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.
The World Series is over. That means one
thing: It's time for Baseball America's Top 10 lists, debuting today
with the Orioles. Hello and welcome to another season of Prospect
Handbook goodness, baseball fans and prospect followers alike. I'm
honored and proud to be throwing out the first pitch on the next two
months of list releases, in which Baseball America will chat throughout
the fall and winter and bring you scouting reports on 300 future big
leaguers to enjoy.
If you're on the East Coast (particularly in the Mid-Atlantic or
Northeast) battening down the hatches for Sandy, like I am, please be
safe. But hunker down with me in the BA chatroom for the next couple
hours. We'll keep our fingers crossed the power stays on.
Let's get to some questions...
Grant (NYC): If you compared this list of 10 against last year's, which would you prefer and why?
This seems like as good a place to start
as any. Thanks for the question, Grant. With the benefit of time to look
back on last year's list, I'll give a slight edge to the 2012 version.
After substituting in Kevin Gausman for Manny Machado at the No. 2 spot,
a lot of the names remain the same: Dylan Bundy, Jonathan Schoop, Nick
Delmonico, L.J. Hoes and Xavier Avery. Delving a bit deeper, Parker
Bridwell, Jason Esposito and Dan Klein all dropped out, and those are
names I'm sure we'll touch on throughout the chat, while Eduardo
Rodriguez took a huge step forward, as did Mike Wright. I'm a fan of
2012 draftees Branden Kline and Adrian Marin. So the Top-10 has star
potential at the top, and while only two or three of these prospects
will make the Top 100 list, there's big league value deeper than last
Dara (Denver): Safe to assume only Bundy and
Gausman are likely to make BA's top 100, or does Schoop get your vote as
well? (We realize you don't contribute to that list, just wanted your
Thanks for joining us today, Dara. Always
enjoy the Top 100 questions. As indicated, and following up on the
previous answer, Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman are locks to make the Top
100, possibly even the top 25. Bundy should secure a spot in the top 5,
and Gausman won't fall far behind. After those two, it'll be based on
how each individual views Jonathan Schoop. I believe in Schoop's bat
enough that he'd make the back end of my personal Top 100. Without
sitting down and putting together the list. Neither Nick Delmonico nor
Eduardo Rodriguez would make the cut, but they're ones to watch for next
Ty (Baltimore): Had he not graduated from prospect status, any chance Machado could have unseated Bundy from the #1 spot?
Good question, Ty, and hope you're staying
safe from Sandy in Baltimore. Jim Callis' newest column addresses this
very topic, the list of "almost prospects" for 2012:
But to play devil's advocate here for a minute... It would have been a
very, very hard decision to make, and I might have argued in favor of
Machado. Middle-of-the-diamond, middle-of-the-order All-Star shortstops
don't come along very often. And Machado did nothing but exceed
expectations in his two-month big league stint, batting .262/.294/.445
in his age-19 season.
Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Matt, thank you for
the chat today, and thanks for the great work! Obviously I have to work
in a question for personal cheesball Glynn Davis. How close was he to
the cutoff here? Also, he is still raw, but did evaluators feel like
there was improvement in his overall game this year?
Hey Joe, so glad you could join us today
for the chat, and stay safe on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. We've
talked about your #personalcheeseball Glynn Davis several times, and
you'll be happy to know he was one of the last cuts for the Top 10. In
fact, an original iteration of the list had Davis occupying the 10th
spot, with Adrian Marin and left-hander Tim Berry at No.'s 11 and 12.
For more detail than that, you'll have to pre-order the Prospect
Handbook! As suggested, Davis is definitely raw, particularly at the
plate. Scouts saw some improvement with his approach this year, but
it'll have to continue to improve if he's going to be an everyday
player. But he's got top-of-the-scale speed, a true 80 runner, and he
can throw. The comparison that was thrown out there: Peter Bourjos.
@Jaypers413 (IL): Thanks for the chat, Matt. What did scouts have to say about Torsten Boss' season, specifically his tools?
Ahh, it wouldn't be a chat without a
question (or five) from Jaypers. Thanks for the question Jaypers; this
was the first one in the queue. Torsten Boss, the Orioles' 2012
eight-round pick, is an interesting case. He doesn't have any standout
tools, but he doesn't have any glaring weaknesses. Boss batted
.257/.360/.414 in 67 games at short-season Aberdeen in his professional
debut, and scouts like his smooth left-handed stroke, though they're not
certain of his future defensive home. He's got a plus arm that should
play in multiple spots, and at least for now, Baltimore might be best
developing him at the hot corner.
@Jaypers413 (IL): Did Bundy look Major League
ready to you during the brief time he pitched for the O's? If not, where
do you believe the O's will send him to start 2013?
We'll go back-to-back Jaypers questions
here... I saw Bundy pitch seven times across three levels this summer,
and I'd rather use that sample to judge Bundy's 2013 assignment than his
two big-league appearances (1.2 innings). Bundy certainly could
contribute in Baltimore right away in 2013, but my guess is he'll spend
the early portion of next season at Triple-A. With the caveat that I'm
not a scout, yet acknowledging that I talked to plenty for this list,
Bundy would benefit from some additional minor-league seasoning. Late in
the year, especially at Double-A, opposing hitters were seeing the ball
well and making solid contact off Bundy, even if his numbers don't
indicate it, largely because his fastball has average life and his
command/consistency wavered. Additionally, in his playoff start for the
Baysox that I was in attendance for, Bundy threw 5 of 13 curveballs for
strikes, and none were swinging strikes — his arm circle in the back was
tipping the pitch. Now, all that said, we were spoiled by a 19-year-old
who dominated all season long, and has an argument for being the top
prospect in baseball. With his combination of polish and power, he's
well on his way to being Baltimore's ace.
Grant (NYC): Would Bobby Bundy be a top 30 guy to you?
Another good question, Grant, and let's
keep the questions in the Bundy family... While the finishing touches
are still being applied to the Orioles' Top 30, at this stage Bobby
Bundy, Dylan's older brother, likely will not be make the list. His
stuff was down all year, and scouts suggested he pitched all season with
an injury that he didn't talk about until late July. Bundy had surgery
to address bone spurs in his right elbow. The elder Bundy has a
four-pitch mix, and when healthy, his ceiling is a back-end starter or
more likely a middle reliever.
Lori (Manhasset, NY): Between Clay Schrader and Lex Rutledge, who came closer to your list, and why?
Interesting question, Lori, and thanks for
joining us from Long Island today. Clay Schrader came closer to making
the Top 10 (although not that close), and he will rank higher in the
Prospect Handbook when it's released in January. Schrader and Lex
Rutledge show plus velocity, albeit from different sides of the rubber,
and both get it done with unorthodox deliveries. But Schrader has done
it at higher levels, pitching for Double-A Bowie this summer and now in
the Arizona Fall League, while 2012 sixth-rounder Rutledge debuted for
short-season Aberdeen this year. Schrader, a max effort guy, sits 91-95
mph with his fastball, and he throws a swing-and-miss 79-82 slider.
Rutledge, way over the top with his arm action, operates 90-93 as a
starter (has shown more in relief), and also mixes a 77-80 straight
Ben (Leland Grove): Who would you consider the system's biggest sleeper?
Fun question, Ben, and appreciate you
stopping by. My biggest sleeper award goes to 2012 19th-round draftee
Josh Hader, a tall, lanky left-handed pitcher from suburban Baltimore
whose velocity and physicality took off once he signed. Jim Callis has
some good details in his Orioles Draft Report Card entry here:
Hader was an under-the-radar prep prospect, sitting 84-87 mph with his
fastball and showing secondary stuff in its nascent stages. But
Baltimore put him on a long-toss program, helped him bulk up,
straightened out his delivery, and Hader was working 89-94 in
instructional league. In terms of body type, delivery and arm action
(and not projection), Hader drew comparisons to Chris Sale. He's one to
keep an eye on, for sure.
Ben (Leland Grove): How close was Ty Kelly to your top 10, and what's the skinny on him?
Another good question, Ben, as a few
others asked about Ty Kelly, who wasn't particularly close to cracking
the Top 10 but will make the Top 30. Kelly hit .327/.425/.467 across
three levels in 2012, moving from high Class A Frederick to Triple-A
Norfolk. He walked 79 times and struck out just 72 times this year, and
his plate discipline ranks among the best in the system. The skinny:
Kelly will have to continue hitting to reach the big leagues. His bat,
from both sides of the plate, is his only above-average tool. He doesn't
run particularly well, he doesn't have a great arm and he doesn't have a
real defensive home. But if he hits the way he did, the Orioles will be
pressed to find a spot for him, which they started to do during
instructional league, where Kelly even played some first base.
Not Jaypers (Wisconsin): Matt, is there a chance that Brandon Waring gets to the majors in 2013 as a power bat off the bench?
Are you sure you're not Jaypers? Sure,
there's a chance Brandon Waring reaches the majors in 2013 in the role
you've described. Waring, who has among the best power in the system,
smacked 53 extra-base hits this summer across two levels. Right-handed
power is an increasingly rare commodity in the game today, which gives
Waring a boost, and we saw how many different position players Baltimore
used last year — something like 27. But I'd give a slight edge to Joe
Mahoney, as far as potential bats off the bench for next season.
Dan (Ohio): Who is the best natural 1B, Delmonico or Tyler Townsend?Best power potential when healthy? Thanks.
Like the question, Dan. Along with Brandon
Waring, Tyler Townsend and Aaron Baker have the best power potential in
the system, though they're a tick behind Schoop, if only because Schoop
has the best chance to have an impact in the big leagues (Re: He's the
best prospect of the bunch). Nick Delmonico shows some raw power in
batting practice, but he projects to have average usable (game) power.
Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Matt, we've spoken
about it before: Esposito's year was pretty horrific - coming out of
Vandy and over-matched in the SAL was a little shocking. Were does he
begin next year - pushed to Frederick because of his age, or does start
back in Delmarva?
You're guess is as good as mine, Joe. I'm
not sure what you do with Esposito, Baltimore's 2011 second-round
selection. Esposito hit .209/.260/.277 for low Class A Delmarva in his
first full professional season, and he didn't show many positive signs
of being able to make an impact with the bat. One scout compared
Esposito to a poor man's Matt Dominguez — that is, smooth with the
glove, not sure the bat will play.
Greg (Fullerton, CA): How far has Dan Klein fallen in terms of prospect status? Too injury prone or still big league potential?
Glad you addressed Dan Klein, Greg. Klein,
Baltimore's 2011 third-round selection, ranked 10th on last year's
list, and on pure stuff (when healthy) would rank pretty well. But it's
hard to rank Klein in the Top-10 or even Top-30 given his injury
history. In three minor-league seasons, Klein has compiled just 38.2
innings, and he didn't throw at all in 2012. If he could get back to
full strength, there's big-league stuff in there. At 24 and multiple arm
surgeries in his past, it won't be an easy road.
Richard (North Brunswick, NJ): I thought Henry
Urrutia would be on the list. A 25 year old Cuban who hit .397 his
last year (2010) seems like he would fit somewhere on this list,
especially considering that the O's system isn't that deep.
Good call, Richard, and hope you're able
to fight off Sandy safely. I anticipated Henry Urrutia would make this
list when I first started reporting and researching, but he was bumped
out by the prospects in the 7-10 range. Urrutia is still dealing with
Visa and residency issues, so he hasn't yet played in the States, even
in instructional league. In a perfect world, deferring to international
prospect guru Ben Badler on this one, Urrutia profiles as a fourth
outfielder in a perfect world, because he doesn't project to have the
power you're looking for in a corner outfielder. Whenever his residency
is straightened out, Urrutia likely will not need much time in the minor
leagues, however, and could quickly help in Baltimore after a short
stint in Double-A Bowie or Triple-A Norfolk.
Zach (Baltimore): What's your take Parker
Bridwell? Despite poor numbers this year, I would have thought his
power arm and projectable frame would make him a Top-10 consideration.
Dan (Idaho Falls): Given his 2012 performance,
I'm not surprised that Parker Bridwell fell off of the top-10 list for
the O's. What might we expect from him in the future, and what
contributed to his lack of forward progress this season? Thanks!
There's still plenty of hope for 2010
over-slot ninth-rounder Parker Bridwell, who ranked fourth on this list a
year ago, despite struggles in the South Atlantic League this year.
Bridwell didn't receive much consideration for the Top-10, but he will
rank in the 30. Scouts still like his 6-foot-4 frame, and youth is on
his side. More than anything, Bridwell struggles with consistency — of
stuff (down later in the year) and delivery (repeatability and arm
jim (portland): What kind of prospect is Tim Berry? Hasn't put up great numbers but is regarded as a top 20 prospect for the O's.
Deron (Chicago): How close was Tim Berry to
making it into the top 10. Also, can you explain why his numbers in pro
ball have not been very good but he is so highly regarded?
As indicated earlier, Tim Berry was a
borderline Top-10 candidate, and he while reached Double-A Bowie at the
end of 2012, opponents hit .291 against him across three levels. Berry
is highly regarded because of his projectable 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame,
his plus velocity (90-94 mph) from the left side and his pitchability.
But his stuff is inconsistent, specifically his secondary offerings, and
he doesn't quite have fine command (which still could be coming back
from Tommy John as a prep senior). His curveball flashes plus potential
in warmups, and he's able to spin the ball well, but he doesn't quite
get to it during game action. That, and his solid-average changeup, give
him the makings of three solid-average pitches, which means he has the
potential to pitch at the back-end of a rotation, possibly as a No. 4
Rich Dauer's Glove (Hagerstown, MD): Hi Matt.
I'm a huge Nicky Delmonico fan and was able to see him play here in
SALLY country. What are your thoughts on his potential as well as
eventual position. Thanks for the chat!
Nice chat handle, Mr. Glove, and thanks
for the question. I'm a believer in Delmonico, and have been ever since I
saw him play at the Tournament of Stars in 2009. Delmonico has an
advanced bat and approach at the plate, which should carry him to the
big leagues, and his ceiling is as an everyday corner infielder. Which
(somewhat) addresses his future position. Most scouts I spoke with see
Delmonico's future at third base, even though he didn't play there in
2012, instead splitting time between first and second base. He doesn't
have the hands or actions to stick at the keystone, but he should have
the arm and feet to play the hot corner. Now, if Delmonico needs to move
to first full-time, questions will surface whether he has enough power
to play there.
@ProspectD2J (Toronto): Would you have ranked C
Gabriel Lino (who was traded to the Phillies in the Jim Thome deal) in
the Orioles top 10 if he was still in the system?
Thanks for the question, D2J. I'll have a
better feel for Gabriel Lino once I start further delving into
reporting/researching for the Phillies list, which I'm putting together
once again this year. My gut feel: Lino would have fallen somewhere in
the 10-20 range, much like last year. Lino is very young, but he's also
very raw. Early reports indicated he's a good receiver with soft hands,
though his catch-and-throw skills are still improving, with pop times in
the 2.15- to 2.25-second range. He's still working to tap into his raw
@ProspectD2J (Toronto): The Orioles shocked the
world in 2012 by contending, let alone actually making the playoffs.
Are they for real? Or do you see them falling back down to earth in
2013? There isn't much depth in the minor league system. Outside of
Bundy and Gausman there aren't many players to get excited about now
that Machado has graduated.
Another good question, D2J. The Orioles
certainly shocked Pythagoras in 2012, surpassing their expected 82-80
record by finishing 93-69 and beating the Rangers in the one-game Wild
Card playoff. As currently constructed, I'd foresee Baltimore's 2013
record being more in line with the anticipated win-loss total right
around .500. But what do I know? Plus, the Orioles won't have the same
lineup next season. They'll have the option of playing Manny Machado for
a full season. If they sign Nate McLouth, that would be a boost. If
Nick Markakis and Nolan Reimold can stay healthy for a full year, that
too would help. Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman won't be far away. Beyond
that, though, there's not a ton of depth, as you've indicated. As one
front-office official said to me: "We love the guys we've got, we've
just got to get more of them."
Mike Tangee (NorCal): Some articles I have read
indicated Gausman may actually be a better long term prospect than
Bundy. He has a decided size advantage and generates the same velocity
with much less effort. Your thoughts?
Appreciate the question, Mike, and hope
you're enjoying NorCal's weather today. I hadn't seen many articles
suggesting Gausman over Bundy, but I will say this: There's not total
consensus within Baltimore's front office. Before I get to the heart of
the question, having seen Bundy pitch in-person a bunch (and Gausman at
Tournament of Stars in 2009, along with on TV), I don't think it's fair
to characterize his delivery as having much effort. I liked Conor
Glassey's comparison from last summer: Of course someone 6-foot-4, who's
like a V6 engine, isn't going to have to work as hard as someone
6-foot, a 4-cylinder, to sit in the low- to mid-90s. But the ball comes
out pretty easy for Bundy. Now, addressing the meat of the prompt: I
don't think Gausman is far behind Bundy, and it wouldn't totally
surprise me if he's the better long-term pitcher. Gausman is the better
athlete, and his fastball is more deceptive to hitters. His future will
really depend on the development of his slider, because his changeup is a
plus-plus offering. They're both going to pitch in Baltimore for a good
Tim (Oxnard): What is the future for Matt
Hobgood? Is it time to move on from him or is there anything in there
that gives reason to keep him around? Maybe he should try hitting?
You know, Tim, I wondered the same thing
when I set out putting this list together. I didn't expect there to be
much support for Matt Hobgood, Baltimore's first-round pick in 2009. But
one scout from outside the organization said something like, "Don't
sleep on him, if he can come back healthy." Hobgood had rotator cuff
surgery in early April and didn't pitch at all in 2012. Shoulders seem
to be tougher than elbows these days, so there's no guarantee he'll come
back 100 percent. But at this point, there's nothing for the Orioles to
lose. They've invested him in, and they should keep him around.
Anything you get out of him would be a bonus.
JD (AZ): Matt, thanks for the chat. Wondering
what you have heard about Johnny Ruettiger and whether he has a chance
to crack the top 30?
Thanks for the question, JD: Are you an
Arizona State fan? There was some support internally and externally for
Johnny Ruettiger, and he'll be a fringe Top-30 candidate. Scouts like
his baseball IQ, and his effort for playing the game the right way. The
word "gamer" gets tossed around a lot, and that's usually associated
with the profile of an over-achiever. Ruettiger doesn't have loud tools;
he's a plus runner, but everything else is average or fringy on the
major-league scale. He's a solid defender who tracks the ball well, and
because he can hold his own in centerfield, his ceiling is as a fourth
@ProspectD2J (Toronto): Can you give a brief scouting report on Orioles OF Roderick Bernadina, and a rundown on his progress in 2012?
Scouts didn't get many extended looks at
Roderick Bernadina, who taxied between Baltimore's three local Class A
affiliates, wherever he was needed: Aberdeen, Delmarva and Frederick.
For that reason, it was hard to tell how much progress he made from last
year, which he spent in the Gulf Coast League, in an age-appropriate
setting. Bernadina made the back half of the Top 30 last year, and he's a
borderline candidate this year. He has good bat speed and hand
strength, and he can square up a fastball, though he's still learning to
recognize offspeed stuff. He's a high-energy, love-the-game competitor.
The 2013 season, when he settles in at a level, will be an important
@Jaypers413 (IL): Do you agree with the O's decision for Bundy to scrap his cutter?
Figured I'd get a few more questions about
Dylan Bundy's cutter, which was arguably his best pitch as an amateur.
As an aside, I thought MASN's Steve Melewski did a nice job covering the
topic this summer, getting insights from general manager Dan Duquette
and well-respected pitching coordinator Rick Peterson. Personally, I had
no problem with the Orioles removing Bundy's cutter from his arsenal,
if only to help him further develop his other secondary stuff. This is
not uncommon practice for other organizations; One instance I'm most
familiar with is the Phillies scrapping Lisalverto Bonillia's changeup
to make him establish his fastball early in counts and more often
utilize his slider. I'd say there's evidence this worked for Bundy: His
changeup improved drastically from early in the season, and in that
playoff start at Double-A Bowie that I referenced earlier, Bundy induced
nine swinging strikes (18 total strikes) on 22 changeups. The changeup
was average early in the year, and had the makings of a plus pitch (or
more) by September. Any other justifications for removing the cutter,
however, I couldn't claim to support personally, specifically the
long-term loss of fastball velocity or its effectiveness as a big-league
out pitch. I'd guess Bundy won't be allowed to throw the cutter as long
as he's in the minor leagues. Once he gets to the big leagues, all bets
are off, as getting outs will be a premium. (Time will tell, and it's
unclear whether there will be an adjustment period to reintroduce it.)
The cutter could be a real separator for Bundy, especially against
opposing left-handed hitters, who squared up his four-seamer at the
Jake (Palatine, IL): Hi Matt, thanks for the chat! Who do you like better long-term, Gausman or Matt Barnes?
Wow, nice question, Jake. That's a tough
one. (Having put together the 2011 Northeast draft reports, I've got
some background with Barnes.) I'll give a slight edge to Gausman, but
it's close. I'd be interested in knowing Jim Callis' answer to the same
question — You'll have to stop by and ask him Wednesday, when he
tackles the Red Sox chat!
Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Matt, what were your
thoughts about the O's draft overall this year? Even with some front
office changes made it still felt like the same outcome as usual: take
the no-brainer in the 1st round and then select a lot of players that
essentially feel like low-ceiling AAAA talent.
Interesting perspective, Joe. Generally, I
can see why you'd feel this way, but let me argue the opposite side
here. (And quickly, it's worth noting that several members of
Baltimore's front office said former scouting director Joe Jordan, now
the Phillies farm director, doesn't get enough credit for the job he
did.) Kevin Gausman was the no-brainer first-rounder you spoke of, and I
know of at least one team who had Gausman as high as No. 2 on their
draft board. But beyond Gausman, I like a couple of the Orioles' picks.
Second-rounder Branden Kline has two plus pitches and could stick in the
middle of the rotation, though he'd be on the fast track with a role in
the bullpen. Adrian Marin, the third-rounder, showed more hittability
in his pro debut than expected as an amateur, and he can really defend.
With some smoothing out of his delivery, sixth-rounder Lex Rutledge
could click, and he's shown elite-level velocity from the left side in
the past. As mentioned earlier, sleeper Josh Hader could surprise some
people, and he's already taken big steps. And that leaves off one of my
personal cheeseballs, fourth-rounder Christian Walker, who's got an
over-achiever profile. With his bat-to-ball skills, he's going to hit,
and it wouldn't surprise me if turns into a Kevin Millar-like player.
There's potential for some impact there.
Alright, folks, thanks very much for
joining me this afternoon, and I appreciate all of your great questions.
We're quickly approaching three hours in the chat room, and there's
still a number of questions left in the queue, so I'm going to wrap
things up. I tried to address every prospect mentioned more than once,
and any other pertinent prompts. If there's anything else you'd like to
ask, give me a shout on Twitter @matt_forman. Be sure to come back
Wednesday for Jim Callis' Red Sox chat, and keep it at
BaseballAmerica.com throughout the fall and winter for more prospecty
goodness. And for those of you in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, again,