Minor Monday: Reviewing the Orioles' prospects and affiliates - BaltimoreBaseball.com
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Minor Monday: Reviewing the Orioles’ prospects and affiliates

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

The Orioles will take an extended look at a number of prospects when they open spring training in 2022 — a benefit of having one of Major League Baseball’s top minor-league systems. A number of players should be ready to compete at the next level.

Here’s an overview:

Triple-A Norfolk

2021 Record: 48-72

Top Performers/Prospects

Catcher Adley Rustchman — .312, 5 HR, 25 RBIs .896 OPS

Outfield Kyle Stowers — .272, 3 HR, 11 RBIs  .773 OPS

Right-handed pitcher Kyle Bradish — 5-5, 2.46 ERA

Left-handed pitcher Kevin Smith — 3-6, 6.23 ERA

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Outfield Yusniel Diaz — .157, 4 HR, 14 RBIs .476 OPS

Outlook: Forty-one players appeared on the active rosters of Norfolk and Baltimore. Fourteen made their major league debuts. Rutschman, who spent the first three months of the season at Double-A Bowie,  is likely to make his major league debut in 2022. Right-handed pitcher Grayson Rodriguez also has a chance to start with the Orioles out of spring training. However, it seems more likely Rodriguez will open the season with the Tides. Stowers, who shared the award for top minor league positi0n player with Rutschman, also could begin the season in Norfolk and get a midseason promotion. He began the season at High-A Aberdeen and was promoted twice. Infielders Gunnar Henderson, Jordan Westburg and Terrin Vavra should make the jump to Norfolk. Diaz is still looking to get on track. The Orioles fired Norfolk manager Gary Kendall after the season. Kendall also spent eight seasons as the manager of Double-A Bowie and has been with the Orioles since 2000. Bowie manager Buck Britton could succeed Kendall at Norfolk.

Double-A Bowie

2021 Record: 73-47

Top Performers/Prospects

Right-handed pitcher Grayson Rodriguez — 9-1, 2.36 ERA

Left-handed pitcher D.L. Hall — 2-0, 3.13 ERA

Shortstop Jordan Westburg — .232, 4 HR, 14 RBIs, .752 OPS

Second base Terrin Vavra — .248, 5 HR, 20 RBIs, .818 OPS

Second base/third base  Joey Ortiz — .233 4 HR, 9 RBIs, .780 OPS

Left-handed pitcher Drew Rom — 3-1, 3.83 ERA

Rustchman — .271, 18 HRs, 55 RBIs, .901 OPS

Stowers — .283, 17 HR, 42 RBIs, .938 OPS

Outlook: Bowie advanced to the Double-A Northeast League Championship Series, where it was swept by Akron. Britton was named the winner of the Cal Ripken Sr. Player Development Award. Rodriguez emerged as the No. 1 pitching prospect in MLB after a dominant season. Henderson could start the season with the Baysox but could be with the Orioles by the end of 2022. The Baysox will begin developing more prospects, including infielder Adam Hall and outfielder Shayne Fontana, from Aberdeen and Delmarva.

High-A Aberdeen

2021 Record: 58-61

Top Performers/Prospects

Outfield Shayne Fontana — .241 5 HR 32 RBI, .734 OPS

Second base Adam Hall — .248, 3 HR 27 RBIs, .672 OPS

Shortstop Gunnar Henderson — .230, 9 HR, 35 RBIs, .775 OPS

Shortstop Jordan Westburg — .286, 8 HR, 41 RBIs, .858 OPS

First base Andrew Daschbach — .268, 8 HR,  35 RBIs, .802 OPS

Right-handed pitcher Brandon Young, 1-2, 4.24  ERA,

Stowers — .275, 7 HRs, 32 RBIs, .900 OPS

Ortiz — .289, 8 RBIs, .816 OPS

Outlook: Manager Kyle Moore kept the IronBirds competitive despite dealing with a roster that had almost constant change. They started the season hot but then lost players to Bowie. Hall hit .248 and led the team in stolen bases with 26. Stowers, Henderson, Westburg and Rodriguez were among the players whobegan the season with the IronBirds. Outfielders Hudson Haskin and John Rhodes ,and infielders Coby Mayo and Darell Hernaiz  likely will start the season with the IronBirds in 2022 before moving to Bowie. Moore will manage top draft choices Colton Cowser (outfield) and Connor Norby (second base) from Delmarva to begin 2022.

Low-A Delmarva

2021 Record: 68-51

Top Performers/Prospects

Outfield Colton Cowser — .347, 1 HR, 26 RBIs, .904 OPS

Second base Connor Norby — .283, 3 HR, 17 RBIs, .847 OPS

outfield Hudson Haskin — .275, 5 HR, 33 RBIs, .792 OPS

Third base Coby Mayo — .311, 5 HR, 26, RBIs, .963 OPS

Outfield Reed Trimble — .169, 6 RBIs, .461 OPS

Shortstop Darell Hernaiz — .277 6 HR, 52 RBIs, .690 OPS

Shortstop Anthony Servideo — .246, 7 RBIs, .801 OPS

Outfield John Rhodes — .266, 2 HR, 18 RBIs, .715 OPS

Outlook: The Shorebirds had a winning record for the third straight season, which reflected the depth of the Orioles’ minor league system. Delmarva also set a franchise record for most runs scored in a season (720), on-base percentage (.358), and slugging percentage (.396). Delmarva likely will lose all of its key players from 2021 to a higher affiliate to begin the 2022 season. However, Trimble, the club’s 21st-rated prospect, Servideo (No. 26), and right-handed pitcher Carter Baumler, who had Tommy John surgery in 2020 (No. 27), should be there for more seasoning. Outfielder Heston Kjerstad, 2020’s top draft choice missed the entire season because of myocarditis, an enlargement of the heart, and the Orioles hope he will make his professional debut next year.

Florida Complex League

2021 Record: Black: 18-28; Orange: 10-33

Top Performers/Prospects

Outfield Trendon Craig — .294, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, .796 OPS

Outfield Craig Lewis — .435, 2 HR, 10 RBIs, .1188 OPS

Outfield Mishael Deson — .369, 3 HR, 16 RBIs, .930 OPS

Third base Noelberth Romero — .229, 3 HR, 15 RBIs, .670 OPS

Outfield Luis Gonzalez — .176,  2 HR, 10 RBIs, .543 OPS

Outlook: Alan Mills, who managed the Florida Complex League Black team, was fired. It’s also uncertain whether the Orioles will have two  teams next season. However, several young players showed promise. Cowser, Mayo, Deson and Lewis were among the players to earn promotions. Romero needs more work on his hitting.

Dominican Summer League Prospects

Shortstop Maikol Hernandez- .231, 15 RBIs, .647 OPS

Catcher Samuel Basallo — .239, 5 HR, 19 RBIs, .748 OPS

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

    October 11, 2021 at 7:46 am

    Thanks for the review. Suggestion – add a list of all players in the Orioles minor league system that will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft for the first time this off season or have a separate post just on those eligible for Rule 5 draft for the first time and let us wanna be GM’s help out Mike Elias. Thanks for all of the minor league reports throughout the season, much appreciated.

  2. millboy

    October 11, 2021 at 8:19 am

    Great article…thank you
    Agree with Hmmmmm, we fans know so much more than the people in charge, don’t know why they won’t listen to our points of view

    • ToddKarpovich

      October 11, 2021 at 8:29 am

      Thanks

    • ToddKarpovich

      October 11, 2021 at 8:37 am

      The Rule 5 players include D.L. Hall, Adam Hall, Kyle Bradish, Robert Neustrom, Kevin Smith, Terrin Vavra, Blaine Knight, and Lamar Sparks.

      Other players that could potentially be available unless protected include Brett Cumberland, Mason McCoy, Nick Vespi, Ofelky Peralta, Cody Sedlock, Cameron Bishop, Felix Bautista, and Ignacio Feliz.

      • HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

        October 11, 2021 at 6:52 pm

        Tough decisions lay ahead IMO

  3. Orioles20

    October 11, 2021 at 9:41 am

    I think it’s good to see guys at the lower levels performing so well. We know about the upper levels. Deson looks like he could be a steal. Thank you Colorado. I saw a video of Basallo hitting a bomb. Kid looks legit and is built like a linebacker. And to make it better we stole him from the Yankees by offering him more money.

  4. BenSch

    October 11, 2021 at 9:46 am

    it’s great to see all this talent coming up. And I’m grateful for the presence of Buck Britton.
    I still have the same question, is there an Oriole Way? ie how good is the Orioles farm system at player development? Raw talent is great but teaching the game is the next level. I still like pitching and defense builds dynasties.
    And, as a small market team (like the Rays) we’ll need to develop a smarter, tighter, more sophisticated game to take on the fats cats.

  5. Birdman

    October 11, 2021 at 1:56 pm

    Thanks for the update …With the exception of Rutschman and Stowers, the offensive numbers for the “top performers/prospects” at High A and above seem pretty underwhelming.

    • HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

      October 11, 2021 at 6:46 pm

      Rutschman didn’t play at A+ this season. Besides Stowers, there were 7 other players at Aberdeen with 50+ PAs with OPS over 0.800, not too bad IMO. Turchin, Rizer, Mundy, Westburg, Ramon Rodriguez, Joey Oritz, and Daschbach…

  6. willmiranda

    October 11, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks, Todd, for the thorough review. One question, not just for you: How bad do Diaz’s numbers have to be before he is no longer considered a Top Performer? Put another way, how old does he have to be to no longer be a Top Prospect? I’m getting the impression that he keeps getting put on these lists more out of habit and hope than out of observation.

  7. CalsPals

    October 11, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks for the updates Todd, 3-6 & era of 6.23 makes someone a top performer/prospect?…my how things have changed…go O’s…

    • HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

      October 11, 2021 at 6:35 pm

      Smith is a top prospect (#14) who didn’t perform too well at AAA, two dissonant facts, tough times…

    • CalsPals

      October 12, 2021 at 7:12 am

      Whatever DS…go O’s…

  8. dlgruber1

    October 11, 2021 at 2:39 pm

    So the O’s supposedly have the top rated farm system in MLB. If they break camp next spring and AR and GR make the O’s I’m guessing they’ll drop out of the top 10 because I’m not seeing a whole lot else to warrant a high ranking, particularly among the pitchers.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 11, 2021 at 3:01 pm

      Dave, they have the top pick in the draft, and if they pick well in it, they’ll continue to rank high with Westburg, Henderson, Hall, Cowser.

    • dlgruber1

      October 11, 2021 at 5:19 pm

      I’m sure you’re probably right Rich but I’ll say this, unless and until they can develop pitching, they’re gonna continue to be a second tier team. This has been a decades old problem now. GR looks to be the real deal and I’m excited to see if he can live up to his promise but so far the other young pitchers haven’t and there’s no way I see them paying a top FA pitcher.

      • Birdman

        October 11, 2021 at 6:07 pm

        Agree that it would be a shock to see Orioles pay for a top tier FA pitcher, but even a couple of mediocre journeymen pitchers (starters or relievers) would be a big upgrade for this staff.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          October 12, 2021 at 9:38 am

          Exactly.

    • Icterus fan

      October 11, 2021 at 7:33 pm

      Top tier free agents won’t sign here unless they are grossly overpaid, and I can’t see mgt loosing the purse strings to that extent.
      So, I agree with Birdman – optimally a mid tier pitcher or two could be snagged. The hope would be that in conjunction with our own prospects performing well in spring training, they make the big show next year.
      The combination hopefully will produce better results. Can’t get worse!

  9. BirdsCaps

    October 11, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    Was this yr an anomaly (rebuild+lost 2020 season) or will Aberdeen continue to see drastic personnel changes? This year was brutal. While there are always call ups, this one of the worst years I’ve seen for roster stability.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 11, 2021 at 11:16 pm

      The Orioles used 62 players. There was several transactions each week. That tricked down to the minors, Steve, and it was similar around baseball.

  10. Buzz1979

    October 11, 2021 at 10:06 pm

    Roch really bored today, talking about Valdez and Plutko electing minor league free agency. When the Orioles don’t want you, usually no one does, just ask ask Wilkerson! “D’OH'”

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