2012 Baltimore Orioles Top 10 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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1. Dylan Bundy, rhp
2. Manny Machado, ss
3. Jon Schoop, inf
4. Parker Bridwell, rhp
5. L.J. Hoes, of/2b
6. Nicky Delmonico, 3b/1b
7. Ryan Flaherty, inf/of
8. Jason Esposito, 3b
9. Xavier Avery, of
10. Dan Klein, rhp
Best Hitter for Average Manny Machado
Best Power Hitter Aaron Baker
Best Strike Zone Discipline Ty Kelly
Fastest Baserunner Glynn Davis
Best Athlete Xavier Avery
Best Fastball Dylan Bundy
Best Curveball Dylan Bundy
Best Slider Mike Wright
Best Changup Dan Klein
Best Control Oliver Drake
Best Defensive Catcher Caleb Joseph
Best Defensive Infielder Manny Machado
Best Infield Arm Billy Rowell
Best Defensive OF Matt Angle
Best Outfield Arm Matt Angle
Catcher Matt Wieters
First Base Nicky Delmonico
Second Base Jonathan Schoop
Third Base J.J. Hardy
Shortstop Manny Machado
Left Field L.J. Hoes
Center Field Adam Jones
Right Field Nick Markakis
Designated Hitter Ryan Flaherty
No. 1 Starter Dylan Bundy
No. 2 Starter Zack Britton
No. 3 Starter Jake Arrieta
No. 4 Starter Brian Matusz
No. 5 Starter Jeremy Guthrie
Closer Dan Klein
Year Player, Pos 2011 Org
2002 Richard Stahl, lhp
Out of baseball
2003 Erik Bedard, lhp Pirates
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
2011 Manny Machado, ss Orioles
Year Player, Pos 2011 Org
2003 Adam Loewen, lhp
Blue Jays
2003 Nick Markakis, OF Orioles
2004 *Wade Townsend, RHP Out of baseball
2005 Brandon Snyder, C Orioles
2006 Billy Rowell, 3B Orioles
2007 Matt Wieters, C Orioles
2008 Brian Matusz, LHP Orioles
2009 Matt Hobgood, RHP Orioles
2010 Manny Machado, SS Orioles
2011 Dylan Bundy, RHP Orioles
Matt Wieters, 2007 $6,000,000
Manny Machado, 2010 $5,250,000
Dylan Bundy, 2011 $4,000,000
Adam Loewen, 2002 $3,200,000
Brian Matusz, 2008 $3,200,000
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Baltimore Orioles

AAnd 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.

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