One final thought: My take on the top prospects' lists

There is no spin or excuses that can explain the fact the Orioles had just four players listed on the Baseball America minor league top 20 prospects lists while the rest of the AL East had 56 combined.

The O's come up lacking big time here and got blown away by the rest of the division.

To me it raises a red flag or two and is cause for concern, but certainly not wide spread panic. It doesn't mean everything the O's are doing is wrong or that they can't produce talent.

They do have a Major League roster littered with young talent, a lot of which they have drafted and produced. They did have some players not play enough to qualify for these lists and others that got hurt.

But so did other organizations and they overcame it to place double-digit numbers on those lists.

We do have to remind ourselves that this is one projection for one year. Maybe next season players named Machado, Narron, Klein, Townsend, Hoes, Hobgood, Coffey, Ohlman, Berry, Schoop and others will pepper those lists.

To me, Jim Callis' comments on the Orioles were spot on. Right now, they do seem to be building some depth, but are clearly lacking in high-end prospects. I also agree that while the O's are no where near the top farm system in baseball, they are no where near the worst either.

But the O's can't afford many years where they lag behind the rest of the division in producing top prospects, whether they have graduated some to the Majors or not.

They can't skimp on signing bonuses or scouts. They can't skimp on salaries for minor league coaches and staff. They can't skimp on facilities and resources for the minor league players. It's just too important for the future.

They continue to lack in signing and producing young, international talent. They have some good people in international scouting, just not nearly enough. They are getting their butts kicked on this front and I don't know why.

Some strides have been made in recent years. Some good, hard working people are in place in scouting and player development. The organization must provide them the resources to compete with baseball's best. Nothing else will get the job done.

This year the O's came up way short.

It wasn't that long ago they had minor league players like Wieters, Matusz, Tillman and Arrieta considered among the best prospects in baseball. Zach Britton is still on those lists.

Even if they didn't make any list this year, I still have high hopes for players like Joe Mahoney, L.J. Hoes and Tyler Townsend to name just three.

If the O's can't or won't compete with big spendors like Boston and New York for free agents in the winter, they must hold their own with them in scouting and player development.

They will get out of it, what they put into it. I have met and interviewed plenty of O's minor league players and coaches and came away from those encounters with plenty of hope for the organization's future.

Baseball America doesn't get everything right, but they are pretty good when it comes to these listings.

The Orioles can't come up this short on those lists to this degree. Not this year or any year, for that matter.

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