Today I conclude my countdown of the Top 33 Baltimore Orioles prospects headed into 2022. For the rest of the list see:
11. RHP Kyle Bradish
I’m so impressed with Kyle Bradish‘s ability to combine control, command, and big time spin. When I hear the criticisms of the system’s pitching depth and see someone this ready and good at a spot outside of the top 10 I have to reconsider what depth is if it’s not lots of talented arms to rank. His posture and release remind me so much of a quarterback and his weight transfer is so smooth it makes me think he’ll stay healthy and throwing 165+ innings for a few seasons to come. Looks like AAA was a learning experience for the 25-year-old but he struck guys out enough for me. Will he be effective multiple times through the order and will he limit hard contact by hitting corners better? Either way we should see him learning in the bigs very soon.
10. LHP Drew Rom
I may have Drew Rom higher than other observers but I love his athletic/flexible abilities as much as his stuff. Coming from the left side he can contort and get so much juice on the ball to achieve spin or run that his velocity ceiling is barely a concern for me. I don’t care how much he scrapes 94 if he’s clean with his delivery and release point. Rom is a results oriented profile to me and after his 1st three seasons, his whip is 1.13 k/9 is 10.4 and K/BB is 4.15. Those are freaking results. Trust Rom and his mechanics. Be glad you’re not a lefty hitter trying to dodge his darts because he’s going to place then where he wants. Think Dean Kremer maxed out but with better change-ups than cutters. At 10 that’s a big change for the Orioles.
9. OF Kyle Stowers
A pretty good 2021 has Kyle Stowers in the top 10. Maximizing decisions and outputs obviously worked well for the lefty swinger last year. He really outperformed expectations by leaps and bounds. Twenty-seven taters is an amazing year at any level of baseball. But look at his on-base and isolated power numbers, then at his batted ball results and realize that he’s also on track to be an All-Star level hitter. If 2021 is the start of an even better Stowers, the rebuild™️ could have a slightly different timeline. People have always been excited for what Stowers could turn into if he went from spindly to stout and straightened his uppercut just a twinge. 2021 was when they started being very tight.
8. IF Jordan Westburg
Jordan Westburg has done everything completely right and validated his comp round pick while solidifying his future. The stats say he can stick at short or 3rd, and his physical stature seems to line up with that. He’s solidly built, stronger than he looks and aggressive at the right times too which will help his organizational standing no matter where he plays. An outstanding sign, and a reason to focus much more in the 47 XBH in his 1st 112 games than the 2:1 K:BB numbers. I’ll also like the acceleration I saw this year, helping him to use that aggressiveness on the bases where he was 17-for-23 in steals.
7. OF Colton Cowser
Colton Cowser has so much offensive skill that is just evident in every rep. The O’s have in him an OF who is strong and fast to the ball in the air and quick to pivot and get rid of it. Will that movement efficiency stay as he gains the muscle needed to compete at the highest level? That remains to be seen but I have noticed and discussed that his legs are already thick and he runs well in the outfield gaps. This year isn’t make or break for the team’s top pick in 2021, he’ll need to continue making progress and be ready for a leap into the top 5 after some earned graduations.
6. RHP Michael Baumann
I like Baumann so much and have seen him be at his best. He convinced me of his readiness and I don’t know who has the stuff and experience in the system to pass him right now. The sturdy frame and four-pitch (or more) mix pairs well with a nasty disposition and disdain for those in the box. We need some mean on the mound and Big Mike brings it.
5. SS Gunnar Henderson
Speaking of infielders who’d be ranked number 1 elsewhere… Gunnar Henderson. It’s baffling to think that the Orioles drafted their SS of the future in the 2019 draft where they nabbed Adley at the top. Wonder why they got that top ranking….
Putting on significant muscle hasn’t slowed down his athleticism one bit. Getting more reps is all he needs to do to close the gap between wherever he starts and Oriole Park. The coaching and education that was fast tracked at the alternate site has paid off and Gunnar is thriving in the team’s program. Like those mentioned above him, there are elements of a leader with Gun too. Can’t wait to see him turning double plays and knocking in clutch hits.
4. 3B Coby Mayo
Coby Mayo made so much progress in such a short window, how can you not dream about more? Seeing his amateur coaches swoon in the stands at what he’s turned into as a teenager, I wondered why they weren’t thinking about 2023 and beyond like me. What I expect is an All-Star fielder with offensive skills and the aptitude to add to them throughout a long career. He’s 20 and getting so much seasoning but look how good he is today. He just started playing as a pro last June. Not only would he be ranked as the top prospect on several teams today, he’d probably be the 2022 draft’s top pick if the O’s didn’t convince him to join the rebuild and power it forward. Nice job guys!
3. LHP DL Hall
If you make the mistake of calling him “injury prone” or “wild” it’s you saying that you simply don’t understand development and what happens when assignments are given out and pitches get better/more effective. His stuff is as good as any arm not in the majors, questioning that is worthless. But I like him so much and rank him here because of the intangibles that he’s shown: Passion, heart and desire fuel him like a football player and he brings that to the mound but controls it like the spin on a slider. I trust him more seeing his approach to recovery and believe that preserving and protecting the arm is going to pay off big time.
2. RHP Grayson Rodriguez
Grayson Rodriguez, coming into the organization with a handful of effective pitches, has been transformed into a top of the rotation lock. Bigger by a bit but better with the ball in the air by a lot, his time in the minors has been effective and efficient. Credit to coaches because he’s improved while making lineups look bad while adding to that repertoire. The off-speed stuff is now as good as everything else. This guy is as ready for the bright lights as any human in the organization. I’m liking his leadership from that #1 spot as a storyline, hopefully forever.
1. C Adley Rutschman
Obviously, Adley Rutschman is deserving of the system’s current crown. He’s the switch-hitting stud oozing with competing contact and pop and the winner will undoubtedly be Birdland. Him bringing the foundation on his broad shoulders and a fruitful 500+ at bats per season will start so soon it’s almost here.