The Baltimore Orioles have had one of the top farm systems in baseball for the past several years, and that is now starting to pay off. They are right in the thick of the playoff race this season as their rebuild has sped up. Not only that, but they still have a number of top-level prospects, including 10 in The Baseball Prospect Kingdom’s Top 200 list. The Orioles graduated Adley Rutchsman – who was the top prospect in the game – and Kyle Bradish this season. Baltimore has a great mixture of pitching and hitting at the top of these rankings, as well as solid upside as you go down the list.
#1 Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Central Heights HS (TX), 11th Overall Pick (2018)
As a parting gift, the previous front office took the Texas right-hander as their final first-round pick, before being replaced that November by Mike Elias. It has paid off very well thus far, as Rodriguez has moved swiftly through the Baltimore farm system. The 6-foot-5 Central Heights High School product dominated the Low-A level in his first full pro season in 2019. He posted a 2.68 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, .171 batting average against, and 34.2 percent strikeout rate in 94 innings. Rodriguez then worked on his craft at the alternate site in 2020, then mastered it in 2021 while reaching Double-A and overwhelming hitters. The right-hander recorded a 42.25 percent strikeout rate between High-A and Double-A. He was expected to finish his road to the show quest this season, as he was having a tremendous year at Triple-A Norfolk. But a Grade 2 right lat strain caused him to go on the injured list in early June.
Rodriguez has a legitimate four-pitch mix, made up of fastball that sits in the 95-101 mph range with control, a mid-80s changeup with late movement, a mid-80s slider which is an out pitch, and a low-80s curveball. He has also shown tremendous control as he walked just 2.4 batters per nine in 2021. On top of that, there is also excellent command shown from all of his offerings within the zone. With more experience against top hitters, Rodriguez will be able to reach his potential as a front-line starter.
#2 Gunnar Henderson, SS/3B, John T. Morgan Academy (AL), 42nd Overall Pick (2019)
After taking Rutchsman in the first-round, the Orioles came away with what could be one of the best top two picks ever in 2019. Baltimore signed Henderson for an over-slot bonus of $2.3 million before he had a solid pro debut in rookie ball. The Alabama high school infielder was one of the youngest players at the alternate site in 2020 and began 2021 in Low-A before finishing at Double-A. Across three levels, the now 21-year old slashed .258/.350/.476 with 17 homers, 74 RBI, 68 runs, and 16 stolen bases. Henderson made his Major League debut a couple of weeks ago after also playing in the All-Star Future’s Game.
The left-handed hitter has all-around talent and has proven himself at every level as he has responded to every challenge. Henderson has improved upon his swing-and-miss tendencies to elevate his approach at the plate. He makes a lot of hard contact and has plus power potential. Defensively, he has great athleticism and has a very strong arm, which could help him stick at shortstop long-term. Henderson can also handle third base and has also gotten work in the outfield.
#3 Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater HS (OK), 1st Overall Pick (2022)
Entering the 2022 MLB Draft, the Orioles were between selecting Druw Jones or Holliday with the first overall pick. They ultimately went with Holliday, the son of former big leaguer Matt Holliday. The Oklahoma high school shortstop was arguably the best overall hitter in the entire draft. In his senior season, he slashed .685/.749/1.392 in 41 games while breaking J.T. Realmuto’s national high-school record for hits in a season with 89. This led to the 18-year-old being named Gatorade’s Oklahoma prep player of the year. Baltimore selected him with the first overall pick and dished out a prep player record $8.19 million bonus. Holliday was promoted to Single-A after just eight rookie ball games, in which he slashed .409/.576/.591 with a double, homer, 10 walks, three stolen bases, and a 220 wRC+.
#4 Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston State, 5th Overall Pick (2021)
The Orioles made Cowser the second Sam Houston State product to be a first-round pick after Glenn Wilson was the first in 1980. Baltimore went underslot at the fifth overall pick in 2021, signing him for $4.9 million. The outfielder impressed in his pro debut season, slashing .375/.490/.492 with more walks (25) than strikeouts (23) and seven stolen bases in 32 games, mostly at Single-A Delmarva. Cowser started the 2022 season at High-A Aberdeen before making it up to Double-A Bowie and now Triple-A Norfolk in his first full season. The strong left-handed hitter has an advanced feel for hitting as he doesn’t strike out much and hits the ball on a line to all fields. He has average speed potential and has the ability to play anywhere in the outfield, while he might settle in at a corner spot.
#5 DL Hall, LHP, Valdosta HS (GA), 21st Overall Pick (2017)
Before recently making his major league debut, Hall quickly rose through the system after being a first-round pick out of the Georgia high school ranks in 2017. Prior to this season, the 23-year-old spent each year at a different level; he spent all of 2018 at Low-A Delmarva, all of 2019 at High-A Fredrick, and all of 2021 at Double-A Bowie. Then this season, he made one start each for Fredrick and Bowie before getting up to Triple-A Norfolk. The southpaw got the call to the show and made his major league debut on August 13, despite previously having a rough stretch in Triple-A. Over his five seasons in the minors, Hall posted a 3.42 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 2.94 FIP, and .198 batting average against. In his MLB debut, he surrendered five earned runs over 3 2/3 innings, but also struck out six and posted a 2.31 FIP. Hall was sent back down to Norfolk after his debut but did come back up on September 3, and has made two relief appearances.
#6 Jordan Westburg, INF, Mississippi State, 30th Overall Pick (2020)
Emerging as one of the top collegiate infielders in the country in Mississippi State’s College World Series runs in 2018 and 2019, Westburg was taken by the Orioles in the first round of the 2020 draft. The Texas native has a tremendous combination of athleticism, power, and speed. He showed that toolset off across three levels in 2021, posting an .868 OPS, 15 homers, and 17 steals. Westburg has gap-to-gap hard-hitting ability with power to the pull side. The 23-year-old quelled swing-and-miss concerns as he recorded .389 on-base percentage. He has the offensive profile that could see him going for 20-20 seasons annually. Westburg has been a quick riser, reaching Double-A in his first full season and getting to Triple-A this year.
#7 Kyle Stowers, OF, Stanford, 71st Overall Pick (2019)
Taken in the same draft class as Rutchsman and Henderson, Stowers could someday create a great outfield tandem with Cowser. He also made his MLB debut this season, getting his first call-up in mid-June, after leading Baltimore’s system with 27 homers in 2021. The Stanford product jumped three levels last season while sharing the Baltimore system’s co-Player of the Year honors with Rutschman. Stowers slashed .283/.377/.561 with 17 homers in 66 games.
The best tool for Stowers is his plus raw power, with strong bat speed which leads to high exit velocity. His swing can get long at times, which results in some swing-and-miss in his game. But he did lower his strikeout rate to 25.6 percent in Triple-A this year after striking out at a 32 percent rate last year. Stowers also decreased his swinging strikeout rate from 16.5 percent in 2021 to 15.1 percent this year in Triple-A. It is not a huge drop off, but does show he has learned to be more selective. In 42 plate appearances over 13 games in the majors, he is back up to a 31 percent strikeout rate and 17.6 percent swinging strike rate. There is still some time to go before he makes a full adjustment to top-level pitching, but Stowers has the makings of being a plus bat.
#8 Coby Mayo, 3B, Stoneman Douglas High (FL), 103rd Overall Pick (2020)
Hailing from the same high school as major leaguers Anthony Rizzo and Jesus Luzardo, Mayo arguably has the best power potential of anyone in the Baltimore system. The third baseman was convinced to forego his commitment to the University of Florida when the Orioles went with a well-above slot bonus of $1.75 million. At 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, he makes very loud contact uses his incredible raw strength to mash the ball. Mayo has the profile that suggests he will struggle against upper tier pitching in reaching is power potential. In his pro debut last year, he posted a 1.006 OPS and four homers between Rookie ball and Single-A Delmarva. He has risen up to Double-A Bowie this year, but his production has fallen off. So far, his power is not reaching his potential as his OPS is down to below .800 with 17 homers in 93 games.
#9 Dylan Beavers, OF, University of California, 33rd Overall Pick (2022)
Going into the 2022 MLB Draft, Beavers was one the top college prospects. The Orioles made it out very well through two rounds after taking Holliday first overall and then having Beavers fall to their second pick. The left-handed hitter smashed 18 homers and slugged .630 in 2021 before following it up with another 17 homers this year. There have been times the Cal product was off on his timing as he an unorthodox setup at the plate. But he has excellent raw power and has gotten off to strong start in his pro debut. Beavers has now gotten the call-up to High-A Aberdeen after posting a .999 OPS, more walks (12) than strikeouts (11), and six stolen bases at Single-A. The start to his pro career shows that he can have better plate discipline and approach. Overall, he has five-tool potential with a strong arm and above average speed.
#10 Jud Fabian, OF, University of Florida, 67th Overall Pick (2022)
After failing to sign with the Red Sox after they drafted him last year, Fabian returned to Florida for his senior season. He didn’t exactly improve his stock, as he was selected 27 picks later than in 2021. His 2022 season showed off a lot of his potential but also the concerns. Fabian did, however, decrease his strikeout rate to 22.5 percent from 29.4 percent last year. The improvements with his swing-and-miss is certainly promising. So far through 17 games in the minor leagues, the Ocala, Florida native has 18 strikeouts to 16 walks. The bat speed and power are legitimate as he mashed 20 homers in 2021 and 24 bombs in 2022. Fabian also hit three homers and slugged .841 in 10 games at Single-A Delmarva before moving up to High-A Aberdeen. There is a lot of upside with the bat and it is very good to see him continue to cut down on the whiffs.
#11 Heston Kjerstad, OF, University of Arkansas, 2nd Overall Pick (2020)
#12 Connor Norby, 2B, East Carolina, 41st Overall Pick (2021)
#13 Drew Rom, LHP, Highlands HS (KY), 115th Overall Pick (2018)
#14 Terrin Vavra, 2B, University of Minnesota, 96th Overall Pick (2018)
#15 Joseph Ortiz, SS, New Mexico State, 108th Overall Pick (2019)
#16 Cade Povich, LHP, University of Nebraska, 98th Overall Pick (2021)
#17 Max Wagner, 3B, Clemson, 42nd Overall Pick (2022)
#18 Seth Johnson, RHP, Campbell, 40th Overall Pick (2019)
#19 Chayce McDermott, RHP, Ball State, 132nd Overall Pick (2021)
#20 Darell Hernaiz, SS, Americas HS (TX), 138th Overall Pick (2019)
#21 Carter Baumler, RHP, Dowling Catholic HS (Iowa), 133rd Overall Pick (2020)
#22 Hudson Haskin, OF, Tulane, 39th Overall Pick (2020)
#23 Carter Young, SS, Vanderbilt, 17th Overall Pick (2022)
#24 Cesar Prieto, INF, Cuba, Signed Jan. 15, 2022
#25 Silas Ardoin, C, University of Texas, 107th Overall Pick (2022)
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