10 Names You Need To Know – Baltimore Orioles

Graphic design by John Stewart, @jonance on Twitter

The minor league system in Baltimore has come a long way in the past few years. While the 108 losses last year for the Orioles and the outlook for the 60 game MLB schedule in 2020 paint a bleak picture, the minor league system tells a different story. While still building the kind of depth needed to compete with other top systems, the organization does provide a significant amount of names that you need to know whether you’re an Orioles fan or looking for a find in a deep dynasty league.

Adley Rutschman, C

Age: 22
Highest Level: Full Season Single-A
No list of minor league players you need to know would be complete without the addition of Adley Rutschman. The number 1 overall pick in 2019, Rutschman shows plus tools in just about every facet of the game and despite only having 130 professional at bats, he should not take long to show that upside in Baltimore. It would not be a stretch to say that O’s fans could be watching the best offensive catcher in the game for a long time, make his approach to Baltimore.


Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/OF

Age: 23
Highest Level: Triple-A
While Rutschman is the unquestioned best prospect in the organization, Ryan Mountcastle is the biggest prospect we’re likely to see reach Baltimore this year. While defense is and will likely remain a bit of a question, Mountcastle can simply hit the ball. With easy 30 homer potential, he posted a .527 slugging percentage while taking home the International League MVP Award in 2019. Currently seeing time in left field and at First Base, I would venture to guess we will see Mountcastle in Baltimore before September, especially if the surprising O’s continue to win ball games.


Keegan Akin, LHP

Age: 25
Highest Level: Triple-A
Another Oriole poised to make his major league debut in 2020, Keegan Akin was officially promoted to the big club on August 8 and will initially be available out of the bullpen in a long relief role. Akin does have the stuff to start though, posting a 10.5 K/9 in his first season at Triple A Norfolk in 2019. With the well documented pitching issues in Baltimore, Akin could step right in as a mid-rotation starter and provide quality innings as 2020 progresses.


Drew Rom, LHP

Age: 20
Highest Level: Full Season Single-A
A 4th round pick in 2018, Drew Rom is part of the stable of young arms the Orioles can look forward in Baltimore over the next few seasons. Drafted out of high school, Rom started in full season A ball in his first full professional season where he racked up a massive 11.5 K/9, while limiting batters to just 7.8 H/9. With an above average slider and a fastball that should move to above average as he fills out, Rom should slot in nicely behind the big duo of Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall.


Heston Kjerstad, OF

Age: 21
Highest Level: N/A
While the strategy of drafting a below slot player has been and will be debated by the experts, the reality is that Heston Kjerstad is a top 10 talent with potential plus power and an arm capable of sticking in right field. So while most say the Orioles reached for Kjerstad at the second overall pick, a slash line of .343/.421/.590 with 72 extra base hits over his 2+ seasons at Arkansas certainly lead me to believe the 30 home run potential is real and the savings, which we will look at momentarily are great for the franchise.


Coby Mayo, 3B

Age: 18
Highest Level: N/A
Stoneman Douglas High school in Florida, the former home of Anthony Rizzo, Colton Welker and Jesus Luzardo has cranked out major league level talent regularly over the last 10 years. The big third baseman Coby Mayo, was selected in the 4th round and signed to an over slot bonus, with much of the money saved in the first round. Mayo possess a plus plus arm at third base and plus power potential, should he be able to shrug off the swing and miss that has been evident so far.


Carter Baumler, RHP

Age: 18
Highest Level: N/A
It took $1.5 million for the Orioles to pry Carter Baumler and his already plus fastball/curveball combination away from TCU. The athletic righty was selected in the 5th round and already possesses an above average fastball and curveball, with both possessing the projection to be above average pitches. While the changeup is still a work in progress, that tends to be very typical for dominant high school arms and Baumler has shown a feel for it.


Luis Ortiz, LHP

Age: 17
Highest Level: N/A
The lack of involvement in the international market for Baltimore prior to Mike Elias is well documented. Despite being well behind the curve, Elias was able to secure some very solid talent in 2019, led by Ortiz. The 6’3” lefty has touched 95 and shows good feel for his curveball, both already clocking in as above average offerings at 17 years old. If Ortiz progresses as his potential would suggest, he would be an incredibly successful dive into the international market for Eilas.


Elio Prado, OF

Age: 18
Highest Level: Dominican Summer League
Acquired from Boston in 2019 when the Orioles sent Andrew Cashner packing, Elio Prado is a high OBP top of the order bat that makes a ton of contact and draws a lot of walks. Posting a slash line of .300/.403/.396 Prado will never likely have a lot of power but he did have 15 extra base hits in 217 at bats and could approach double digit home run power as he fills out. With a 12% BB rate and a 13% K rate, Prado is exactly the kind of high upside prospect the Orioles need to stock up on.


Darell Hernaiz, SS

Age: 19
Highest Level: Gulf Coast League
A 5th round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Darell Hernaiz is all projection. The 6’1” shortstop has shown command of the zone, walking almost 15% of the time in his debut while striking out at 22% rate, which will be reasonable should the walk rate stay high and the 20 + home run potential prove true. With room to fill in and still maintain his plus speed and range at shortstop, the upside and excitement for Hernaiz is understandably high.

An absolute sports fanatic. Be it at the office or a family gathering, you can usually find me talking sports, especially baseball. When I am not at the office working for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at a small bureau in the Dept. of Human Services, I love to golf, go to Baltimore to catch the O’s or Ravens and spend time with my amazing wife. Follow me on Twitter @RyanJames5.

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