If you’re a fan of the Orioles’ minor-league affiliates, I’m sure you already know that Baseball America released its picks for the organization’s Top 10 prospects last week.
Click here if you haven’t seen the list yet.
You’ll notice that my rankings don’t have a lot in common with Baseball America’s. To start, I’m giving you 12 players instead of 10. That’s why we’ve dubbed it “Dean’s Dozen.”
Creative, I know. “Dirty Dozen” was already taken, though.
Anyway, you’ll also see that only two of the Top 10 players are in the same spots in both Baseball America’s rankings and my list.
In fact, I didn’t even put two of the publication’s picks in my Top 12 at all. The magazine lists right-hander Hunter Harvey at No. 4 and left-hander Tanner Scott at No. 10. While I can see the argument for both players, I can’t justify their inclusion this year.
Although Baseball America referenced a scout who said, “a healthy Harvey showed everything you want in a top-of-the-rotation starter – talent, poise and mound presence,” you need to keep in mind that the 2013 first-round pick (22nd overall) probably won’t pitch in a game again until 2018. Factor in that Harvey has thrown only 12 2/3 innings since July 2014, and there just isn’t enough on-field production for me to include him.
Sure, Harvey still has “prospect” status based on how Baseball America defines it. And he’ll only be 23 years old on Opening Day in 2018, but he has a long road back to prominence.
As for Scott, a wise baseball man once told me: “It doesn’t matter if you throw really hard if you don’t have a compass to help you find out where it’s going.”
Scott, 22, routinely hits triple digits on the radar gun. As a left-hander, that’s obviously something that will get you noticed. So he deserves to be mentioned in every discussion about the organization’s top prospects.
But he issued 57 walks in 64 1/3 innings between Frederick and Bowie in 2016. In his three-year career, the 2014 sixth-round selection has walked 99 batters in 129 2/3 innings. To put that in perspective, Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw has issued only 84 free passes in 580 innings over the past three seasons.
Obviously, that’s not a fair comparison. I get that. You can’t measure arguably the greatest left-handed starter of this generation against a minor league prospect with a power arm and control issues.
But that’s exactly my point. Maybe it’d be in Scott’s best interest to dial back a few miles per hour off the fastball in order to find the plate more frequently. Maybe that’s the key to making it to the major leagues. His heater would still be in the mid-90s. That’s just my take.
Now, let’s get to the inaugural edition of “Dean’s Dozen.”