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Hit: 70. Power: 70. Run: 40. Fielding: 60. Arm: 70Track Record: Rutschman was a generational talent in college at Oregon State, leading the Beavers to the College World Series title as a sophomore in 2018 and winning the Golden Spikes Award in 2019. The Orioles made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft and signed him to a then-record $8.1 million bonus. Rutschman climbed from the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League through the short-season New York-Penn League to help low Class A Delmarva on its playoff run in 2019. Rutschman gained valuable experience in major league spring training before spending the summer dominating the team’s alternate site at Bowie, Md.Scouting Report: The switch-hitting Rutschman rebuilt his swing in college to gear for more power and consistency. He continues to find ways to refine and make his swing more efficient as he learns the professional game. He went through an adjustment period at the Bowie camp after the coronavirus shutdown period halted most of his work, but he quickly revealed the all-fields power and consistent hard contact that give him potential to be a plus-plus hitter with plus-plus power at his peak. He ended the summer as the best performer at the camp. His offensive production is aided by advanced plate discipline. Rutschman is clear in which pitches he’s able to drive and which he should lay off. He’ll likely see increased benefit from that when pitchers are around the strike zone more and umpires improve at the higher levels of the minors. Rutschman’s above-average pop times and advanced receiving skills behind the plate give him the physical tools to be a plus major league catcher. His work at the Bowie camp helped him gain experience calling pitches to an advanced pitcher’s plan and gave him invaluable insight into how pitchers and fellow catchers with major league experience see the game. All those tools are enhanced by a reputation as a fantastic teammate and tireless worker who elevates both himself and everyone around him with his approach to the game.The Future: Rutschman is the game’s best catching prospect and one of the most exciting minor leaguers in all of baseball. The Orioles envision a generational offensive producer at his peak, standout defense behind the plate and multiple all-star nods. Rutschman’s path to Baltimore may have been slowed by the lack of a 2020 minor league season, but if he starts in Double-A next spring, he could push for a major league debut at the end of 2021, or else be up early in 2022.
Fastball: 70. Curveball: 50. Slider: 60. Changeup: 55. Control: 60Track Record: Rodriguez blossomed late as a high school senior and was drafted 11th overall by the Orioles in 2018, signing for $4.3 million. He overpowered the low Class A South Atlantic League in his full-season debut in 2019 and shared the Orioles’ minor league pitcher of the year award. The Orioles brought him to their alternate training site at Bowie, Md., for the 2020 season.Scouting Report: Two months at the Orioles’ secondary camp allowed Rodriguez a chance to further hone the consistency of his clean, sturdy delivery. His four-seam fastball sat 95-98 mph with plus-plus potential all summer, and for the second straight year got harder as the season went on. Rodriguez quickly learned a changeup in 2019 and it remains an above-average pitch at 82-85 mph. His curveball has good shape but lacks power in the mid 70s, leaving his low-80s slider as the more effective of his breaking balls. The experience at the alternate site helped Rodriguez start to understand pitching to a plan against older hitters whom he can’t simply overpower.The Future: Rodriguez is the foremost piece of the Orioles’ pitching-driven rebuilding plan. He has a chance to be at least a mid-rotation starter and has countless top-of-the-rotation traits. He should reach Double-A at some time in 2021.
Fastball: 70. Curveball: 55. Slider: 50. Changeup: 60. Control: 45Track Record: Hall surprisingly fell to the Orioles at No. 21 overall in the 2017 draft, and the club felt lucky to get him there and signed him for $3 million. The 2019 Futures Game participant returned fully healthy in 2020 after an oblique injury ended his season early last year and spent the summer at the team’s alternate training site in Bowie, Md.Scouting Report: Hall was challenged as a 20-year-old at the alternate site but made strides with his plan of attack and showed more trust in his electric four-pitch mix. Though he doesn’t consistently command it, his fastball sat 95-98 mph this summer. Hall’s slider and curveball previously blended together, but they now have distinct shapes with the slider at 82-84 mph and the curveball remaining in the 76-79 mph range but with more depth. His best secondary pitch is a swing-and-miss changeup at 82-85 mph. Hall has struggled with walks throughout his career. Maintaining a repeatable delivery that allows him to consistently locate his fastball will be his next challenge.The Future: Hall was slated to start 2020 at Double-A and should open there in 2021. He has a chance to develop into a mid-rotation starter with the stuff to be more, but that hinges on his ability to iron out his fastball command.
Hit: 50. Power: 70. Run: 40. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60.Track Record: The Orioles surprised the industry when they made Kjerstad the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 draft, but their scouts and analysts loved the Arkansas star’s offensive profile. He signed for $5.2 million, which was more than $2.5 million under slot. A three-year starter for the Razorbacks and stalwart for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team, Kjerstad has grown into prolific power and likely would have been a Golden Spikes Award contender in 2020.Scouting Report: Kjerstad’s promise is built on an impactful lefthanded bat with plus-plus raw power. He has a fair bit of movement in his swing and will swing and miss, but his much-improved plate coverage leads the Orioles to believe he can be an above-average hitter with all-fields power. He turns around hard line drives on pitches anywhere in the strike zone and cut down his strikeout and chase rates in his shortened junior year. Kjerstad is a below-average runner but can stand in a corner outfield spot. His above-average arm fits in right field. The Future: Kjerstad was drafted as a middle-of-the-order complement to Adley Rutschman as future cornerstones of the Orioles’ lineup. His power alone could put him on an all-star team in the right year. He is set to begin his pro career at the Class A levels and could move quickly.
Hit: 60. Power: 60. Run: 50. Fielding: 40. Arm: 30.Track Record: A tour around the diamond that began at shortstop and included stops at third base and first base eventually delivered Mountcastle to where he belonged: the heart of the Orioles’ major league lineup. Now a left fielder, Mountcastle took the team’s mandate to improve his plate discipline and defense and, in August, earned what was a productive callup to Baltimore.Scouting Report: Mountcastle’s work to add strength to what began as a lanky frame and produce more loft with his swing has created an offensive profile built for the modern game. He delivers all-fields power and a swing geared for hard contact in all parts of the zone. Mountcastle’s elite hands and good bat speed allow him to cover the whole plate and then some, though the team is trying to harness that and have him focus on where he can do the most damage. In left field, Mountcastle’s deceptive athleticism will allow him, with experience, to make the necessary plays at a position where his well below-average arm won’t be punished.The Future: Mountcastle’s potential at the plate was always enough to make him a first-division regular, especially as a left fielder or first baseman. There’s little stopping him from being at least that for the 2021 Orioles.
Hit: 55. Power: 55. Run: 50. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60.Track Record: The Orioles selected Henderson with the first pick of the second round in 2019 and signed him away from an Auburn commitment with an above-slot $2.3 million bonus. He got used to pro ball in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2019, and the Orioles added him to their alternate training site in the second week of August. As the youngest player there, Henderson struggled early before making strides against older competition.Scouting Report: The Orioles quickly identified Henderson’s lower half was lagging behind his top half, and the resulting adjustments allowed him to cover the plate better and have quality at-bats against advanced pitchers. Henderson’s speed and bat control give him the potential to be an above-average hitter, and his adjustments may allow him to tap into his plus raw power during games more consistently. Despite a bigger frame and just average speed, Henderson has the athleticism to stick at shortstop with at least an above-average arm and advanced instincts. He has a solid fallback option at third base, where his bat would play just fine.The Future: Henderson’s camp time made the Orioles more bullish about his upside as an everyday shortstop who can hit for power. He’ll still likely start at low Class A in 2021.
Hit: 50. Power: 55. Run: 45. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60.Track Record: Diaz signed with the Dodgers for $15.5 million out of Cuba and came to the Orioles in the July 2018 trade that sent Manny Machado to Los Angeles. He has been stuck at Double-A Bowie since and returned there to spend the summer at the alternate training site in 2020. Diaz stayed healthy and performed well at the alternate site, but couldn’t crack a crowded major league outfield group.Scouting Report: The Orioles challenged Diaz both at the plate and in the outfield this summer to try and foster some growth. While Diaz has a good understanding of the strike zone, he can either stay under control and be an above-average hitter with average power, or sell out for plus power and sacrifice average. A combination of both seems unlikely at this point, though he hit plenty of home runs in the secondary camp. Diaz is best suited defensively as an average corner outfielder with a plus arm, though he can play center field as needed.The Future: Diaz shows flashes of a special player when the lights come on, and the expectation is he can be a productive big leaguer once he gets there. He’ll have to perform at Triple-A in 2021 to get that chance.
Fastball: 60. Curveball: 50. Slider: 60. Changeup: 45. Control: 50Track Record: A third-round pick who signed for $500,000 in 2017, Baumann quickly overpowered hitters at the lower levels and rose to Double-A Bowie in 2019, where he threw a nine-inning no-hitter and earned a share of the Orioles minor league pitcher of the year award after striking out 142 hitters in 124 innings. He was one of the most buzzworthy pitchers at the alternate training site in 2020, but a flexor mass strain in his elbow shut him down in August.Scouting Report: Baumann pitches off a high-spin four-seam fastball that’s routinely 93-96 mph and touches 99, yet yields mostly ground balls. His plus slider at 89-90 mph bites like a cutter and breaks bats like one, too, giving him another power offering. During the 2020 shutdown, he worked on a 12-to-6 curveball with good depth and spin that’s his clear third pitch now, with his fringe-average changeup lagging behind. Baumann learned the adjustment required to correct delivery issues that cause him to leave pitches up in the zone at times.The Future: Baumann’s short-term health with the flexor mass strain is a concern, but the pitcher he was before showed a mid-rotation ceiling. He’ll likely be added to the 40-man roster and start at Triple-A in 2021 if healthy.
Fastball: 55. Curveball: 60. Cutter: 50. Changeup: 40. Control: 55Track Record: Kremer came to the Orioles in the July 2018 trade for Manny Machado while on his way to leading the minor leagues with 176 strikeouts that year. In September 2020, he became the first prospect from the trade to reach the majors and delivered three strong starts for the Orioles before struggling in his final outing.Scouting Report: Kremer’s 2018 breakout came as he switched to a more vertical attack. He primarily works with a four-seam fastball in the low-to-mid 90s with significant ride and a swing-and-miss curveball in the mid 70s. Kremer primarily relies on those two pitches, but during the quarantine period he brought his cutter along to the point it became a weapon against hitters on both sides of the plate in the big leagues. His changeup remains the fourth pitch in his arsenal and is seen as a long-term growth area. Kremer lacks overpowering stuff, but his pitch mix and above-average control gets him plenty of swings and misses.The Future: Kremer’s strikeout proclivity makes him a good bet to be part of the long-term rotation. His September callup showed he’s ready and should be in Baltimore’s 2021 Opening Day rotation.
Fastball: 55. Curveball: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 50Track Record: From the moment he entered the organization in a pitching-heavy 2016 draft class, Akin’s climb to the big league has been as low key as his personality. He finally arrived in August 2020 and went on to strike out 12.3 batters per nine innings, mostly as a starter, as the Orioles went young in their rotation at the end of the 60-game season.Scouting Report: Just as it did at every level in the minors, Akin’s “invisiball” fastball was effective in missing bats and getting weak contact in the big leagues. Delivered at mostly 92-95 mph, the pitch has elite vertical movement, jumps on hitters due to Akin’s deceptive delivery, and benefits from the lefty’s ability to throw it inside to hitters on both sides. Akin spent all of 2019 at Triple-A Norfolk working on his slider and changeup, both of which were in the low 80s, but during the shutdown he worked on a slower curveball that was often his primary breaking ball in the majors. The Future: Akin’s ceiling as a back-end starter didn’t change in his major league cameo. He’ll at least occupy the back of the Orioles’ rotation until the younger wave of starting pitchers are ready to challenge him. He could still provide value as a swingman but will remain in the rotation in 2021.
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