Baltimore Orioles Top 10 Prospects for 2012

(Oct 24/11)

Baltimore Orioles Top 10 Prospects for 2012

1. SS Manny Machado

Machado was the team's first round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, 3rd overall. He showed plenty of tools during his debut in 2011, and put up some numbers that indicate the potential offensive impact Machado could have on the Orioles lineup. A dislocated kneecap interrupted his debut season, but he still managed to hit 11 HR and collect 50 RBI while stealing 11 bases. He hit .257/.335/.421 over 101 games but amassed an impressive 36 extra base hits while playing the majority of his season as a 19-year-old in the Class-A Advanced Carolina League. Machado should spend a good chunk of the 2012 season with Double-A Bowie, but he might take some time to adjust to league because he's still just so young. Fellow top 2010 draft pick Bryce Harper struggled for nearly a month upon arriving in Double-A as a teenager in 2011, and Machado himself has a chance to play in the Eastern League before his 20th birthday next season. A big breakout is expected, but it remains to be seen whether it comes in 2012 or 2013. Either way, the Orioles have a special young hitter on their hands.

2. RHP Dylan Bundy 

Bundy was the Orioles first pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft (fourth overall), and was ranked as the top prep pitcher. Depending on who you talked to, some teams even regarded Bundy as the top pitcher available. The Orioles were thrilled to add the younger Bundy brother to the system (older brother Robert was drafted in 2008), and have now drafted two elite young high school players in the first round each of the past two years. Bundy throws three above average to plus pitches, which include a high 90's fastball with good movement. He complements that pitch with a mid 70s curveball and mid 80s slider. His changeup is a work in progress, and would be a deadly fourth weapon to add to his already quite impressive arsenal. It will be interesting to see which affiliate the Orioles have him join to get his pro career started, but Bundy should certainly be a fun player to watch in 2012.

3. SS/3B Jonathan Schoop 

Schoop has the talent to play all around the diamond, but has been pushed aside from shortstop as he ascends the minor league ladder along with top prospect Manny Machado, who's also a short stop. Although he wasn't exactly an afterthought prior to the season, there weren't many talent evaluators around the league talking about Schoop. Well, they sure will be now, after Schoop had a breakout first half with the Delmarva Shorebirds of the South Atlantic League. Schoop was promoted to Frederick in early June, where his production took a bit of a dip, but keep in mind that he just turned 20 about a week ago and the future is certainly bright for this young native of Curacao.

4. OF Xavier Avery 
    Avery is still very raw but he spent the entire 2011 season with the Double-A Bowie Baysox at the age of 21. He played in the Eastern League All-Star game, and is now playing for the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League. Avery has stolen 30 bases third straight years in the Minor Leagues, and despite limited power production, he has tallied 31 doubles in each of the past two seasons as well. He has an average arm but his above average speed makes up for it. He should find his way up to Triple-A Norfolk at some point in 2012. If he can get on base enough, he should be able to wreak a lot of havoc atop the lineup while providing plus defense in centre field.

    5. 2B/OF L.J. Hoes 

    Hoes is another athlete who is still considered very raw. An experiment at second base didn't work out, and Hoes is now playing in left-field, where his bat doesn't quite play the same. He did hit a career high 9 home runs in 2011, and could have the ability to contribute across the board as he stole 20 bases, scored 70 runs and posted a .285 batting average. While he only has average speed, Hoes is a good baserunner and should be a good table setter, one who is capable of posting on-base percentages around .380.

    6. 1B Tyler Townsend 

    Townsend has struggled to stay healthy since being selected in the 3rd round back in 2008, playing just 52 games in 2010 and 72 games in 2011. However, in theose 72 games this past year, Townsend hit .312/.356/.580 with 14 HR and 58 RBI for a .936 OPS. He's a sweet-swinging first baseman who played for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the 2010 Arizona Fall League. He'll get the real test as he should make the jump to Double-A Bowie in 2012, and the Orioles should have a much better idea whether they have their potential future big league first baseman.

    7. RHP Robert Bundy
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    Bundy was drafted out of high school in the 8th round back in 2008, and has developed slowly every year since then. His younger brother Dylan received a lot more notoriety this season after being selected fourth overall in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, but Robert (or Bobby) quietly had a good year and might just beat him to the Majors. He finished the year in the Double-A Bowie rotation, but had most of his success with the Frederick Keys going 11-5 in 20 starts with a 2.75 ERA and 100:31 K:BB ratio in 121 IP. 

    8. 3B Nick Delmonico

    Noted for his baseball IQ, Delmonico has a nice swing from the left side and a good approach at the plate. The Orioles have considered trying Delmonico out behind the plate as a catcher, but he might end up at a corner position. He has below average speed but above average contact skills, which should give him the ability to drive in plenty of runs. The Orioles and their fans should have a much better read after Delmonico makes his pro debut in 2012.

    9. RHP Dan Klein

    Klein was the closer at UCLA and has continued his success in the bullpen since joining the Orioles organization. After five shutout innings in 2010, Klein was off to a great start in 2011. He threw 32.1 IP between Class-A Advanced and Double-A, registering 37 strikeouts while walking just 6 batters. He had posted a sharp 1.11 ERA before his season was shut down because of a shoulder injury. He eventually had surgery in mid August to repair a tear in his labrum, and could possibly miss this entire 2012 season. However, the talent is there, but it remains to be see whether Klein will be able to regain his velocity and command after rehabbing from surgery.

    10. OF Roderick Bernadina
    Roger's little brother signed as an international free agent out of Curacao on July 31, 2009 and is a toolsy, albeit raw outfielder who showed glimpses of his potential in the GCL in 2011. This is an aggresive ranking for Bernadina but he's one of the bigger sleeper prospects in the system, and one of the few players with the ability to have five above average tools in the future. Bernadina is just 19 years old, but should make his debut in the South Atlantic League sometime during the 2012 season. As far as upside goes, Bernadina

    More Notable Baltimore Orioles Prospects (No Order): RHP Wynn Pelzer, 3B Jason Esposito, RHP Parker Bridwell, 1B Joe Mahoney, OF Trent Mummey, RHP Timothy Bascom, LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, SS Mychal Givens, RHP Ryan Berry, RHP Mike Wright, RHP Kyle Simon, RHP Matt Hobgood

    What's your take on this Top 10 prospect list? What do you think of the rankings? Is there a player that missed the cut that you feel should have been on the list? Tell us in the comment section below.