The 2015 Baltimore Orioles Top 10 Prospects

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1. Dylan Bundy, RHP

Born: 11/15/92 Age: 22 Height: 6-1   Weight: 195   B/T: B/R                                                          
Top CALs: Julio Teheran, Jose Fernandez, Carlos Martinez, John Lamb, Joseph Ortiz
YEAR Age Level IP ERA FIP K/9 K% BB/9 BB% HR/9 LOB%
2012 19 A+ 57.0 2.84 3.21 10.4 29.0% 2.8 7.9% 0.79 78.3%
2012 19 AA 16.7 3.24 3.86 7.0 18.3% 4.3 11.3% 0.54 72.8%
2014 21 A- 15.0 0.60 1.11 13.2 39.3% 1.8 5.4% 0.00 92.3%
2014 21 A+ 26.3 4.78 3.97 5.1 12.8% 4.4 11.1% 0.00 66.7%

Background: It was not too long ago that Bundy captured the attention – and subsequent imagination – of both baseball fans and executives alike. The young right-hander didn’t allow an earned run in 3.0 innings in the Sally, posted a 66-to-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio with Frederick, finally looked human in a three-game stint in the Eastern League, and then capped it off with a brief debut with Baltimore. At the age of 19. Fast forward two years and Bundy, the fourth overall pick in the loaded 2011 draft, has totaled just 41.1 innings of rather vanilla baseball thanks to Tommy John surgery. He split his rehab work between Aberdeen and Frederick, totaling 37 punch outs and 16 free passes.

Projection: As impressive – and flat out dominant – as Bundy was two years ago, it’s pretty important to point out one key aspect: During his stint in Low Class A he only faced more than 12 hitters just twice in one appearance. Meaning: he wasn’t forced to turn the lineup over until he reached the Carolina League. This isn’t to undersell what he did, just provide better context.

Bundy looked like a budding ace prior to the injury, flashing a mid-90s fastball, cutter, curveball, and changeup. He’s probably never going to live up to the expectations unfairly thrust upon him, but the young right-hander – assuming he can fully come back – looks like a very promising top-of-the-rotation arm.

 

 

2. Hunter Harvey, RHP

Born: 12/09/94 Age: 20 Height: 6-3   Weight: 175   B/T: R/R                                                          
Top CALs: Johnny Barbato, Jake Thompson, Lucas Giolito, Robbie Ray, Henry Owens
YEAR Age Level IP ERA FIP K/9 K% BB/9 BB% HR/9 LOB%
2013 18 R 13.3 1.35 1.21 12.2 36.0% 1.4 4.0% 0.00 83.3%
2013 18 A- 12.0 2.25 1.60 11.3 30.0% 3.0 8.0% 0.00 73.3%
2014 19 A 87.7 3.18 3.42 10.9 29.0% 3.4 9.0% 0.51 68.9%

Background: Fun fact: the California Angels (yes, kids, that’s what they used to be called) finished an even 81-and-81 during the 1991 season but managed to have three hurlers finish among the top six in the AL Cy Young voting: Jim Abbott, Mark Langston, and Bryan Harvey, the father of future top prospect Hunter, who was drafted with the 22nd overall pick in 2013. The younger Harvey was one of the bigger helium prospects last season, seeing his stock rise as much as any in baseball – despite the fact he was shut down early with a cranky elbow. The diagnosis: a flexor mass strain, the same exact injury that forced Bundy under the knife. He finished the year with 106 strikeouts, 33 walks, and 3.42 FIP in 87.2 IP.

Projection: Instead of being prescribed elbow surgery, Harvey was told to rest so, (A) hopefully it’s not as serious as Bundy’s injury and (B) the data’s still incredibly limited a year-and-a-half into his pro career. And while there’s an awful lot of volatility because of the sample size, CAL likens the 6-foot-3 right-hander to some of the game’s better young pitchers. Another front-of-the-rotation-type arm, assuming he can push the injury behind him.

Ceiling:  4.0- to 4.5-win player

Risk:  Moderate to High

MLB ETA:  2017

 

 

 3. Chance Sisco, C

Born: 02/24/95 Age: 20 Height: 6-2   Weight: 193   B/T: L/R                                                          
Top CALs: Adam Ehrlich, Jakson Reetz, Jair Fernandez, Jobduan Morales, Marcus Greene
YEAR Age LVL PA AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BB% K% wRC+
2013 18 R 118 .371 .475 .464 .938 .093 14.4% 17.8% 181
2014 19 A 478 .340 .406 .448 .854 .108 8.8% 16.5% 141

Background: Sisco teamed with Hunter Harvey to give not only Delmarva but the entire organization one of the better pair of 19-year-olds in baseball. Brought into the system in the same draft that added Harvey, the lefty-swinging backstop crushed Sally pitching in 2014, hitting .340/.406/.448 with 27 doubles, a pair of triples, and five homeruns en route to topping the league average offensive mark by 41%.

Projection: While Sisco has mashed right-handers in his career (.364/.430/.466), he hasn’t been completely helpless against southpaws either (.274/.378/.389). A lot of his production was driven by an unsustainable .406 BABIP. Otherwise, his patience is average and the power still hasn’t become a reliable skill yet. Defensively, he needs some work: he allowed 16 passed balls and threw out just 20% of the would-be base stealers. There’s some potential big league value here, but, again, it comes with a decent amount of risk.

Ceiling:  2.5- to 3.0-win player

Risk:  Moderate to High

MLB ETA:  2019

 

 

4. Zach Davies, RHP

Born: 02/07/93 Age: 22 Height: 6-0   Weight: 150   B/T: R/R                                                          
Top CALs: Wesley Parsons, Randall Delgado, Jameson Taillon, Dan Cortes, Steve Garrison
YEAR Age Level IP ERA FIP K/9 K% BB/9 BB% HR/9 LOB%
2012 19 A 114.3 3.86 4.53 7.2 18.8% 3.6 9.5% 0.87 74.3%
2013 20 A+ 148.7 3.69 3.28 8.0 21.3% 2.3 6.1% 0.61 66.3%
2014 21 AA 110.0 3.35 3.30 8.9 23.4% 2.6 6.9% 0.65 70.3%

Background: Davies continued his meteoric rise through the minor leagues last season. After beginning his career as a 26th round pick in 2011, the wispy right-hander debuted in pro ball a year later in Low Class A, successfully pitched through the Carolina League in 2013, and posted the best strikeout rate of his career as a 21-year-old in the Eastern League last season. On the positive side, Davies missed most of May, which cut his innings down quite a bit – an obvious concern when you let a 150-pound, 20-year-old hurler throw 148.2 innings (which the team did in 2013).

Projection: A promising back-of-the-rotation arm. Davies has yet to struggle for any length, at any stop during his minor league journey. Above-average control, solid or better punch out rates, and a ton of groundballs – it’s a successful recipe many a pitcher employees.

Ceiling:  2.0- to 2.5-win player

Risk:  Low to Moderate

MLB ETA:  Late 2015/Early 2016

 

 

5. Christian Walker, 1B

Born: 03/28/91 Age: 24 Height: 6-0   Weight: 220   B/T: R/R                                                          
Top CALs: Nick Evans, Stephen Head, Rhyne Hughes, Joe Mahoney, Russ Canzler
YEAR Age LVL PA AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BB% K% wRC+
2013 22 A+ 239 .288 .343 .479 .822 .191 7.1% 17.2% 126
2013 22 AA 69 .242 .319 .323 .641 .081 8.7% 14.5% 82
2014 23 AA 411 .301 .367 .516 .884 .216 9.2% 20.2% 144
2014 23 AAA 188 .259 .335 .428 .763 .169 9.6% 26.1% 109

Background: As consistent a performer you’ll find during his three-year career at South Carolina, Walker, who posted OPSs between .902 and .992 with the Gamecocks, made stops at Class AA, Class AAA, and a brief six-game stint in Baltimore in 2014. The former fourth round pick hit a combined .288/.357/.489 with 25 doubles, a pair of three-baggers, and 26 homeruns in the minors last season.

Projection: Walker answered some questions surrounding his power potential last season by doubling his career homerun total. Still, though, it’s more of a line-drive type of bat with 15-homerun potential in the big leagues. CAL isn’t overly optimistic, linking him to a bunch of minor league flame outs. And the overall skillset – decent patience, OK hit tool, and average power – is pretty underwhelming.

Ceiling:  1.5-win player

Risk:  Low to Moderate

MLB ETA:  Debuted in 2014

 

 

6. Mike Wright, RHP

Born: 01/03/90 Age: 25 Height: 6-6   Weight: 215   B/T: R/R
Top CALs: Kyle Lobstein, Tanner Roark, Wes Roemer, Scott Diamond, Michael Antonini
YEAR Age Level IP ERA FIP K/9 K% BB/9 BB% HR/9 LOB%
2012 22 A+ 46.3 2.91 3.10 6.8 18.8% 1.0 2.7% 0.58 75.8%
2012 22 AA 62.3 4.91 4.18 6.5 16.9% 2.5 6.4% 1.01 65.3%
2013 23 AA 143.7 3.26 3.27 8.5 21.8% 2.4 6.2% 0.56 72.2%
2014 24 AAA 142.7 4.61 3.79 6.5 16.6% 2.6 6.6% 0.63 61.8%

Background: The former third round pick found himself back in the International League after a one game stint to cap off his breakout 2013 season. And, unfortunately for Wright, his strike out numbers dropped from 21.8% to 16.6%. Overall, he finished the year with 103 punch outs and 41 walks.

Projection: In last year’s book I hinted that the strikeout rate spike he saw in Class AA could be a bit of a mirage:

“A nice mid- to back-rotation prospect. The K-rate last season is a cause for at least a little concern considering it was just 6.6 K/9 the prior year. But the control/command will play.”

Well, the strikeout rate plummeted back to the mid-6.0s. The control is still a solid, reliable skill. CAL compares him to a bunch of #5-type arms. He’s as ready for the big leagues as he’s going to be. Unfortunately for him, Baltimore’s rotation is already five-deep: Chris Tillman, Bud Norris, Kevin Gausman, Miguel Gonzalez, and Wei-Yin Chen. Throw in the disappointing Ubaldo Jimenez and it’s going to take more than one injury to see Wright in the Orioles’ rotation.

Ceiling:  1.5-win player

Risk:  Moderate

MLB ETA:  2015

 

 

7. Dariel Alvarez, OF

Born: 11/07/88 Age: 26 Height: 6-2   Weight: 180   B/T: R/R                                                          
Top CALs: Ty Wright, Matt Duffy, Matt McBride, Jason Bourgeois, Kevin Pillar
YEAR Age LVL PA AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BB% K% wRC+
2013 24 A+ 41 .436 .463 .641 1.104 .205 4.9% 2.4% 209
2013 24 AA 32 .194 .219 .290 .509 .097 3.1% 28.1% 36
2014 25 AA 381 .309 .332 .487 .819 .178 3.4% 9.2% 124
2014 25 AAA 183 .301 .328 .439 .767 .139 4.4% 14.8% 109

Background: A much less heralded signing than his fellow countrymen, the Cuban-born Alvarez signed for $800K in late July 2013, a pittance considering the deals of Yasiel Puig, Rusney Castillo, or even the step-brothers Hernandez who signed their respective deals more than a decade previous. Alvarez, who moonlights as a right fielder when he’s not covering center, split the 2014 season between the Eastern and International Leagues, hitting a combined .306/.330/.484 with 37 doubles, three triples, and fifteen homeruns.

Projection: Alvarez hasn’t stopped hitting since coming stateside. Through his first 647 plate appearances, he owns a .311/.336/.484 triple-slash line. The bat’s his best offensive weapon, but the rest of the lot – power, patience, speed – are average at best. He absolutely mashes lefties (.354/.383/.549). Alvarez is a championship-caliber fourth outfielder.

Ceiling:  1.0- to 1.5-win player

Risk:  Moderate

MLB ETA:  2015

 

 

8.  Jomar Reyes, 3B

Born: 02/20/97 Age: 18 Height: 6-3   Weight: 220   B/T: R/R                                                        

Top CALs: Rafael Devers, Julio De La Cruz, Natanael Delgado, Cheslor Cuthbert, Rony Cabrera
YEAR Age LVL PA AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BB% K% wRC+
2014 17 R 207 .285 .333 .425 .758 .140 7.2% 18.4% 112

Background: Signed by the Orioles for a pretty hefty sum in 2013 ($350,000), the man-child bypassed the foreign rookie leagues and jumped straight into Gulf Coast last season, hitting .285/.333/.425.

Projection: Outside of the sheer size, Reyes is a pretty promising prospect: he made a successful jump stateside, flashing above-average power potential, decent walk and strikeout rates, and a solid hit tool. He could be a fast riser beginning next year.

Ceiling:  Too Soon to Tell

Risk:  N/A

MLB ETA:  N/A

 

 

 

 9.  Jon Keller, RHP

Born: 08/08/92  Age: 22   Height: 6-5   Weight: 210   B/T: R/R                                                        
Top CALs: Jackson Quezada, Anderson Polanco, Doug Salinas, Cesar Cabral, Kyle Kendrick
YEAR Age Level IP ERA FIP K/9 K% BB/9 BB% HR/9 LOB%
2013 20 R 15.3 4.11 1.70 10.6 27.7% 1.2 3.1% 0.00 55.0%
2014 21 A 56.7 1.59 2.33 10.5 30.0% 2.2 6.4% 0.16 82.1%

Background: A late, late round pick out of the University of Tampa, a school that’s graduated just six players to the big leagues, Keller, a 22nd round pick in 2013, decimated the South Atlantic League hitters last year. The 6-foot-5 right-hander, who played two years at Nebraska prior to transferring to Tampa, struck out 66 and walked just 14 in 56.2 innings.

Projection: The Orioles reportedly kept Keller in the bullpen for multiple-inning stints with an eye on pushing him back to the rotation in 2015. His sample size is pretty limited, just 79.1 career innings, but Keller’s been absolutely lights out. He’s one to watch this season.

Ceiling:  1.5-win player

Risk:  High

MLB ETA:  2018

 

 

10. Tyler Wilson, RHP

Born: 09/25/89 Age: 25 Height: 6-2   Weight: 185   B/T: R/R                                                          
Top CALs: Brett Oberholtzer, Nick Additon, Eduardo Morlan, Paolo Espino, Tobi Stoner
YEAR Age Level IP ERA FIP K/9 K% BB/9 BB% HR/9 LOB%
2013 23 A+ 62.3 4.48 3.89 6.9 18.2% 3.6 9.5% 0.58 63.3%
2013 23 AA 89.3 3.83 4.46 7.1 18.7% 2.2 5.9% 1.31 76.0%
2014 24 AA 96.7 3.72 3.53 8.5 22.3% 2.1 5.4% 0.93 70.0%
2014 24 AAA 70.0 3.60 3.90 8.5 23.2% 2.7 7.4% 1.03 73.8%

Background: A four-year member of the Virginia baseball program, Wilson didn’t catch his break until his senior season when he was moved into the rotation for the first time. Baltimore grabbed him in the tenth round that year after he fanned more than a batter per inning with stellar control. The 6-foot-2 right-hander split the year with Bowie and Norfolk, where he still showed his trademark control (2.3 BB/9) and missed a good amount sticks (8.5 K/9).

Projection: The right-handed – and better version – of Tim Berry. Wilson has an extended history of averaging about a punch per inning with above-average control. Granted, he’s typically pitched against younger or age-appropriate competition. It’s difficult imagining him cracking a big league rotation, but there’s some potential setup value to be had.

Ceiling:  .5- to 1.0-win player

Risk:  Low

MLB ETA:  2015

 

 

***All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs***

 

 

 

 

 



About

After serving as a video scout/analyst for Baseball Info Solutions, Joe Werner began writing at his original site, ReleasePoints.com. He’s since transitioned into his current niche, prospect analysis, at ProspectDigest.com. He has been fortunate — and incredibly blessed — to have some of his work published and mentioned by several major media outlets, including: ESPN, Cleveland.com and the Baseball Research Journal. He can be reached at: JosephMWerner@yahoo.com.