Baltimore Orioles 2020 Midseason Top 30 Prospects Update
To see every team's Top 30 prospects list, click here.
STATE OF THE SYSTEM
The Orioles have beefed up their system thanks to picking early in three consecutive drafts and are closing in on one of the ten best groups of prospects in the game. The system is led by four Top 100 prospects—Adley Rutschman, Grayson Rodriguez, D.L. Hall and Heston Kjerstad—but the talent thins considerably after those players, especially at the corner-infield spots.
1. Adley Rutschman, C
The No. 5 prospect in baseball quickly rose through two levels in his first taste of the minor leagues in 2019 and boasts an impressive skill set, including one of the best pure hit tools in the minors, plus power from both sides and plus defense behind the plate, making him the face of the franchise’s future.
2. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP
The former Texas prep fireballer breezed through the low Class A South Atlantic League and struck out 12.4 batters per nine innings in his first full professional season by utilizing a mix of four above-average or better offerings, including a high-octane 93-98 mph fastball he locates with ease.
3. D.L. Hall, LHP
Originally expected to make his Double-A debut in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the minor league season, Hall sits 93-96 mph on his fastball and reaches 97 with the potential for the pitch to grade as plus-plus in the future. He pairs it with a plus curveball and changeup and an above-average slider, but will need to improve his control.
4. Heston Kjerstad, OF
Kjerstad had some of the best power from the left side among 2020 draftees to go along with a plus hit tool and produced at a high level on the collegiate scene, leading Team USA’s Collegiate National Team in hitting last summer. His below-average fielding will likely lead him to left field in pro ball, where his bat will help him profile well.
5. Austin Hays, OF
Derailed by injuries over the last two years after posting 32 home runs in his full-season debut in 2017, Hays is a highly aggressive hitter with above-average power and an average hit tool, but he impressed in a September cameo with a 7-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio, four home runs and a .309 average. Hays has a plus arm and solid instincts and range in the outfield and will likely wind up the Orioles’ Opening Day center fielder in 2020.
6. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B
The 2019 International League MVP hit a career-high 25 home runs in 2019 and his bat has played at every level thus far, thanks to a potentially plus hit tool and above-average power, but his lack of a defensive position limits his upside and has caused him to move from shortstop to third base to first base and left field in 2019. A late addition to the Orioles’ 60-man player pool, Mountcastle should make his major league debut in 2020.
7. Yusniel Diaz, OF
The centerpiece of the Manny Machado trade from the Dodgers, Diaz has plenty of tools and impressed in 2019 spring training, but struggled to stay on the field last season and played just 76 games. With an above-average hit tool and the potential for 20-home run power, Diaz should fit in right field, where his plus arm will play well, but he will need to consistently produce in games first.
8. Gunnar Henderson, SS
The Orioles were impressed enough with Henderson’s potential that they signed him for an overslot $2.3 million with the first pick of the second round in 2019. Henderson has the tools to become an above-average hitter—bat speed, swing control and potentially plus raw power—and has a plus arm and the defensive actions to play shortstop or move to third base if he outgrows short, and was slated to start the season at low Class A Delmarva before the coronavirus pandemic canceled the minor league season.
9. Hunter Harvey, RHP
Once considered a potential front-of-the-rotation starter, Harvey has adjusted well to a late-inning reliever role, where his fastball sits 97-99 mph and touched 100 and his above-average splitter and curveball played well. Harvey struck out 11 batters in 6.1 innings in the majors last season and could become the Orioles’ closer as early as this season.
10. Jordan Westburg, SS
Drafted in the supplemental first round out of Mississippi State, Westburg is an impressive athlete with plus power and plus speed who produced in college and on the Cape, but he could end up as a fringe-average hitter due to strikeout concerns. Westburg is not an elite defender at shortstop but is quick and athletic with a strong arm, although he might be a better long-term fit at second or third base.
11. Keegan Akin, LHP
12. Michael Baumann, RHP
13. Dean Kremer, RHP
14. Zac Lowther, LHP
15. Adam Hall, SS/2B
16. Alex Wells, LHP
17. Drew Rom, LHP
18. Coby Mayo, 3B
19. Bruce Zimmermann, LHP
20. Anthony Servideo, SS
21. Ryan McKenna, OF
22. Kyle Stowers, OF
23. Hudson Haskin, OF
24. Zach Watson, OF
25. Cody Sedlock, RHP
26. Gray Fenter, RHP
27. Blaine Knight, RHP
28. Brenan Hanifee, RHP
29. Cadyn Grenier, SS
30. Darell Hernaiz, SS
Fifteen of the club’s Top 30 prospects are pitchers, led by Top 100 prospects RHP Grayson Rodriguez and LHP D.L. Hall. Overall, the team has nine righthanders and six lefthanders among the group.
The Orioles have just one Top 30 prospect at first base (No. 6, Ryan Mountcastle) and one at third base (No. 18, Coby Mayo), and the lack of long-term solutions in the big leagues make finding corner infielders paramount for the future.
PLAYER POOL TIDBITS
OF Austin Hays (No. 5) and RHP Hunter Harvey (No. 9) were the only two prospects who originally made the team’s 60-man player pool, but the Orioles later added top prospect C Adley Rutschman, LHP D.L. Hall (No. 3), 1B Ryan Mountcastle (No. 6), LHP Keegan Akin (No. 11), RHP Michael Baumann (No. 12) and RHP Dean Kremer (No. 13).
RHP Hunter Harvey will miss the start of the regular season with arm fatigue.