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Prospect Profiles: Baltimore Orioles

Prospect Profiles: Baltimore Orioles Image via Sportsgraphics36

MLB

A look at the farm system of the Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles finished the 2016 season in second place in the American League East, four games behind the Boston Red Sox and tied with the Toronto Blue Jays. After a loss to the Blue Jays in the Wild Card game, the Orioles entered the off-season looking to improve their team. In December, they signed catcher Welington Castillo to a one-year contract to replace Matt Wieters who became a free agent after the 2016 season.

A month later, in December, the Orioles re-signed power-hitting outfielder Mark Trumbo to a three-year deal. Trumbo drew much attention around the league, but ultimately re-signed with the Orioles.

This Orioles squad does not look to be much better than it was a year ago when they finished the season with an 89-73 record. If the Orioles have a repeat performance of the 2016 season, there is a chance that they do not make the playoffs. The Red Sox have got better, and the New York Yankees are primed to be postseason contenders as soon as 2017.

Things do not look great for this Orioles team, and that is not helped by the fact that they have a weak farm system. Here is a look at that farm system’s top prospects:

Chance Sisco, C

Chance Sisco was drafted in the second round of the 2013 MLB draft by the Baltimore Orioles. He played the majority of his first season at the rookie ball level, posting a .371 batting average with one home run, 11 RBI’s, a .475 OBP, and .464 slugging percentage. Sisco was promoted to Short Season A ball for all of two games during the 2013 season before being promoted again to Full Season A to begin the 2014 campaign. At age 19, Sisco played his first full season in professional baseball, and hit .340 with five home runs and 63 RBI’s in 114 games.

Sisco split the 2015 season between Single-A Advanced and Double-A, and posted a .297 batting average with six home runs, 34 RBI’s, a .376 OBP, and .415 slugging percentage in 95 games. In addition to those 95 games, Sisco also participated in the Arizona Fall League. He played a total of 16 games in which he hit .255 with a .328 OBP, .327 slugging percentage, and four RBI’s.

Chance began the 2016 season in Double-A where he played 112 games. In those 112 games, he hit .320 with four home runs and 44 RBI’s. He also had a .406 OBP and a .422 slugging percentage.

The 21-year-old catcher topped out at Triple-A last year where he hit .250 with two home runs and seven RBI’s in just 16 at-bats.

Sisco has never had a hard time getting on base or hitting for average. What he has had problems with is hitting for power and hitting home runs. That could be the biggest problem in Chance’s game right now, but as long as he can provide a solid OBP at the major league level, he should be good.

His defense is also a question. He threw out 25% of base runners in Double-A last year, his highest caught stealing percentage in his minor league career. Sisco has also committed 27 errors in over 2,300 innings of work for a fielding percentage of .986.

Welington Castillo seems to be in line to get most of the starts behind the plate for Baltimore in 2017. He is signed on a one-year deal and will become a free agent after the 2017 season. The Orioles also have Caleb Joseph and Francisco Pena at the catcher position. Joseph has been in the big leagues for three years but has a .213 batting average and a .271 OBP in that time. Pena played 14 games for the Orioles in 2016 and hit .200. Both of these options are not very appealing to the Orioles after Castillo becomes a free agent at the end of the year.

Sisco should be major league ready in another year, which would be great timing after Castillo departs. If Sisco can produce the types of OBP in the majors that he is putting up in the minors, he will easily win the starting job in the next few years.

ETA: 2018

Cody Sedlock, RHP

Cody Sedlock was a first round selection by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2016 draft. He made just nine starts in Short Season A ball after he was drafted last season. In those nine starts, Sedlock posted a 3.00 ERA with 25 strikeouts and 13 walks in 27 innings pitched.

Sedlock has a fastball that can sit comfortably at 93 MPH, but can be thrown harder if necessary. His secondary pitches have shown some promise, but need more work in order to become more effective. Sedlock gets a good amount of weak contact with his secondary pitches, but can not throw them in the strike zone enough to keep hitters honest.

A switch over to the bullpen seems likely at this point for Sedlock. Many scouts see him evolving into a closer at the higher levels. That could be a problem for Sedlock as Zach Britton is currently holding down the closers role at the major league level. Britton is set to become a free agent in 2019, but would seem likely to receive an extension after recording 47 saves and a 0.54 ERA in 2016.

If Sedlock can get a better feel for his secondary pitches, there is no reason why he could not remain a starter in the majors. The Orioles could use him as a starter at the major league level, but for now, it looks as if his role could be in a major league bullpen.

ETA: 2019

Ryan Mountcastle, SS

Ryan Mountcastle was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the first round of the 2015 draft. He started his professional career at the rookie ball level in 2015 as he posted a .313 batting average with three home runs and 14 RBI’s in 43 games. That performance was good enough to earn him a promotion to Short Season A ball where he played in ten games and had a .212 batting average, .206 OBP, .303 slugging percentage, and five RBI’s.

Mountcastle continued his climb through the minors in 2016 when he was promoted to Full Season A ball. There, he posted a .281 batting average with ten home runs and 51 RBI’s in 115 games.

Ryan is only 19 years old and just getting his feel for professional baseball. He has good power for the shortstop position, and has produced a good OBP thus far in the minors.

J.J. Hardy is currently the Orioles major league shortstop. He will become a free agent after the 2017 season, but Mountcastle is not projected to be major league ready until 2020 or 2021. At age 34, Hardy could be in for an extension at the end of the 2017 season that could take him closer to 2020. What ever the case with Hardy, Mountcastle is still about three or four years away from being ready for the majors.

ETA: 2021

Trey Mancini, 1B

Trey Mancini was drafted in the eighth round of the 2013 draft by the Baltimore Orioles. He debuted in Short Season A ball at the age of 21, and posted a .328 batting average with three home runs and 35 RBI’s in 68 games. Mancini also had a .382 OBP, and a .449 slugging percentage at that level in 2013. The 6’4″ first baseman split the 2014 season between Full Season A ball and Single-A Advanced. In 137 games between the two levels, he posted a .284 batting average with ten home runs and 83 RBI’s. His OBP dropped to .326 and so did his slugging percentage to .409 in 2014.

Mancini spent the 2015 season between Single-A Advanced and Double-A. In 136 games between those two levels, Mancini hit .341 with 21 home runs and 89 RBI’s. Trey’s OBP returned to where it was in his first professional season as he posted a .375 OBP and a .563 slugging percentage.

After another season in which Mancini hit .282 with 20 home runs and 68 RBI’s, he was promoted to the big leagues. He played in five games at the big league level in 2016, posting a .357 batting average with three home runs and five RBI’s in just 14 at-bats.

Mancini spent four of his five games in the majors last year as the DH. With Chris Davis locked up at first base, Mancini could see much of his action from the DH position. Mancini was a good defensive first baseman in the minors, but will be blocked by Davis at the major league level.

With Mark Trumbo coming back to the Orioles, Mancini may not be in the line-up everyday. Trumbo played 59 games in 2016 as the Orioles DH due to the fact that Pedro Alvarez was the primary DH for Baltimore last season. Alvarez is a free agent, which will free up the position for Mancini and Trumbo to share.

ETA: 2017

Anthony Santander, OF

Anthony Santander was a Rule 5 draft pick by the Baltimore Orioles in 2016. He comes over from the Cleveland Indians organization where he has been since 2011.

At age 17, Santander made his professional debut at the rookie ball level. He had a .305 batting average with four home runs and 32 RBI’s in 43 games. Santander spent the 2013 and 2014 seasons in Single-A where he hit six home runs and had 41 RBI’s over the course of those two seasons.

In 2015, Santander spent the year between Short Season A ball and Single-A. He played a total of 72 games between those two levels, posting a .294 batting average with 13 home runs and 51 RBI’s. He also put up a .354 OBP and a .513 slugging percentage for the 2015 season.

Santander appeared in 128 games in Single-A Advanced in 2016. He hit .290 with 20 home runs and 95 RBI’s to go along with his .368 OBP and .494 slugging percentage.

The 6’2″ outfielder is a switch hitter and can play both corner outfield positions. He has maintained a respectable OBP throughout the course of his minor league career and should hit for power rather than average at the major league level.

With Hyun-soo Kim set to get more of a role in left field in 2017, and Mark Trumbo as the teams primary right fielder, there does not seem to be much room for Santander in the major leagues right now. Kim is under team control until 2022, and Trumbo is signed until 2019. Santander is coming off of a shoulder injury, so that could be a good excuse to keep him on the DL for a while.

ETA: 2017


Keegan Akin, LHP

Keegan Akin was a second round selection by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2016 draft. He made nine starts in Short Season A ball in 2016 and posted a 1.04 ERA with 29 strikeouts and seven walks in 26 innings pitched.

Akin has a fastball that can touch 95 MPH but sits more like 93 MPH. His secondary pitches include a change-up and slider, but until he develops more of a feel for them, they are not very effective. He is kind of teetering on the edge of being a starter or reliever. The development of his change-up and slider will determine his role at the higher levels.

The 6′ foot tall lefty is 21 years old and will not be able to help out this Orioles staff for at least another three years.

ETA: 2019

Ofelky Peralta, RHP

Ofelky Peralta was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013 by the Baltimore Orioles. He made 11 starts in the Dominican Summer League with the Orioles club and posted a 3.12 ERA with 33 strikeouts and 37 walks in 43.1 innings pitched.

Peralta made 10 starts (11 appearances) at the rookie ball level in 2015. He had an 0-2 record with a 5.61 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 25.2 innings pitched. In 2016, at the age of 19, Peralta was promoted to Single-A where he made 23 starts. In those 23 starts, he posted a 4.01 ERA with 101 strikeouts, 60 walks, and an 8-5 record in 103.1 innings pitched.

The 6’5″ right-hander has a fastball that tops out around 97 MPH. He mixes that with a slider, and change-up. Both of his secondary pitches will require some work before he is able to showcase them at the next level.

Peralta is still about three years away from making it to the majors, but once he gets there, he should be able to help out a pitching staff that ranked 19th in team ERA and 21st in team WHIP during the 2016 season.

He has the ability to become a mid-rotation starter, but if his secondary pitches do not develop, he could be pushed to the bullpen at the higher levels.

ETA: 2020

Garrett Cleavinger, LHP

Garrett Cleavinger was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the third round of the 2015 draft. He impressed in his first taste of professional action. In 19 appearances at Short Season A ball, he posted a 6-1 record with a 2.16 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched.

After an impressive first showing, Cleavinger was promoted to Single-A to start the 2016 season. There, he made 17 appearances and had a 1.38 ERA with 53 strikeouts and 11 walks in 39 innings pitched. To finish the season, Cleavinger was promoted to Single-A Advanced where he made 20 appearances and had a 4.82 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 23 walks in 37.1 innings pitched.

With the promotion to High-A, Cleavinger’s walk rate rose slightly. That could become an issue as he climbs higher in the system.

Cleavinger has a fastball that hits 95 MPH easily and a plus curveball that offers a nice change of pace. He does not have a reliable third pitch at this point, so starting is out of the question.

The Orioles had a solid bullpen last year led by closer Zach Britton and Brad Brach. Cleavinger would be a nice addition to the major league bullpen if he can maintain his command and keep his walk rate down.

ETA: 2018

Tanner Scott, LHP

Tanner Scott was a sixth round selection by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2014 MLB draft. At the rookie ball level in 2014, he had a 6.26 ERA, a 1-5 record, 23 strikeouts, and 20 walks in 23 innings pitched. He was promoted to Short Season A ball in 2015 and spilt the season between Short Season A and Single-A. In 18 appearances (three starts), Scott recorded a 4-3 record with a 3.83 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 42.1 innings pitched.

Scott moved up to Single-A Advanced to start the 2016 season, and made 29 appearances at that level. In those 29 appearances, he registered a 4.47 ERA, a 4-2 record, 63 strikeouts and 42 walks in 48.1 innings pitched.

After a promotion to Double-A, Scott made another 14 appearances and recorded a 5.62 ERA in 16 innings pitched.

Scott will be a bullpen arm in the majors, and a good one at that. He can touch triple digits with his fastball and wipe hitters away with a slider. Scott is a two pitch pitcher and that is the reason he is going to be in the bullpen moving forward.

The only problem with Scott is the fact that he walks to many batters. His walk rate increased to 8.4 hitters per nine at the Double-A level compared to 7.8 hitters per nine in Single-A Advanced.

By many accounts, Scott has the highest potential of any pitcher in the Baltimore Orioles organization. He should be a great bullpen addition for the Orioles in two years if he can cut down on his walks.

ETA: 2019

Jomar Reyes, 3B

Jomar Reyes was signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Baltimore Orioles, and began his professional career in 2014. At the rookie ball level in 2014, he had a .285 batting average with a .333 OBP and a .425 slugging percentage.

Reyes started the 2015 campaign at the rookie ball level and hit .250 with a .368 OBP and a .375 slugging percentage. He was promoted to Single-A where he posted a .278 batting average with five home runs and 44 RBI’s. After that strong performance, he was promoted to Single-A Advanced where he hit .228 with ten home runs and 51 RBI’s in 126 games. Reyes also struck out 102 times in 464 at-bats, so that will be something to watch as he moves through the minors.

Reyes has been a third baseman for the entirety of his minor league career. That is a problem because franchise cornerstone Manny Machado holds down the third base position at the major league level. Machado becomes a free agent in 2019, but a contract extension could be in the works as Machado is a super-star in Baltimore.

Some see a switch to first base for Reyes, but Chris Davis holds that position until at least 2023.

Reyes seems to be blocked at the major league level unless he changes position. He still needs to work on his offensive game, but he will have plenty of time to do that in the minors.

ETA: 2020

Just Missed:

Hunter Harvey, RHP, 2.13 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 12.2 innings between rookie level ball and Short Season A ball in 2016.

Aneury Tavarez, outfielder, .330 batting average, seven home runs and 47 RBI’s in 111 games between Double-A and Triple-A in 2016.


The Baltimore Orioles have not done much to improve upon their team heading into the 2017 season. They retained Mark Trumbo, and have a couple of prospects who are major league ready. One of those prospects is Trey Mancini. He performed well in a very small sample size in 2016, but should get an expanded role in 2017.

With the Red Sox better than they were last season, the Orioles more than likely do not have a shot to win the division. They will need to lean heavily on their offense as their starting rotation will give up its fair share of runs.

Many of the Orioles top ten prospects still need two or three years before they are ready to contribute at the major league level. With help from some of their prospects, and a good core to build around, the Orioles could challenge the Red Sox in the AL East as soon as 2019.

Right now, the Red Sox have the AL East locked up. With that being said, the Orioles will have to fight for a Wild Card spot until they can get some of these top prospects mature.