BA Newsletter: Subscribe Today!
Use the options to filter your search.
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 secondteam 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. Tick off everything scouts want in an ace, and Bundy has it. Fastball? He pitches at 94-98 mph and touches 100 with his fourseamer, 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. 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.
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. 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 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.
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. 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 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.
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. 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 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.
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. 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. 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.
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. Delmonico went 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 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. Interestingly, Esposito was compared to fellow Northeast prep product and Vanderbilt star Ryan Flaherty coming out of high school. 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.
Baltimore signed Avery away from a Georgia football scholarship for $900,000 in 2008. 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. 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. 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.
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 and 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. 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 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. 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.
When Wright heard his sister scream, he knew he was an Oriole. Both were following the 2011 draft at home on their computers, and her connection was faster so she saw first that Baltimore took him in the third round. He signed quickly for slot money, $363,300, and pitched 46 innings at three minor league stops. He also worked 100 innings during the spring at East Carolina, but injured his foot stepping on a bottle cap and didn't pitch in instructional league. Wright is a sinker/slider pitcher, usually working in the low 90s and touching 96 mph with his two-seam fastball, and he keeps the ball down and generates a lot of groundouts. His slider is a solid pitch and has more upside than his changeup, though his changeup is more consistent right now. He's a strike-thrower who will sharpen his command as he moves up, as he already has learned that pro hitters will punish mistakes in the zone. Wright has the look of a mid-rotation starter, as he's competitive on the mound and has a 6-foot-5 frame that could carry a few more pounds of muscle. After getting his feet wet last summer, he'll probably open his first full season in low Class A.
A Texas prep product, Schrader started his college career as a two-way player at Texas- San Antonio in 2009. He transferred to juco power San Jacinto (Texas) in 2010 and led the Gators to a runnerup finish in the Junior College World Series as a closer, posting 12 saves and a 2.61 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 31 innings. The Orioles signed him away from an Oklahoma commitment for $300,000. Schrader posted dominant numbers in two Class A stops in 2011, but he was shut down in August with tendinitis and tenderness in his forearm. He has an aggressive mentality and two potential plus pitches in his fastball, which ranges from 91-94 mph, and his curveball with good bite. He also throws a sinker and slider. Schrader has some effort in his delivery and throws across his body and lands on a stiff front leg, which creates deception but also raises injury concerns. He has a knack for missing bats, but club officials worry that his command issues will come back to bite him at higher levels. He also needs to develop an overall better feel for his pitches. Schrader will return to high Class A to being 2012 and could move quickly if he sharpens his command. He profiles best as a set-up man.
Mahoney put himself on the Orioles' radar in 2010, earning organization minor league player of the year honors and reaching Double-A after getting himself in better shape. He couldn't build on that success in 2011, in part because a strained quadriceps limited him to 323 at-bats. He did make up for some of that lost time in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit. 325/.360/.542. Mahoney offers offensive upside, with the ability to make contact as well as drive the ball. He needs to be more consistent at the plate, as his swing can get long at times because of mechanical flaws that cause his back side to break down and get him off balance. He's an average defender at first base, but he needs to show more consistency there. He's an average runner when healthy, but leg problems have meant he hasn't gotten much of a look in left field. His arm would play fine there. Mahoney looks like a solid bat, though he'll need to be more than that to find an everyday role as a corner player. Baltimore wants to push him to Triple-A Norfolk to see if he's ready to take another step forward with his bat.
Baker is the grandson of Jerry Mays, who played in two Super Bowls and was an all- American Football League player as an offensive and defensive lineman. He came to the Orioles in the deadline trade of Derrek Lee to the Pirates last July, bringing a tool the system is woefully short on: power. Scouts grade Baker's power as at least plus, and some give it 70 grades on the 20-80 scale. His swing is about strength more than bat speed, but he has a good idea of the strike zone and is willing to take a walk. His strikeouts are certainly tolerable if he produces homers as expected. Baker was a catcher in high school and at times in college, but he has moved to first base as a pro and gotten bigger. He played at 240-245 pounds last summer and has said he wants to get back to 220-225 in 2012. He should be an adequate first baseman with a solid glove but little range. His arm is fine and he's a well below-average runner. Baker didn't perform well in his limited time at Double-A at the end of last season, so he'll probably return there to open 2012.
Berry put himself on the fast track in his pro debut in 2010, jumping to high Class A and getting in 117 innings after shoulder problems had dented his draft stock at Rice in 2009. He fell from a possible first-round pick to the ninth round, where he signed for $417,600. His shoulder started bothering him again in spring training last year, and doctors discovered that he had a cyst in a muscle around his shoulder. Berry tried to pitch through the pain and developed tendinitis, so he had surgery to remove the cyst and then spent the first half of 2011 rehabbing. He made it back to Frederick by season's end and impressed the Orioles with the way he closed the year. Berry's fastball returned to its previous 88-92 mph levels and he was working on getting back the life and command that allows him to succeed despite average velocity. He was fine-tuning his mechanics to help him keep the ball down in the zone. He also throws an effective knuckle-curve, a slurvy breaking ball and an average changeup. Berry was fully healthy at the end of 2011 and Baltimore doesn't foresee any long-term problems after the removal of the cyst. He'll probably open 2012 in Double-A, with the chance for a major league look later in the year.
Angle made his major league debut with two games last July, then returned to Baltimore at the end of August, making appearances at all three outfield positions and earning praise from manager Buck Showalter for his savvy and reliability. Angle's greatest value lies in his defensive versatility, as he's an above-average outfielder with a strong, accurate arm. He has the speed, arm and acumen to play all three outfield positions well. In that way he's similar to Trent Mummey, though Angle is probably more trustworthy with making the routine plays. At the plate, he puts the ball in play and makes use of his plus speed. He's a good basestealer thanks to his quickness and instincts. Angle offers no real power, and not enough overall impact in his bat to profile as an everyday player. But he has the perfect skill set to serve as an extra outfielder, and he'll try to win one of those jobs on the major league roster in spring training. If not, he'll play center field in Triple-A and wait for his opportunity.
Bundy may wind up being known as Dylan's brother, but he showed last season that he's a legitimate prospect in his own right. While his younger brother--the Orioles' 2011 first-round pick and already their top prospect--has the stuff to be a star, Bobby profiles as more of a middle-of-the-rotation starter. He was a high school star in his own right in Oklahoma but fell to the eighth round of the 2008 draft after injuring his knee playing basketball. He earned his first Double-A action late last season after the best extended run of his career in high Class A. Bundy has an 88-93 mph fastball with some sink and commands it well. He throws both a slider and curveball, though neither is even average at this point, which led to problems at Bowie. The slider has more potential, but he needs to stay on top of it and locate it better. The same goes for his changeup, which is too inconsistent to be effective. He'll need to develop a better feel for his complementary pitches to find success at higher levels. Bundy earns high marks for his makeup and competitiveness. Baltimore will send him back to Double-A in 2012, hoping he can put the lessons learned there last year to good use.
Simon was a starter for most of his three years at Arizona, and he earned all-Pacific-10 Conference honors in 2011 by going 11-3, 2.72. The Orioles took him in the fourth round and signed him quickly for a slot bonus of $231,300. That allowed him to start his pro career right away, though Baltimore used him very cautiously after he worked 129 innings in the spring. He pitched in relief at Aberdeen and Delmarva, usually working one-inning stints. Simon is big but not overpowering, succeeding more with heavy sink and a good feel for pitching. He has a low three-quarters delivery that gives him deception and good movement. His fastball operates in the high 80s and touches 93 mph. His slider moves but he needs to tighten its break and his command of it. Simon also has an 84-87 mph cut fastball as well as a changeup. He should be an innings-eating starter, and he'll go back to low Class A to begin his first full pro season.
While not exactly a hotbed, CC of Baltimore County-Catonsville has proven to be an interesting source of talent for the Orioles, with five players drafted and signed since 2002. The most notable is righthander Chorye Spoone, who reached Triple-A last season before signing with the Red Sox as a minor league free agent. Catonsville's best prospect in the long run may be one who wasn't drafted all. Orioles scouts followed Davis leading up to the 2010 draft but decided not to select him. They wanted to follow him all summer, not worry about the signing deadline and refrain from alerting other teams in case he returned to junior college. Baltimore signed Davis for $120,000 after he played well for the Youse's Orioles squad that serves as a scout team for the organization. Davis has a live body and wiry strength, and his top-of-the-scale speed makes him the fastest runner in the system. He also has a slightly above-average arm and should become a plus defender in center field as he learns the position after playing shortstop as an amateur. He has a good swing but is refining his approach at the plate. While he may develop some power as he matures, it never will be a focal point of his game. Optimists see him as a possible leadoff or No. 2 hitter, while others see him at the bottom of the order, though it's really too early to tell. Glynn focused on hitting, bunting and basestealing in instructional league, where he was one of the Orioles' top performers. He'll move up to low Class A in 2012.
Berry established himself as a prep standout in the San Diego area, throwing a 17- strikeout no-hitter early in his senior season in 2009. He dropped off the scouting radar when he injured his elbow shortly thereafter, though, and most teams thought he was headed to college at Oregon. The Orioles took a flier in the 50th round and signed him for $125,000, even though they knew he would need Tommy John surgery. He didn't make his pro debut until 2010, when he threw just 20 innings, but got in a full 26 starts last year. Berry pitches at 88-92 mph with his fastball and has the potential to boost his velocity as he adds strength to his frame. His curveball could be a plus pitch with good bite, and he has nice deception on his changeup. He'll need to tighten his curve and improve the consistency and command of all his pitches. He mixed good starts with horrendous ones last season. That's why the Orioles focused on the process and not the results, recognizing his upside. He may go back to low Class A to get 2012 off to a positive start, but he'll move up pretty quickly and could make a big leap forward this season.
Calvin Maduro, who was signed out of Aruba by the Orioles in 1991 and pitched in the big leagues with them and the Phillies, has gone from playing to scouting for the organization in the Caribbean. His first significant prospect could be Lino, who impressed observers with his skills behind the plate during his U.S. debut in 2011. He's solidly built for a teenager and has a well above-average arm. He also shows a promising ability to work with pitchers. He's still unrefined defensively, committing five errors and four passed balls in just 26 games last year while throwing out 28 percent of basestealers. But the raw material is there. As a hitter, Lino offers promising power potential and a nice approach for a teenager. He has the demonstrated the ability to make two-strike adjustments and to take the ball the other way, as well as laying off pitchers' pitches. Like most catchers he won't offer much in the way of speed, especially once he fills out his 6-foot-3 frame. Lino will get a chance to prove himself in full-season ball this year, advancing to low Class A.
The Orioles scout Curacao as hard as any organization, with Jonathan Schoop as the most promising result of those efforts currently in the system. Bernadina, who signed for $35,000, soon could join him. He's the younger brother of Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina, who has played parts of the last four seasons in the major leagues. Roger needed six years to get there after he first signed, and Roderick could require similar patience. He has right-field tools, starting with impressive bat speed and raw power. He can crush fastballs and covers the plate well, possessing decent strike-zone judgment. He's willing to use the opposite field or take a walk, though he just as often swings out of his shoes or has trouble making contact against offspeed stuff. He has average speed and arm strength, which should make him a solid defender in right. Baltimore still isn't quite sure what it has in Bernadina, who's learning the nuances of outfield defense and baserunning. If he refines his swing and his approach, he could become an everyday right fielder in the big leagues.
Adams didn't put together a great season in 2011, but he did make his major league debut and played through what he thought was a groin injury all year. Treatment didn't work and the pain got worse as the season went on until doctors discovered in September that he had a sports hernia. He had surgery to repair it and should be healthy for spring training. When healthy, Adams showed the Orioles what he always has shown them: a productive hitter who struggles to find a place to play defensively. He has a knack for making solid contact with some pop, though his swing can get long and he strikes out too much for his profile as an offensive second baseman. Despite his hard work, Adams still struggles to make the routine play at second, which managers simply won't tolerate and explains why he played sparingly in the big leagues. Adams doesn't have enough power for first base or left field, and he doesn't fit well as a utilityman because he can't play shortstop. He's passable at third base. His arm is average but he has below-average speed. Adams continues to work on his defense, and unless he wins a job out of spring training he'll go back to Triple-A and again try to hit enough for Baltimore to find a place for his bat.
Townsend continues to impress the Orioles with his performance, but at the same time he creates frustration because he has struggled to stay on the field. He has been bothered by hamstring problems in each of his two full pro seasons, and he missed more than a month in high Class A last year. He tried to return at the end of 2011 but went back on the disabled list before Frederick's run to the Carolina League title. Townsend has some of the system's best power, generating it with a smooth, lefthanded swing that allows him to hit for average as well as put the ball over the fence. He played mostly in the outfield in college, but works better at first base because he's a below-average runner with an average arm. He'll be average defensively, though he needs more repetitions to refine his skills. Baltimore worked with Townsend on his offseason conditioning to make sure his hamstring issues are resolved once and for all. He'll compete with Aaron Baker for the first-base job in Double-A, and the loser might head back to high Class A unless Townsend gives the outfield another try.
The Orioles acquired Waring with Ryan Freel and Justin Turner in a December 2008 trade that sent Ramon Hernandez to the Reds. Waring has some of the best power in the system and has hit 70 homers in three seasons since the deal, yet never has been able to earn a long look for advancement. The Carolina League MVP in 2009, he ended that season and spent all of the next two in Double-A. Waring's bat has stagnated. He made an adjustment in his swing last season, moving his hands down to free them up more, and it helped for a while. He cut down on his strikeouts but he finished the year batting a career-low .222. He may never hit for average because he's too aggressive, but Waring is a confident hitter with a balanced approach and legitimate power to all fields. He has improved his defense to the point that some scouts now rate him as an average defender at third base. He has the hands and arm strength to make the routine plays. He also has played a good bit at first base and can handle left field in a pinch, though he's a below-average runner. He has been blocked by such players as Josh Bell and Brandon Snyder, but they've failed at the big league level, so maybe Waring will get a look in 2012.
Teams are hesitant to draft players from the service academies because no matter their talent, their military commitments usually put them too far behind to succeed in pro baseball. Drake posted a 3.48 ERA at Navy in 2007-08, and most teams didn't realize he was a draft-eligible sophomore who wouldn't have to fulfill his military commitment if he didn't return for his junior year. The Orioles knew him from the Youse's Orioles squad in the Cal Ripken Collegiate League that serves as a scout team for the organization and took him in the 43rd round in 2008. After he compiled a 1.00 ERA that summer, they signed him for $100,000. He moved slowly through the farm system until last year, when he fashioned a 27-inning scoreless streak in high Class A to earn a promotion to Double-A (and an emergency appearance in Triple-A). Drake features a sinking fastball that ranges from 89-95 mph and usually sits in the low 90s. While he has an average changeup, he'll have to improve his curveball to succeed at higher levels. He does mix his pitches well and has good control, though he'll also need to sharpen his command. Drake was added to the 40-man roster in November, and he'll start 2012 back in Bowie. If he gets his breaking ball figured out, he'll profile as an innings-eating starter.
The Orioles were looking for Mummey to get on the fast track in his first full pro season in 2011, but an outfield wall slowed him down. Promoted to high Class A after he got off to a hot start, he slammed into the fence while diving for a ball and sustained a concussion on May 4. That kept him out for a month, and he had been back for just a week when he injured his right hamstring, which kept him out for the rest of the season. Mummey draws comparisons to Nate McLouth as an undersized guy who will squeeze every ounce out of his ability. As his outfield collision showed, he goes all out all the time. His best tool is his aboveaverage speed, and he also has the instincts to steal bases. With his quickness and strong arm, he has the ability to play all three outfield positions. Mummey is quick to the ball and has a simple swing. He goes to the plate with a plan and has a good feel for the strike zone. He doesn't offer much power, so he'll have to maximize his speed and on-base ability to establish an everyday role. Otherwise he profiles as a useful fourth outfielder. After losing development time last year, Mummey probably will go back to Frederick to open 2012.
The Orioles got Pelzer from the Padres in a July 2010 deadline trade for Miguel Tejada, a deal that has done little for either side. Pelzer has floundered as a starter and reliever the last two years, and Baltimore declined to protect him on its 40-man roster for the second straight offseason. Pelzer has a good sinker/slider combination, which theoretically would make him at least a useful reliever. His fastball ranges from 87-93 mph and has been clocked as high as 97 in the past. His slider has shown flashes of becoming a plus pitch, though both offerings have slipped a little since the trade. His control has regressed, too. Pelzer never has had a consistently reliable curveball or changeup, so his future probably will be as a reliever. He had a 2.81 ERA in that role last season, compared to 5.09 as a starter. Perhaps Baltimore's new leadership will give Pelzer a longer look, though he'll probably have to sustain some Triple-A success before earning a big league shot.
It has been a long, slow climb for Hudson--and by no means is his development complete--but he reached a significant milestone when he made his big league debut last September. Hudson opened 2011 with his third stint in high Class A but played well enough to earn three promotions. Most significant, he was added to the 40-man roster, a tangible signal that the Orioles see something in him. Hudson is a premium athlete, a four-sport standout as an Illinois high schooler who went on to play three years as a wide receiver on the University of Illinois football team. As his football playing time diminished, he turned his focus to the diamond, where he first drew notice with his blazing speed. Hudson still is refining his baseball skills, in particular his swing and his instincts on the basepaths and in the outfield. He made huge strides with the bat last season, hitting for average at all three of his stops, but questions remain about whether his stroke will play in the big leagues. He offers no power and realizes that his job is to get on base. He has improved his baserunning but still gets caught stealing more often than someone with his speed should. Despite his wheels, Hudson isn't quite as good defensively as Matt Angle and has seen more time in left field than in his center. He does cover a lot of ground but has a fringy arm. Hudson's bat probably limits him to a reserve outfield role in the majors.
Former president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail wasn't able to turn around the major league club, but he did at least try to make Baltimore more active in the international market. The Orioles still remain among the game's lowest spenders internationally, unwilling to shell out big bonuses, so the signing of Rodriguez for $175,000 before the 2010 season qualified as a big splash for them. He pitched well in his pro debut in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League, then built on that last year with a 1.81 ERA that would have ranked second in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League had he not just missed qualifying. Rodriguez is a command-and-feel lefty, usually pitching in the high 80s and occasionally dialing his fastball up to 93 mph. His fastball has good life and sink. He has a slurvy breaking ball and an average changeup that needs to get more consistent. While Rodriguez has some polish, he's still working out the kinks in his complementary pitches and polishing his command, so his GCL stardom was a surprise to Baltimore. He earned a shot at the Delmarva rotation in 2012 and profiles as a No. 4 or 5 starter.
In order to access this exclusive content you must have a Baseball America Account.
Login or sign up