Orioles score well on one list of 25-and-under talent

Do the Orioles have the best collection of young talent in the American League? Baseball Prospectus says yes, and ranked the O's first among AL teams this week in its 25-and-under talent rankings.

The Orioles are No. 6 in all of Major League Baseball, but tops among AL teams. St. Louis is ranked No. 1 followed by Washington, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Miami.

The Orioles have already been getting solid recognition in farm system ratings, earning a No. 10 ranking from ESPN and No. 12 from Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus.

The 25-and-under rankings obviously include more than just prospects and the Orioles move up this list thanks in large measure to Manny Machado, who is 21, and Chris Tillman, who is 25 and will turn 26 on April 15.

In its write-up, Baseball Prospectus said this about the Orioles:

* "The front seven carries this list and gives Baltimore some formidable U25 talent to push them toward the top. Third baseman Manny Machado and right-handed starter Chris Tillman lead the way as above-average regulars, with potential front-line righty starters Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy not far off. In addition to the Gausman-Bundy duo, prospects Hunter Harvey, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Jonathan Schoop all cracked the Baseball Prospectus Top 101. This list provides a diverse portfolio of young major leaguers, near-term elite prospects, and high-ceiling talent."

Click here to read the list and click here to read my interview with Jason Parks from Baseball Prospectus from January, when the outlet rated five Orioles among their top 101 prospects, with Gausman No. 10, Bundy No. 15, Harvey No. 58, Rodriguez No. 61 and Schoop No. 82.

"I think they are an under-appreciated system," Parks said in that interview. "I don't think they have a ton of depth, but when you can boast arguably two of the top 20 arms in baseball in the minors in Gausman and Bundy, you have the foundation for something that could be pretty special.

"If you are going to judge a farm system on what it produces, that could produce a legit No. 1 or No. 2 starter. That can change the landscape, that can change a franchise."

Speaking of young talent, the Orioles are starting to compile some catching talent in the organization and it is now one of the deepest positions on the farm.

The Orioles already had players like Michael Ohlman, Caleb Joseph and Brian Ward in the organization, and then added three high school catchers among within the first six rounds of the draft last June. The O's drafted Chance Sisco in the second round, Jonah Heim in the fourth round and Alex Murphy in the sixth round.

So how will these young catchers all get playing time in the minors this year? Can one or all three break north with a full-season team come opening day? I asked O's director of player development Brian Graham that question.

"Sisco might be a little ahead of Heim and Murphy, but we certainly like all three catchers," Graham said. "Murphy's offensive potential is really exciting. Heim is very young, will play this whole season at 18 and has very good tools and obviously Sisco performed well last year. They'll compete and we'll see what happens."

One possible scenario would have Sisco heading north with Single-A Delmarva come April and the other young duo staying in extended spring training to get more hands-on instruction until short-season teams begin play in June.

I recently wrote about the Bovada over-under odds for the Orioles for this season. The online casino and sports book released updated odds yesterday.

Odds to win the 2014 World Series:

Los Angeles Dodgers - 13/2
St. Louis Cardinals - 8/1
Detroit Tigers - 9/1
Boston Red Sox - 12/1
Tampa Bay Rays - 12/1
Washington Nationals - 12/1
New York Yankees - 14/1
San Francisco Giants - 16/1
Texas Rangers - 16/1
Oakland Athletics - 18/1
Atlanta Braves - 20/1
Los Angeles Angels - 20/1
Cincinnati Reds - 22/1
Pittsburgh Pirates - 28/1
Seattle Mariners - 28/1
Baltimore Orioles - 33/1
Kansas City Royals - 33/1
Philadelphia Phillies - 33/1
Toronto Blue Jays - 33/1
Cleveland Indians - 40/1
Arizona Diamondbacks - 50/1
Chicago White Sox - 50/1
San Diego Padres - 50/1
Chicago Cubs - 66/1
Milwaukee Brewers - 66/1
Colorado Rockies - 75/1
New York Mets - 75/1
Miami Marlins - 100/1
Minnesota Twins - 100/1
Houston Astros - 200/1

Odds to win the 2014 AL Pennant:

Detroit Tigers - 17/4
Boston Red Sox - 6/1
Tampa Bay Rays - 6/1
New York Yankees - 13/2
Texas Rangers - 8/1
Oakland Athletics - 9/1
Los Angeles Angels - 11/1
Seattle Mariners - 14/1
Baltimore Orioles - 16/1
Kansas City Royals - 16/1
Toronto Blue Jays - 16/1
Cleveland Indians - 20/1
Chicago White Sox - 25/1
Minnesota Twins - 50/1
Houston Astros - 100/1

Odds to win the 2014 AL East:

Boston Red Sox - 11/5
Tampa Bay Rays - 11/5
New York Yankees - 12/5
Toronto Blue Jays - 7/1
Baltimore Orioles - 7/1

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