When Andy MacPhail took over the Baltimore Orioles, the minor leagues were a virtual wasteland. Which helps to explain how few players on the Orioles’ roster came up through the system. But he, and Dan Duquette after, have gone about changing that.
With that being said, there are still some serious issues. The first of which being that there are a lot more pitchers with potential in the minors than there are position players.
However, one thing the franchise has done is bringing in a lot of experienced baseball players to help coach all the young players. That has certainly helped, and last year was one of the most successful for the O’s minor league teams in recent memory.
Another thing Duquette has done is bring in a lot of veterans to play at Norfolk. No longer are players being rushed up through the minors to keep teams competitive, and to the majors for that matter (see Matusz, Brian).
A look at the O’s top 10 prospects, which can be found here on the Baseball America website, doesn’t have too many surprises.
Number 1 is Dylan Bundy, which may come as a slight surprise, having him ahead of #2 Kevin Gausman. But, a healthy Bundy this year could make a run at a roster spot come September, and hopefully prepare for a 2015 with these two guys anchoring the rotation.
Number 3 is Eduardo Rodriguez, a pitcher who many in the organization are excited about, and who was one of the stars of the Arizona Fall League last year for the championship winning Orioles’ affiliate. He is closely followed by first-round draft choice from 2013, Hunter Harvey.
Number 5 is the first position player, Jonathan Schoop. And while some fans are clamoring for him to be the starting 2B on opening day, this ranking shows that Schoop certainly needs some seasoning at Norfolk before he is major-league ready.
Tim Berry checks in next at 6, with another pitcher, Mike Wright at 8. These two guys are not expected to be top of the line starters like Bundy and Gausman, but could certainly help make up a young and formidable future O’s rotation.
Number 7 is Orioles enigma Henry Urrutia. Everywhere Henry goes, he hits the ball. If he has worked on running and defense as much over the winter as Buck says he has, he could force the Orioles to keep him in the majors, although I would like to see him start everyday at Norfolk for two months first.
Numbers 9 and 10 are two catchers, Michael Ohlman and Chance Sisco respectively. Ohlman is already on the O’s 40 man (as is Bundy, Gausman, Schoop, Berry and Urrutia) and some think may be the O’s future at C if Matt Wieters is not resigned.
Obviously, the minors are pitching heavy, but when you look at the major league roster, that is what the Orioles desperately need.
As the calendar gets set to switch to February, for the Baltimore Orioles the need continues to be at pitcher. Growing the arms looks like it is working, but one needs to be bought to help the Orioles contend this year in the mighty AL East.
What do you think, which of these prospects has the best chance to be a star?