With the S2S 2012 Top 100 Prospects List now in the books, it’s time to take a closer look at the future of each team. And that means team prospect lists!
Most minor league sites will do top-10s, top-15s, top-20s, or some other ranking. Last year, to be a bit different, the FanSided team prospect lists (which were done at Call to the Pen, since S2S didn’t exist), instead listed a team’s top prospect at each position (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 3 OFs, 5 SPs, and 2 RPs). This year, we’re keeping that format, but also adding a “Best of the Rest” section that lists the top ten players beyond the positional rankings. That’s 25 players per system, if you’re counting.
The Baltimore system is led by two premier talents in shortstop Manny Machado and pitcher Dylan Bundy. Both are far from the majors and thus somewhat high-risk, but they have excellent upside. Formerly one of the worst systems in baseball, the Orioles lack a ton of potential “impact” talent behind those two–infielder Jonathan Schoop was the only other player to make our Top 100 Prospects, or even come particularly close–but their depth has improved dramatically. The distance between Bundy and the team’s #2 pitching prospect may well be greater than the distance between their #2 pitching prospect and #15 pitching prospect. As with the Braves, outfield is a glaring hole in the system, but other than that, there are interesting players at every position.
It was extremely difficult to rank the pitchers and extras, so if you have some issue with it, chances are I’ll find a lot of soundness in your logic.
Position Player Upside: B-
Position Player Depth: B-
Pitching Upside: B-
Pitching Depth: A-
System Grade: B-
Catcher: Gabriel Lino: Lino was born in 1993–which makes even me feel old–and he already shows signs of being a solid two-way catcher. He hit .282/.371/.462 in 28 games in the Gulf Coast League, while allowing just four passed balls and gunning down 28% of basestealers. Don’t get too worked up yet–he’s a long way off–but the ingredients of a starting catcher just might be here. Grade: C+
First base: Joe Mahoney. Mahoney’s a .300/.356/.518 hitter in 137 games in Double-A, which shows his good power and feel for contact. A 6’7″ behemoth, he’s a surprisingly adept baserunner and defender as well. However, his huge strike zone leads to some strikeouts (84 in 85 games in 2011) and not a whole lot of walks (25). He turns 25 next month and has yet to get a shot in Triple-A, and given the tremendous offensive standards of first base, it’s going to be an uphill battle for Mahoney. However, he’s in a good organization to get a shot. Grade: C+
Second base: Jonathan Schoop. Schoop had a great year as a 19-year-old, destroying Low-A pitching (.316/.376/.514) and holding his own in High-A (.271/.329/.375). He’s played all over the infield, but probably fits best at second, as the organization is deep at short (and he doesn’t have great shortstop athleticism) and third (and he doesn’t have huge power). He doesn’t project to excel in any one area, but he already boasts solid gap power (24 doubles, 13 homers in 2011) and a good approach (2/1 K/BB even after the promotion to High-A). The #85 prospect on my top 100, Schoop could be a very valuable “glue” player at second base, a la Placido Polanco. Grade: B+
Third base: Jason Esposito. Esposito was the #64 pick in the 2011 draft, a polished third baseman from Vanderbilt. He’s somewhat similar to Rangers prospect Mike Olt: a very good defender at the hot corner with plus raw power that’s somewhat compromised by contact problems. Esposito hasn’t been tested in the pros yet, so he has to prove he can make enough contact and control the strike zone. A year from now, he may look like Olt, or he may not even merit inclusion on this list. Grade: B-
Shortstop: Manny Machado. Machado ranks behind only Jurickson Profar among middle infield prospects and came in at #13 overall on my list. He followed a similar path to Schoop, dominating in Delmarva and showing adequacy in Frederick, but he’s almost a year younger than Schoop, he plays a tougher position, and he’s more projectable physically. The only question is if he outgrows shortstop and has to move to third base; even there, he should be an All-Star candidate if he develops well. Grade: A
Outfielder #1: LJ Hoes. Hoes hit .305/.379/.413 at age 21 in Double-A, so he’s a good prospect, right? Well, yeah, he would be if he were still a second baseman, but he moved to left field in 2011, and that makes him far less interesting. It’s tough to be much of a left fielder with .100ish ISO rates and non-top-shelf speed and defense. Hoes will probably end up best cast as a 2B/3B/OF utilityman in the Willie Harris mold. Grade: C+
Outfielder #2: Roderick Bernadina. Bernadina is a right fielder who hit just .239 in the GCL, so he seems hardly worthy of a second look; it’s really a testament to the poor state of this system’s outfielders that he’s here. However, he did a nice job in making contact (11.9% K%) and drawing walks (10% BB%), and he showed good pop (.174 ISO). He’s got to do a better job “hitting ‘em where they ain’t,” as his BABIP was just .255; he put up just a .284 mark in Dominican summer ball the year before. So, there are some interesting skills here, but the 19-year-old quite far away and is strictly a deep sleeper. Grade: C
Outfielder #3: Xavier Avery. At age 21, Avery hit .259 in Double-A. He also stole 36 bases, and he’s a solid defensive center fielder. Unfortunately, he’s not much of a prospect–he put up a 156/49 K/BB in 138 games, along with a meager .084 ISO. Thus, he’s sort of the anti-Bernadina–he’s got speed, defense, and BABIP all working for him, but a poor approach and no power. His athleticism might allow him to fill a Dewayne Wise kind of role, bouncing around for a few years as a fifth outfielder/defensive replacement, but the holes in Avery’s game seem just too wide to meaningfully close. Grade: C
Starting Pitcher #1: Dylan Bundy. Bundy is the other Orioles prospect on my top 100, coming in at #39, and that’s probably a bit conservative. The fourth overall pick in 2011, Bundy was the best high school arm in the draft class, and many believe he’s the best in years. Like Esposito, he’s completely unproven in pro ball, and Bundy is straight out of high school, so perhaps it’s a tad early to put both feet on board the hype train. However, with a good 2012, he’ll rank among the game’s best pitching prospects, as his fastball, curve, and changeup all have plus potential. Grade: A-
Starting Pitcher #2: Parker Bridwell. Few pitchers posted ERAs north of 5.00 in the low minors and still got the praise that Bridwell did. Between short-season Aberdeen and Low-A Delmarva, he allowed just two homers and struck out 70 in 75 2/3 innings. He’s got a very good moving fastball in the low-to-mid-90′s, which is about all you can really expect from a 19-year-old pitcher. Many are optimistic about his future upside, but I see his walk issues (35 walks) and lack of developed offspeed pitches as somewhat concerning. He’s obviously got plenty of time to fix those issues, but being far from the majors usually isn’t a good thing. Bridwell has high upside, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up as a late-inning reliever. Grade: B-
Starting Pitcher #3: Robert Bundy. Dylan’s older brother, Robert Bundy lacks Dylan’s upside, but is a solid prospect. He put up a 100/31 K/BB in High-A in 121 innings before falling off in a late-season audition in Double-A. His arsenal is like a dialed-down version of his brother’s–he’s got three pitches, but they all are more “solid” than “plus.” He seems like a classic fourth starter; while he doesn’t have the upside of some of the other pitchers in the system, he also has a higher floor than almost all of them. Grade: B-
Starting Pitcher #4: Eduardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez doesn’t have Bridwell’s raw stuff, but he turned in a far more successful year in short-season ball. He allowed no homers, struck out 46, and walked 17 in 44 innings in the GCL, and he’s another player born in 1993. He lacks Bridwell’s raw stuff, but he’s a fairly projectable 18-year-old, so he could grow into average-plus velocity. He’s lauded for his deception and advanced arsenal. Rodriguez is obviously far away, but he was one of the most intriguing pitchers in Rookie ball this past year. Grade: B-
Starting Pitcher #5: Mike Wright. Wright was drafted behind Bundy and Esposito, but unlike them, he actually got a chance to get into game action in 2011, and he made the most of it, with a 42/10 K/BB in 45 innings, mostly with Aberdeen. He’s a big guy who throws strikes and pitches downhill (53% GB%). He’s already just as old as Robert Bundy, and he’s significantly older than Dylan Bundy, Bridwell, and Rodriguez. Like Bridwell, he was roughed up in brief exposure to SAL hitters, which doesn’t bode well; part of that can be attributed to the rawness of his changeup, which lags behind his good sinker/slider mix. Grade: B-
Relief Pitcher #1: Dan Klein. A 3rd round pick in 2010, Klein’s put up a 47/7 K/BB in 38 2/3 IP, along with a 0.93 ERA, and he’s already reached Double-A. However, he’s struggled to stay healthy, as evidenced by the low innings total. He’s also going to be 24 in July. He could be a late-game reliever, and his stuff and command could allow him to reach that ceiling quickly, but it’s tough to know if his shoulder problems are going to persist and significantly alter his career. Grade: C+
Relief Pitcher #2: Clay Schrader. Another 2010 draftee (10th round), Schrader’s managed 58 innings in his year-plus in pro ball, and he’s struck out a whopping 89 batters. The problem, however, comes in the form of 38 walks. At High-A Frederick, the 21-year-old put up a 35/19 K/BB in 24 innings. It’s tough to know if he’s going to straighten things out and become a poor man’s Craig Kimbrel, or if the walks are going to become an insurmountable hurdle at some point. Grade: C+
Best of the Rest
#1.) Nick Delmonico, 3B. Picked four rounds after Esposito and just as untested (in fact, more, since he’s a high schooler), Delmonico nevertheless is often thought of just as highly, if not higher. A poor senior season dropped his stock after he was thought of as one of the top high school position players in the class, but part of his senior slump can be explained away by injuries. He still has a lot to work on, converting from catcher (his high school position) to third and adding some power being the two primary objectives. Like most untested draftees, the first year could send him quite a bit up or down. Grade: B-
#2.) David Baker, RHP. Baker threw well in Delmarva despite being just 20 years old, striking out 48 and walking 19 in 54 1/3 innings; he also allowed just 40 hits. He’s more of an average-across-the-board pitcher from a scouting perspective, but he’s more advanced for his age than Bridwell or Wright. Grade: B-
#3.) Sebastian Vader, RHP. Is there a player with a more obvious nickname than “Darth” Vader? He’s another guy who is very young and far away but holds a fair bit of promise, as he posted a 2.53 ERA and 2.90 FIP in the GCL at age 19. He’s similar to Wright, a big righty with a good sinker/slider mix. Grade: B-
#4.) Miguel Chalas, RHP. Chalas was more impressive than Vader on paper, striking out 48 batters and walking just eight in 50 (mostly GCL) innings as a 19-year-old. However, he rates below Vader in terms of scouting, as he’s relatively small, lacks elite arm strength, and isn’t particularly projectable. Still, he could be a quick mover, and a strong 2012 could send him (or any of these other far-away arms) rocketing up prospect lists. Grade: B-
#5.) Jaime Esquivel, RHP. You know the drill by now–19-year-old righty who spent most of the year in the GCL pitching well before making a spot start in the NYPL. Between the levels, Esquivel allowed just 27 hits in 52 1/3 innings, posting a 1.03 ERA and making his K/9 (8.37) look worse than it is, because he faced so many fewer batters per inning than the average pitcher. In fact, he struck out 24.9% of batters, which often translates to near 10 K/9. He was a bigtime find in the 28th round of 2010, and is an exciting sleeper. Grade: B-
#6.) Kyle Simon, RHP. Another 2011 draftee (4th round–you can see how much this system has been replenished depth-wise the past two years), Simon is another big groundballing college hurler. He pitched in relief in his pro debut, but started in college and probably fits best as a back-of-the-rotation innings-eater in pro ball. Grade: C+
#7.) Ryan Adams, 2B. Adams has improved his defense at second by leaps and bounds, and the former butcher is now solid there. He hit .281/.333/.326 in a brief late-season call-up and .284/.341/.454 in Triple-A, offering solid power for a middle infielder. However, he has serious strikeout problems (103 in 94 AAA games, 25 in 89 major league at-bats) that compromise his ability as a hitter and make him project as more of a utility player. Soon to be 25, he’s nearly as ready as he’ll ever be, but lacks starter upside. Grade: C+
#8.) Oliver Drake, RHP. Drake is another older player, as he turns 25 this week. He pitched extremely well in High-A (2.14 ERA, 2.33 FIP) before scuffling some in Double-A. He maintained groundball rates above 50% at both levels, throws strikes, and has enough stuff to get by. A possible back-end starter or middle reliver who is near-ready. Grade: C+
#9.) Tyler Wilson, RHP. The team’s 10th-round selection this year, Wilson showed supreme command of his three-pitch mix in short-season ball, walking just five batters in 33 2/3 innings while striking out 27. He turned 22 in September, has yet to pitch in full-season ball, and has merely average stuff, but he could also find himself as a nice #5/MR type. Grade: C
#10.) Matt Bywater, LHP. Bywater is a strikeout-and-groundball lefthander. His groundball rate in Delmarva was north of 60%, and he struck out 51 batters in 45 1/3 innings. The problem? He walked 32. There’s a bit of Marc Rzepczynski here, as he’s got a good sinker and breaking ball, but the ball moves all over the place on him, so he misses the zone a lot. If you squint enough, you can even compare Bywater to Jonny Venters, who had issues in the minors as well. He’s a fairly long shot, but a guy to keep an eye on. If he cuts the walks, he should at least be an interesting lefty reliever. Grade: C
The complete list of S2S 2012 Team Prospect Rankings can be found here.
For more on the Orioles, check out Birds Watcher!
Topics: Baltimore Orioles, Bobby Bundy, David Baker, Dylan Bundy, Eduardo Rodriguez, Gabriel Lino, Jaime Esquivel, Jason Esposito, Joe Mahoney, Jonathan Schoop, Kyle Simon, LJ Hoes, Manny Machado, Matt Bywater, Miguel Chalas, Mike Wright, Nick Delmonico, Oliver Drake, Parker Bridwell, Roderick Bernadina, Ryan Adams, Sebastian Vader, Tyler Wilson, Xavier Avery