Now that the first month of the baseball season is in the books it’s a good time to get caught up on the prospects and their progress so far. Listed below I have the top 10 Oriole prospects according to MLB.com and the numbers they have put up so far this season. Based on those numbers and my observations I’ll award each player a letter grade for his play in April…
1. Manny Machado, SS, Bowie Baysox (AA)
.241 AVG, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 2 SB, .340 OBP, .398 SLG, .738 OPS
Obviously these numbers arn’t exactly what your looking for out of your top prospect in his second minor league season but let’s not forget he’s only 19. He needs to cut down on strikeouts (20 in 83 ABs) but he’s walking a fair amount too (13 BBs) so it’s at least encouraging that he’s getting deep into counts. Defensively he’s been a little shaky as well, committing 4 errors already.
2. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Delmarva Shorebirds (A)
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 17 IP, 1 H, 25 K, 2 BB, .18 WHIP
Bundy is rediculous. To me he is at 19 what Stephen Strasburg was at 22, and if you read any of my Nat’s posts you know how high I am on Strasburg. There are a bunch of guys who can throw 98-100 like Bundy/Stras can but none of them can consistantly hit their spots with that heat and mix in plus breaking pitches that they can also locate for strikes. Bundy is an incredible talent and there’s no doubt in my mind that he will be an ace in the pros. My only concern with him is if he can avoid the dreaded Tommy John’s surgery that a lot of hard throwing starters have to deal with but even if he does guys are coming back strong from their procedures now a days anyway (see Strasburg).
3. Johnathan Schoop, 2B, Bowie Baysox (AA)
.210 AVG, 1 HR, 4 RBI, .261 OBP, .309 SLG, .570 OPS
Schoop’s been dissapointing so far this year, struggling badly at the plate. On top of hitting for a low average and very little power (6 XBH), he has had touble making contact, striking out in almost one fourth of his at bats (20/81). Strike outs are especially bad for a guy like Schoop because he’s mostly seen as a lead off type hitter. He’s been decent defensively, committing 2 errors so far this year. Like I said with Machado, it’s difficult to be too critical of Schoop because he is only 20 years old.
4. Nick Delmonico, 3B, Delmarva Shorebirds (A)
.247 AVG, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 2 SB, .348 OBP, .390 SLG, .738 OPS
Delmonico’s average isn’t very impressive but his RBI numbers and knack for coming up with clutch hits has been. For a guy to drive in 18 runs in his first 21 minor league games at just 19 years old shows that he’s not intimidated to face a higher caliber of pitchers than he ever had before. He’s also ran the bases well, scoring 11 runs and swiping 2 bases on 2 attempts. Delmonico’s been solid with the glove too, just 2 errors so far and shows good range.
5. Jason Esposito, 3B, Delmarva Shorebirds (A)
.221 AVG, 0 HR, 8 RBI, 4 SB, .330 OBP, .256 SLG, .586 OPS
The 21 year old Esposito has struggled to adjust to minor league pitching so far, as shown in his .221 avg., lack of extra base hits (just 3 doubles), and high strikeout total (24). However, he has been able to get on base with 12 walks and do damage once he’s out there, stealing 4 bases on 5 attempts and leading the Shorebirds with 18 runs scored. His defense has been inconsistent so far, he’s committed 4 errors already.
6. Xavier Avery, OF, Norfolk Tides (AAA)
.238 AVG, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 7 SB, .363 OBP, .381 SLG, .744 OPS
The 22 year old speedster Avery has produced numbers similar to a lot of the other prospects I already went over. He has struggled with this avg., but shown some good plate discipline walking 16 times so far for a respectable .363 OBP. Once he has got on base he has been a menace to opposing pitchers as well, going a perfect 7 for 7 in stolen base attempts. He needs to strike out less (24 in 84 at bats) to be considered an option as a major league lead off hitter though. Avery shows flashes of being great with this glove in centerfield, possessing great range and good instincts off the bat.
7. Parker Bridwell, RHP, Delmarva Shorebirds (A)
2-0, 4.05 ERA, 20 IP, 19 H, 14 K, 7 BB, 1.30 WHIP
I’m not as high on Bridwell as most people, in fact if this were my top 10 prospects list Bridwell’s spot would be occupied by Tyler Townsend or Joe Mahoney. My reasoning for that is although he’s still very young (20) his stuff doesn’t wow me and he’s failed to be consistently effective against low level minor league hitters. After finishing the short season at Aberdeen with a 2-5 record and a 4.53 era (11 starts) he got rocked in his 5 low A level starts in Delmarva to the tune of an 0-3 record and 7.06 era. I’m in no way writing him off after 22 minor league starts, I’m just saying that normally you’ll at least see flashes of brilliance in the minors from guys that end up in the big leagues and we haven’t seen that from Parker yet. His numbers this year are pretty much average across the board so far.
8. Glynn Davis, OF, Delmarva Shorebirds (A)
.277 AVG, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 9 SB, .370 OBP, .301 SLG, .671 OPS
This 20 year old belway area native (from Baltimore, went to Catonsville Community College) has struggled a little bit at the plate in terms of really driving the ball (2 XBH), but has maintained a solid .277 average so far. One thing he has done well is get on base, drawing 13 walks already which has led to opportunities on the base paths where he has scored 13 runs and stole an impressive 9 bases (11 attempts). He does however he has the same problem a lot of these Oriole youngsters have had, he’s struck out too much for a guy with little power (21 K in 83 AB). He has been pretty good in the field, showing good range and getting good jumps, but has committed 2 errors already.
9. Robert Bundy, RHP, Bowie Baysox (AA)
1-4, 5.88 ERA, 26 IP, 31 H, 17 K, 12 BB, 1.65 WHIP
As good as the less famous Bundy Brother was in Frederick last year (11-5, 2.75 era), he has struggled making the transition to double A, going 2-7 with an era over 7 at that level. Bundy has pretty good stuff but has had trouble with his command so far this year. He’s walked 12 batters so far in his 26 innings and has left a lot of pitches over the middle of the plate. Opponents are batting .301 against him, that’s not going to get the job done.
10. Dan Klien, RHP, Bowie Baysox (AA)
N/A – Disabled list
Klien has yet to pitch in 2012, recovering from a torn labrum in his shoulder. The Orioles hope he will be back healthy enough to pitch at some point this season.