Dean Jones Report: Rutschman's debut; Mountcastle continues to shine; Henderson cracks list - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dean Jones Report

Dean Jones Report: Rutschman’s debut; Mountcastle continues to shine; Henderson cracks list

The Orioles didn’t make much noise as the trade deadline passed Wednesday evening.

It wasn’t complete silence.

The club did send demoted right-hander Dan Straily to the Philadelphia Phillies at the deadline for cash considerations. And on July 13, the Orioles dealt right-hander Andrew Cashner to the Boston Red Sox for two Venezuelan prospects – outfielder Elio Prado and infielder Noelberth Romero. Both 17-year-old players are in the Dominican Summer League.

For the most part, though, the Orioles packed up all their best trade chips and went home.

They didn’t trade outfielder Trey Mancini … or infielder Jonathan Villar … or reliever Mychal Givens. The lack of action likely surprised a lot of fans. I expected the Orioles to ship away at least one of their major leaguers at the deadline. (Givens would’ve been my first guess.)

But on Thursday evening, executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias seemed OK with how everything played out. As he told reporters, including my colleague Rich Dubroff, “We didn’t have anything in front of us that we felt was right in terms of the right time to move players that we like or just not enough coming back for the guys we have.”

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It’s hard to argue with that.

The organization shouldn’t just give any players away – especially since they’re all still under control through at least 2020. None of the buyers got desperate and overpaid.

Sometimes, that’s just how it goes.

It won’t change the rebuilding process. The Orioles are still overhauling the organization. They didn’t make any progress this week. But remember … it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

With that said, I’m curious to hear your thoughts: Are you frustrated that the Orioles didn’t make any major trades this week? Tell me in the comments section at the end of this post.

Let’s dive into the latest “Dean Jones Report” update.

As regular readers know, the Dean Jones Report is my way to keep you updated on the latest happenings in the Orioles’ minor-league system. Each month, I share the latest news, notes and analysis about the 12 prospects who make up my “Dean’s Dozen” rankings.

You’ll notice I’ve tweaked the Dean’s Dozen this month. Catcher Adley Rutschman, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, now sits at the top of the list. I’ve also added shortstop Gunnar Henderson (No. 8), the club’s 2019 second-round selection, and right-hander Michael Baumann (No. 10), who has dominated since moving up to Double-A Bowie.

Of course, adding three players also means I needed to subtract three. You’ll no longer see outfielder Ryan McKenna, right-hander Blaine Knight or right-hander Brenan Hanifee. That doesn’t mean it’s the end of the line for any of these prospects. They’re all still part of the Orioles’ future. It’s just hard to fit them into a ranking of the top 12 prospects right now.

I also shifted the order of the Dean’s Dozen. For example, outfielder Yusniel Diaz – who previously came in at No. 1 – dropped down the list to No. 5. And right-hander Grayson Rodriguez jumped two spots from my initial 2019 rankings to No. 4 on the current list.

Remember, I categorize each player as a rising stock (bullish) or a falling stock (bearish), based on his recent play. I also highlight several others in two categories – surging and falling – and a “spotlight” from the 2019 draft, so you can see who’s hot and who’s not.

Then, at the bottom of every post, I share the upcoming schedules for the Orioles’ top five affiliates. With that, you know when to head to the ballpark to see these players in action.

You’re running out of time if you want to do that, though. Only about a month remains in the minor-league regular season. I encourage you to attend as many games as you can between now and the end of the year. You should also consider watching Low-A Delmarva – and potentially Double-A Bowie and Short-A Aberdeen – in the playoffs in September, too.

DEAN’S DOZEN

No. 1: Adley Rutschman, C, Aberdeen
BULLISH
Statistics: .143, 1 HR, 3 RBIs in 5 games (GCL Orioles); .200, 0 HRs, 0 RBIs, 1 2B in 5 games (Aberdeen)
MILB.com Player Page

The Orioles might want to think about moving on from the top overall selection in the 2019 draft. Rutschman, 21, is only batting .176 (6-for-34) through 10 games in the organization. It seems more likely with each passing day that he’ll fail to live up to all the hype. OK, I hope you know that I’m kidding. If not, let me say it loud and clear: I’M KIDDING. While everyone would’ve loved to see Rutschman dominate from the first pitch he saw, it’s OK that he isn’t doing that. He’s still the No. 5 or No. 6 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America and MLB.com. For now, just be patient and wait for Rutschman to shine.

No. 2: Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/3B/OF, Norfolk
BULLISH
Statistics: .312, 19 HRs, 65 RBIs, 26 2Bs, 61 runs in 100 games
MILB.com Player Page

Mountcastle, 22, hit .333 with four homers and 15 RBIs in 25 games last month. The 11 doubles in July from the 2015 first-round pick (36th overall) were more than he had in 49 total games over the two previous months (eight in May and two in June). Overall, he is tied for second in the International League with 215 total bases – including 19 homers and 26 doubles. But I do have some bad news about Mountcastle: He went 0-for-5 in the Tides’ 4-0 win at Gwinnett on Thursday, which snapped his 15-game hitting streak. Still, during that stretch, Mountcastle batted .415 (27-for-65) with eight doubles, three homers and 13 RBIs.

No. 3: DL Hall, LHP, Frederick
BULLISH
Statistics: 4-4, 3.36 ERA, 111 Ks, 51 BBs, 1.35 WHIP in 75 innings
MILB.com Player Page

Truthfully, as I thought about the adjusted Dean’s Dozen over the past month, I planned to drop the 2017 first-round selection (21st overall) to the fourth spot – below right-hander Grayson Rodriguez. But I had a change of heart as Hall, who will turn 21 in September, continued to pitch well throughout July and into this month. In five appearances (four starts) since July 1, he is 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA. During that stretch, Hall has 38 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings. On Thursday night, he matched a career high with 10 strikeouts in six innings as the Keys beat Myrtle Beach, 2-1. Hall also struck out 10 hitters against Myrtle Beach in five innings on May 23. I’m sure the Pelicans don’t want to face him again in 2019.

No. 4: Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Delmarva
BULLISH
Statistics: 8-3, 2.74 ERA, 97 Ks, 26 BBs, 1.02 WHIP in 72 1/3 innings
MILB.com Player Page

It was downright ugly for the 2018 first-round pick (11th overall) in the shortest outing of his career on July 20 at West Virginia. Rodriguez, 19, was charged with six runs, four hits and two walks while only recording one out in the Shorebirds’ 12-10 loss to the Power. He also gave up seven runs and eight hits in five innings during Delmarva’s 9-0 defeat at Kannapolis on June 4. But if you take out those two poor performances, Rodriguez’s ERA is a mind-boggling 1.21 ERA in 67 innings. He has surrendered one earned run or fewer in 12 of his 15 starts this year. I’m excited to see how Rodriguez finishes his first full season.

No. 5: Yusniel Diaz, OF, Bowie
BULLISH
Statistics: .273, 0 HRs, 2 RBIs in 6 games (Frederick); .258, 10 HRs, 51 RBIs, 18 2Bs, 42 runs in 69 games (Bowie)
MILB.com Player Page

Although I dropped the Cuba native from the top position in my rankings, I’m “bullish” today. That’s because Diaz, 22, finally appears to be hitting his stride with the Baysox. He hit .299 with three homers, 12 doubles and 22 RBIs in 28 games last month. And Diaz also had 22 RBIs in 21 games in June after returning from a strained hamstring. He left Wednesday’s game with a quad injury. Elias doesn’t think the injury is serious. One other thing to note: The right-handed hitter only has 10 hits in 57 at-bats against left-handed pitchers with the Baysox this year (.175). In 2018, while splitting time between Bowie and Double-A Tulsa in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization, he hit .304 (24-for-79) in those situations.

No. 6: Austin Hays, OF, Norfolk
BEARISH
Statistics: .278, 2 HRs, 4 RBIs, 5 runs in 5 games (Aberdeen); .162, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, 3 runs in 9 games (Frederick); .268, 3 HRs, 11 RBIs, 5 2Bs, 9 runs in 14 games (Bowie); .233, 5 HRs, 16 RBIs, 13 2Bs, 22 runs in 31 games (Norfolk)
MILB.com Player Page

It’s great to see Hays, 24, playing every day for the Tides again. You might recall that the 2016 third-round selection was out indefinitely with a hamstring strain at the time of my last update in late June. Although Hays is now back with Norfolk, he has slumped over the past two weeks. In 12 games since July 20, he’s only hitting .157 (8-for-51). His average with Norfolk slid from .282 to .233 in that span. The Orioles would love Hays in the outfield for the foreseeable future, but first he needs to stay healthy and become more consistent.

No. 7: Zac Lowther, LHP, Bowie
BULLISH
Statistics: 11-5, 2.62 ERA, 106 Ks, 53 BBs, 1.15 WHIP in 110 innings
MILB.com Player Page

The 2017 competitive balance round B pick leads the Eastern League with 11 wins. Lowther, 23, ranks third in the league with a 2.62 ERA – behind Baysox teammate Alex Wells (2.12) and former teammate Bruce Zimmermann (2.58), who moved up to Norfolk last weekend. He’s also third in the league with 106 strikeouts. Add everything up and he would get my vote for the Eastern League’s Pitcher of the Year award if the season ended today. Of course, I’d much rather see Lowther follow Zimmermann to Norfolk. The Tides rank last in the International League with a 5.94 ERA and 1.57 WHIP. They’ve allowed the second-most homers in the league (165 in 110 games). It’s time to give Lowther a shot at the next level.

No. 8: Gunnar Henderson, SS, GCL Orioles
BULLISH
Statistics: .238, 0 HRs, 3 RBIs, 2 2Bs, 10 runs in 12 games
MILB.com Player Page

Considered a potential first-round pick, the Alabama high school infielder slid to the Orioles with the first selection in the second round back in June. Henderson, 18, then bypassed a commitment to play with his older brother, Jackson, at Auburn University in order to sign with the Orioles. Now, he’s a dozen games into his professional career with the club’s Rookie-level Gulf Coast League affiliate. On Wednesday, Henderson went 2-for-2 with an RBI double, two walks and two runs as the Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays’ affiliate, 3-1.

No. 9: Keegan Akin, LHP, Norfolk
BEARISH
Statistics: 4-5, 4.76 ERA, 98 Ks, 46 BBs, 1.54 WHIP in 87 innings
MILB.com Player Page

The 2016 second-round selection will likely compete for a rotation spot next spring. And Akin, 24, could even be called up to the majors before this season ends. So you might be wondering why I dropped him from fifth to ninth in this update. The answer is two-fold: First, the Orioles simply have several prospects above Akin right now. And second, his performance hasn’t been that good at the highest level of the minor leagues this year. That was especially true in July, when Akin went 0-3 with an 8.25 ERA in four starts for the Tides. Opponents batted .300 against him in 12 innings during the month.

No. 10: Michael Baumann, RHP, Bowie
BULLISH
Statistics: 1-4, 3.83 ERA, 77 Ks, 24 BBs, 1.19 WHIP in 54 innings (Frederick); 2-1, 1.16 ERA, 39 Ks, 9 BBs, 0.72 WHIP in 38 2/3 innings (Bowie)
MILB.com Player Page

On July 16, the 2017 third-round pick joined immortal right-hander Radhames Liz in Baysox history. That’s when Baumann, who will turn 24 in September, completed a nine-inning no-hitter over Harrisburg – the first for the Baysox since Liz did it in June 2007. Baumann struck out 10 hitters in the game, needing only 94 pitches to complete the feat. But his dominance extends beyond that one start. Through seven games (five starts) with Bowie, Baumann is 2-1 with a 1.16 ERA. That dominance is why he’s back in my Dean’s Dozen.

No. 11: Dean Kremer, RHP, Bowie
BULLISH
Statistics: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 14 Ks, 4 BBs, 1.03 WHIP in 9 2/3 innings (Frederick); 7-4, 3.08 ERA, 69 Ks, 24 BBs, 1.23 WHIP in 73 innings (Bowie)
MILB.com Player Page

Kremer, 23, hasn’t lost since June 16. The Dodgers’ 2016 14th-round selection is 6-0 with a 1.83 ERA in eight starts and his overall ERA has dropped from 4.28 to 3.08 over that span. On July 18, Kremer struck out eight batters in seven scoreless innings as the Baysox beat Altoona, 1-0. Six days later, he pitched six shutout innings at Richmond in Bowie’s 8-1 win.

No. 12: Hunter Harvey, RHP, Norfolk
BULLISH/BEARISH
Statistics: 2-5, 5.19 ERA, 61 Ks, 21 BBs, 1.42 WHIP in 59 innings (Bowie); 0-1, 6.75 ERA, 11 Ks, 5 BBs, 1.50 WHIP in 10 2/3 innings (Norfolk)
MILB.com Player Page

It has been roughly a month since the Orioles promoted the 2013 first-round pick (22nd overall) to the Tides on June 29. The overall statistics don’t look good for Harvey, 24, but they’re misleading. That’s because he gave up five runs and five hits in 1 1/3 innings during an 11-6 loss at Durham on July 13. If you were to throw out that outing, Harvey would have a 2.89 ERA through six appearances at Norfolk. Now, I know you can’t do that. But my point is that Harvey has generally pitched well since moving to the bullpen with Bowie on June 14. Even if you include the poor performance at Durham, he has a 3.66 ERA in 19 2/3 relief innings this season. And more important, he’s throwing much harder out of the bullpen.

2019 DRAFT SPOTLIGHT

Toby Welk, 3B, Aberdeen: Most Orioles fans probably didn’t know the 21st-round pick’s name before reading this update. But Welk, 22, continues to quietly carry the IronBirds’ offense. He ranks second in the New York-Penn League with a .361 average and leads Aberdeen in several other categories, including RBIs (20), hits (44) and total bases (59).

SURGING

Jomar Reyes, 3B, Frederick: Longtime readers know I’ve bashed the Dominican Republic native several times over the past few years – including my last update on June 28. Reyes, 22, finished June with a .179 average and no homers in 26 games. But he turned things around last month, hitting .379 with eight doubles, three homers and 15 RBIs in 25 games.

Alex Wells, LHP, Bowie: As I said earlier, the Australia native leads the Eastern League with a 2.12 ERA. Wells, 22, has only allowed more than three earned runs once in 18 starts this year – when he gave up five runs in 5 2/3 innings at Binghamton last Friday. He has surrendered just three homers in 106 1/3 innings. Last year, he allowed 19 in 135 innings.

Bruce Zimmermann, LHP, Norfolk: The Triple-A debut for the Loyola Blakefield graduate didn’t go well. Zimmermann, 24, allowed five runs and 10 hits in four innings as the Tides lost, 11-3, at Lehigh Valley last Sunday. But I’m including him in this category because of how he pitched with Bowie. Zimmermann was 5-3 with a 2.58 ERA in 101 1/3 innings.

FALLING

Blaine Knight, RHP, Frederick: I dropped Knight out of my Dean’s Dozen. After dominating through five starts with Delmarva earlier this year, the 2018 third-round pick moved up to High-A. But in 13 games (12 starts) with the Keys, he is 1-8 with a 5.54 ERA. Even worse, he has issued 32 walks and only struck out 39 hitters in 63 1/3 innings at Frederick.

Ryan McKenna, OF, Bowie: The 2015 fourth-round selection can’t seem to break through at the Double-A level. You might recall that McKenna, 22, hit .239 in 60 games after being promoted to Bowie last year. This season, he’s batting .235 in 104 games with the Baysox. In his past nine games, McKenna is just 2-for-30 (.067) with eight strikeouts and two RBIs.

Cedric Mullins, OF, Bowie: What a difference a year makes. Last August, the Orioles promoted the 2015 13th-round pick to the majors after an earlier move to Norfolk from Bowie. Mullins, 24, went the other way this season – falling from the majors to the Tides and finally back to the Baysox on July 11. He’s only hitting .250 in 21 games with Bowie.

THE MONTH AHEAD

Norfolk (42-68)
Aug. 2 – vs. Durham, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 3 – vs. Durham, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 4 – vs. Durham, 4:05 p.m.
Aug. 5 – OFF
Aug. 6 – vs. Indianapolis, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 7 – vs. Indianapolis, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 8 – vs. Indianapolis, 12:05 p.m.
Aug. 9 – vs. Syracuse, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 10 – vs. Syracuse, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 11 – vs. Syracuse, 4:05 p.m.
Aug. 12 – OFF
Aug. 13 – at Pawtucket, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 14 – at Pawtucket, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 15 – at Pawtucket, 12:05 p.m.
Aug. 16 – at Syracuse, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 17 – at Syracuse, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 18 – at Syracuse, 1:05 p.m.
Aug. 19 – vs. Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 20 – vs. Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 21 – vs. Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 22 – vs. Gwinnett, 12:05 p.m.
Aug. 23 – at Charlotte, 7:04 p.m.
Aug. 24 – at Charlotte, 7:04 p.m.
Aug. 25 – at Charlotte, 5:05 p.m.
Aug. 26 – at Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 27 – at Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 28 – at Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 29 – at Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m.

Bowie (59-49 overall, 29-11 in second half)
Aug. 2 – vs. Portland, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 3 – vs. Portland, 6:35 p.m.
Aug. 4 – vs. Portland, 1:35 p.m.
Aug. 5 – OFF
Aug. 6 – at Trenton, 7 p.m.
Aug. 7 – at Trenton, 12 p.m.
Aug. 8 – at Trenton, 7 p.m.
Aug. 9 – at Richmond, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 10 – at Richmond (doubleheader), 5:05 p.m.
Aug. 11 – at Richmond, 1:05 p.m.
Aug. 12 – OFF
Aug. 13 – vs. Richmond (doubleheader), 5:35 p.m.
Aug. 14 – vs. Richmond, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 15 – vs. Richmond, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 16 – at Altoona, 7 p.m.
Aug. 17 – at Altoona, 6 p.m.
Aug. 18 – at Altoona, 6 p.m.
Aug. 19 – vs. Binghamton, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 20 – vs. Binghamton, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 21 – vs. Binghamton, 12:05 p.m.
Aug. 22 – vs. Altoona, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 23 – vs. Altoona, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 24 – vs. Altoona, 6:35 p.m.
Aug. 25 – vs. Altoona, 1:35 p.m.
Aug. 26 – at Reading, 6:45 p.m.
Aug. 27 – at Reading, 6:45 p.m.
Aug. 28 – at Reading, 6:45 p.m.
Aug. 29 – at Reading, 7:10 p.m.

Frederick (44-64 overall, 15-24 in second half)
Aug. 2 – at Down East, 7 p.m.
Aug. 3 – at Down East, 6 p.m.
Aug. 4 – at Down East, 1 p.m.
Aug. 5 – OFF
Aug. 6 – vs. Potomac, 7 p.m.
Aug. 7 – vs. Potomac, 7 p.m.
Aug. 8 – vs. Potomac, 7 p.m.
Aug. 9 – vs. Down East, 7 p.m.
Aug. 10 – vs. Down East, 6 p.m.
Aug. 11 – vs. Down East, 1 p.m.
Aug. 12 – OFF
Aug. 13 – at Salem, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 14 – at Salem, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 15 – at Salem, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 16 – vs. Fayetteville, 7 p.m.
Aug. 17 – vs. Fayetteville, 6 p.m.
Aug. 18 – vs. Fayetteville, 1 p.m.
Aug. 19 – OFF
Aug. 20 – vs. Potomac, 7 p.m.
Aug. 21 – vs. Potomac, 7 p.m.
Aug. 22 – vs. Potomac, 7 p.m.
Aug. 23 – at Fayetteville, 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 – at Fayetteville, 6 p.m.
Aug. 25 – at Fayetteville, 6 p.m.
Aug. 26 – at Down East, 7 p.m.
Aug. 27 – at Down East, 7 p.m.
Aug. 28 – at Down East, 7 p.m.
Aug. 29 – at Down East, 7 p.m.

Delmarva (74-34 overall, 26-13 in second half)
Aug. 2 – at Greenville (doubleheader), 4:30 p.m.
Aug. 3 – at Charleston, 6:05 p.m.
Aug. 4 – at Charleston, 5:05 p.m.
Aug. 5 – at Charleston, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 6 – at Charleston, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 7 – OFF
Aug. 8 – vs. Kannapolis, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 9 – vs. Kannapolis, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 10 – vs. Kannapolis, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 11 – vs. Kannapolis, 5:05 p.m.
Aug. 12 – vs. West Virginia, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 13 – vs. West Virginia, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 14 – vs. West Virginia, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 15 – at Lakewood, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 16 – at Lakewood, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 17 – at Lakewood, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 18 – at Lakewood, 1:05 p.m.
Aug. 19 – OFF
Aug. 20 – vs. Greensboro, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 21 – vs. Greensboro, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 22 – vs. Greensboro, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 23 – at Hagerstown, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 24 – at Hagerstown, 6:05 p.m.
Aug. 25 – at Hagerstown, 2:05 p.m.
Aug. 26 – at Lakewood, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 27 – at Lakewood, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 28 – at Lakewood, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 29 – at Lakewood, 7:05 p.m.

Aberdeen (28-18)
Aug. 2 – vs. Vermont, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 3 – vs. Vermont, 6:05 p.m.
Aug. 4 – vs. Vermont, 4:05 p.m.
Aug. 5 – at Connecticut, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 6 – at Connecticut, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 7 – at Connecticut, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 8 – vs. Staten Island, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 9 – vs. Staten Island, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 10 – vs. Staten Island, 6:05 p.m.
Aug. 11 – at Vermont, 5:05 p.m.
Aug. 12 – at Vermont, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 13 – at Vermont, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 14 – at Tri-City, 7 p.m.
Aug. 15 – at Tri-City, 7 p.m.
Aug. 16 – at Tri-City, 7 p.m.
Aug. 17 – vs. Vermont, 6:05 p.m.
Aug. 18 – vs. Vermont, 4:05 p.m.
Aug. 19 – vs. Vermont, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 20 – OFF
Aug. 21 – New York-Penn League All-Star Game in Staten Island, N.Y.
Aug. 22 – at Staten Island, 7 p.m.
Aug. 23 – at Staten Island, 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 – at Staten Island, 7 p.m.
Aug. 25 – at Lowell, 5:05 p.m.
Aug. 26 – at Lowell, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 27 – at Lowell, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 28 – vs. Brooklyn, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 29 – vs. Brooklyn, 7:05 p.m.

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