Unveiling our 2018 Dean's Dozen: The Top 12 prospects currently in the Orioles' system - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dean Jones Report

Unveiling our 2018 Dean’s Dozen: The Top 12 prospects currently in the Orioles’ system

Believe it or not, there are fewer than two weeks before spring training begins.

Orioles pitchers and catchers will report to the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota, Fla., on Feb. 13. A day later, they’ll start workouts. Position players are due to report a few days after that (Feb. 18), with the first full-squad workout scheduled for Feb. 19.

It seems like 2017 just ended, but the 2018 season will be here before we know it.

The Orioles are coming off their first, last-place finish since it happened in four straight seasons from 2008 to 2011. They still need to fill several holes before the first pitch of the regular season is thrown against the Minnesota Twins on March 29 at Camden Yards.

Naturally, fans look to the minor leagues as a way to solve the club’s problems.

While the Orioles likely won’t receive much national recognition for the current depth of their organization, some of the top prospects could fit into the club’s plans at the major-league level in 2018. And beyond that, several younger players could do so down the road.

Earlier this year, Baseball America released its Top 100 prospects list. For the first time since 2014, the Orioles had three players on the list – outfielder Austin Hays (No. 21), catcher Chance Sisco (No. 68) and third baseman Ryan Mountcastle (No. 71).

My colleague Dan Connolly recently asked BaltimoreBaseball.com readers about which Orioles’ prospects they’re most excited to watch in the major leagues. Today, I hope to give you a little bit more guidance on some players who could fit that role in the coming years.

I’m talking about my preliminary 2018 “Dean’s Dozen” rankings. In the following pages, you’ll find the 12 players who I believe are at the top of the organization right now.


It’s important to note that the Top 4 – the three players mentioned earlier and right-hander Hunter Harvey – stand out from the rest of the list. Beyond that, I considered many different orders of the final eight prospects before settling on these rankings. I also thought about placing a handful of other players near the bottom of the list.

Before the minor-league season begins in early April, I plan to re-evaluate my rankings. If any of these players make the Orioles out of spring training – I’m looking at Hays and Sisco, for the most part – then I’ll adjust accordingly. And if other minor leaguers cause a stir heading into the regular season, I’ll have to find a spot for them on the list.

With all of that out of the way, let’s get to the updated Dean’s Dozen rankings:

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  1. Orial

    February 2, 2018 at 8:28 am

    Looking at Mountcastle(who I’m up and down on) and Harvey as helpers for 2018/2019. Hays and Sisco are here already. Quick off topic(if you don’t mind) question. I see where Milwaukee and Minnesota are big FA players. Tell me how those markets CAN and Baltimore CAN’T.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 2, 2018 at 9:25 am

      Keep in mind both had terribly low payrolls last year and in recent years. Much lower than the Orioles. Wouldn’t be surprised if Os is still ahead of the Twins when dust settles.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    February 2, 2018 at 9:01 am

    I’m high on Santander. I understand that he may not be the next coming of Dave Winfield in right field, but give him some time and I’m betting he’ll be just fine. No way does he not make the roster coming out of camp this year.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 2, 2018 at 9:25 am

      He has to stick for 44 Days. Lots of upside. I think they will weather the 44 Days.

    • thebookdoc

      February 4, 2018 at 9:43 am

      BRR, we agree on a lot of stuff. if they check him off like Delmon Young, I’d be disappointed.

  3. OsFanStuckInNY

    February 2, 2018 at 9:22 am

    I’d put Santander at least at #6, but other than that *great* list! (Because we agree so much.)

    • Dan Connolly

      February 2, 2018 at 9:26 am

      A solid argument can be made for him being higher. All of those in that group have untapped upside.

  4. Bird Man 8

    February 2, 2018 at 9:36 am

    With Hays, how does “starting his clock” work? If he is on the opening day roster, compared to lets say May, does that “start his clock” earlier, and possibly bump him up a year closer to free agency? With our wait until free agency team philosophy, if waiting until May(hypothetical time) extends us a year, I’d hope we’d wait.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 2, 2018 at 10:04 am

      Technically the service time clock stated in September. But that’s basically incidental. If he starts the year with the Orioles he has six full seasons before free agency. If they hold him back a few weeks — at any point — he’d still get that 6th year. The Memorial Day date — roughly — is about arbitration and preventing Super 2 status. Which would save money. Intriguing that Santander needing to stay in the majors and Hays not getting Super 2 coincide around the same time. Just saying. … But if Hays is absolutely the best guy, I think the Orioles probably will go with him and worry about the other stuff later. We’ll see.

  5. phildell

    February 2, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    It’s nice to see 6 pitchers on this list. However, Tanner Scott despite his velocity, doesn’t impress me. If you can’t find the plate who cares how hard you throw? I’m much more intrigued by Alex Wells. I hope he continues to develop because it would be refreshing to see a guy who can get hitters out without pushing the limits of the radar gun. As you well know Dan, it’s all about pitching. And as much as we’ve heard about pitchers not wanting to pitch in Camden Yards, if you can make hitters earn their way on base you’ll minimize damage. Nothing hurts more than a couple of walks and a three run homer.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 2, 2018 at 12:51 pm

      Totally agree. I know Dean has struggled with where to put Scott. Upside is huge — but only if he can throw strikes

  6. Dblack2508

    February 2, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    I like Santanders potential as a hitter a lot. I watched him in the outfield and he wasn’t Mark Trumbo but needs work. Aiken reminds a bit of Danny Jackson, which would be a good thing for the Orioles. Harvey would be the story of the year if he were a September call up. I think it would better suit Hayes if he played every day .

    • Dan Connolly

      February 2, 2018 at 3:09 pm

      Honestly I’d be surprised if we don’t see Harvey in Baltimore in September. If he’s not up, it would mean either he struggles or gets hurt or the Orioles other pitchers have stepped up tremendously. I wouldn’t imagine it will be the latter.

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