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top 11 prospects


Five-Star Prospects

1. Brian Matusz, LHP
Four-Star Prospects
2. Josh Bell, 3B
3. Jake Arrieta, RHP
4. Zach Britton, LHP
Three-Star Prospects
5. Matt Hobgood, RHP
6. Brandon Erbe, RHP
7. Brandon Synder, 1B
8. Mychal Givens, SS
9. Caleb Joseph, C
Two-Star
Prospects

10. Brandon Waring, 1B/3B
11. Cameron Coffey, RHP


Four More:

12. Steve Johnson, RHP: Along with Bell, Johnson was also acquired from the Dodgers in the George Sherrill deal. The Baltimore native has good velocity, but his secondary pitches come and go. He tends to work high in the strike zone.
13. Kam Mickolio, RHP: Mickolio is a massive righty who dominated at times out of big-league pen, but he was inconsistent and suffered from “dead arm” at the end of the year.
14. Troy Patton, LHP: His comeback from shoulder surgery looked good on paper, but his already marginal velocity took a step backwards, leaving even less of a margin for error.
15. Michael Ohlman, C: The 11th-round pick in June got nearly a $1 million bonus. He has tons of raw power and a big arm, but questions about his pure hitting skill and ability to stay behind the plate remain.


1. Brian Matusz, LHP

DOB: 02/11/87
Height/Weight:6-5/200
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2008, University of San Diego
2009 Stats: 2.66 ERA (66.2-56-21-75) at High-A (11 G); 1.55 ERA (46.1-31-11-46) at Double-A (8 G); 4.63 ERA (44.2-52-14-38) at MLB (8 G)
Last Year’s Ranking: 3


Year in Review:
The 2008 first-round pick began the year in High-A, and he worked his way up to the big leagues after allowing one run or less in seven of eight Double-A outings.

The Good:
Matusz has as much polish as any pitching prospect in the game. He’s a heady, intelligent pitcher who not only throw strikes, but throws good strikes, working both sides of the plate, hitting his locations with ease, and mixing his pitches very effectively to throw off a hitter’s timing. Beyond the guile, his stuff is above average as well, with a 90-92 mph fastball that can get up to 94, two quality breaking balls in a curve and slider, and an outstanding changeup that is a true big-league swing-and-miss offering.

The Bad:
There are really no strong knocks against Matusz. His breaking balls flatten out at times, causing him to rely mainly on a fastball/changeup combination, which got him in trouble in the big leagues. His stuff isn’t elite quality, so his ceiling falls below ace level.
Ephemera: While the University of San Diego boasts a solid college baseball program, Matusz became the first pitcher drafted from the school to earn a big-league win when he allowed one run over five innings against Detroit in his Orioles debut.

Perfect World Projection:
He could be a consistent 15- to 18-game winner and an occasional All-Star.

Path to the Big Leagues:
The Orioles have needed pitching for years, and Matusz is one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle when it comes to their rotation of the future.

Timetable:
Matusz’s minor league apprenticeship is done, and he’ll begin 2010 in the Orioles’ rotation.


2. Josh Bell, 3B

DOB: 11/13/86
Height/Weight: 6-3/235
Bats/Throws: S/R
Drafted/Signed: 4th round, 2005, Santaluces HS (FL) (Los Angeles Dodgers)
2009 Stats: .296/.386/.497 at Double-A (94 G, Dodgers’ organization); .289/.346/.570 at Double-A (33 G; Orioles’ organization)
Last Year’s Ranking: 8 (Dodgers)


Year in Review:
Bell is a toolsy third baseman who was making big progress in the Dodgers’ system; he took an even bigger leap forward following his trade to the Orioles.

The Good:

Bell is a prototypical third baseman with plus power who has shown the ability to hit for average, that despite taking an aggressive hack. His plate discipline is solid, and he’s become more adept at using all fields over the past year. As much as Bell improved at the plate in 2009, he made even larger strides defensively. Once seen as a future first baseman, Bell has made significant improvement in his instincts and footwork at the hot corner, while his arm has always been a plus. In an age where many players focus solely on the batting cage, Bell’s commitment to defense also speaks to his makeup.

The Bad:
While Bell is a switch-hitter, he still struggles against left-handers, as hit he just .193 with one homer against them in 2009. He’s done an excellent job maintaining his condition over the last two years, but it will always be something that needs attention for him to stay at third base. He’s an average runner at best, and he will likely be a tick below average by the time he gets to the big leagues.

Ephemera:
Bell was taken just three picks after Matusz in the fourth round of the 2005 draft, as the Angels selected Matusz out of St. Mary’s high school in Arizona that year.

Perfect World Projection:
Bell could be an above-average everyday third baseman.

Path to the Big Leagues:
The Orioles declined Melvin Mora‘s 2010 option after the season, while the Triple-A Norfolk squad used a cornucopia of minor league vets at the hot corner, none of which really have a future in the organization. In other words, the path is clear.

Timetable:
Bell will get a close look this spring, but the Orioles would like to seem him get some more seasoning at Triple-A first. He’ll likely reach the majors at some point during the season, looking to stake his claim for the everyday job in 2011.


3. Jake Arrieta, RHP

DOB: 03/06/86
Height/Weight: 6-4/225
Bats/Throws:R/R
Drafted/Signed: 5th round, 2007, Texas Christian University
2009 Stats: 2.59 ERA (59.0-45-23-70) at Double-A (11 G); 3.93 ERA (91.2-97-33-78) at Triple-A (17 G)
Last Year’s Ranking: 4


Year in Review:
The power right-hander’s express trip through the minors hit a bit of a bump in the road when he struggled at times during the second half of the year at Triple-A.

The Good:
Arrieta has arguably the best fastball in the system. It sits at 92-96 mph, with a bit of natural boring action, and he tends to throw strikes with it while challenging hitters with relish. He’s a big, physical presence on the mound who maintains his velocity late into games.

The Bad:
Arrieta’s secondary pitches are all works in progress, which leads to an overreliance on his fastball, a habit that had him getting punished at times in the International League. He has a tendency to overthrow and flatten out his slider, while his curveball and change are average at best, and he has trouble commanding anything but his fastball. He works a bit high in the zone, and he can be prone to giving up home runs.

Ephemera:
Arrieta was drafted three times as an amateur, including in the 31st round by the Reds in 2004 out of high school, and in the 26th round a year later by the Brewers out of a Texas junior college.

Perfect World Projection:
Arrieta could be a high-quality mid-rotation innings-eating starter.

Path to the Big Leagues:
While he’s behind Matusz and Chris Tillman on the depth chart, there’s an open path for any talented pitching to Baltimore’s beleaguered big-league staff.

Timetable:
While Matusz and Chris Tillman have likely reached the big leagues for good, Arrieta still has a bit of work to do. He’ll begin 2010 back at Triple-A, but he could be up as early as midseason if he makes the necessary progress.


4. Zach Britton, LHP

DOB: 12/22/87
Height/Weight: 6-2/172
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Signed: 3rd round, 2006, Weatherford HS (TX)
2009 Stats: 2.70 ERA (140.0-123-55-131) at High-A (25 G)
Last Year’s Ranking: Not Ranked


Year in Review:
The unheralded lefty continued to put up big numbers while earning glowing scouting reports.

The Good:
Britton’s sinker is among the best in all of the minor leagues. Sitting at 89-92 mph, it features a powerful dropping action that led to a 3.4-to-one ratio of ground-balls to flies that improved to a remarkable 4.8 ratio in 12 starts after the All-Star break. He can dial the pitch up to 95 mph when he’s willing to sacrifice movement, while he has a solid slider to add a horizontal aspect to his game. He’s long and loose, with clean mechanics and an easy, repeatable delivery.

The Bad:
Britton’s changeup is still a work in progress, and it’s no more than a show-me pitch at this time. He has occasional trouble controlling his pitches, as he likes to work down in the zone, leading the sinker to end up too low. He’ll need to mix his pitches more as he moves up the ladder.

Ephemera:
Weatherford, Texas is known as the Peach Capital of Texas, and is home of the annual Parker County Peach Festival every July. Britton’s ERA in July 2009 was 4.05, his highest single mark during the year. Homesickness? You make the call.

Perfect World Projection:
Britton draws some wide-ranging views from scouts, as there were some who felt he should be three spots higher or lower than this ranking. There are many who think he has true star potential.

Path to the Big Leagues:
By the time he’s ready, the Orioles should already have a solid rotation, so his arrival should coincide with much less pressure on him than what’s being experienced by the current crop of young arms.

Timetable:
Britton will begin 2010 in Double-A, and probably won’t see Baltimore until 2011.


5. Matt Hobgood, RHP

DOB: 08/03/90
Height/Weight:6-4/245
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2009, Norco HS (CA)
2009 Stats: 4.73 ERA (26.2-32-8-16) at Rookie-level (8 G)
Last Year’s Ranking: Not Ranked


Year in Review:
While Hobgood was generally seen as one of the better high school arms in the draft, Baltimore still raised a lot of eyebrows with their selection of him with the fifth overall pick in June.

The Good:
Hobgood is a prototypical power pitcher, with a low-90s fastball with sink than can get up to 96, a power curveball with heavy break, and an impressive changeup for his age. His body is built for eating innings, his command is above average, and he’s an intelligent, humble kid who takes well to coaching. He’s a good athlete for his size, and he hit cleanup for his team in high school.

The Bad:
There are concerns about Hobgood’s body, as those who saw him in the Appalachian League and instructional league say he was already significantly larger than his listed weight of 245 pounds. That factor, combined with the stress of a long year, saw his velocity dip into the 87-91 range during his pro debut. Conditioning will likely always be an issue with him.

Ephemera:
While Appalachian League hitters hit .305 against Hobgood over eight starts, 28 of the 32 hits he allowed were singles.

Perfect World Projection:
Those that saw him in high school saw at least a third starter, with possible projection for more.

Path to the Big Leagues:
For now, he has a path to a full-season debut, and that’s about it.

Timetable:
People will be watching Hobgood’s weight as much as his ERA, as he’ll likely spend all of 2010 at Low-A Delmarva.


6. Brandon Erbe, RHP

DOB: 12/25/87
Height/Weight: 6-4/180
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Signed: 3rd round, 2005, McDonogh HS (MD)
2009 Stats: 4.61 ERA (13.2-13-2-11) at Short-season (4 G); 2.34 ERA (73.0-44-35-62) at Double-A (14 G)
Last Year’s Ranking: 5


Year in Review:
When not sidelined by a bout of shoulder soreness, Erbe was downright outstanding in his first year at the upper levels, limiting Eastern League hitters to a .170 batting average.

The Good:
Erbe is a live-armed right-hander, sitting at 91-94 mph with his fastball and the occasional 95 or 96 thrown in for good measure. His hard slider flashes plus, and he’s made excellent strides with his changeup, which rates at least average.

The Bad:
Erbe has a history of arm problems which, along with his complex delivery, leave many projecting him as a reliever. He’s a bit of a tinkerer whose mechanics can look different from one day to the next, leading to occasional bouts of command problems.

Ephemera:
While former Mariner Ken Cloude is the only player drafted from McDonough to reach the big leagues, the private school’s alumni include many Beltway power brokers, including recent UN ambassador John Bolton.

Perfect World Projection:
While there are still plenty of people who think he can be a solid third or fourth starter, many think he profiles better as a eighth-inning reliever who is usable against both sides, but who absolutely shuts down right-handers.

Path to the Big Leagues:
We’re talking about the Orioles. They need arms.

Timetable:
Erbe will remain a starter for now, beginning 2010 at Triple-A Norfolk, but he will likely see the big leagues at some point during the year.


7. Brandon Snyder, 1B

DOB:11/23/86
Height/Weight:6-2/215
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2005, Westfield HS (VA)
2009 Stats: .343/.421/.597 at Double-A (58 G); .248/.316/.355 at Triple-A (73 G)
Last Year’s Ranking: 10


Year in Review:
The former first-round pick was having a breakout season at Double-A Bowie, but as good as he was in the Eastern League, that’s how bad he was following a promotion to Triple-A.

The Good:
Snyder is an adept hitter who works the count well, makes consistent hard contact, and can drive the ball into the gaps with regularity. He has no platoon issues, and earns high praise for his makeup, as he’s made great strides after a shoulder surgery that cost him nearly a year.

The Bad:
Snyder doesn’t profile well at his position, as he lacks plus power. While his defense has improved at first base, he’s still below average there. A steady diet of breaking balls exposed the holes in his offensive game at Triple-A, and he’ll need to make adjustments to have any kind of major league career.

Ephemera:
Part of one of the most successful drafts in recent years, Snyder (13th overall) and Wade Townsend (8th overall, Rays), are the only two players from the first sixteen selections of the 2005 draft who have yet to reach the big leagues.

Perfect World Projection:
Snyder’s a second-division starting first baseman at best.

Path to the Big Leagues:
His path to a job is wide open, as the Orioles don’t have any obvious candidates for the first-base job.

Timetable:
While Snyder will be given a chance to win the job in the spring, it will take a monster performance to convince Baltimore that he doesn’t need more seasoning back at Norfolk.


8. Mychal Givens, SS

DOB:5/13/90
Height/Weight:6-2/185
Bats/Throws: S/R
Drafted/Signed: 2nd round, 2009, Jefferson HS (FL)
2009 Stats: Did Not Play
Last Year’s Ranking: Not Ranked


Year in Review:
Seen as a first-round talent heading into the spring, one of the best two-way players in the country slipped a bit due to an inconsistent senior year, and he signed late after contentious negotiations.

The Good:
Givens certainly has the tools to impress. He’s a loose, wiry athlete with above-average power potential for a middle infielder, speed that’s a tick above-average, and an absolute cannon for an arm, as he was consistently clocked in the mid-90s on the mound. Employing a slightly open stance, he has a quick, compact stroke that already generates good leverage.

The Bad:
Givens still has a long way to go. He has a tendency to lunge at the plate, and while his arm is strong, it’s inaccurate due to a slingy throwing motion and a tendency to throw off his back foot.

Ephemera:
Plant High School’s most famous alumni is Hall of Fame third baseman Wade Boggs.

Perfect World Projection:
Givens could develop into an outstanding shortstop, but there is a massive gap between what he is and what he can be.

Path to the Big Leagues:
The Orioles don’t have an established shortstop, nor any good ones ahead of him, so while the path is long, it’s at least clear.

Timetable:
Givens will need to prove this spring that he’s ready for a full-season league; the chances are good that he’ll begin 2010 in extended spring training before reporting to a short-season squad.


9. Caleb Joseph, C

DOB: 06/18/86
Height/Weight: 6-3/180
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Signed: 7th round, 2008, Lipscomb University
2009 Stats: .284/.337/.450 at High-A (104 G)
Last Year’s Ranking: Not Ranked


Year in Review:
Joseph’s a mid-round catcher who built upon an impressive pro debut with an excellent showing in the Carolina League, earning prospect consideration for his effort.

The Good:
He’s an excellent hitter with good barrel manipulation and some of the best plate coverage in the system. He has at least gap power and can punish mistakes over the fence. He’s a good athlete for a catcher.
The Bad: Joseph’s long, skinny build leaves many wondering if he can stand up to the rigors of catching full-time, a concern that gained more steam when he just .132 in his last 26 games. His receiving is average at best, and opposing teams ran wild on him, amassing 110 stolen bases in just 98 games behind the plate; he threw out 27 percent of stolen-base attempts.

Ephemera:
Joseph was the highest drafted player out of Lipscomb until the Rockies selected Rex Brothers with a supplemental first-round pick in June.

Perfect World Projection:
He could be an offense-oriented catcher with enough defense to stay there.

Path to the Big Leagues:
Catcher is one of the few positions where the Orioles are set for a while.

Timetable:
Joseph will get his first taste of the upper levels in 2010 by beginning the year at Double-A, with a chance to end it as one of Baltimore’s best trade chips.


10. Brandon Waring, 1B/3B

DOB: 01/02/86
Height/Weight: 6-4/195
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Signed: 7th round, 2007, Wofford College (Cincinnati Reds)
2009 Stats: .273/.354/.520 at High-A (128 G); .292/.414/.542 at Double-A (8 G)
Last Year’s Ranking: Not Ranked


Year in Review:
Acquired from the Reds at last year’s Winter Meetings as part of the Ramon Hernandez deal, the power-hitting corner infielder led the organization with 27 home runs, while leading the Carolina league in slugging.

The Good:
Waring’s power is the best in the farm system by a wide margin, as his bat speed, strength, and leverage all earned praise from scouts. One of the biggest improvements for Waring in 2009 was his plate discipline, as his walk rate was up, while his strikeout rate dipped significantly. His footwork and hands are good at third base, while his arm is above average.

The Bad:
Waring is a below-average athlete, and his range at third base is a bit short, so there is an open debate as to whether he can stay at the position. He still has a tendency to look foolish against breaking balls, and as he turns 24 in January, he’s a bit old for the levels he’s played at.

Ephemera:
In 128 Carolina League games, Waring’s OPS was 246 points higher with runners on base (.320/.398/.604) than with them empty (.230/.313/.444).

Perfect World Projection:
If he stays at third, he could be a Travis Fryman-type, at least offensively.

Path to the Big Leagues:
For now, he’s behind Bell at third and Snyder at first, so while his value dips significantly with a move to the right side, it might be his better bet to make it to Baltimore.

Timetable:
Waring will face a big test at Double-A Bowie in 2010, and he needs to keep hitting to maintain his prospect status.


11. Cameron Coffey, LHP

DOB: 09/20/1990
Height/Weight: 6-5/215
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Signed: 22nd round, 2009, Houston Christian HS (TX)
2009 Stats: Did Not Play
Last Year’s Ranking: Not Ranked


Year in Review:
One of the fastest rising high school arms in the draft, Coffey went down with Tommy John surgery early in the year, but the Orioles took a chance on him late, signing him for a bonus just south of $1 million.

The Good:
Scouts who evaluated Coffey early in the year saw a potential front-end starter. He’s a big, powerful southpaw who was sitting at 91-93 mph prior to the surgery, occasionally touching 95. His control is solid for his age, and his changeup is advanced.

The Bad:
That kind of velocity out of Coffey was never seen until this year, so some see him as a fluky with an elbow surgery who has yet to throw a pitch professionally. He mixed in a slider in high school, but it was a raw, sweepy offering.

Ephemera:
Coffey was the 656th pick of the 2009 draft. Only one player signed out of that slot, former Marlins reliever Matt Mantei, has reached the big leagues.

Perfect World Projection:
Texas area scouts were talking about Coffey potentially moving into the first round before the injury, so his ceiling is significant.

Path to the Big Leagues:
Coffey is still on a path to 100 percent health first.

Timetable:
He will be a year removed from the surgery late in spring training, so it’s expected that he’ll be able to participate in limited fashion. The Orioles will take their time with him, likely delaying his pro debut until the short-season leagues kick off in June.


The Sleeper:
A fifth-round pick last June out of Oklahoma City College, lefty Ashur Tolliver brings plus velocity from the left side despite a small frame, and could end up as a late-inning southpaw out of the bullpen.


Top 10 Talents 25 and Under (Born 4/1/84 or later)

1. Matt Wieters, C
2. Adam Jones, CF
3. Chris Tillman, RHP
4. Brian Matusz, LHP
5. Felix Pie, OF
6. Josh Bell, 3B
7. Jake Arrieta, RHP
8. Zach Britton, LHP
9. Matt Hobgood, RHP
10. Brandon Erbe, RHP

The top of this list is the first exhibit for why the Orioles are a team on the way up, as that top three competes with any team in baseball’s list of under-25 talents. Wieters hit .301 during the second half of the year during his big-league debut; you can expect that to happen with regularity, and the power with it. Jones is still just scratching the surface of his abilities; for me, he’s Mike Cameron with five times the pure hitting ability, and that’s a perennial All-Star. While Tillman struggled in his Baltimore debut, his stuff remains outstanding, and it’s easy to forget he’s more than a year younger than Matusz. I’ve always been a believer in Pie, so I believe in what we saw during the second half of 2009. Brad Bergesen and David Hernandez both earned consideration, but would you trade either for Erbe? Bergesen’s 3.43 ERA last year was pure smoke and mirrors, unsustainable with a strikeout rate under five per nine innings.


Summary:
The Orioles’ system is no longer elite, but it’s for all of the right reasons, as they’ve graduated the type of talent to the big leagues that could potentially change the direction of the franchise. As a snapshot in time, however, it is an average system at best that is highly unbalanced in favor of pitching.

Next up: the Boston Red Sox.

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gwguest
11/09
This Top 11 was quite a welcome surprise this morning. Thanks KG! Orioles fans have to be excited about this. Five of the top six are pitchers and Tillman / Bergesen as 'graduates' of the list. Add in a FA Pitcher and the O's staff looks fantastic, even if only a couple of these guys pan out. Maybe it's still two years out, but 1-4 could be dominant with this team. If nothing else, they should have some trade chips for an additional bat to go with Weiters, Jones and Markakis. They should at least be competitive in the AL.E. soon. What a fun division.
Thejaeti
11/09
Top 11s already. Goodness gracious, happy Monday.
jarjets89
11/09
great, but I suggest outlawing mike cameron comparisons of any kind. its a cliche
derekv
11/09
Why still so high on Felix Pie? Hasn't he shown to be more of a AAAA player than a Major League one. Or did I miss something?
mikehollman
11/09
you missed something. http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/7704/splits;_ylt=Aq.bAq4.uDkOPnilKPnOuwWFCLcF
kgoldstein
11/09
I really think he got jerked around and just needed some low pressure playing time to figure things out. I believe in the tools and think you'll see a solid .280/.350/.440 type from here on out, maybe even better.
tfierst
11/09
Aww Kevin is an idiot!!!! Troy Patton should be 13 instead of Kam Mickolio!!!! J/k but I am looking forward to having comments this year on these lists.
shankweather
11/09
Any explanation for why Pie's speed hasn't translated to stolen bases?
mcbmd2
11/09
Sadly, he had pretty awful base running instincts in '09. I don't think he was given many green lights.
TGisriel
11/09
At this point, the O's have long term keepers in the outfield, and at catcher. They also have a solid veteran second baseman. At SS they have a good defensive player who will never be an offensive asset. Their DH is accpetable. The offensive holes are at 3B and 1B, which are the positions of their best non-pitcher prospects. The biggest need is pitchers, which is the O's strength in propects. It seems to me that MacPhail is minding the store and lining up the prospects the O's need. The future (for once) is encouraging.
mcbmd2
11/09
Kev, I'm curious to know what kind of numbers you'd expect from Bergesen?
kgoldstein
11/09
No. 5 starter type -- eats innings, ERA around league average to a tick below.
mwashuc06
11/09
What happend to L.J Hoes and Xavier Avery?
kgoldstein
11/09
Avery got some support from scouts, but there are so many who just saw him as a speed only guy who is really not a good baseball player. He's also a VERY bad outfielder whose routes and instincts are borderline laughable.
stinkystan01
11/09
Is Ryan Berry any kind of prospect?
kgoldstein
11/09
Absolutely, there's just a lot of questions about his health. If you were setting odds on one guy who is not on this year's list to be on next year's, Berry would be a great bet.
dankingdc
11/09
Markakis and Reimold missed the age cutoff by a few months. Where would they have ranked on the top 10 talents? #2 and #6?
kgoldstein
11/09
I have no idea how anyone could take Markakis over Jones. Very similar hitters, but Jones is younger, faster, and plays up the middle -- I think that's a huge advantage for Jones. Reimold, yes, after the big two arms and the three young hitters.
TGisriel
11/11
So comparing last year's under 25 list to this year's, after the developments of the 2009 season, and taking the comments regarding Markakis and Reimold above into consideration, and incorporating them into the list, we see the following changes: 1. Markakis and Jones switch spots at 2 and 3. 2. Reimold climbs from 10 to 6.(with the attendant drops of the players between 6 and 10. 3. Josh Bell enters at 8 (factoring in the addition of Markakis and Reimold) 4. Arrieta drops from 6 to 9 (factoring in the addition of Markakis and Reimold) 5. Pie remains at 7, passing Arrieta. (factoring in ...) 6. Zach Britton enters at 10 (factoiopr in...). 7. Matt Hobgood enters at 11 (factoring in ...) 9. Erbe drops from 9 to 12 (factoring in...) 10. Radhames Liz drops off the chart from 9. All in all the list is relatively static from year to year. Reimold's year certainly justifies his jump. Moving Jones over Markakis is probably justified, but I worry about Jones ending the season on the DL 2 years in a row. Britton's good season has him moving up. Liz is really the only one who dropped significantly because of failure. The others dropped because the O's acquired someone better than them, or were passed by Reimold or Britton. A positive sign.
Oleoay
11/11
That's an interesting comparison you ran there. I wonder how other teams fared in developing their players, though I'd ignore prospects that were traded away if I was doing that comparison (because it's not as if that prospect failed to develop).
mwashuc06
11/09
How often are you going to be doing these future shock articles on teams and in what order?
ScottBehson
11/09
With Baltimore and (up next0 Boston, I'd bet the pattern is all AL teams by city alphabetical order, then all NL teams in same order.
kgoldstein
11/09
That is correct -- you'll get two or three a week -- should get us into spring training.
mwashuc06
11/09
I'm looking forward in seeing how high Westmoreland is and how much of a hit Anderson had.
GagneCY03
11/09
Where would George Sherrill rank on this list? /sigh
TGisriel
11/09
At age 32, Sherrill is not eligible for this list (which is a large factor in why MacPhail traded him).
buffum
11/09
Probably below Josh Bell.
TGisriel
11/09
After watching Bergesen's impressive performance last year, I want to object to your assessment of that performance as all smoke and mirrors in light of his low strikeout rate. Then I remembered Ballard's performance in the Why Not? year (1989) (only 20 years ago) when he won 18 games (if memory serves) but had a low strikeout rate. Subsequently Ballard was terrible. So the question becomes, is Bergesen's 2009 truly a fluke not to be repeated, and if so, should the Orioles use him this off-season as trade bait while his value is as high as it is likely to get?
Schere
11/09
Bear in mind, Kevin's description of league average still would have made Bergesen the best starter on the team last year. League-average pitching at league-minimum salary is something the Orioles could use plenty of.
baserip4
11/10
And why would any other team pay for smoke and mirrors just because smoke and mirrors worked for three months instead of not working for three months?
vtadave
11/10
Kevin - any chance Bell gives up switch-hitting and goes 100% lefty? Maybe too early for the Orioles to make that call?
Oleoay
11/10
Nice to see the Orioles have a farm system again.. a far cry from the Jamie Walker days.
greenday8885
11/10
With 1B an organization black hole, is there a Smoak-y type worth taking 3rd overall in the upcoming draft?
Agent007
11/10
I indulged myself, and visited most of the Oriole farm teams during a holiday last year. Two things come to mind. Brandon Snyder looked far better as a hitter at Norfolk than his average suggested; he was hitting the ball hard (mostly) in late July but the drivers were being caught. He had a better average in August. One of the most impressive hitters I saw was Robbie Widlansky. He looked great, and was the top hitter in the league. Yet he rarely gets any mention at all. Is he not considered a prospect? DonM
baserip4
11/11
Maybe because he was 24 in High-A and only hit 7 homers as a first baseman?
jedjethro
11/11
Wasn't there a category in the player comments along the lines of "worst possible worlds" last year? I liked those as a counterweight.
IvanGrushenko
11/11
Glass Half-Empty, I think. I liked those too.
FruitlandGeneric
11/14
"Bell was taken just three picks after Matusz in the fourth round of the 2005 draft, as the Angels selected Matusz... " I thought the O's took him with their top pick in 2008.
FruitlandGeneric
11/14
Stupid me, I forgot baseball players usually get drafted twice. I withdraw the question...
fmbowler
11/17
What happened to Billy Rowell?
atjohns
11/18
His swing was compared to Barry Bonds' and he never recovered.
mketchen
1/12
Hey Guys, I know I am real late to the post here, but I just watched Matusz pitch on video highlights for first time and his delivery seems very stiff at the end. Is this not a concern going forward?
BMoreGreen
2/20
Definitely not an expert, but am a local who has researched the question since the internet forecasts began touting Matusz as the likely O's target for the '08 draft. Sorry for not providing a link, but the video I did find pre-draft showed his front leg in a flexed position at impact and then straightening - which I understand minimizes, if not eliminates, any threat of increased injury risk. Also, from both live viewing and reviewing video from his MLB time, it appears Matusz does not exhibit the tendency, or at least not to such a noticeable extent. Maybe it a was a short term thing in college, or a small sample size effect from the available video or something that Matusz consciously addressed, but for this die hard Bird fan that is not one of the concerns going forward. Erbe is a different story IMO. As a star in the local prep-school league, Brandon could provide a huge boon to the Orioles' reconnect to the community efforts. Hopefully, the arm troubles will recede to memories and higher level instruction will induce him to solidify the mechanics. It's a boost the O's deserve after the years and money Peter Angelos invested in building the D.C. area fan base in order to compete market wise with the NESN Sawx and YESkees - efforts only to be rewarded with a thank you punch in the gut by Selig. Nothing expresses appreciation for rekindling interest in the game in a long dormant city like plunking down an expansion franchise in the now lubricated broadcast area.