A year ago, the Orioles farm system was not considered particularly strong. That’s not the case today.
After a 24-game improvement and the rapid ascension of Manny Machado, Baseball America still believes the minor leagues isn’t terribly deep. However, the publication lauds Dan Duquette for making enough moves that prospects don’t have to be rushed.
Baseball America’s top two prospects aren’t a surprise. Right-handed pitchers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman lead the way. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who’s also been playing shortstop at Bowie is third.
Nicky Delmonico, who won the Most Valuable Player Award in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game is fourth. Delmonico, who spent the season at Delmarva, can play first and second.
In fifth place is left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, who is unknown to many fans. The 19-year-old Venezuelan was 5-7 with a 3.70 ERA for Delmarva.
Outfielders L.J. Hoes and Xavier Avery, who’ve both already played for the Orioles are sixth and seventh.
Mike Wright, who was the third round pick in 2011, is eighth. The right-hander was 10-5 with a 4.06 ERA at Frederick and Bowie.
In ninth was Branden Kline, the Orioles’ second-round pick last June from the University of Maryland and Frederick, Md. The right-hander had four brief starts for Aberdeen.
Eighteen-year old shortstop Adrian Marin, the team’s third-round pick, was the 10th highest rated prospect. He quickly signed and batted .287 for Gulf Coast. He also played six games for Aberdeen.
Last year’s top prospects were Bundy, Machado, Schoop, right-hander Parker Bridwell, Hoes, infielder Jason Esposito, Ryan Flaherty, Delmonico, Avery and pitcher Dan Klein.
Bridwell was 5-9 with a 5.98 ERA at Delmarva, Esposito, a second-round pick in 2011, batted just .209 with the Shorebirds and Klein missed the season after shoulder surgery. Flaherty spent most of the season with the Orioles.
-Bill Hall, who had three brief stints with the Orioles, joined Endy Chavez, Dana Eveland, Nick Johnson, Nate McLouth, Ronny Paulino, Joe Saunders, Jim Thome and Randy Wolf in filing for free agency. The Orioles aren’t expected to pursue Hall.