Dynasty: Baltimore Orioles 2021 Preseason Top 50 Prospects

Hunter Denson ranks the Top 50 prospects in the Baltimore Oriole system

As we prepare for the season ahead, the Pitcher List staff will be creating profiles for every fantasy-relevant player for 2021. Players will be broken up by team and role through starting pitchers, bullpen, lineup, and prospects. You can access every article as it comes out in our Player Profiles 2021 hub here.

Mike Elias has completely redone the way the Baltimore Orioles analyze, find, and train talent. Since he was hired as GM in 2018, the Orioles have vastly expanded their analytics department and have hired dozens of people to assist in altering the franchise’s approach on all aspects of talent acquisition. Another huge change in their approach has been on the international prospect front. Previous owner Peter Angelos was wary of dealing with international agents and mostly avoided the market, causing the team to largely sit out these signing periods apart from the occasional signing or dump of international pool money for a fringe roster piece.

One of Elias’ main goals when hired was to invest heavily in Latin America and catch up with other franchises who had long invested in the region. More work needs to be done there, but the last two international free agent classes have yielded several players with the potential to be game-changers down the line.

This adjustment, various trades, and good performances in the domestic draft have built the farm system from a perennial bottom-feeder to one of the deeper systems in the league. The Orioles boast a plethora of young arms, many of whom are ready to contribute in 2021. They also have some interesting bats and should see a few of their best at Camden Yards this season.

Note: These Top 50 lists are all done through a fantasy baseball-focused lens. Many players who are ranked higher or lower on other platforms will get a boost here. For example, players who profile as middle relievers or glove-first infielders likely won’t have much fantasy relevance, so they won’t be ranked as highly. 

 

1. Adley Rutschman, C

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: Single-A

Few can match the storied college career of Adley Rutschman. The talented backstop won a College World Series with Oregon State University in 2018 and posted two straight seasons with plus .400/.500/.600 slash lines. He added 17 home runs during his final season at OSU, which was more than enough to secure his number one overall selection in the 2019 MLB draft. Rutschman reached Single-A ball in his first professional season, showing an advanced approach at the plate (12.5% BB% lowest mark in three levels; sub-20% K%) and solid power (.179 ISO in Single-A). He is well regarded defensively, possessing a plus arm and athleticism behind the dish.

Some scouts think he may already be one of the best catchers in baseball, regardless of level. Rutschman projects a plus hit tool and plus power, lacking only speed as a part of his game. While many are already clamoring for his promotion to the Orioles, General Manager Mike Elias has stated that Rutschman will start the 2021 season in AA, though he noted the young catcher “…should get here quickly.” On paper, Rutschman should quickly become a top-five option at catcher upon promotion and could contend as best catcher overall eventually given his many talents.

It bears remembering, however, that this is not the first time we have been on this ride with a catching prospect who was anointed as the savior for the position. This is not even the first time we have done this in Baltimore. Remember Matt Wieters? Back in 2009, he was rated by many as the number one prospect in baseball and drew comparisons to Joe Mauer and Mark Teixeira per Keith Law. This is not to say Rutschman will follow the same path. He may actually live up to the billing. The wear and tear of catching breaks even the best hitters down, though. Just ask Buster Posey.

ETA: 2021

 

2. Grayson Rodriguez, SP

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: Single-A

The Orioles selected Rodriguez 11th overall in the 2018 draft and he quickly showed the talent that elevated him to that pick. After a brief stint in Rookie ball during his draft year, the 6’5″ right-hander dominated in Single-A, striking out 34.2% of batters faced and generating a 15.1% SwStr% in 94 IP. Few 19-year-olds can boast that type of success at that level.

The young righty boasts two offerings (fastball/curveball) that rate as above average and has three others (slider/changeup/cutter) that could quickly follow. His fastball sits 90-95 but can top out at 97. He has good spin on his other offerings and is well on the way to developing a lethal arsenal. One area that needs continued work is his command.

Rodriguez walked 9.5% of batters faced in 2019 and needs refinement there to make the most of his weapons. The Orioles kept Rodriguez at their alternate site in Bowie for 2020 and though he will likely start 2021 in the minors, he is very close to contributing at the big league level.

ETA: 2022

 

3. Heston Kjerstad, OF

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: N/A

The Orioles surprised the baseball world by taking Heston Kjerstad 2nd overall in the 2020 MLB draft, selecting him ahead of Vanderbilt infielder Austin Martin or Texas A&M lefty Asa Lacey. Don’t let their surprise affect your view of his potential, however. Kjerstad had a very productive career at Arkansas from day one. He mashed 14 home runs (Arkansas freshman single-season record) his first year, slashing .332/.419/.553 en route to an SEC Freshman of the Year award, among other accolades. He followed that up with 17 home runs (Top 30 nation-wide) his sophomore season and slashed an otherworldly .448/.513/.791 with six home runs in his abbreviated 2020 effort, prompting his Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn to call him the “best left-handed hitter in the country”.

His power potential stands out among the tools in his profile and will play very nicely given his likely future as a corner outfielder. Kjerstad has great bat control and quick hands. He always seems to get the bat where it needs to be based on the pitch. There is still work to be done with his plate approach, but overall he is a low-risk investment with a clear path to the majors.

ETA: 2022

 

4. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/OF

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: MLB

Mountcastle just slipped under the 130 AB limit (126 AB’s in 2020) that would have made him ineligible for inclusion on this list. He had no trouble with his first taste of MLB pitching, slashing .333/.386/.492 and flashing the power he showed in AAA (.215 ISO, 25 HR) by swatting five home runs (.159 ISO) in 35 games. Though he improved his K% (21.4% in 2020) as compared to AAA (23.5% K%), his plate discipline needs some work (42% O-Swing%, 16.2% SwStr%), and he may struggle to provide consistent production until he can clean that up a bit.

Another knock on Mountcastle is his lack of defensive value. He has limited speed, a weak arm, and managed to generate negative DRS values at two positions in 2020 (-3 DRS at 1B, -1 DRS in OF). That deficiency will make it harder for the Orioles to keep him in the lineup and puts more pressure on his bat to secure his spot in the lineup. Mountcastle looks like a safe young bat to invest in, especially on the power side, but will likely provide lower batting averages (.260-.280 range) than his .333 mark (.398 BABIP) in 2020 suggests.

ETA: 2021

 

5. DL Hall, SP

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: High-A

Hall was the 3rd left-handed pitcher selected in the 2017 draft (behind Mackenzie Gore and David Peterson), going to the Orioles with the 21st overall pick. He has a plus fastball that tops out at 98, though it generally sits 93-96, and two above-average secondary offerings (curveball and changeup). Both his curveball and his changeup have the potential for further development, though his changeup may end up the better of the two.

The lefty was added to the Orioles’ 60 man pool in 2020 and pitched well in High-A during the 2019 season beforehand. During his time in the Carolina League, Hall made 17 starts, striking out 33.5% of batters faced and generating a 14.4% SwStr%. Issues with command/control continue to be an issue for him (15.6% BB% in 2019) and remain an area of needed development. That said, Hall did improve in that area during the second half of 2019, issuing only 16 free passes in his final 32 IP. There is an outside chance Hall could make his debut at the end of 2021, but the more likely timeline has him in Baltimore in 2022.

ETA: 2022

 

6. Gunnar Henderson, SS

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: R

Henderson had a brief taste of professional pitching after his 2nd round selection in the 2019 draft. He generated a 103 wRC+ in 29 Rookie ball games, smashing one home run and stealing two bases while there. While he did not have a chance for more minor-league competition in 2020, he was added to the Oriole’s 60-man player pool, providing an environment for additional growth while at the alternate site.

The fact that he was the youngest player at the alternate site speaks to how highly he rates in the mind of Oriole leadership, however. Currently, Henderson projects for at-least average production across the board, though many think he has room to grow in his offensive profile. A Corey Seager comp has been bandied about in a few circles, though Henderson’s defensive future as a shortstop is unclear.

ETA: 2023

 

7. Keegan Akin, SP

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: MLB

Akin made six starts (eight appearances) with the Orioles in 2020, posting a 4.56 ERA (3.71 SIERA) and 1.44 WHIP in 25.2 IP. He struck out 30.2% of batters faced (13.6% SwStr%) and did a good job limiting O-Contact (51.4% O-Contact%) despite a below-average O-Swing% (27.2%). He relies heavily on his fastball (62% usage rate in 2020), a pitch that he can ramp up to 96 (though it usually sits 89-93), and owns a plus changeup as well.

Good spin on his fastball makes it an effective weapon (fastball – 28% Whiff, 24% PutAway%), especially in conjunction with his changeup (36% Whiff%, 30% PutAway%). The big question is whether or not he can develop his slider or curveball into a consistent third offering. Akin has a firm hold on a rotation spot heading into 2021 but without another supplemental pitch, his potential as a starter is capped.

ETA: 2021

 

8. Michael Baumann, SP

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: Double-A

Baumann pitched very well in Double-A during the 2019 season (2.31 ERA & 0.94 WHIP in 70 IP), posting a healthy 13.7% SwStr% and showing improvement in his BB% (-2.9%). Like many on the upper-tier of this list, he joined the 60-man player pool in 2020 and stayed at the alternate site until an injury (right flexor strain) shut him down in early September.

His main weapon is a plus fastball that reaches the upper-90s. A mid-80s slider stands out as his best secondary offering and he has two other pitches (changeup and curveball) in development. How those last two arsenal pieces turn out will determine whether Baumann starts or acts as a high leverage reliever at the next level.

ETA: 2021

 

9. Jordan Westburg, SS

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: N/A

Westburg had an uneven freshman year at Mississippi State (.248/.319/.388) but his production quickly picked up from there. He raked during his stint in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League and flashed a good power/speed mix during his sophomore campaign (.294/.402/.457, six home runs, and seven steals) in Starkville. His stock soared after a productive run in the Cape Cod League carried over into his junior season, culminating in his 30th overall selection in the 2020 draft.

Westburg has good power potential and bat speed, though he can struggle at times with his approach and will need refinement there. He has solid speed, and should stick at shortstop, but will hit enough that a shift to third base will not overly deflate his value.

ETA: 2022

 

10. Colby Mayo, 3B

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: N/A

Perfect Game ranked Mayo as the 3rd-best high school prospect at the hot corner, marking him 19th overall in the class entering the draft. How were the Orioles able to land such a talent in the 4th round? Using more of the savings generated from the Kjerstad selection. Mayo signed for more than triple ($1.775m) suggested slot value for the pick, eschewing a commitment to the University of Florida to do so.

He ranked in the 99th percentile for exit velocity among high school prospects and possesses high-end power potential. Aside from his on the field prowess, Mayo brings maturity and perspective to the organization. He plays the game to honor his fallen classmates from Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, Florida. A June MLB.com article quoted him as saying: “I play for those who can’t play. They don’t have voices…Those people had dreams, too. I want to fulfill their dreams by fulfilling mine.”

ETA: 2024

 

11. Dean Kremer, SP

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: MLB

Kremer made his major-league debut in 2020 and pitched very well until his final start (2 IP, 7 ER, 3 BB). Without that clunker, Kremer’s performance looks a lot different (16 IP, 20 K, 1.69 ERA, 1.06 WHIP). Three of his offerings rate as at least average pitches, his curveball as above-average, and he is developing a changeup that could get there. His fastball performance particularly stood out (16th best PutAway% in MLB for his fastball).

While his fastball velocity is nothing special (sits 90-03), Kremer has good spin and above-average control/command, both of which augment the offering. He will have every chance to win a rotation spot in spring training and should be a low-cost, back-of-the-rotation value if that occurs.

ETA: 2021

 

12. Yusniel Diaz, OF

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: Double-A

Yusniel Diaz is a Double-A veteran. He took his first swings at that level with the Dodgers in 2017, repeated in 2018 with both the Dodger and Oriole affiliates, then came back for an encore during the 2019 season. His last performance there was fine (135 wRC+, .210 ISO), though he lost some ground in both his BB% (-1.9%) and K% (+2.4%). Diaz spent 2020 at the alternate site and should make his debut later this season.

He projects for a .260-.270 batting average with mid-teen home run production and a few steals currently. Baltimore’s outfield is crowded at the moment, with Ryan Mountcastle, DJ Stewart, Austin Hays, Trey Mancini, and Cedric Mullins all projected for some kind of role with the club. Diaz should get a taste of big-league pitching soon but has more value in real-life.

ETA: 2021

 

13. Hudson Haskin, OF

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: N/A

Haskin raked as a freshman, slashing .372/.459/.647 with 10 home runs in 56 games for Tulane. He followed that up with stellar numbers in the New England Collegiate Baseball League (.306/.340/.500 with five home runs) and turned enough heads to land himself on the watchlist for the 2020 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award. That buzz and a solid, 17-game showing in 2020 propelled him into the 2nd round of the MLB draft.

Good power, athleticism, and speed stand out in Haskin’s profile, as noted by Orioles Scouting Supervisor Brad Ciolek in a June MLB.com interview: “The first thing that stands out is the overall athleticism he has. He’s a double-plus runner…He also has a knack for barreling up the ball consistently and sneaky power.” Some worries exist given the level of competition he faced at Tulane, but Haskin has the chance to climb this list very quickly and should be a sleeper target during your FYPD drafts.

ETA: 2023

 

14. Terrin Vavra, 2B/SS

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: Single-A

The former Minnesota Gopher leveraged a productive junior season (.318/.409/.489, 10 HR, 8 SB) into a 3rd round selection in the 2018 draft. He generated above-average offensive production at both of his stops heading into 2020 (142 wRC+in Low-A, 160 wRC+ in Single-A) and found his way to Baltimore as part of the Mychal Givens trade last summer. He displayed great plate discipline in his last stop (8.3% SwStr% in Single-A) and posted equal 13.7% walk and strikeout rates there as well. He should provide a solid average, 10-15 stolen bases, and similar power production with his current profile.

ETA: 2022

 

15. Maikol Hernández, SS

 

Age: 17

Highest Level: N/A

Baltimore has historically not invested much into international prospects, preferring instead to trade away their allotted pool or to sign low-level players instead of pursuing high-end talent. While they still did not land a top-5 international signee, they did hand out a seven-figure deal to Venezuelan shortstop Maikol Hernández. He ranked 30th in MLB Pipeline’s international class rankings, drawing praise for his defensive prowess and his potential for plus power and speed. Definitely one to watch for those in deeper leagues.

ETA: 2025

 

16. Kevin Smith, SP

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: Double-A

The New York Mets sent Smith to Baltimore in exchange for reliever Miguel Castro last season, adding another interesting arm to the Oriole’s growing brood. Smith, a lefty who played collegiately at The University of Georgia, does not light up the radar guns (fastball sits 87-90 MPH) but knows how to mix his offerings for best results. He is crafty enough to succeed as a back-end starter but may fit better as long relief or an opener.

ETA: 2021

 

17. Tyler Nevin, 1B/3B

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: Double-A

Nevin, the son of former All-Star Phil Nevin, was another piece of the Mychal Givens trade last season. He has hit well at every level, and though his 2019 production in Double-A dipped a bit, he salvaged things at the end of the season with a dominant August performance (.291/.363/.609 with eight home runs).

He also did a good job improving his walk rate (+3.8%). Nevin’s below-average power, especially for the corners, clouds his future MLB-value. He should hit for a decent average but without further growth in that aspect of his game, his ceiling is limited.

ETA: 2022

 

 

18. Zac Lowther, SP

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: Double-A

Like Kremer, Lowther’s velocity won’t turn any heads (fastball sits 88-91, Tops 94), but the spin he generates allows his arsenal to succeed. He had no trouble with Double-A hitters (2.55 ERA & 1.11 WHIP in 148 IP) in 2019 and struck out 26% of batters faced (12.2% SwStr%), succeeding despite an out of character increase in walks (10.6% BB%, +3.6% BB%). He looks like a back-end starter or multi-inning reliever currently, though he could exceed those expectations.

ETA: 2021

 

19. Drew Rom, SP

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: Single-A

Rom hit very few roadblocks in his first full minor league season, posting a 2.93 ERA (2.93 xFIP) and 1.22 WHIP in 15 starts (21 appearances). He struck out 30.3% of batters faced and recorded a 22.1% K-BB%, ranking 4th overall in both metrics for his age-group and younger at that level. He also did a good job keeping the ball on the ground (45.8% GB%).

Like some of the other lefties on this list, Rom does not light up the radar gun (fastball sits 88-92) but does a good job mixing in his fastball alongside his above-average slider and splitter. If he can add velocity, he would shoot up prospect lists. Either way, Rom looks like a good bet as a back-end starter.

ETA: 2023

 

20. Carter Baumler, SP

 

Age: 18

Highest Level: N/A

Baumler signed with the Orioles for an above-slot $1.5m signing bonus, something made possible by the below-slot deal they were able to finalize with Heston Kjerstad. He was part of TCU’s recruitment class (ranked 10th overall among RHPs per Perfect Game) before agreeing to this deal and already possesses mid-90s velocity. Tommy John surgery will, unfortunately, keep him from pitching this season, but he has the tools to be a mid-rotation starter, if not more.

ETA: 2025

 

21. Adam Hall, SS

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: Single-A

Hall has consistently generated above-average offensive production at all stops in his short career, including a 133 wRC+ mark in Single-A in 2019. He has not shown much power to date (.097 ISO in 2019) and projects for below-average production there at his peak. What he has shown is speed. Hall has an 80% success rate stealing bases in the minor leagues (56/70 SBA’s) and should contribute at least 20-25 steals per season in the majors. The hit tool still needs work and will need to improve for Hall to be anything more than a utility bat down the road.

ETA: 2023

 

22. Kyle Stowers, OF

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: Low-A

Strong power production at Stanford (19 home runs during sophomore and junior seasons) and in the Cape Cod League (six home runs, .326/.361/.565) led to his 2nd round selection in 2019. He added six more home runs (.162 ISO) to his tally during his time at Low-A, generating slightly above-average production (103 wRC+) there overall. His approach needs work (23.2% K%, 13.5% SwStr%) and the questions that exist surrounding his hit tool need to be answered if he is going to be more than a fourth outfielder.

ETA: 2022

 

23. Garrett Stallings, SP

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: N/A

Stallings is an interesting prospect in that he has yet to pitch in a professional game since his selection in the 2019 MLB draft. His former organization, the Los Angeles Angels, kept him out of action due to his collegiate workload. The COVID-19 pandemic then took 2020 off the table as well.

The Orioles acquired Stallings for shortstop Jose Iglesias, reeling in an arm that struck out 106 batters while walking only 16 in 102.2 IP during his junior season. He has four offerings with MLB-potential in his arsenal and typically sits in the low-90s. Good chance for a future back end of a rotation.

ETA: 2023

 

24. Luis Ortiz, SP

 

Age: 18

Highest Level: N/A

The Orioles signed lefty Luis Ortiz for $400,000 out of the Dominican Republic during the 2019 signing period. Despite his youth, the teenager already boasts a fastball in the 90s along with a good breaking ball. A recent Baltimore Baseball article caught up with Orioles international scouting director Koby Perez, who said the following about the young lefty: “…what stands out more for him is the pitch ability that he has. He goes after hitters. He has a good breaking ball, and he throws a bunch of strikes.”

ETA: 2026

 

25. Rylan Bannon, 3B

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: Triple-A

Bannon spent most of 2019 in Double-A, providing solid, all-around offensive production (120 wRC+, .139 ISO) before earning a promotion to Triple-A. He continued that success there. In 20 Triple-A games, Bannon slashed .317/.344/.549 and posted top-25 marks in both ISO (.232) and wRC+ (120) for those his age or younger at the level (min. 50 PAs). Bannon projects for below-average power, but could generate double-digit power/speed production along with a solid batting average at his height.

ETA: 2021

 

26. Elio Prado, OF

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: R

Prado is a young, raw outfielder who came over to the Orioles from the Boston Red Sox in return for Andrew Cashner. He performed very well for both clubs in the Dominican Summer League (131 wRC+ with Boston; 127 wRC+ with Baltimore) and flashed good speed, despite middling results on the base paths (12/22 SBAs). He has room to fill out and may add more power, though a contact/speed profile seems more likely.

ETA: 2024

 

27. Anthony Servideo, SS

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: N/A

Servideo is another member of the 2020 draft class to make this list, though he is more of an enigma than the others. He was always highly rated defensively in college, just with a questionable bat. Neither his freshman (.621 OPS) nor sophomore (.817 OPS) production was particularly impressive, and he failed to make an impact in the Cape Cod League as well (.149/.277/.228). 2020 was a different story.

All he did was rake during his limited showing (.390/.575/.695 in 17 games). Questions exist as to what player he will be for the Orioles. Will he be a speedy, high-end defender with limited offensive value? Or, was his 2020 a true breakout, foreshadowing an all-around contributor offensively? 2021 should provide more data to make that distinction.

ETA: 2023

 

28. Ryan McKenna, OF

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: Double-A

70-grade speed always makes a prospect exciting. Especially when it translates to actual production on the base paths. That is somewhat the case for McKenna, who has 72 stolen bases to his name since 2015, albeit with only a 72.7% success rate. He has minimal power and has work to do on his approach if he is going to make enough contact for his speed to truly be put to use. He has consistently posted a +10% BB% since 2018 and should be up in Baltimore soon. Likely a fourth outfielder.

ETA: 2021

 

29. Raul Rangel, SP

 

Age: 17

Highest Level: N/A

Rangel did not appear on many ranking lists for international players when he signed for with the Orioles for $150,000 as a 16-year-old. Despite that, he is already generating a lot of buzz, specifically from Ben Badler of Baseball America, and could quickly climb up this list as he progresses. Kobe Perez also weighed in on Rangel’s future with the club, noting that when they first saw him “…he was 85, 86 mph and teams were lukewarm…he started getting a little stronger and started touching 90, 91, 92 (mph)…He has a ton of upside…Once we get him on a good diet at the academy…those velocities could get near the mid-90s fairly quickly.”

ETA: 2026

 

30. Luis Gonzalez, OF

 

Age: 18

Highest Level: N/A

Gonzalez was another member of last year’s international class, yielding a $475,000 signing bonus from his deal with Baltimore. He can play multiple outfield positions and has the potential to be an impact bat given time.

ETA: 2025

 

31. Thomas Girard, RP

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: N/A

Girard was a lights-out closer at Duke, whiffing 84 batters over 59.1 IP in his final two seasons. He was especially stingy with walks during 2020, issuing only one free pass in his 13.1 IP. Could move quickly once he gets in the system.

ETA: 2023

 

32. Kyle Brnovich, SP

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: N/A

Brnovich struck out batters with impunity while at Elon, posting three straight +100 K seasons (high of 147) during his collegiate career. His career strikeout total ranks second all-time behind Justin Verlander (Old Dominion) for the Colonial Athletic Association. Like Peek, he has yet to pitch in a professional game but could start climbing up this list once 202 begins.

ETA: 2023

 

33. Samuel Basallo, C

 

Age: 16

Highest Level: N/A

Basallo, a 16-year-old catcher from the Dominican Republic, was one of two international players who signed a seven-figure deal with the Orioles during this period. While he has a good arm and is athletic behind the plate, MLB.com notes that his bat outweighs his defensive potential and that he has generated +100 MPH exit velocities with a wooden bat in practice.

ETA: 2027

 

34. Alexander Wells, SP

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: Double-A

Wells has excellent command and has never walked more than 5.8% of batters faced at any level. That type of control is especially important for the lefty given the lackluster fastball he possesses (35 Grade, sits 86-89). Good execution of his secondary offerings, primarily his curveball and changeup, make up for his “heater”. The Orioles protected the Australian from the Rule 5 draft this season, making it likely we see him at some point in 2021.

ETA: 2021

 

35. Kyle Bradish, SP

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: High-A

Bradish came over in the Dylan Bundy trade, adding yet another arm to the fray for the Oriole’s system. He pitched well in High-A for the Halos, punching out 27% of hitters and generating a 14.5% SwStr%. Likely a middle-reliever who generates strong ground ball rates and relies on his curveball to finish hitters.

ETA: 2022

 

36. Zach Watson, OF

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: Single-A

Watson consistently got on base (.366 OBP – career low), hit for average (+.300 batting average all three years), and stole bases (37/47 SBAs) during his time at LSU. He hit five home runs between two levels after signing and swiped an equal number of bases as well. Looks like more of a defensive replacement than a full-time starter.

ETA: 2022

 

37. Wilmer Feliciano, OF

 

Age: 16

Highest Level: N/A

Feliciano signed with the Orioles for just under $500,000 during this year’s signing period. Only 16, the 6′ 2″ left-handed hitter has strong power and the potential to be a middle of lineup bat when all is said and done.

ETA: 2027

 

38. Zach Peek, SP

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: N/A

Another part of the Bundy return, Peek has yet to pitch in a professional game due to the pandemic. He struck out 91 in 87.1 IP at Winthrop University during his final season, logging eight quality starts in the process.

ETA: 2023

 

39. JD Mundy, 1B/DH

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: N/A

Another undrafted free agent from this year’s draft, Mundy started his collegiate career at Virginia Tech before transferring to Radford University. His breakout junior season (.304/.412/.588 with 13 home runs) continued with a powerful showing in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (.456/.511/.823 with six home runs). His final season at Radford was no different (.385/.468/.662). May struggle to find a defensive fit.

ETA: 2023

 

40. Bruce Zimmermann, SP

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: MLB

Zimmermann had a cup of coffee with the Orioles in 2020. He was hit hard in his first outing (3 IP, 5 ER, 2 K) but rebounded nicely against the Red Sox in his final appearance (4 IP, 1 ER, 5 K). His fastball sits in the low-90s but can reach 95 at points. Has two league-average secondary offerings as well. Could be a dark horse candidate for the rotation.

ETA: 2021

 

41. Zach Muckenhirn, RP

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: Triple-A

Muckenhirn struck out 29.4% of hitters in Double-A, making 37 appearances there as a reliever before a cup of coffee at Triple-A. He yields a lot of ground balls (47.1% GB% in Double-A) and does a good job of limiting home runs as well (six home runs in 2018-2019). He could vie for a bullpen role if given the chance.

ETA: 2021

 

42. Brandon Young, SP

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: N/A

The Orioles signed Young as an undrafted free agent after this year’s truncated MLB draft. The righty took a huge step forward in 2020, striking out 37 batters in 24.2 IP and walking only nine. He did not allow a home run in his four outings and posted a 1.09 ERA for the season.

Louisiana-Lafayette coach Matt Deggs had this to say about his former player: “Brandon is big, physical and very versatile. He can start or pitch in the back of the bullpen. He always wants the ball, loves to pitch and…loves to compete. He pitches with bad intentions for the hitter and I love that.”

ETA: 2023

 

43. Cody Sedlock, SP

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: Double-A

Elbow issues and Thoracic Outlet syndrome have taken their toll on the former 1st-round pick, dampening his arsenal and creating enough uncertainty about his future that he was left unprotected (and even more telling, un-selected) in this year’s Rule 5 draft.

He made some strides in 2019 and earned a promotion to Double-A, but control issues (13.4% BB%) and middling strikeout numbers (22.8% K%, 12.8% SwStr%) were the main things that stood out about his performance. Sedlock is no lock to make it to Baltimore and would likely do so as a low-leverage reliever if he does.

ETA: 2022

 

44. Isaac Mattson, RP

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: Triple-A

Posted +35% strikeout rates across three levels (High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A) with the Angels in 2019. Does a great job keeping the ball on the ground. Needs more work on his secondary offerings so that they pair effectively with his fastball. Mattson has a good chance of carving out a role in the Oriole bullpen this season.

ETA: 2021

 

45. Mac Sceroler, SP

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: High-A

The Orioles selected Mac Sceroler in this year’s Rule 5 draft, plucking him from the Cincinnati Reds organization. Sceroler made 26 High-A appearances for the Reds in 2019, striking out 26.5% of hitters (13.1% SwStr%) while walking only 6.1%. He was not added to the 60-man player pool and profiles as a fringe starter or long reliever.

ETA: 2021

 

46. Brenan Hanifee, SP

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: High-A

Hanifee has a fastball that flirts with being a plus pitch but both of his secondary offerings are fringe-level currently. He hit a roadblock (+5.9% BB%, 4.60 ERA, 1.42 WHIP) at High-A after solid showings in both Low and Single-A and has yet to generate much success striking out batters (13.8% K% & 8.8% SwStr% in High-A), no matter the level. Fringe, low-leverage reliever at best.

ETA: 2023

 

47. JC Encarnacion, 3B

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: Single-A

Healthy strikeout issues are a hallmark of Encarnacion’s career. He has circled a 30% strikeout rate since 2018 and has yet to play an inning above Single-A. He has the potential for league-average power but may not hit enough to ever fully access it.

ETA: 2023

 

48. Isaiah Kearns, SP

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: N/A

The Orioles took a flier on Kearns after the 2020 MLB draft. He struggled a bit in his first two seasons at West Virginia before carving up hitters after transferring to the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (27 K, 1.61 ERA, 22.1 IP, 0.716 WHIP). His previous struggles are a worry since they came against better talent.

ETA: 2023

 

49. Mason McCoy, IF

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: Double-A

McCoy saw his offensive production take a tumble upon his promotion to Double-A in 2019. He hit too many ground balls (49.5% GB%), struck out more (+5% K%), and generally took a step back. While he does offer some speed (13/16 SBAs in 2019), the rest adds up to a utility infielder.

ETA: 2022

 

50. Lamar Sparks, OF

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: R

Injuries have limited him to less than 100 games since he was taken in the 2017 draft. When healthy, he has flashed plus speed and swipes bases at a strong clip (25/33 SBAs). His lack of experience above Rookie-ball makes him incredibly difficult to project. 2021 may be a make-or-break year in his development.

ETA: 2024

Photo by Cliff Welch & John Peterson/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter & IG)

Hunter Denson

Hunter currently writes for PitcherList. He once fouled off a pitch against former big-leaguer Jon Lieber, only to strike out spectacularly on the next pitch. Representing the Red Sox Nation out in the Pacific Northwest

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