I checked in with Andy MacPhail to get his thoughts on why the Orioles had so few prospects on the Baseball America minor league top 20 prospects lists.
He can see, like we all can, that the O's had just four players listed and it tied Oakland for last in baseball.
"The last two drafts, for whatever reason, we've had an inordinate amount of our players hurt, just didn't play a lot. Givens, Townsend. Then you add to the fact that no one is signing until August 15th these days.
"But still, at the end of the day, you'd like to have more than just those few. Part of it is also a function of some of our guys matriculating to the big leagues.
"We need to keep making that investment to keep it as plentiful as we can. This year is an example of not having a second-round pick and your first and third pick not signing until August 15th. So you really didn't get much bang from this year's draft in the system at all.
"Yeah, you'd like to have more. Even though some of our guys made the Major League club, we need to keep the pipeline full."
Did the Orioles just do a poor job this year?
"No, if you just go back and evaluate the drafts, year by year. We had drafts, you can just go back as recently as 2007 and we have guys from that already in the big leagues. You get penalized for that, because other clubs might have guys still in the system."
Does MacPhail feel good about the talent level of some of the Orioles top prospects?
"We have some guys, we are not much for ballyhooing, we take a philosophic stance to not overhype our kids. Just let them play. There are guys that had good years for us, that I'm surprised, Mahoney or someone like that, is not on a list. It may be a function of being in a couple of different leagues as well."
While on the topic of the minors with MacPhail, I got his take on the O's dropping their Bluefield affiliate. The club will go from seven to six affiliates next year. How does that change things for the Orioles on the farm?
"I think it helps because we were diluted before. Every year we had to start three teams up in the summer. It was unwieldy and diluted our talent up and down the system.
"This more conventional lineup of minor league affiliates makes more sense for us. And I don't think we lose anything. I wouldn't say it streamlines things, but we are more in the mainstream with how teams operate.
"When you have to come up with three teams as of June when guys in the draft are not signing until August, I felt was unwieldy. We've also increased our Dominican players, so to me it made sense to go with a more conventional lineup."