Baltimore Orioles Top 10 Prospects

Baltimore Orioles

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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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1. Manny Machado, ss
2. Zach Britton, lhp
3. Xavier Avery, of
4. L.J. Hoes, 2b
5. Dan Klein, rhp
6. Wynn Pelzer, rhp
7. Mychal Givens, ss
8. Ryan Adams, 2b/3b
9. Ryan Berry, rhp
10. Jonathan Schoop, ss
Best Hitter for Average Manny Machado
Best Power Hitter Brandon Waring
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Brian Conley
Fastest Baserunner Glynn Davis
Best Athlete Xavier Avery
Best Fastball Zach Britton
Best Curveball Dan Klein
Best Slider Zach Britton
Best Changeup Dan Klein
Best Control Ryan Berry
Best Defensive Catcher Caleb Joseph
Best Defensive Infielder Manny Machado
Best Infield Arm Billy Rowell
Best Defensive Outfielder Matt Angle
Best Outfield Arm Matt Angle
Catcher Matt Wieters
First Base Joe Mahoney
Second Base L.J. Hoes
Third Base Josh Bell
Shortstop Manny Machado
Left Field Xavier Avery
Center Field Adam Jones
Right Field Nick Markakis
Designated Hitter Luke Scott
No. 1 Starter Brian Matusz
No. 2 Starter Zach Britton
No. 3 Starter Jake Arrieta
No. 4 Starter Chris Tillman
No. 5 Starter Jeremy Guthrie
Closer Wynn Pelzer
Year Player, Position 2010
2001 Keith Reed, of Out of baseball
2002 Richard Stahl, rhp Out of baseball
2003 Erik Bedard, lhp Mariners
2004 Adam Loewen, lhp Blue Jays
2005 Nick Markakis, of Orioles
2006 Nick Markakis, of Orioles
2007 Billy Rowell, 3b Orioles
2008 Matt Wieters, c Orioles
2009 Matt Wieters, c Orioles
2010 Brian Matusz, lhp Orioles
Year Player, Position 2010
2000 Chris Smith, lhp Out of baseball
2002 Adam Loewen, lhp Blue Jays
2003 Nick Markakis, of Orioles
2004 *Wade Townsend, rhp Laredo (United)
2005 Brandon Snyder, c Orioles
2006 Billy Rowell, 3b Orioles
2007 Matt Wieters, c Orioles
2008 Brian Matusz, rhp Orioles
2009 Matt Hobgood, rhp Orioles
2010 Manny Machado, ss Orioles
Matt Wieters, 2007 $6,000,000
Manny Machado, 2010 $5,250,000
Adam Loewen, 2002 $3,200,000
Brian Matusz, 2008 $3,200,000
Matt Hobgood, 2009 $2,422,000
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Baltimore Orioles

Replacing their manager got all the attention, but the Orioles are making modifications throughout the organization to try to reverse a 13-year run of losing seasons since their last playoff appearance in 1997.

Dumping Dave Trembley became an obvious move after Baltimore got off to a 15-39 start in 2010, and interim replacement Juan Samuel was little better at 17-34. Hiring Buck Showalter at the end of July brought the team instant credibility, however, and he won more games in his two months at the helm, 34, than Trembley and Samuel had in four.

Showalter also got credit for bringing a more professional approach, discipline and confidence to the major league club, and the Orioles' young players responded to the new outlook. Rookie lefthander Brian Matusz, for example, went 3-11, 5.46 before Showalter was hired, then went 7-1, 2.18 the rest of the way.

The changes went deeper than just the manager. Baltimore reassigned farm director David Stockstill at the end of spring training, essentially having him switch jobs with his brother John, who had been director of international scouting. John Stockstill wants to oversee a return to The Oriole Way, the uniform instruction of fundamentals at every level of the system. That philosophy became the foundation of the organization in the 1950s and carried the team through the rest of the century.

The Orioles will have fewer roving minor league instructors, choosing instead to have an extra coach at each level in hopes of bringing greater consistency to the daily instruction players receive. Stockstill himself will focus more directly on personnel than farm directors traditionally do, working with players in the majors as well as the minors in hopes that young big leaguers will continue to develop rather than stagnate.

To that end, Baltimore also will have longtime batting coach Terry Crowley move into a new system-wide hitting evaluation job, working with both major and minor leaguers. Showalter will hire a new hitting coach, and the rest of the major league and minor league staffs could see significant changes as the hiring process continues through the offseason.

The Orioles dropped their longtime affiliation with Bluefield after sending players there for 53 seasons. The organization decided that its resources were spread too thin with seven affiliations and opted to go with one Rookie-level club in the Gulf Coast League instead.

The GCL team will play in new digs in 2011, as a $33 million renovation project nears completion in Sarasota, Fla. Baltimore moved its big league spring-training operation back to Sarasota in 2010, putting their major and minor league complexes in the same city for the first time since 1995. Both facilities are getting complete makeovers, and the team has a 30-year lease to stay in Sarasota for the foreseeable future.

Because of the renovations, the team could not hold a traditional instructional league program in the fall, so it brought 15 of its top position players to Camden Yards for 10 days of focused instruction and other programs, such as dealing with the media and learning Orioles history.

Still, the Orioles face an uphill battle to compete in the American League East. The farm system has thinned out despite the addition of Machado, with numerous graduations in the last couple of seasons as well as an inordinate number of injuries to top prospects in 2010.

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