 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
50/55 55/60 40/45 40/45 40/45

Baumann was a rotation stalwart all three years at Jacksonville. He sits 92-94, will touch 96, and his slider has the best chance at maturing into something that will miss big-league bats. Baumann’s plunging, high-three-quarters delivery, fringe command, and lack of repertoire depth could relegate him to relief. If there’s better command and a better third pitch than we have projected at peak, Baumann could be a No. 4 starter.

19. Keegan Akin, LHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Western Michigan
Age 22 Height 6’0 Weight 225 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
50/50 45/50 55/60 45/50

Akin’s changeup remains nasty, but his velocity was down last year, remains down this spring, and his command has regressed, too. He has a long, tough-to-repeat arm action that produces velocity in the 88-91 mph range, up to 94; his signature change; and a fringey slider. He projected as a No. 4/5 starter coming out of college and is looking more like a fastball/changeup reliever.

20. Jomar Reyes, 3B
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic
Age 20 Height 6’3 Weight 220 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 60/70 30/55 40/30 30/40 70/70

Reyes is a monstrous, power-hitting lottery ticket. After playing well as an 18-year-old in Low-A back in 2015, Reyes’s progress has slowed due to multiple hand injuries, and he’s back in the Carolina League for a third consecutive year. He likely projects to first base due to his size, but his raw power is sufficient for first if he can tap into it.

Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.
Pitchabiity Depth Arms
Alex Wells, LHP
Yefry Ramirez, RHP
Nestor Cortes, LHP

Wells walks a guy just once every 10 innings and has a 55 breaking ball. There are questions about his fastball playing in the big leagues. Ramirez was acquired for international bonus space from the Yankees (who picked him in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 draft the year before) and could be a fifth or sixth starter. He sits 90-93, plus has an average slider that he commands well and an above-average changeup. Cortes is a soft-tossing lefty with a low slot and loopy breaking ball.

Guys with Good Breaking Balls
Pedro Araujo, RHP
Cristian Alvarado, RHP
Brian Gonzalez, LHP

Araujo was one of the team’s three Rule 5 picks and sits 90-94 with a plus slider. Alvarado is 90-92 with a plus curveball. He’s 23 and pitching in A-ball. Gonzalez has a 55 curveball and fringe everything else, but he’s lefty, so that might get him there.

Guys Who Throw Hard
Ofelky Peralta, RHP
David Hess, RHP
Jimmy Yacabonis, RHP

Peralta touches 98, but his heater plays down due to poor extension. Hess has a heavy fastball at 92-95, up to 97. His secondaries are fringey. St. Joe’s alum Jimmy Yacabonis has been 95-plus in the past but was more often 92-94 this spring.

Fringe Bats
Drew Dosch, 3B
Austin Wynns, C
Ademar Rifaela, OF
Mike Yastrzemski, OF
Alex Murphy, 1B

Dosch’s ability to lift the ball has improved over time. He has average offensive tools and is fine at third. Wynns catches and has a great approach, so he’s probably going to kick around on a 40-man for a long time. Rifaela is a stocky corner outfielder who has some pop and has performed up through High-A (.280/.360/.500), but there are questions about his bat control and he has been old relative to his levels. Yastrzemski has underrated power and above-average ball/strike recognition. Alex Murphy has big power and used to catch; now he plays first, though, creating a much higher offensive bar for him to clear.

Cistulli’s Guy
Selected by Carson Cistulli from any player who received less than a 40 FV.

Austin Wynns, C
Wynns’ credentials as a fringe prospect are beyond reproach. Not only was he selected in the 10th round of the 2013 draft following his senior year at Fresno State, but he entered 2018 — his age-27 season — having recorded just 18 plate appearances above Double-A. Purely by those indicators, this is a player unlikely to succeed in, or even reach, the majors.

Wynns is still around, though, having just authored the best offensive season of his professional career by several measures. The contact skills appear to be better than average, and the game power — over the last couple years, at least — has settled into something just better than negligible. He has a reputation as a defensive catcher — a sentiment the available fielding metrics don’t appear to flatly contradict. It’s conceivable that he could soon be working as the right-handed complement to Chance Sisco at the major-league level.

System Overview

At a time when teams are attempting to accommodate heavy influxes of international talent by fielding multiple teams in the DSL, GCL, and/or AZL, the Orioles continue to ignore the market entirely. Baltimore has traded their international bonus slots for Ramirez (above), Paul Fry, Alex Katz, Damien Magnifico, Milton Ramos, Jason Wheeler, Matt Wotherspoon, and others. General Manager Dan Duquette has said publicly that the deals are to designed bolster the club immediately instead of waiting several years for international prospects to mature, but none of those players have made an impact on the big club and most of them aren’t even with the team anymore. Baltimore also has one of the smaller scouting staffs in baseball. There’s a funding issue here, which isn’t good when you’re toiling in the AL East.

Forthcoming changes to this list will include the 11th and 37th overall picks in June’s draft and whomever Manny Machado fetches during the summer.

We hoped you liked reading Top 20 Prospects: Baltimore Orioles by Eric Longenhagen!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

newest oldest most voted
mikecws91
Member

Chance Sisco can bunt against the shift. But SHOULD he?

—Brian Dozier

bosoxforlife
Member
Member
bosoxforlife

I enjoyed the dig at Dozier as well.