by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Heading into 2016 the Orioles were supposed to have one of the elite young rotations in the game, with Kevin Gausman being joined by Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey. Instead Gausman has seemingly been put in position to fail (though that started to change in ’15) while Bundy & Harvey have consistently battled injuries. That’s not to say that the upside isn’t still there, but there are significant questions hanging over them.
With that said, let’s see how they rank (as well as the rest of the Orioles top prospects):
1) Hunter Harvey – RHP
ETA – 2017 (hopefully)
Grade – B+
There’s little doubt about Harvey’s potential, but a lengthy list of injuries have helped to sabotage his outlook and a visit to Dr. James Andrews creates even more questions. When he was on the mound in 2014 he showed just what type of potential he has (106 K over 87.2 IP), but since then he’s battled:
- Strained flexor mass (ended his ’14 season in July and flared back up late in ’15)
- Fractured fibula
At this point we obviously have to be skeptical, especially for 2016, though the overall outlook remains. If he can get healthy he has the upside of a top of the rotation arm, but that’s a major if at this point.
2) Dylan Bundy – RHP
ETA – 2016
Grade – B+
Remember him? He was supposed to be the next phenom, having been drafted fourth overall in 2011 and reaching the Majors just a year later. However he ultimately needed Tommy John surgery costing him all of 2013 and most of 2014 (41.1 IP) and further arm injuries limited him to 22.0 IP in ’15. With just 63.1 IP over the past three seasons there are obviously going to be usage questions, but that’s just the first of many answers we’ll be looking for (he’ll likely pitch over the winter to try and increase his inning count). Stuff, however, isn’t one of them as he posted 25 K vs. 5 BB in his 22.0 innings at Double-A. If he can get healthy it’s still possible that he emerges, so don’t ignore him.
3) Jomar Reyes – 3B
ETA – 2018
Grade – B
There is definitely power potential for the 18-year old, despite hitting 5 HR at Low-A last season, as he added 27 doubles and 4 triples. Listed at 6’3” and 220 lbs., he simply needs to mature and gain experience and we should see the power numbers begin to rise. He does need to work at his approach at the plate, though, posting a 21.8% strikeout rate (73 K) and 5.4% walk rate (18 BB). Given his age we can give him a bit of a pass, but we’d like to see strides in the right direction in 2016. There are rumblings that he could be forced to shift to 1B, though that’s not about to impact his overall outlook.
4) Trey Mancini – 1B
ETA – 2016
Grade – B
Splitting time between High-A and Double-A Mancini showed a lot of power, hitting 21 HR while adding 43 doubles and 6 triples. He also showed the ability to make consistent contact, including a 16.4% strikeout rate over 354 PA at Double-A. While some question is overall upside, it’s hard not to buy into the numbers he’s shown (and there’s potential for the home run totals to take another step forward). With Chris Davis set to be a free agent and his return to Baltimore in question, Mancini is going to be an interesting name to keep an eye on.
5) Chance Sisco – C
ETA – 2017
Grade – B
We are higher than many on Sisco, but if he can stick behind the plate (there are questions about his defense) the bat has the potential to make him one of the better backstops in the league. Splitting time between High-A and Double-A last season he hit .297 with 6 HR in 337 AB, though he has a good eye at the plate (55 K vs. 42 BB) and the potential is there for the power to continue to improve (think 12-15 right now).
The Next Five:
6) D.J. Stewart – OF
Note: The 25th pick in 2015 there is an obvious split in how many feel about his long-term potential. There is talk about his power potential, though many feel he’s going to need to adjust his batting stance in order to fully tap into it.
7) Ryan Mountcastle – SS
8) Dariel Alvarez – OF
9) Christian Walker – 1B
10) Mike Yastrzemski – OF
Sources – MLB.com, MILB.com, Fangraphs
Grading System (still in development):
Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On
Make sure to check out all of our Top 10 Prospect Lists: