Jul 282014

baltimore-orioles-logo-newBaltimore is hanging onto first place in the AL East, but it’s an open five team race.  Their pitching staff, both the rotation and bullpen, are below average, and second base is one of their weaker points in a pretty solid lineup.  This makes them a potential trade partner with the Phillies, and that goes both ways.  The Phillies can provide talent to bolster Baltimore’s playoff chances, and the Orioles have the pitching depth the Phillies are lacking.

However, it’s a top heavy organization.  Their top three prospects are all very good, but after that they’re going to struggle putting a deal together.  I put three players in the average tier, but I don’t blame you if you’re not excited about them.  It’s not a deep group here.

This isn’t a list of their top five prospects but organized into potential trade value tiers.  Listed ages reflect the 2015 season.

Great tier

RHP Dylan Bundy (22): Since I can’t imagine the Orioles would be willing to spring for Cole Hamels.  If not, Bundy will not be on the table.  He’s working his way back from Tommy John surgery.

RHP Hunter Harvey (20): He’s only in Low-A now, but it didn’t take long last season for it to become clear the Orioles got one of the top arms in the 2014 draft 22nd overall.  Harvey owns a mid-90’s fastball, a great curveball and an improving changeup.  He already throws strikes and competes.  He’s young, but he could probably move quickly since he already knows how to pitch.  Because he’s still a few levels away, I’m not sure how to evaluate his trade value.

Good tier

LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (22): Rodriguez has been underwhelming this season, but a knee injury that took him out of action for over a month could be a culprit.  He’s still in Double-A at a pretty young age, and he has the potential for three above average pitches.    His fastball and slider are already there, and his changeup is improving, as is his confidence in the pitch.  If he can get strikeouts with his slider, he has a number three ceiling, and it won’t be long before he’s in the majors.

IF Jonathan Schoop (23): Schoop is no longer considered a prospect because he’s been in the big leagues all year, but since this is such a top heavy system, he’s probably worth mentioning anyway.  He hasn’t been good this year, and he never really dominated the minors because the Orioles were always so fast to promote him to a new level.  Maybe it’s too late to undo the damage they did, but he can play every infield position and has some power potential.

Average tier

C Chance Sisco (20): Cisco’s bat and approach should land him in the above tier, but his defensive position is in question.  He’s new to catching, but he hasn’t shown much improvement since he first started.  At the plate though, he offers a nice approach and good feel for contact, batting well over .300 in his young career so far.  If he has to play third base or left field, his power potential comes into question, but the hit tool can always carry a player to the majors.

LHP Tim Berry (24): Berry has pretty decent stuff, but Tommy John surgery earlier in his career had his development lagging a bit.  He’s having a nice season in Double-A, but his changeup needs to develop more for him to stick in the rotation.  His fastball and breaking ball are both above average, but he needs that changeup to get righties out.  Right-handed batters have an OPS over .800 against him for two of the last three years.

RHP Zach Davies (22): Davies is pretty close to the majors, but he’s not a high impact player.  He’s a short righty with an average fastball, and the track record for those pitchers isn’t great.  He’s made it work so far in his career though, working with a plus changeup, good control and pitchability.  He missed some time with shoulder soreness this year, but since he came back he’s throwing more strikes.

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Scott Grauer writes for PSC and Bus Leagues Baseball – check him out!