Earlier today, I ran a story with quotes from Jim Callis of Baseball America discussing the O’s lack of players on the publication’s top 20 prospects lists in minor league baseball.
Only four players from the O’s farm - Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta, Xavier Avery and Wynn Pelzer - were listed in the top 20 of any league.
In Baseball America online chats about each league, several O’s prospects were referenced. Manny Machado would have likely been the top prospect in both leagues in played in, the GCL and New York Penn, but didn’t have enough at bats to qualify.
Other players just missed making some lists like Ryan Adams, Jonathan Schoop and Trent Mummey.
O’s minor league player of the year, first baseman Joe Mahoney, put up good numbers at both Frederick and Bowie but didn’t seem to get much consideration for the top 20 of the Carolina or Eastern Leagues.
Here is Callis’ take on Mahoney:
“A lot of times the teams’ minor league player of the year is the guy that performed the best and not the best prospect. He is not a blue-chip, cornerstone type of prospect. He is a 23-year-old guy that spent half the season at High A and he got to Double-A and performed well.
“He had a nice year, but I don’t think scouts are projecting him as a .300 hitter with plus power, like he did this year. He hit 18 home runs, which is a nice year, but you don’t see him as guy that will hit 25 in the Majors. He is not a top prospect.”
On the other hand, Callis raves about Manny Machado last June’s top draft pick by the Orioles:
“He only played about nine games (this summer). It’s not like people saw him play a lot, but he is clearly their best prospect. To call him the next A-Rod is ridiculous, but I do think Manny is going to be a special player. A guy who is an All-Star year in and year out.
“I was working on our draft report cards today. Comparing him to the rest of their draft class, he’s their best hitter, the best power hitter, the best athlete.
“I think he is going to be a .300, 15 to 20 homer shortstop who plays a very solid defensive shortstop. Not only is he the best prospect in their organization, but he compares favorably with any shortstop prospect in the entire minor leagues. So, he’s one of the best prospects in the whole minor leagues.”
Here is Callis’ take on the O’s dropping Bluefield and returning to six affiliates, including two short-season teams, in 2011.
“You can look at it two ways. It’s always good to have an extra team, because that gives you more roster spots to put prospects and players. But they do have a GCL team and a short-season team. I would describe it more as a luxury than necessity.
“While it was nice to have that extra team, on a given rookie level team, you might have only two or three guys that can make it to the big leagues. They’ll just work those guys into Aberdeen or the GCL.
“It’s not like a rookie level team has 15 to 20 legit prospects on it. It just doesn’t work that way. You have a lot of raw players. Some of those guys will see more time in extended spring and that will make competition a little tougher for Aberdeen.
“I don’t think that will have a big effect on them. It’s more of a luxury, nice to have but in the long run I don’t think it makes a whole lot of difference.”