On Monday, Baseball America released its annual Top 100 prospects list, and the Orioles had three representatives: outfielder Austin Hays at 21, catcher Chance Sisco (pictured above) at 68 and third baseman Ryan Mountcastle at 71.
That’s a solid showing considering the Orioles had a total of three on the list in the previous seasons combined. The last time they had three on one list was 2014, with pitchers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Eduardo Rodriguez.
The bad news is the Orioles have no pitchers on the list this year, and that’s obviously where they need the most help currently. I’ll admit I was a little surprised right-hander Hunter Harvey wasn’t toward the back end of the Top 100, but I assume Baseball America – like the rest of us – are holding out judgment on the former first-round pick until he can stay healthy for a full season.
Here’s some other unpleasant news: The Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees each had six on the list and the Toronto Blue Jays had four, including two of the Top Eight. The only AL team with a worse showing than the Orioles was the Red Sox, who had two (at 83rd and 85th).
Two things about this annual evaluation:
One, prospect lists are guesses – educated guesses by people who know their stuff. But guesses, nonetheless. Some high prospects fizzle and some lesser prospects surge (Hays, for instance, didn’t make it last year at all).
Two, the Orioles system is better than it was in recent years, but still has a way to go. Still, three prospects in the Top 100 is solid (how many would it be if Dan Duquette and company were authorized to spend money on international amateurs?).
We already have seen two of the three Orioles on this list at Camden Yards: Hays and Sisco both played there in September. Both have a legitimate chance to get an extended look in 2018.
With a good spring, Sisco, 22, could start the year as Caleb Joseph’s backup. Hays, who blew through the minors in 2017, will probably begin the year at Triple-A Norfolk. But it’s not an impossibility, especially if injuries occur, that the 22-year-old could play his way onto the Opening Day roster.
Mountcastle, 20, finished the year at Double-A Bowie and that’s likely where he’ll stay. His bat’s well ahead of his glove at this point. The Orioles don’t want to rush Harvey, but the Orioles need rotation help, so he could be summoned at some point in 2018, as well.
We’ll soon unveil our annual “Dean’s Dozen,” our Top 12 prospects in the Orioles organization – and we can compare our list with some of the others out there.
Today, though, I want to know who you are most excited about in the Orioles’ farm system. Who is the guy you most look forward to watching develop in an Orioles’ uniform? Trey Mancini doesn’t count; I want someone who has not yet spent a year in the big leagues.
Tap-In Question: Which Orioles’ prospect are you most looking forward to watching play in the majors?