Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (12) | 2013 (17) | 2012 (20) | 2011 (21) | 2010 (8)
2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [96-66] AL East
AAA: [65-79] International League – Norfolk
AA: [72-70] Eastern League – Bowie
A+: [65-72] Carolina League – Frederick
A: [66-73] South Atlantic League – Delmarva
A(ss): [27-48] New York-Penn League – Aberdeen
The Orioles’ farm is headlined by two solid pitching prospects, although both have dealt with elbow injuries of late. Dylan Bundy may see MLB time later this year along with hitting prospects Christian Walker and Dariel Alvarez. The top half of this farm is pretty solid from a fantasy standpoint, and the Orioles already have nice young talent at the major league level in Manny Machado, Kevin Gausman, and Jonathan Schoop. Gausman was a good arm to own in the second half of 2014 after yo-yoing in the first, and may take a major step forward this year. Meanwhile, Schoop popped 16 homers in his rookie campaign. Machado is still just 22 years old and obviously has massive potential. With a bounce back from Chris Davis, this could be a very nasty offense in 2015.
Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1. Dylan Bundy, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2015
I can count on one hand the number of pitching prospects I am truly excited about, and Bundy is still one of them despite Tommy John surgery that cost him all of 2013. We’ll have to temper expectations for his 2015 impact as he eases his way back into form, but there is still frontline starter potential here and that can’t be said for most of the arms in the minors. All his pitches grade as plus or better, making him a great fantasy option that can accumulate the solid strikeout numbers we look for in our fantasy starters. This might be the last chance to buy Bundy at a discount in keepers and dynasties.
2. Hunter Harvey, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2016
Bundy has the #1 starter ceiling, but Harvey is right behind him with the potential to be a #2 who also puts up good strikeout numbers. Unfortunately, Harvey has dealt with injury problems of his own, and had to be shut down early in 2014. He should be fine to start the season, but it’s worth monitoring if you hold shares or have thought about pursuing him in a league. Harvey has a plus fastball and curve and just needs to prove his health this season to cement himself as a top fantasy pitching prospect. The injury scare may present a buying opportunity if he’s on a team with a nervous owner.
3. Christian Walker, 1B | Age: 23 | ETA: 2015
Walker is close to major league ready and should be up later this year. In 2014, he raked in 95 games at Double-A with 20 homers and a triple slash of .301/.367/.516. The 23-year-old didn’t fare quite as well in Triple-A but still managed to hit six homers in 44 games before getting 19 MLB plate appearances in late September. Walker doesn’t have huge upside, but there’s still the potential for around 20 homers from first base. It’s just not going to come with a high enough batting average to make him a fantasy star or somebody you’d rely on as your primary first baseman in shallower leagues.
4. Dariel Alvarez, OF | Age: 26 | ETA: 2015
If you read through the offseason quotes from the Orioles, they seem to be really high on Alvarez and his ability to contribute in 2015, calling him “one of the best kept secrets in the minors.” He may even get a shot at the right field gig (although they did also sign Travis Snider). The Cuban outfielder had a good first full season in 2014, showing an aggressive approach and putting up solid numbers in Double-A. The caveat is that he managed to do that at an age where he was older for the level and at 26 he’s on the older side for a prospect in general. In deeper leagues, he’s a good play to help add depth to a roster that is competing in the short term since it sounds like the Orioles will give him reps.
5. Jomar Reyes, 3B | Age: 18 | ETA: 2019
Here’s my favorite kind of fantasy prospect – loads of upside but so far away you can probably acquire him when nobody’s looking. There’s plus power and at least an average hit tool already, so while Reyes may eventually move across the diamond (he’s huge), he should have value no matter where he plays. At 17, he was the sixth youngest player in the rookie level Gulf Coast League and more than held his own. His value could skyrocket in 2015 with a solid year at Delmarva and this would be a good time to get on board.
6. Chance Sisco, C | Age: 19 | ETA: 2017
Insert the standard disclaimer about catching prospects and their risk/development time here. The 19-year-old backstop has average or better tools across the board, which would translate to roughly 15 homers and a .270 average on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively, he’s not a lock to stay behind the plate but there is still time for that to work itself out. Sisco is the type of prospect you’ll see ranked higher on traditional lists, but I don’t think you need to reach for him in fantasy outside of the deeper dynasty formats.
7. Josh Hart, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018
Hart’s value is going to come in his ability to steal bases. He’s kind of the classic center field/leadoff hitter profile that would be a good source of runs and steals in fantasy, but he has to prove himself as a hitter before that’s ever going to become a reality. On top of that, his ETA is pretty far off and meniscus surgery in 2014 won’t exactly speed things up. In deeper leagues where there are a boatload of prospects owned he’s a decent play, but there’s a chance he ends up as a fourth outfielder and the upside isn’t big enough for me to put him in the top half of the system.
8. Mike Yastrzemski, OF | Age: 24 | ETA: 2016
Like Hart, there’s the risk Yaz ends up as a fourth outfielder, but at least he’s closer to contributing at the major league level even if his upside isn’t as great. Yastrzemski split time between three levels in 2014, racking up most of his plate appearances (286) in the Sally, where he was on the older side for the league. That’s also where he hit 10 of his 14 homers. Without a standout tool Yastrzemski can be saved for deeper formats, but he’s worth monitoring in Double-A this year since evaluators seem to like his makeup and polish.
9. Zach Davies, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016
Davies doesn’t have anywhere near the raw stuff of Bundy or Harvey, but he can still end up as a mid-rotation starter thanks to solid command and control of his arsenal. He impressed in the Arizona Fall League after spending the entire season with Double-A Bowie. The 22-year-old right-hander increased his K/9 for the third straight year while also posting his second consecutive season with a sub-3 BB/9. It’s the polish and high floor that make him interesting. He’s also relatively close to the majors, and there is a non-zero chance he could see MLB innings at some point in 2015 should Baltimore have a need in their rotation.
10. Tim Berry, LHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016
Berry’s upside is similar to Davies, so we’re talking about another mid-rotation starter at best. While his stuff is a little better, Berry may also end up in the bullpen down the road. The left-hander has three pitches – a fastball, changeup, and slurve. Like Davies, Berry will see Triple-A in 2015 with a chance to contribute in Baltimore at some point later in the year. There’s not much to see here in terms of fantasy value unless you play in a really deep league. Even if he hits his ceiling, he’s still going to be facing AL lineups in a tough ballpark.