2012 Baltimore Orioles Top 10 Prospects With Scouting Reports

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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.

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And now, for something completely different.

The Orioles have tried just about everything to reverse their run of losing seasons, which has reached 14 straight, finding occasional glimmers of hope but nothing close to sustained success. In fact, after the team at least stayed out of the cellar in the American League East for its first 10 losing seasons, it has been locked firmly in last place over the last four.

Those four seasons coincide with the tenure of Andy MacPhail, who joined the organization as president of baseball operations in the middle of the 2007 season after a distinguished tenure with the Twins and Cubs. Things never clicked in Baltimore, however, and he stepped aside after a 69-93 finish in 2011.

For every positive step the Orioles seem to take—trading for Adam Jones or drafting Matt Wieters—they take several negative ones, such as drafting Matt Hobgood, their 2009 No. 5 overall pick who already looks like a wasted selection, or grasping at players like Felix Pie, who have intriguing tools but not the aptitude to maximize them.

While Zach Britton stepped forward in his 2011 rookie season, two other important young pitchers, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman, had poor years. Matusz's 10.69 ERA was the worst in major league history for a pitcher with at least 10 starts. Down below, the farm system has premium prospects in recent top-five choices Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado, but little in the way of legitimate major league talent behind them.

When MacPhail stepped down, the Orioles looked far and wide for his replacement. Their first finalists were Diamondbacks senior vice president Jerry Dipoto and Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava, but Dipoto took the Angels' GM job and LaCava turned down a contract offer. LaCava reportedly balked at not receiving full hiring and firing control over the front office from owner Peter Angelos.

Baltimore re-opened its search and hired Dan Duquette on Nov. 8. The former Expos and Red Sox GM hadn't worked in Organized Baseball since Boston fired him in 2002. He left the front office mostly intact, hiring Blue Jays crosschecker Gary Rajsich as scouting director to replace Joe Jordan, who had departed to become the Phillies' farm director.

Angelos is now on his eighth different GM since buying the Orioles 18 years ago. MacPhail lasted the longest, at four and a half years. Before him, Angelos ran off baseball icon Roland Hemond, who left after the 1995 season; Hall of Famer Pat Gillick, who fled after 1998 despite making the AL Championship Series twice in three years; Frank Wren, who lasted only one season and has found success as GM of the Braves; Syd Thrift, a recycling experiment similar to Duquette that lasted three years; and Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan, who served as a two-headed GM for three years before Flanagan did a year and a half on his own.

Angelos has done a poor job of creating a unified baseball operation pulling in the same direction toward a shared goal, instead fostering an atmosphere where departments seem to function as autonomous units. Duquette, of course, pledges to change that. Empty promises have remained one of the few constants with the Orioles during the last 14 years.

1. Dylan Bundy, rhp Born: Nov 15, 1992 B-T: B-R Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 200
Drafted: Owasso (Okla.) HS, 2011 (1st round).  Signed by: Ernie Jacobs.
Dylan BundyBackground: Bundy is the brother of Bobby Bundy, a 2008 eighth-round pick of the Orioles who reached Double-A last season. Dylan started out at Sperry (Okla.) High, playing with Bobby in 2008, but he transferred from the 3-A program to one of the state's 6-A powerhouses, Owasso High, in 2010. He found the going no tougher there, winning second-team All-America honors as a junior by going 11-1, 1.58 and hitting .442. He was Baseball America's High School Player of the Year in 2011, going 11-0, 0.20 and batting .467. In his two years at Owasso, he had 322 strikeouts in 151 innings. His only disappointment came when Owasso lost to Broken Arrow High, featuring friend and rival Archie Bradley, in the Oklahoma state championship game. Bundy, who didn't pitch in that contest after winning a quarterfinal game two days earlier, one-upped Bradley by going fourth overall in the draft to the Orioles, while Bradley went seventh to the Diamondbacks. Bundy had floated a $30 million asking price before the draft, but he gave up a Texas scholarship to sign at the Aug. 15 deadline for a $6.225 major league contract that included a $4 million bonus. It was the richest deal for a drafted player in franchise history, beating the $6 million bonus Baltimore paid Matt Wieters in 2007. Bundy made his first Orioles appearance in instructional league and won high praise both for his arm and his makeup.

Scouting Report: Tick off everything scouts want in an ace, and Bundy has it. Fastball? He pitches at 94-98 mph and touches 100 with his four-seamer, which features explosive life. He also uses a low-90s two-seamer to get groundballs and also has a cutter in the same range that essentially gives him a third plus fastball. Complementary pitches? In addition to his cutter, his upper-70s curveball already grades as a plus pitch, and he shows good feel for a solid changeup. Mechanics? Bundy is a great athlete with good body control, so his mechanics are clean and balanced and he repeats his delivery well. That should give him good command, and he also shows a great feel for his craft. About the only way he doesn't fit the ace prototype is with his listed 6-foot-1 size, but he's strong and athletic and still gets good downhill plane on his pitches. He earns high praise for his makeup, and the attribute that might set Bundy apart the most is his work ethic. His workouts are the stuff of Oklahoma legend, going beyond the basics of running, lifting weights and long-tossing to push himself to do such things as digging holes, doing lunges around the warning track and chopping down trees and carrying them around.

The Future: Bundy's humble goal when he started high school was to throw harder than Bobby, who has touched 97 mph. He accomplished that in short order and was elated to join his brother in the Orioles organization. He figures to begin his pro career at low Class A Delmarva in 2012, and he could quickly pass Bobby on his way to the big leagues. Bundy is so advanced that some scouts considered him the equal of the three college pitchers (Gerrit Cole, Danny Hultzen, Trevor Bauer) who went ahead of him in the draft, and he might not need more than two years in the minors.

Did Not Play

2. Manny Machado, ss Born: Jul 06, 1992 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 185
Drafted: Brito Miami Private HS, 2010 (1st round).  Signed by: John Martin.
Manny MachadoBackground: After Bryce Harper and Jameson Taillon went 1-2 in the 2010 draft, Machado was a clear choice with the third overall pick, so the Orioles grabbed him and signed him for $5.25 million. He ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the high Class A Carolina League and No. 2 in the low Class A South Atlantic League in his first full pro season, even with a dislocated left kneecap in May that sidelined him for a month.

Scouting Report: Machado has all the tools to be an all-star shortstop. He's an above-average hitter with a knack for making solid contact, and he has the bat speed and strength to generate average power. He's a rangy teenager who's still filling out and getting stronger. Machado has good hands and range and a plus arm, so he'll be a fine defensive shortstop as long as he doesn't outgrow the position. In instructional league, Baltimore emphasized putting together good at-bats and improving his two-strike approach, as well as using his legs more and getting his feet in better position on defense. He's an average runner.

The Future: The Orioles see no deficiencies in Machado that experience and maturity won't clear up. The only real question is whether he eventually slides over to third base, but they'll try to keep him at shortstop. He could open 2012 at Double-A Bowie.

'10 Orioles (R) 7 1 1 0 0 1 2 0 1 0 0 .143 .143 .571
'10 Aberdeen (SS) 29 2 10 1 1 0 3 3 2 0 0 .345 .406 .448
'11 Delmarva (LoA) 145 24 40 8 2 6 24 23 25 3 1 .276 .376 .483
'11 Frederick (HiA) 237 24 58 12 3 5 26 22 48 8 5 .245 .308 .384
Minor League Totals 418 51 109 21 6 12 55 48 76 11 6 .261 .337 .426

3. Jon Schoop, inf Born: Oct 16, 1991 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 187
Signed: Curacao, '08. Signed by: Ersnt Meyer.
Jon SchoopBackground: Schoop emerged as a prospect in 2010, then enjoyed a true breakout season in 2011, playing alongside Manny Machado to give the Orioles a dynamic infield pairing. He hit .171 for the Netherlands at the World Cup in Panama in October but drove in the winning run with a single in the gold medal game against Cuba.

Scouting Report: Schoop started 2011 playing third base next to Machado in low Class A, then took over at shortstop when Machado got hurt. When both were at Frederick, Schoop played mostly second base. He has the arm and hands for any infield spot, and some club officials would argue he's a better shortstop than Machado. Schoop made great progress at second and turns the double play beautifully, though he may outgrow the middle infield. His bat should play anywhere, as he shows good bat speed and should have average power. He still has holes offensively, such as a tendency to swing at breaking balls out of the zone, but those are all correctable. He also shows great makeup. He's a slightly below-average runner.

The Future: The Orioles like seeing Schoop and Machado together, but they may have both open the season playing shortstop if one of them shows his bat is ready for Double-A in spring training. In the long term, Schoop is most likely to end up at third base.

'09 Orioles (R) 247 28 59 7 3 0 35 24 39 11 3 .239 .320 .291
'10 Orioles (R) 60 11 15 4 0 3 16 7 7 0 0 .250 .329 .467
'10 Bluefield (R) 133 16 42 11 1 2 16 12 14 1 1 .316 .372 .459
'10 Frederick (HiA) 21 5 5 3 0 0 3 1 4 0 0 .238 .273 .381
'11 Delmarva (LoA) 212 45 67 12 3 8 34 20 32 6 4 .316 .376 .514
'11 Frederick (HiA) 299 37 81 12 2 5 37 22 44 6 3 .271 .329 .375
Minor League Totals 972 142 269 49 9 18 141 86 140 24 11 .277 .342 .401

4. Parker Bridwell, rhp Born: Aug 02, 1991 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 190
Drafted: Hereford (Texas) HS, 2010 (9th round).  Signed by: Ernie Jacobs
Parker BridwellBackground: Bridwell was a legitimate prospect in both football and baseball coming out of high school, and he also played basketball. He passed up a baseball scholarship at Texas Tech to sign as a ninth-round pick out of the 2010 draft for an above-slot $625,000. He opened the 2011 season in extended spring and then struggled in low Class A, so he stepped back to short-season Aberdeen and fared better there.

Scouting Report: As a less-heralded Texas prep pitching prospect with a heavy fastball, Bridwell is a righthanded version of Zach Britton, though his sinker isn't as dynamic. Bridwell is athletic with a live arm, and the ball jumps out of his hand. He pitches at 89-92 mph and can touch 95 with his fastball. He throws both a good downer curveball and a second breaking ball with more power. He shows good feel for his changeup, which he rarely used in high school. Bridwell is working on his control and command, understandable given his level of experience. His delivery tends to get off balance as his pitch count rises.

The Future: The Orioles still are working through some basics with Bridwell, such as smoothing out his mechanics and building his arm strength, but the raw material is there for at least a mid-rotation starter. He'll go back to Delmarva to begin 2012.

'10 Orioles (R) 0 0 5.40 2 2 0 2 1 1 1 0 3 4 .167
'10 Aberdeen (SS) 0 0 0.00 2 0 0 4 3 0 0 0 1 2 .200
'11 Aberdeen (SS) 2 5 4.53 12 11 0 54 56 32 27 2 22 57 .258
'11 Delmarva (LoA) 0 3 7.06 5 5 0 22 23 18 17 0 13 13 .261
Minor League Totals 2 8 4.94 21 18 0 82 83 83 45 2 39 76 .252

5. L.J. Hoes, of/2b Born: Mar 05, 1990 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 181
Drafted: St. John's HS, Washington, 2008 (3rd round).  Signed by: Dean Albany
L.J. HoesBackground: Frustrated at returning to high Class A Frederick, Hoes got off to a slow start in 2011, so the Orioles challenged him with a promotion. He made an adjustment with Bowie hitting coach Denny Hocking that allowed Hoes to tap into his power. In the final two months, he hit six homers—one shy of his total from his first three pro seasons.

Scouting Report: Hoes consistently has proven his ability to make contact and hit for average, so instructors were impressed he was willing to try mechanical changes to bring out more power. Baltimore has tried him at both second base and in left field, and he's clearly more comfortable in the outfield. There's split opinion on whether Hoes will have enough power to profile there, but some think his power outburst late in 2011 shows that he will. He also saw time at third base in Double-A, but he doesn't have a standout defensive tool as an infielder. He's an average runner and has an average arm.

The Future: It's clear the Orioles have something in Hoes, but it's still not clear exactly what that is. The best case is that he's an everyday left fielder, and the worst case is probably a utility player. He'll move up to Triple-A Norfolk to see if his power continues to develop.

'08 Orioles (R) 159 36 49 4 3 1 18 30 22 10 0 .308 .416 .390
'09 Delmarva (LoA) 431 42 112 19 0 2 47 23 80 20 5 .260 .299 .318
'10 Aberdeen (SS) 28 8 13 5 1 1 5 2 1 1 1 .464 .531 .821
'10 Bowie (AA) 9 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 .222 .222 .222
'10 Frederick (HiA) 353 52 98 19 2 3 44 53 70 10 8 .278 .375 .368
'11 Frederick (HiA) 158 23 38 7 0 3 17 10 25 4 2 .241 .297 .342
'11 Bowie (AA) 344 47 105 17 1 6 54 43 56 16 7 .305 .379 .413
Minor League Totals 1482 209 417 71 7 16 186 161 255 61 23 .281 .354 .371

6. Nicky Delmonico, 3b/1b Born: Jul 12, 1992 B-T: L-R Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 196
Drafted: Farragut HS, Knoxville, 2011 (6th round).  Signed by: Adrian Dorsey.
Nicky DelmonicoBackground: Delmonico comes from a baseball family, with his father Rod coaching at Tennessee for 18 seasons until 2007 and his brother Tony playing in the Dodgers system. Nicky was viewed as a potential first-round pick heading into 2011, but his disappointing spring with the bat (in part because of a back injury) and his commitment to Georgia drove him down to the sixth round. The Orioles signed him at the deadline for $1.525 million.

Scouting Report: While he signed too late for a minor league assignment, Delmonico did go to instructional league and impressed Baltimore with his pure lefthanded swing. He doesn't have great bat speed but has such a good feel for hitting that he'll learn which pitches he can attack and should have better than average power. While some scouts think he has the tools to move behind the plate, as his brother did as a pro, Delmonico has no interest in catching and will play an infield corner. He has plenty of arm for third base, but the question will be his range. He's a below-average runner.

The Future: The Orioles may challenge Delmonico with a low Class A assignment to open his pro career, though they believe he may struggle there at first. But they like his makeup and think he'll develop into an impact bat.

Did Not Play

7. Ryan Flaherty, inf/of Born: Jul 27, 1986 B-T: L-R Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 220
Drafted: Vanderbilt, 2008 (1st round supplemental).  Signed by: Antonio Grissom (Cubs)
Ryan FlahertyBackground: Flaherty batted cleanup behind Pedro Alvarez at Vanderbilt before going 39 picks after him in the 2008 draft, signing with the Cubs for $1.5 million as a supplemental first-rounder. His father Ed has won two NCAA Division III College World Series as the head coach at Southern Maine. The Orioles plucked Flaherty in the major league Rule 5 draft in December.

Scouting Report: Flaherty's bat speed, strength and the loft in his swing all work in his favor. He does a nice job of working counts to get pitches he can hammer, and he has the ability to drive the ball to all fields. He will strike out, though not excessively for someone with his pop. Flaherty has wasted much of his pro career manning the middle infield, where he lacks the requisite range and athleticism, and is better suited for third base. He hasn't gotten enough time to work out his kinks there, with 25 errors in 102 pro games. He has enough arm for the position and could become an adequate defender. He also played left and right field last season, and he did OK despite well below-average speed.

The Future: Flaherty will compete with Robert Andino and Chris Davis for the third-base job in Baltimore. Even if he loses out, he still should get at-bats as a corner reserve.

'08 Boise (SS) 219 39 65 19 2 8 26 24 51 4 2 .297 .369 .511
'09 Peoria (LoA) 485 81 134 24 5 20 81 50 98 7 6 .276 .344 .470
'10 Tennessee (AA) 71 10 13 2 0 1 9 10 12 1 0 .183 .286 .254
'10 Daytona (HiA) 420 65 120 34 3 9 63 41 74 6 3 .286 .348 .445
'11 Tennessee (AA) 302 52 92 20 2 14 66 40 55 4 6 .305 .384 .523
'11 Iowa (AAA) 173 22 41 11 1 5 22 10 44 1 0 .237 .277 .399
Minor League Totals 1670 269 465 110 13 57 267 175 334 23 17 .278 .346 .462

8. Jason Esposito, 3b Born: Jul 19, 1990 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 185
Drafted: Vanderbilt, 2011 (2nd round).  Signed by: Adrian Dorsey.
Jason EspositoBackground: A seventh-round pick of the Royals coming out of a Connecticut high school in 2008, Esposito turned down a reported seven-figure offer to attend Vanderbilt. He was the Commodores' third baseman from the day he set foot on campus, starting all 196 games of his college career. The Orioles took him with the 64th overall pick last June and signed him for $600,000.

Scouting Report: Esposito is a prototype third baseman defensively, with good actions and soft hands. He has the range to play shortstop at times, and he has plenty of arm for the hot corner, having worked as a pitcher in high school and touching 90 mph. Esposito's bat improved as his college career went along and he slugged .530 last year despite the less-lively metal bats, but there are questions about how he'll fare against pro pitching. He struggled against velocity at times in college and has more power to the gaps than over the fence. He stole 66 bases in three college seasons, though he's just an average runner who relies more on instincts than speed.

The Future: Interestingly, Esposito was compared to fellow Northeast prep product and Vanderbilt star Ryan Flaherty coming out of high school and now both are in the organization. Baltimore hopes Esposito will hit enough to be an everyday third baseman and may challenge him by sending him to high Class A for his pro debut.

Did Not Play

9. Xavier Avery, of Born: Jan 01, 1990 B-T: L-L Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 180
Drafted: Cedar Grove HS, Ellenwood, Ga., 2008 (2nd round).  Signed by: Dave Jennings.
Xavier AveryBackground: Baltimore signed Avery away from a Georgia football scholarship for $900,000 after drafting him in 2008's second round. He earned a promotion to Double-A at age 20 in 2010, but he didn't build on that success in his return to Bowie last season. He did play better in the Arizona Fall League, batting .288/.378/.414.

Scouting Report: Avery's tools stand out in an organization short on premium athletes. He shows bat speed and strong hands at the plate, and he's an above-average runner who has become a good defender in center field. He has improved his bunting to make better use of his speed and continues to work on hitting the ball on the ground. The key to Avery's success will be whether he can develop a better approach at the plate. His swing mechanics are sound, but he doesn't recognize pitches well. As a result, he's often slow to get his swing started, leading not only to strikeouts but also to fewer solid hits and more weak contact. For all his athleticism, he has below-average power and arm strength.

The Future: Avery has a tremendous work ethic, making the Orioles think he can develop into a leadoff hitter. It will all come down to his approach, which he'll try to refine when he goes back to Bowie to begin 2012.

'08 Orioles (R) 175 27 49 8 1 0 7 10 51 13 3 .280 .333 .337
'09 Delmarva (LoA) 473 55 124 15 8 2 36 27 111 30 10 .262 .306 .340
'10 Frederick (HiA) 447 73 125 25 6 4 48 42 96 28 14 .280 .349 .389
'10 Bowie (AA) 107 10 25 6 0 3 18 7 34 10 0 .234 .288 .374
'11 Bowie (AA) 557 72 144 31 2 4 26 49 156 36 14 .259 .324 .343
Minor League Totals 1759 237 467 85 17 13 135 135 448 117 41 .265 .324 .355

10. Dan Klein, rhp Born: Jul 27, 1988 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 190
Drafted: UCLA, 2010 (3rd round).  Signed by: Mark Ralston.
Dan KleinBackground: A standout quarterback in high school who became the closer for UCLA's College World Series runner-up team in 2010, Klein was on the fast track. He reached Double-A by the middle of his first full season, but he didn't pitch after May 1 and had shoulder surgery in August. Dr. Lewis Yocum repaired a small tear in his labrum and loosened his shoulder capsule from a previous operation that knocked Klein out for the 2009 season.

Scouting Report: When healthy, Klein throws his fastball at 91-93 mph with good life. His solid changeup is the finest among Orioles farmhands, and his curveball ranks as one of the system's best as well. He also throws a slider. His easy delivery allows him to command his pitches and theoretically should lend itself to durability. Klein has enough stuff to start, but Baltimore already had shelved a plan to have him work as a starter before he had his second shoulder operation in three years.

The Future: Klein is already 23, but the good news is that his recent surgery went well and the Orioles think he'll actually come back stronger because he'll have better range of motion in his arm. He's expected to return to the mound in June, and if he's healthy he won't spend much more time in the minors.

'10 Aberdeen (SS) 1 0 0.00 5 0 1 6 1 0 0 0 1 10 .050
'11 Frederick (HiA) 0 1 1.15 7 0 0 16 9 2 2 2 3 21 .161
'11 Bowie (AA) 3 0 1.08 9 0 0 17 14 3 2 0 3 16 .219
Minor League Totals 4 1 0.92 21 0 1 39 24 24 4 2 7 47 .170