Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2011.
Will Lingo will answer your Orioles questions beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
Hi everyone. It's a cold, dreary day here at Baseball America HQ, so why not sit around the hot stove and talk prospects?
Frank (Chicago): Is Roderick Bernadina someone we should keep an eye on? How far is he from full season ball?
Roderick, brother of Roger, signed with
Orioles in 2009 and played in the Gulf Coast League last year. He is not
close to the Top 10 yet, but he has intriguing right-field tools. He is
in the 21-30 portion of the list in the Prospect Handbook. His bat
speed and raw power are his most intriguing traits; the question will be
if he can develop better pitch recognition and handle breaking stuff. I
would think he'll get a chance to win a spot on the Delmarva roster in
spring training, but probably more likely he'll go to Aberdeen in the
New York-Penn League this year.
Brenda (Philly): Hi, Will! I always look
forward to the O's list each year, as well as the top 100. How many of
these guys can we look forward to seeing there?
Brenda, the O's have a pretty well defined
top three, and the dropoff after them is significant. Bundy and Machado
are shoo-ins for the Top 100 and will be high on the list. Schoop should
figure into the middle of the list somewhere. After them, I would be
surprised if anyone else is on there. Parker Bridwell hasn't proven
enough, and there are questions about how L.J. Hoes' offensive and
defensive profiles will mesh.
StP (Sarasota): No love for the "crafty" Tsuyoshi Wada?
Wada signed too late for inclusion on the
Orioles list, which closed when the print edition went to press. If he
had signed in time, he certainly would have been a Top 10 guy, as he
will step right into the big league rotation. We do have a full scouting
report on Wada (as well as five other international free agents) in the
appendix of our Prospect Handbook. He's a pitchability lefty who has to
be precise with his stuff to succeed. I probably would have slotted him
in at No. 6 on the Orioles list.
Burton Guster (Santa Barbra (CA)): I was
surprised Bobby Bundy didn't make the top 10 after a very impressive
showing in the Carolina League. What kept him off, and how does he
The elder Bundy (he is Dylan's older
brother for the uninitiated, which I'm guessing does not include anyone
checking in on this chat) did have a good 2011 season to put himself in
the Orioles' plans. He ranks in the 11-20 group in the Prospect
Handbook. He earns high marks for his competitiveness. The problem with
profiling BBundy for higher levels is that he doesn't have an
overpowering fastball (solid at 89-93 mph with sink, but not
overpowering) and his offspeed stuff is too inconsistent. That's why he
had a 9.60 ERA when he moved up to Double-A. So he's a mid-rotation
starter at best, and he'll have to improve his complementary pitches to
reach that ceiling.
Greg T (London, ON): Hi - it seems Hoes is a bit underrated. Those numbers in AA look very solid for someone who was only 21 years old. Thoughts?
Greg, I agree with you to a point. I think
he is a proven hitter and can continue to hit at higher levels. The
problem is his profile. If he could play second base I think you would
have a really nice offensive second baseman, but he just can't get it
done there, lacking range both ways. There are some who actually think
he has a better chance at third base, but it's looking like he'll be
best off in left field, and there it's going to be dicey for him to have
enough power. As noted in his scouting report, he did show improved
power last year, so you can find people who think he can do it, but
those people are in the minority.
Will T. (Cary, N.C.): Clay Schrader was lights
out this past year in the lower minors. Is he a guy who could
potentially be a late-inning reliever in the O's bullpen or will his
command hold him back?
Schrader is a really interesting guy who
just missed the Top 10. He's aggressive and his fastball and curveball
are both plus pitches at their best. Points of concern: he has effort in
his delivery, and he was shut down in August with tendinitis and
tenderness in his forearm; and as you mention, command. He has gotten
outs at lower levels, but there's a worry that he won't throw enough
quality strikes to get outs at higher levels. So I think at best you're
looking at a set-up guy.
Burton Guster (Santa Barbra (CA)): Tyler
Townsend has really hit when he's been healthy. Was he close to cracking
the Top 10? Is he the best pure hitter in the system?
Asked and answered, counselor. "When he's
been healthy" is a huge statement when talking about Townsend because
he's played in just 155 games in 2 1/2 seasons in the organization,
mostly due to hamstring problems. He tried to return at the end of 2011
but went back on the DL before Frederick's run to the Carolina League
title. In addition to being a good pure hitter, he's also got some of
the best power in the system. The Orioles have worked with him on his
conditioning to get the hamstring issues resolved once and for all, but
for now we have him ranking in the 20s.
Neil F (Kingston): Reading the scouting report
on Dylan Bundy - extremely encourgaing! Seems the teams drafting in
front of the Orioles may have missed the boat. Who would you rather
have? Gerrit Cole, Danny Hultzen, Trevor Bauer or Dylan Bundy?
Hard to say those teams "missed the most"
after taking three premium college arms. I think that speaks more to the
strength of the draft class than to any team making a mistake. The
easiest distinction to draw between those three and Bundy is that they
could all make contributions in the major leagues this year, while Bundy
is further away. And of course because they've pitched at a high level
in college ball, they have a better track record against stiffer
competition. That said, Bundy could have a higher ceiling than any of
them. If I had to draft one of those guys, I think I might take Bauer
first, but I would probably take Bundy second. But that's just me, and I
have exactly 0 dollars invested in the decision.
Jadam (A train home): What are your opinions of
Matt Angle and Kyle Hudson? Both are burners who probably can run a
4.40 60 time but can't hit the ball put of the infield. Five years from
now, are they in MLB , Aaa, or out of baseball?
I think you're right in grouping them in
that they have similar (limited) profiles, but I think Angle has much
more value. Granted, he has a limited ceiling, which is why he isn't in
the Top 10, but I think he's a very safe bet to reach it. He's a great
defender who can play all three outfield positions, and he knows how to
put the ball in play and make use of his speed. So he's an asset as a
reserve outfielder. Hudson has much more speed, but less aptitude. He's a
premium athlete, but he's still refining his baseball skills,
particularly his swing. I could see Angle carving out a good career as
an outfield reserve, while it seems more likely that Hudson gets more
ABs in Triple-A than the big leagues. Kudos to Hudson for reaching
Baltimore in 2011, though.
Grant (NYC): Hobgood - prospect or suspect?
I'm afraid he has moved to the suspect list until further notice.
Jake (Baltimore): Between RHPs Kyle Simon and Mike Wright, who are you higher on and why? Thanks Will.
Not a huge gap between the two, but I think
Wright's stuff is a little bit better. Both are sinker/slider types who
throw strikes. Wright usually works in the low 90s and touches 96, and
he get high marks for his competitiveness. Simon is a little bit thicker
(both are listed at 6-5) and works more in the high 80s, touching 93.
They should open up together in the Delmarva rotation.
Norris (Dallas, TX): Thoughts on Ryan Berry at this time?
The Orioles have cornered the market on
pitching Berrys, with Ryan and Tim both ranking in the Top 30 in the
Prospect Handbook. Ryan still ranks higher because he was on the fast
track before he got sidelined this year. Shoulder problems at Rice
dented his draft stock in 2009, so hearing that he missed time due to a
shoulder injury last year is worrisome, but it seems the problems were
related to a cyst in the muscle around his shoulder, so not a long-term
concern. The cyst has been removed and he should be healthy going
forward. Look for him to open the season in the Double-A rotation, with
the chance to get some big league time if he stays healthy.
PT (IBC): Glynn Davis or Xavier Avery long term?
Not many places in the universe are you
going to see that as a chat question. Obviously because we ranked Avery
No. 9 on our list and Davis 10 spots lower, we would take Avery in that
argument. Both rate as "extreme" risks on our new BA grading scale,
which you'll see when the Handbook comes out. Avery's ceiling is higher,
though, because he has more strength in his hands and should be a
better hitter. Davis is an interesting guy, though, a true burner and
the fastest runner in the organization. The Orioles followed him
throughout 2010 but ultimately decided not to draft him, signing him
later in the summer for $120,000. He played short-season ball last year
but should be in the Delmarva outfield to open this season.
Burton Guster (Santa Barbra (CA)): Oliver Drake
rebounded nicely after struggling early in AA Bowie. Were any scouts
optimistic about his chances to make it to the big leagues as a starter,
or at least help in the major league pen?
Drake is another interesting story, as the
Orioles took him out of Navy when he was a draft-eligible sophomore,
when other organizations didn't realize that if he left school before
his junior season he would not have to fulfill his military commitment.
He pitched well in Frederick last year, including a 27-inning scoreless
streak, but has struggled in Double-A because his curveball needs work.
If he can improve with his breaking ball he could be an innings-eating
starter; otherwise he will top out in Double-A or Triple-A.
Ryan H. (Abingdon, MD): Reports are that the O's have signed Chen Wei-Yin, too. Would he have made the top 10? How does he compare to Wada?
For Chen you can refer back to the Wada
answer in large part. He has a similar profile as a smallish southpaw,
though he's 26 while Wada will open the 2012 season at 31. He used to be
more of a power pitcher, but his stuff dropped off some last year due
to abdominal and leg injuries, as did his strikeout rate. He had been up
to 94 mph in games previously, so maybe his stuff will come back. Hard
to know exactly where a guy would line up without debating Jim Callis
about it, but maybe you'd like him up at No. 6 and Wada at No. 7.
Certainly makes the list look a bit better.
Chris (Aberdeen): Some of the amateur prospect
sites out there have Gabby Lino as a top ten Orioles prospect. Even in a
thin system, that's a little rich on a slightly oversized complex
league catcher, right?
I would agree with that, Chris. I had Lino
at No. 21 on my list, because as you say, he has a good frame, a strong
arm and intriguing tools, but he's an awful long way away. He's
unrefined defensively, though he does show a good ability to work with
pitchers. He has a decent approach and some power potential, but here
again you're talking about someone who had 78 at-bats in the GCL in 2011
after batting .200 in the DSL the previous year, so just way too early
to get too excited.
Burton Guster (Santa Barbra (CA)): The GCL
Orioles had some intriguing arms in Jaime Esquivel, Sebastian Vader,
Miguel Chalas, and Eduardo Rodriguez. How would you rate the four in
terms of long-term potential?
Rodriguez is the only guy who made it into
the Top 30, as a command and feel lefty who usually pitches in the high
80s can touch 93 mph. He'll have to improve his complementary pitches
and command as he moves up, and probably profiles as a back of the
rotation type. He needs to improve his feel for pitching. Interesting to
note here that the people I talked to for the Orioles list were not
impressed with the level of competition in the GCL in 2011, saying that
it was hard to judge the "good" players because they were competing
against guys who might never reach A-ball.
Chris (Aberdeen): Yuck. Is there any other
situation in baseball where the worst organization in the division is
further away from the next best organization than Baltimore is from
Boston/New York? Just talking prospects, not Major League talent here.
Yuck sums up the feelings of many Orioles
fans, I'm guessing. The farm system is not in terrible shape because of
the top three, which put it more middle of the pack than bottom of the
barrel, so I don't know about the distance of the gap, but the more
significant thing is that the Rays, Yankees, Blue Jays and Red Sox (not
necessarily in that order) all rank ahead of the Orioles. So if you're
trying to climb up, that doesn't give you optimism about the next few
Johnny Vegas (Baudette, MN): How difficult of a choice was it between Bundy and Machado at #1? Is Machado a top 10 prospect in baseball? Machado or Profar?
The best way it was put to me when I was
doing the reporting for the list was the person who said that if both
players reach their ceilings, Bundy is a little bit more valuable than
Machado as a true No. 1 starter. Based on early polling results, I would
guess that Machado will be in the 8-12 range on our Top 100 Prospects
list, with Profar ranking a few spots ahead of him.
Burton Guster (Santa Barbra (CA)): Mychal Givens seemed to find a little traction in the NYPL. Is he still a top 20 guy, or are scouts getting bearish?
There's still a little bit of hope for
Givens because he has a strong arm and athleticism, but in general I
would say scouts are bearish. He's not in the Top 30.
Joe R. (Newport News, VA): I know that Bundy,
Machado, and to a lesser extent Schoop are potential stars — but I
think from a depth standpoint the Orioles may be the worst farm system
in the game. Thoughts?
Worst in the game is a bit strong, but
there is a big dropoff from the top guys to the talent after that. Depth
is not the system's strong suit. But it's more from a lack of potential
high-ceiling guys who may or may not come through. You can find plenty
of solid players in the Orioles system, but they're more of the types
who are role players or reserves. Not a lot of premium raw tools in the
back of the Orioles list.
Dan (Maine): He missed much of 2011, but did Trent Mummey make the top 30? What kind of upside do you see in him? Thanks.
Mummey is at the back of the Top 30, though
as you mentioned he played in just 29 games last year. As just
discussed, the type of guy who profiles more as a fourth outfielder than
an everyday contributor. Undersized guy who goes all out all the time,
has a good feel for hitting and can play all three outfield positions.
Halvy (Seattle, WA): Not exactly a prospect
question, but what are your thoughts on Brian Matusz at this point? Is
he going to be able to put it back together and get back on track?
I wish I had a good answer on Matusz. We
have a feature in the AL East Top 10 issue on the Orioles' efforts to
get their pitchers over the hump and into big league success, and as you
would guess it talks quite a bit about Matusz. He's saying all the
right things heading into 2012, but after last year who knows what to
make of him? Based on his previous track record, I'm willing to believe
he can get back on track.
William (Baltimore): Between last year's top 10 and this year's, which one wins out to you and why?
I guess I would take this year's list
because of Bundy. Machado, Avery, Hoes, Klein and Schoop are all
holdovers. Then you trade Britton, Pelzer, Givens, Adams and Ryan Berry
for Bridwell, Delmonico, Flaherty, Esposito and of course Bundy. Neither
group is making me do backflips.
Bill White (DC): What are the details regarding
Klein's surgery? I was a bit surprised to see someone with a history of
shoulder issues (initial issues at UCLA, if I'm not mistaken, and now
this) making a top ten, without having proved himself post-surgery. In
most other cases, I feel like a pitcher is written off as damaged goods
until he can show his velo, stuff, feel have bounced back. What's the
Yeah, tough call there, but the reports
from the surgery were so positive—just a small tear in the labrum and
they also loosened up his shoulder capsule from a previous
operation—that we gave him the benefit of the doubt. Also based on how
well he pitched before the surgery and that he'll be pitching in relief.
Top 10 would look better if we had the two Asian pitchers in it, and
Avery and Klein pushed out.
Rick (London): What are your thoughts on Joe Mahoney after the year he had between Bowie and the Fall League?
Still looks like a solid bat, but he's
pretty much limited to first base so he'll have to be even better than
that to make an everyday impact. Struggled to stay healthy last year,
limited to 323 at-bats because of a strained quad, though he did make up
for it some in the AFL. His swing has a tendency to break down at
times. He's in the 11-15 range, it'll be interesting to see how he does
in Triple-A this year.
Burton Guster (Santa Barbra (CA)): I was
surprised to see the 4th selection in the Rule 5 draft, Ryan Flaherty,
crack the top 10, and somewhat shocked that he ranked 7th. Is that
ranking an indication of the weakness of the back-end of the Orioles'
top 10 list, or do you believe the Cubs made a mistake leaving Flaherty
off their 40-man?
In a perfect world you probably wouldn't
have a Rule 5 guy in your Top 10, but Flaherty is much more big league
ready than the average Rule 5 pick. He's definitely not the "lottery
pick" kind of Rule 5 player. Hard to say if the Cubs made a mistake
leaving Flaherty off, but it does seem odd that they usually played him
in the middle infield when his skills are much more suited to third base
or an outfield corner. I don't see why the Orioles wouldn't give him
plenty of at-bats at third this season.
Zack (Salisbury, MD): I had the pleasure of
watching both Machado and Profar playing last year, since I live close
to the Shorebirds stadiums. Which of the two do you think has the higher
ceiling, and which one do you think has the best shot of staying at SS?
Quite a few questions regarding Machado v.
Profar. Power is probably the only area where you'd grade Machado
higher. Profar should be a better hitter and better defender, and he
gets exceptionally high marks for his makeup as well (not that Machado
has any problems there). Machado is the more likely to move off
shortstop. That's why we rate Profar a little bit higher though both are
among the best in the game right now.
Bobby (Limbo): Will, I gotta ask you - how frustrated are you when creating the Orioles' top 30 list all these years, on a scale from 1 to 10?
A good question to end on. It doesn't
really frustrate me because I'm just reporting on it, but I can
certainly see how fans would be getting frustrated by now. But hey, it's
Jan. 9 and hope springs eternal! Good luck this season and be sure to
come back to the BA chat room on Wednesday for a system that will make
Orioles fans feel great about the state of their prospects: the White