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2017 Baltimore Orioles Midseason Top 10 Prospects



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Orioles Midseason Top 10
1. Chance Sisco, C
2. Austin Hays, OF
3. D.L. Hall, LHP
4. Ryan Mountcastle, SS
5. Tanner Scott, LHP
6. Hunter Harvey, RHP
7. Jomar Reyes, 3B
8. Cedric Mullins, OF
9. Keegan Akin, LHP
10. Cody Sedlock, RHP
After making the playoffs three of the past five years, the Orioles can reasonably make other plans for October this season.

The offense has failed to live up to expectations largely because of injuries to Chris Davis and modest production from lineup fixtures Manny Machado and Adam Jones.

But the real problem is a starting rotation that has been putrid. Dylan Bundy is the only Orioles starter to post an ERA under 5.00. Expected stalwarts Kevin Gausman (6-7, 6.11) and Chris Tillman (1-5, 7.01) have been horrendous. Ubaldo Jimenez (4-6, 7.19) has been ineffective yet again. Wade Miley (4-8, 5.58) has been little help. Overall the Orioles’ 5.98 ERA entering Monday is worst in the American League and second-worst in the majors.

With an underperfoming offense and a league-worst starting rotation, the Orioles are on pace for their first losing season since 2011.

With the big league team is in disarray, the farm system has provided some bright spots.

Catcher Chance Sisco has solidified his reputation as an offensive-minded backstop and made his second-straight Futures Game. Outfielder Austin Hays zoomed up the organization’s depth chart after scalding stints at high Class A and Double-A. Lefty Tanner Scott continues to show premium stuff as he develops into a relief ace.

The Orioles are in position to sell at the deadline, but big-money contracts and poor performances have scuttled the stock of players who would otherwise be attractive pieces. What’s more, owner Peter Angelos rarely signs off on selloffs, putting the O’s in a particularly awkward position. If they do get the OK, Zach Britton, Mychal Givens and Brad Brach are quality relief options that could fetch enough to brighten the Orioles future outlook.

1. Chance Sisco, C Triple-A Norfolk Age: 22

Sisco already had the reputation as one of the best hitters in Baltimore’s system, and he’s solidified his credentials this year. The 22-year-old has worked hard to catch up to premium fastballs, and the Orioles have little doubt power will come as he matures. On defense, he’s improved his blocking and receiving, but there’s still a ways in throwing out runners. He has average arm strength, but inconsistent footwork hampers him. Still, Sisco profiles as the O’s catcher of the future.


2. Austin Hays, OF Double-A Bowie Age: 22

Hays ran roughshod through the Carolina League and has continued punishing pitchers in the Eastern League. The Orioles love his approach at the plate and enthusiasm for the game. He can hit and shows present power as well, posting identical .588 slugging percentages in both high Class A and Double-A. He’s also got enough speed to be a threat on the basepaths.


3. D.L. Hall, LHP Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Age: 18

The Orioles took Hall with their first-round pick, No. 21 overall, in this year’s draft, and his ceiling is as high as players taken 20 picks before him. Each of his three pitches—fastball, curveball and changeup—has a chance to be above-average or better, and his fastball has peaked at 96 mph. He’s a little bit older than most high school draftees, but Baltimore is banking that won’t matter.


4. Ryan Mountcastle, SS High Class A Frederick Age: 20

Mountcastle undeniably can hit. Problem is industry consensus says he simply cannot play shortstop. He’s there now, but will have to move to left field at some point in the near future. It won’t matter with his plus hitting ability and above-average power potential.


5. Tanner Scott, LHP Double-A Bowie Age: 22

The Orioles are starting Scott at present, but it is to groom him for a multi-inning relief role. He needs to iron out his command and control but, as he showed at this year’s Futures Game, his 97-100 mph fastball and plus slider are enough to make hitters look silly.


6. Hunter Harvey, RHP Disabled List Age: 22

Harvey had Tommy John surgery last summer and is almost all the way back. He’s slated to pitch for an affiliate later this month and could be on track for the Arizona Fall League. He last pitched at short-season Aberdeen in 2016, and hasn’t pitched above that level since 2014.


7. Jomar Reyes, 3B Disabled List Age: 20

Reyes broke his hand in late April and has been on the disabled list since. He’s out of his cast now and working on mobility exercises to re-strengthen his hand in anticipation of his return. Before the injury he’d shown the same raw power as always, plus an improved work ethic and plate discipline.


8. Cedric Mullins, OF Disabled List Age: 22

Hamstring injuries have cost Mullins time this year, first for five weeks in May and then again earlier this month. When he has been healthy he’s shown leadoff skills and even a little bit of power out of his smaller frame.


9. Keegan Akin, LHP High Class A Frederick Age: 22

Akin’s year started out rough, but he got back on track after a mechanical tweak to keep him from bringing the ball behind his back in his delivery. Since the adjustment, he’s gone on a tear, including a string of seven straight quality starts.


10. Cody Sedlock, RHP Disabled List Age: 22

Sedlock still shows a 91-94 mph fastball as well as a curveball, slider and changeup that each could be his best offspeed pitch during a given outing. Problem is he’s gotten too much of the strike zone with all of them, resulting in 6.58 ERA and .310 opponent average.


RISING

• OF Jake Ring is a little old for the South Atlantic League, but he’s shown a solid approach and power in his first full pro season.

• LHP Alex Wells' stuff is pedestrian, but he really knows how to use his 86-90 mph fastball and how to change speeds off of it. He attacks hitters with an advanced feel for setting them up and keeping them off balance. It’s paid off in a 9-4, 2.42 season with low Class A Delmarva.

• OF Randolph Gassaway is a unique profile as a hit-first left fielder with modest power. He was a Carolina League all-star thanks to his .304 average, but his lack of power limits his potential big league impact.


FALLING

• LHP Chris Lee’s stuff has been fine, but his inconsistency has caused him to be much more hittable than expected. He’s struggled to a 3-5, 6.21 record with 115 hits allowed in 87 innings.


HURTING

• Sedlock is working his way back from a right elbow strain.

• OF Anthony Santander is expected to head out on a rehab assignment for a forearm injury he’s battled following the shoulder surgery he had last offseason.


GRADUATING

• 1B/DH Trey Mancini has been a revelation this year, hitting .304/.349/.520 with 14 home runs in his rookie season.

• Reliever Oliver Drake was designated for assignment and sold to the Brewers, where he’s found a home in the bullpen.

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• RHP Richard Bleier got time with the Yankees last year and exhausted his rookie eligibility this season with quality work in the Orioles bullpen.

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