Baltimore Orioles 2021 Top 50 Prospects

Graphic design by John Stewart, @jonance on Twitter

I told myself this year I wasn’t going to mention how horrible the Orioles farm system used to be, but it’s just not possible to do that quite yet. The system has come so far that I’ll put it on paper now and by the next top 50, hopefully this summer, I won’t mention that they were far and away the worst system a few years ago. Despite the incredibly odd year that 2020 has been, the Orioles have added a significant amount of talent to this list. Throughout the shortened draft and trades, I see at least 10 new names that will be added, mostly to the top half of this list, creating a very deep, very talented system. While the system did graduate 3 top 30 talents in Austin Hays, Hunter Harvey and Dillon Tate, who all have cemented themselves in Baltimore at this point, that does mean we will see some names drop from the list, despite not playing anywhere in 2020.


With an eye to the future, I love what the Orioles have done this off-season. I’ve already heard the questions about why the big club traded Jose Iglesias and non-tendered Hanser Alberto. I’ve also read the grumblings from Chris Davis, about the rebuild and where it’s headed, but I have no doubt the future is bright in Baltimore and we could see that as soon as 2022.

Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster

Tier 1

1. Adley Rutschman, C
Age: 22 (DOB 02/06/1998)
Highest Level: Full Season Single-A
Rutschman spent all of the 2020 season at the alternate training site, gaining valuable experience in what could’ve been a lost season for a player with only 130 career minor league at-bats. With 4 plus tools, the Orioles have already addressed the likelihood of Rutschman moving quickly through the minors. He will begin the 2021 season at Double-A Bowie and leaving the option open that he will reach Baltimore this year. Rutschman has the potential to be a generational talent behind the plate but, will still have to prove himself in the minors before arriving in Baltimore.
ETA: 2021

2. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB 11/16/1999)
Highest Level: Full Season Single-A
Rodriguez took another step forward in the 2020 season, despite the fact that he didn’t log one inning due to the pandemic. Working to improve his changeup, Rodriguez could very soon have 4 above average pitches, with 3 of those being plus. Grayson looks like a true potential ace who should only continue to improve as he faces better competition.
ETA: 2022

Tier 2

3. Heston Kjerstad, OF
Age: 21 (DOB 2/12/1999)
Highest Level: College
Being the 2nd overall pick in 2020 MLB Draft was a bit of a surprise to the general public, but the best left-handed power bat in the draft has plenty of upside. He racked up 37 bombs in only 595 at bats in college and while the strikeout concerns will always be there for a big time power bat, he slashed .343/.421/.590 over those same 595 at bats, giving me plenty of confidence he will find himself in the middle of the order in Baltimore, sooner rather than later.
ETA: 2023

4. DL Hall, LHP
Age: 22 (DOB 09/19/1998)
Highest Level: High-A
The lefty with the career 11.1 K/9 certainly has the swing and miss stuff to slot him into the front end of most any rotation in baseball. Hall has continued to use his 3 plus pitches to wear out opposing batters, especially lefties, surrendering only 16 hits in 116 plate appearances. The control has been a bit slower to progress, but his stuff suggests it should come and I believe he will move quickly once it does. I believe he will start 2021 in Double-A with Adley Rutschman and could very easily make his debut in Baltimore by the end of the season.
ETA: 2021

5. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/OF
Age: 23 (DOB 02/18/1997)
2019 Highest Level: MLB
Every time I talk about Mountcastle, I use the phrase, all he does is hit. That didn’t change in his MLB debut in 2020. After getting the call, all Mountcastle did was slash .333/.386/.492 with 5 HR and 23 RBI in 126 at bats. The defensive questions are still there, but he played a solid leftfield last season and is expected to see some time at first base in 2021 as well. To this point, Mountcastle looks every bit the middle of the lineup bat the Orioles hoped he would be.
ETA: 2021

6. Gunnar Henderson, SS
Age: 19 (DOB 06/29/2001)
Highest Level: Gulf Coast League
I’ve mentioned previously, in the 2020 Orioles Top 50, that Henderson may or may not stick at shortstop. At 6’3” 195 pounds, Henderson is a great athlete that handles shortstop without a problem now, but that could easily change as he matures. Either way, Henderson more than has the arm and bat to succeed whether it’s up the middle or at the hot corner.
ETA: 2023

Tier 3

7. Yusniel Diaz, OF
Age: 24 (DOB 10/07/1996)
Highest Level: Double-A
I still refuse to believe that Diaz will not deliver on all the talent that made him the centerpiece of the Manny Machado trade. He has the tools to be a legitimate 5 tool player if it all comes together, but injuries slowed him again in 2019. After spending much of 2020 at the alternate training facility, Diaz was added to the 40-man roster leading up to 2021 and must make an impact to force his way into an already crowded Orioles outfield.
ETA: 2021

8. Terrin Vavra, SS/OF
Age: 23 (DOB 5/12/1997)
Highest Level: Full Season Single-A
Acquired from Colorado in the Mychal Givens trade, Vavra is the kind of player that consistently outperforms his tools. A heady player with a baseball pedigree, Vavra played up the middle for Ashville and has been asked to learn centerfield for Baltimore as well. In 2019 Vavra showed what he is capable of at the plate posting a .409 OBP, walking as often as he struck out putting up 43 extra base hits in just 374 at bats. I see an offensive minded utility player as his floor, with a full time regular as the more likely scenario.
ETA: 2023

9. Michael Baumann, RHP
Age: 25 (DOB 09/10/1995)
Highest Level: Double-A
After spending 2020 at the alternate training facility, Baumann was added to the 40-man roster and could very easily find himself in Baltimore sooner rather than later. The big righty has a 4-pitch arsenal that includes a mid-90’s fastball and a wipeout power slider that allowed him to post a 10.3 K/9 in 2019. Those 2 pitches alone give him the floor of a high leverage reliever, but I see him slotting into the middle of the Orioles rotation as soon as this season.
ETA: 2021

10. Dean Kremer, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB 01/07/1996)
Highest Level: MLB
Kremer’s 4 start debut in 2020 was solid but imperfect. We will start with the good. He struck out 22 in 18.2 innings while only allowing 15 hits a definite recipe for success. However, he also walked 12 in those same 18.2 innings, which led to many more baserunners and a 1.45 WHIP, which must improve for Kremer to succeed as a starter. The control issues also limited his ability to work deep into games, but I anticipate Kremer finding himself at the backend of the 2021 Opening Day rotation, with a sizeable leash.
ETA: 2021

11. Jordan Westburg, SS/3B
Age: 21 (DOB 2/18/1999)
Highest Level: College
Another big shortstop, Westburg appears to be very similar to Gunnar Henderson. Currently athletic enough to stick at short, he may need to move to the third base as he matures, but his arm and bat are strong enough to play either place. Westburg has above average raw power and is willing to take a walk, so if he can continue to stay patient, he should have no problem succeeding at the plate.
ETA: 2023

12. Kevin Smith, LHP
Age: 23 (DOB 5/13/1997)
Highest Level: Double-A
Acquired last season in the trade with the Mets that sent Miguel Castro packing, Smith is a tall lefty with strikeout stuff. Thought he doesn’t possess an overpowering fastball, he is deceptive enough to get swings and misses with it and his strong slider. Smith joins the stable of starting pitching that could easily find themselves auditioning in Baltimore for a starting rotation spot as early as 2021.
ETA: 2021

13. Zac Lowther, LHP
Age: 24 (DOB 04/30/1996)
Highest Level: Double-A
Added to the 40-man roster this off-season, Lowther is another candidate to see time in the Baltimore rotation in 2021. With a career .194 BAA and 10.5 K/9, Lowther has plenty of swing and miss in his repertoire, despite a fastball that typically sits in the high 80’s. He’s been durable and could easily be in Baltimore as soon as Opening Day.
ETA: 2021

14. Tyler Nevin, 1B/3B
Age: 23 (DOB 5/29/1997)
Highest Level: Double-A
Acquired with Vavra from Colorado, Nevin is another player with a baseball pedigree that has continued to outperform his tools. Nevin posses a great eye at the plate and barrels the ball well. He doesn’t specifically have a home on defense, where he has seen time at third and first base, as well as the corner outfield positions. This could give him the flexibility to be an offensive minded utility player, but I’m hoping to see him at the hot corner in Bowie in 2021 with a chance to be the everyday third baseman in Baltimore.

15. Hudson Haskin, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 12/31/1998)
Highest Level: College
The 39th overall pick in last year’s 2020 draft, Haskin is a plus runner with 20/20 potential. He didn’t run quite that much at Tulane, but he has the wheels and uses them to his advantage to cover a lot of ground in centerfield as well.
ETA: 2023

16. Keegan Akin, LHP
Age: 25 (DOB 04/01/1995)
Highest Level: MLB
Much like Kremer, Akin was solid in his debut in 2020. Making 6 starts and 2 relief appearances, Akin posted a 12.3 K/9 and showed solid control, he likely has earned himself a spot in the Opening Day rotation in 2021. If he can limit the contact he gives up, I’d like him to stick in the back end of the rotation.
ETA: 2021

17. Alex Wells, LHP
Age: 23 (DOB 02/27/1997)
Highest Level: Double-A
Another starting pitcher added to the 40-man roster this off-season, the Australian native has worked his way through the system, using his plus control and solid curveball to keep hitters off balance. He will never be a bigtime fantasy option, as the K’s will never be high, but he will give quality innings from the back of the rotation.
ETA: 2021

18. Kyle Stowers, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 01/02/1998)
Highest Level: Short Season A
A big left-handed bat with plenty of power, Stowers is athletic enough that he could handle spot duty in centerfield, but projects as a corner outfielder. As most power hitters do, he has some swing and miss concerns, but he has plenty of time to work those out and be a solid middle of the order bat in Baltimore.
ETA: 2023

19. Adam Hall, SS
Age: 21 (DOB 05/22/1999)
Highest Level: Full Season A
A plus runner and solid defender, Hall showed more power in his full season debut in 2019 than I would have expected. While he will never have a lot of power, the bat should play enough to give him a utility floor with the ability to be a full time regular.
ETA: 2021

20. Carter Baumler, RHP
Age: 18 (DOB 1/31/2002)
A very good athlete, Baumler signed above slot after being drafted in the 5th round in 2020. The prep righty is expected to add velocity to his mid-90’s fastball as well as develop what could be an above average curveball and changeup.
ETA: 2025

21. Drew Rom, LHP
Age: 21 (DOB 12/15/1999)
Highest Level: Single-A
A 4th round pick, Rom has been a great value, using his above average slider to strike out 11.5 batters per 9 innings in his full season debut. The lefty still has room to grow, which projects to add velocity and make him an even more valuable. Rom could very easily slot into the middle of the rotation in a few years.
ETA: 2023

22. Ryan McKenna, OF
Age: 23 (DOB 02/14/1997)
Highest Level: Double-A
McKenna is the kind of player that every team can use. A great athlete with good instincts in the outfield that can steal a base, draw a walk and hit for a little bit of power. If he’s able to smooth out the contact concerns, he can easily be a full time regular, but with the tools he has a 4th outfielder is his likely floor.
ETA: 2021

23. Garrett Stallings, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 8/8/1997
Highest Level: College
Acquired from the Angels in the Jose Iglesias deal, Stallings was a 5th round pick in 2019, but has not thrown a professional pitch yet. Stallings is not going to overwhelm anyone with velocity, sitting in the low 90’s, he uses an above average slider and changeup and great control to keep hitters off balance.

24. Anthony Servideo, SS
Age: 21 (DOB 3/11/1999)
Highest Level: College
Servideo jumped out of the gate in his abbreviated junior season, showing significant upside at the plate. He had always had a great eye and above average speed, but he slashed .390/.575/.695 with 5 HR in just 59 at bats before the season was shut down. It’s obviously a very small sample, but the upside is certainly there.

25. Coby Mayo, 3B
Age: 19 (DOB 12/10/2001)
Highest Level: High School
The prep third baseman has the kind of raw power that is too great to ignore. Beyond the power, some concerns pop up with Mayo when it comes to contact and his ability to stick at the hot corner. The power will play, no matter where he settles in defensively though, as long as the contact concerns are tempered.

Tier 4

26. Cody Sedlock, RHP
Age: 25 (DOB 06/19/1995)
Highest Level: Double-A
The former first round pick came into the organization with a 4-pitch mix that led many to believe he would be a top of the rotation arm. Injuries have limited those expectations, but that doesn’t mean Sedlock can’t contribute and he could still flash some of the plus stuff he had when used in shorter stints.
ETA: 2021

27. Kyle Bradish, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB 09/12/1996)
Highest Level: High-A
Acquired in the Dylan Bundy trade, Bradish has yet to throw a pitch for the Orioles, but the solid 4 pitch mix gives him a shot to fill in toward the back of the rotation in Baltimore. He struggled a bit with his command in 2019 but, did strike out 10.7 batters per 9 in his debut and should have a floor of a solid reliever if the rotation isn’t where he winds up.
ETA: 2022

28. Elio Prado, OF
Age: 19 (DOB 11/29/2001)
Highest Level: Dominican Summer League
Prado is all upside at this point. In his limited DSL debut, he showed the ability to control the strike zone, make solid, regular contact and use his athleticism to run the bases well and play a solid outfield. He will hopefully make his stateside debut in 2021 and show his full potential. He could be a big riser in the mid-season update.
ETA: 2024

29. Rylan Bannon, 2B/3B/SS
Age: 24 (DOB 04/22/1996)
Highest Level: Triple A
Bannon has bounced around the infield since coming to Baltimore, spending time at third and second base in his season and a half. He’s said to be preparing to see some time at shortstop at the outset of the 2021 season as well as the Orioles likely prepare him for a bat first utility role with the major league club. Having shown more power than expected, the bat should play, regardless of where he plays in the field.
ETA: 2021

30. Brenan Hanifee, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 05/29/1998)
Highest Level: High-A
While the strikeout numbers will never be high, Hanifee has been successful by using his sinking fastball to induce ground balls and keep the ball in the ballpark. He must return to commanding the zone to have success at the highest levels and find his way to the back end of the rotation.
ETA: 2022

31. Luis Ortiz, LHP
Age: 18 (DOB 09/17/2002)
Highest Level: 2019 International signing
The 6’3” lefty has regularly touch 95 with his fastball and has shown solid upside with his curveball and changeup. Yet to make his professional debut, Ortiz has shown advanced pitchability and represents a very solid dive into the international market for the Orioles.
ETA: 2025

32. Cadyn Grenier, SS
Age: 24 (DOB 10/31/1996)
Highest Level: High-A
Grenier will never be a middle of the order bat, but the glove is advanced, so if he maintains enough contact, he has a strong likelihood of reaching the majors as a utility infielder.
ETA: 2022

33. Zach Watson, OF
Age: 23 (DOB 06/25/1997)
Highest Level: Single-A
70 grade speed doesn’t come along every day. Watson has contact concerns but he did walk at an 8% rate and has the athleticism to play very strong defense in centerfield, if the contact he showed at LSU grows he could end up at the top of the lineup in Baltimore.
ETA: 2023

34. Darell Hernaiz, SS
Age: 19 (DOB 08/03/2001)
Highest Level: Gulf Coast League
A strong command of the strike zone and solid power/speed potential, Hernaiz is all upside right now. Another name to watch as he gets the chance to expand on the 99 career professional at bats he has thus far.
ETA: 2024

35. Tyler Wells, RHP
Age: 26 (DOB 8/26/1994)
Highest Level: Double-A
Coming off Tommy John, Wells hasn’t thrown a pitch since 2018, but the 6’8” righty had been very good in his 250+ minor league innings. Striking out more than 10 batters per 9 innings while allowing only 2.6 walks almost exclusively as a starter. Another arm I’d imagine to throw from the bullpen in 2021, he could eventually start if he hangs on as a Rule 5 pick.

36. Blaine Knight, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB 06/28/1996)
Highest Level: High-A
I was pretty high on Knight prior to his High-A debut in 2019. The numbers don’t really tell the story, but the big righty possesses the upside with his heavy fastball to jump up the rankings quickly should he return to form in 2021.
ETA: 2022

37. Bruce Zimmermann, RHP
Age: 25 (DOB 02/09/1995)
Highest Level: MLB
Zimmerman made his MLB debut in 2020, throwing very well in his debut against Boston in relief. Zimmerman has the stuff to slot into the back of the rotation currently or be a swingman/depth arm for Baltimore in 2021.
ETA: 2021

38. Isaac Mattson, RHP
Age: 25 (DOB 07/14/1995)
Highest Level: Triple A
I was a bit surprised Mattson didn’t make his debut in 2020 for Baltimore. While he doesn’t have high velocity, he did post a 13.5 K/9 across 3 levels in 2019 and was added to the 40-man roster this off season, so he very likely will make his debut in Baltimore in 2021.
ETA: 2021

39. Mac Sceroler, RHP
Age: 25 (DOB 04/9/1995)
Highest Level: High-A
Selected with the 5th overall pick in 2020 Rule 5 draft from Cincinnati, Sceroler’s fastball touches 95 and he adds a solid slider/changeup combination. He has mostly been used a starter, but I would expect him to throw from the pen, where his stuff could play up, if he sticks in Baltimore in 2021.
ETA: 2021

Tier 5

40. JC Encarnacion, 3B
Age: 22 (DOB 01/17/1998)
Highest Level: Single-A
A superior athlete, Encarnacion has been unable to quell the contact concerns that have plagued him thus far. He’s a free swinger that doesn’t take many walks, but he’s only 22 and has 20/20 upside if it all comes together.
ETA: 2023

41. Joey Ortiz, SS
Age: 22 (DOB 07/14/1998)
2019 Highest Level: Short Season A
Ortiz’s pro debut didn’t capture the upside that his junior season at New Mexico state did, after the athletic shortstop hit only 3 extra base hits in 195 at bats, following his 43 extra base hits in 251 at bats in his junior season. That said, he did command the zone well and has plenty of opportunity to showcase the bat in 2021.
ETA: 2024

42. Kyle Brnovich, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 10/20/1997)
Highest Level: College
Another pitcher acquired from the Angels that has yet to make his professional debut. Brnovich posted an 11.5 K/9 while at Elon and should have plenty of opportunity to show that in 2021.
ETA: 2024

43. Mason McCoy, SS/2B
Age: 25 (DOB 03/31/1995)
Highest Level: Double-A
McCoy struggled a bit with contact in his Double-A debut in 2019 after slashing .379/.416/.509 in his 116 High-A at bats. With a very solid glove and above average speed, if he falls somewhere between his High-A and Double-A lines he should easily find himself a role as a utility infielder.
ETA: 2022

44. Zach Peek, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 05/06/1998)
Highest Level: College
The last of the pitchers acquired from the Angels in the Bundy deal has also not thrown a professional pitch yet and he should debut in full season A in 2021.
ETA: 2023

45. Jean Carmona, SS
Age: 21 (DOB 10/31/1999)
Highest Level: Arizona Rookie League
Carmona will play the entire 2021 season at 21 years old, so the clock hasn’t run out yet, but he will need to take the steps forward to living up to the tantalizing potential he showed back in 2017 in the DSL.
ETA: 2023

46. Luis Gonzalez, OF
Age: 18 (DOB 11/02/2002)
Highest Level: 2019 International signing
Athletic enough to man centerfield, with a potential impact bat, Gonzalez has yet to make his professional debut, but was part of GM Mike Elias’s foray into the international market, a big step for the Orioles.
ETA: 2025

47. Zach Muckenhirn, RP
Age: 25 (DOB 2/27/1995)
Highest Level: Triple-A
The right-handed reliever has worked his way up through the Orioles system. He really became a prospect in 2018 when he was shifted to the bullpen, where he has posted 11.1 and 11.5 K/9 rates respectively. He has some control concerns that may hold him back, but I anticipate seeing him in Baltimore in 2021.
ETA: 2021

48. Johnny Rizer, OF
Age: 23 (DOB 11/07/1996)
2019 Highest Level: Single-A
The 2019 draftee put together a solid debut, amassing 23 extra base hits with a 17% K rate. A very similar showing to what he did at TCU, so he’s another name I could see jumping quickly in 2021.
ETA: 2023

49. Leonel Sanchez, SS
Age: 18 (DOB 12/04/2002)
Highest Level: 2019 International signing
Yet to make his professional debut, Sanchez is athletic and should likely be able to stick at shortstop.
ETA: 2025

50. Leonardo Rodriguez, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 11/25/1997)
Highest Level: Short Season A
At 6’7”, Rodriguez is projectable, but at 23 and yet to reach full season ball, he needs to leap forward quickly to have a chance to show the upside he possesses. The stuff is there to be an impact reliever if it comes together for him.
ETA: 2024




About Ryan James 18 Articles
An absolute sports fanatic. Be it at the office, a family gathering or my wife’s restaurant 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 of 5 years. Follow me on Twitter @RyanJames5.

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