As the season comes to the end, here is an updated look at the Orioles Top 10 prospects. I didn’t have the pleasure of crafting the Orioles 2017 Preseason Top 50 Prospects, though I don’t have many major objections with the list my predecessor crafted back in January. Clearly, my list would have been slightly different in the preseason, but that list didn’t have any glaring oversights or misrankings.
The Orioles system is on the rise. The Orioles are often criticized, and rightfully so, for not spending in the international market and for having a sub-par system. But some of the residual hate the Orioles receive is not justified. Most prospect analysts missed on Trey Mancini, who is having an exceptional rookie campaign. He’s putting up solid numbers and is benefiting dynasty owners who believed in his minor league production. Hopefully his success will lead to some other Orioles prospects receiving more recognition on the national stage.
With that said, here is an early look at my current Orioles Top 10 dynasty prospects as we head toward the offseason.
1) Austin Hays, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 7/5/1995)
One of the breakout prospects in all of MiLB this summer. All this guy does is hit. Hays skipped over Low A and began the year in the Carolina League with Frederick. He hit the cover off the ball and was promoted to AA Bowie midseason and continued to blister the baseball. Hays was called up to Baltimore last week, and there is talk locally of him starting in right field with the big club next year, and that wouldn’t surprise. He’s smacked 32 home runs between the two levels and gotten on base at an impressive clip. He is likely already owned in most dynasty leagues that allow in-season MiLB pick ups, or in leagues with savvy owners who drafted him last offseason. But if he’s available in your league, grab him.
2) Chance Sisco, C
Age: 22 (DOB 2/24/1995)
The Orioles most heralded prospect heading into the season has done nothing to tarnish that reputation. Hays has just outshined him this year. Sisco, who was promoted to the majors with September roster expansion, is an on base machine. He doesn’t have huge power, but knows how to control the strike zone. His defense has been questioned in the past, but reports suggest that he has steadily progressed behind the dish as he has moved up the minors. Catching prospects are always risky in fantasy and real life, but Sisco has the makings of a solid contributor at a difficult position to fill.
3) Ryan Mountcastle, SS/3B
Age: 20 (DOB 2/18/1997)
Mountcastle has struggled a bit since being promoted to AA Bowie midseason as a 20 year old. But his age, and the fact that he had to learn a new position, surely contributed to his early struggles at Bowie. Mountcastle started the season at Frederick forming an imposing combo with Hays. While playing shortstop he demonstrated impressive power and on base skills. His defense has always been a question, but his bat has never been doubted. Mountcastle was moved to third when he was promoted to Bowie. Some think his defensive skill set will eventually translate best in left field. He will have more fantasy value if he can stick in the dirt, but that is clearly still to be determined. Eastern League pitching has proven to be more of a challenge for Mountcastle. But at 20, he is extremely young for the league.
4) DL Hall, LHP
Age: 18 (DOB 9/19/1998)
The Orioles top pick this past summer in the amateur draft. The 21st overall selection has struggled a bit in limited action in the Gulf Coast League. But the upside is significant. Coming into the draft he was expected to go much higher than where he ultimately landed. Some reports suggested make-up concerns contributed to the slip. Another concern for Hall is the Orioles history of failing to develop pitching. There is a lot of unknowns will Hall right now, but his upside is intriguing in this thin system. Could be first on this list in a year, or could be in the teens trending in the wrong direction. To be determined.
5) Cedric Mullins, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 10/1/1994)
Early in the season Mullins was the Orioles minor league outfield prospect who was getting the breakout prospect love. He was slowed by injury after his blistering start to the season. He found himself on the shelf twice as a result of hamstring injuries. When he returned, his early season star had been eclipsed by the blistering performance of Hays. When the season ended for AA Bowie, Mullins had only played 76 games. He’s a speed and on base type who contributes only mild pop at this point. If he can stay healthy next year look for him to continue with the break out.
6) Hunter Harvey, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 12/9/1994)
The Orioles 2013 1st round pick has been snake bitten with injuries. When he’s healthy he has put up dominating numbers. Problem is, he’s rarely healthy enough to take the mound. He rehabbed in the low minors at the end of this season, accumulating 18.2 innings, across 8 starts. I was in attendance for his penultimate start of the year, and he looked crisp while striking out 5 in 2.2 innings. If he can have a normal off season and shows up to spring training healthy, he could move quickly. Harvey could follow the Dylan Bundy road map to contributing to the Orioles rotation in short order.
7) D.J. Stewart, OF
Age: 23 (DOB 11/30/1993)
After Stewart’s first two seasons after being selected in the 1st round of the 2015 draft, it looked like the pick was another in a long line of Oriole draft whiffs. But Stewart quietly put up an impressive 20-20 season in AA Bowie this year. He has definitely rekindled his status in the organization. On top of the 21 homers and 20 steals, Stewart hit .278, but was able to get on base at .378 clip. Stewart will be a great contributor in points leagues as he rarely strikes out and gets on base.
8) Tanner Scott, LHP
Age: 23 (DOB 7/22/1994)
Coming into the year, Scott was known to be a fireballing lefty reliever who struggled with his command. He has some of the top velocity of any southpaw in the minors, routinely reaching triple digits with his fastball. The Orioles are keen on harnessing his potential and moved him to the rotation in AA Bowie this year. Each of his starts were 3 innings long and supplemented his development by throwing a side session in between starts. The results were positive. While he still struggles with command as evidenced by his 46 walks in 69 innings, he struck out 87 batters and maintained a 2.22 ERA. It’s unclear if the Orioles will continue to develop him as a starter, or use him as a multi-inning reliever. Either way he will have value in dynasty leagues.
9) Keegan Akin, LHP
Age: 22 (DOB 4/1/1995)
Orioles 2nd rounder in 2016. Has potential, struck out over a batter an inning in 2017 for High A Frederick. Will be interesting to see if he takes a step forward in 2018.
10) Alex Wells, LHP
Age: 20 (DOB 2/27/1997)
20 year old Australian who quietly dominated in Low A Delmarva this year. It’s a command over stuff profile and some question whether he will keep putting up numbers as he moves up the minor league food chain. But the numbers this year were remarkable. In 140 innings he only walked 10 batters. In July, he didn’t give up a run over his 5 starts. The only international signing on the list.
Article featured image of Austin Hays – courtesy Andy Grosh/MiLB.com