As promised, today we begin our updated top 25 prospects for Baltimore, post-2012 draft signings. We'll tackle 1 through 10 today, 11 through 20 tomorrow, and 21 through 25 plus five more names to know on Friday. Over the weekend, we'll compare the completed list to our Shadow System.
For now, here's the list with quick notes on each player (all ages as of 7/15/2012):
1. Dylan Bundy (rhp, Class A-Adv. Frederick) / Age: 19y8m / Prev. Rank: 1
Not the generational talent portrayed on fan sites (and even some mainstream media sites) during his breeze through Class A Delmarva, but certainly among the best arms in the minors. He has all the makings of a front-end starter, save for traditional size. Class A-Adv. Frederick appears to be a solid fit for the uber-talented Bundy, putting him in line for an opening series start for the Birds in 2014, and perhaps a debut some time next summer.
2. Manny Machado (ss, Double-A Bowie) / Age: 20y0m / Prev. Rank: 2
Like Bundy, the hype outdistanced Machado's OFP (overall future potential -- scouting scale) early in his career, but the young phenom is gradually refining into a future impact player on the left side of the infield. His retention of agility as he adds strength has been a bonus, and the next twelve months will help determine where on the diamond he breaks in with Baltimore (likely at some point in 2013).
3. Kevin Gausman (rhp, unassigned) / Age: 21y6m / Prev. Rank: N/A
Baltimore's first round selection in the 2012 draft (fourth overall selection) has an impact arsenal and has shown a proclivity for absorbing instruction over the past two years at LSU. His progression is unlikely to be linear, but the finished product could be a legit #1 or #2 starter. He should have limited pro exposure this summer, and will likely start 2013 with Class A-Adv. Frederick.
4. Jonathan Schoop (2b, Double-A Bowie) / Age: 20y9m / Prev. Rank: 3
Last November we noted that the distance between Schoop and Machado is smaller than the distance between Bundy and Machado. While Machado's defense has surpassed our expectations, we stand by the statement...for now. Schoop has the chance to round into an above-average offensive-minded second baseman and, like Machado, could make his first appearance with the O's as early as next year.
5. L.J. Hoes (of, Triple-A Norfolk) / Age: 22y4m / Prev. Rank: 5
Hoes was a top 10 Orioles prospect for the Depot after being drafted, and while we were met with some raised eyebrows then our faith in his bat seems to have been well placed. Hoes has fringy coverage for a center fielder -- particularly in a park like OPACY, and most likely fits in as a left fielder at the Major League level. He profiles as a solid regular and a fringe-starter on a tier one team. While the ceiling is limited, the probability is high.
6. Nicky Delmonico (1b, Class A Delmarva) / Age: 20y0m / Prev. Rank: 6
Delmonico very much remains the player he was when drafted -- high power potential, some aptitude with the hit tool, solid athleticism at the corner, and probably not quite enough arm to play clean across the diamond. If limited to first base, the former Tennessee prep star will need to continue to hone his plate coverage and discipline so as to allow the raw power in his stick to manifest. He is still a long ways off, but there is some upside here.
7. Xavier Avery (of, Triple-A Norfolk) / Age: 22y7m / Prev. Rank: 11
Avery took a very nice step forward this year, offensively, showing a more disciplined approach at the plate that appears to be a product of a little more comfort and a tighter swing plane allowing the ball to travel a little deeper. He can still take less-than-optimal routes in the outfield, but has the footspeed to cover lots and lots of grass. The hit tool is still a question, but if he can continue to grow the delta between batting average and on-base percentage, he could develop into an every day player. Currently, he still projects as a fourth outfielder, but the flop risk seems to have dissipated.
8. Branden Kline (rhp, complex ball) / Age: 20y10m / Prev. Rank: N/A
Kline is a tough player to project, given we aren't quite sure what Baltimore has in store for him. Public statements from the front office indicate that he is to be made a starter, which obviously lengthens his developmental curve. It will be interesting to see how the Peterson program is implemented with regards to Kline, who currently sports the standard "UVA-crouch" delivery. As a starter, Kline could be a mid-rotation arm if things break right. Out of the pen he has the raw stuff and fortitude to handle late-inning work.
9. Torsten Boss (of, Class A-SS Aberdeen) / Age: 22y7m / Prev. Rank: N/A
Boss was announced as a third baseman on draft day -- we were dubious. Thus far in Aberdeen he has been roaming the outfield, which is a much better fit for the former Spartan. He profiles as a pinch hit/fourth outfield type that will hit will a little bit of pop and provide positive value on the basepaths, more due to ability than pure speed (which is average). He was potentially the biggest bargain landed by Baltimore in the 2013 draft class.
10. Bobby Bundy (rhp, Double-A Bowie) / Age: 22y6m / Prev. Rank: 4
Bundy's ranking as the #4 prospect in the system last November said a little more about the questions surrounding the other O's prospects than it did about Bundy's OFP. Still, the elder Bundy is owner of a solid average arsenal that includes a heavy, groundball-inducing fastball, as well as a big innings-eater body. His 2012 got off to a rough start, but each month has seen positive movement in FIP and he remains a solid probability guy that could land in the back of a rotation or provide middle-work in the pen.
Midseason update: Top 25 Orioles Prospect Links
1 - 10 / 11 - 20 / 21 - 25 / vs The Depot