Another top 100 list as prospect rankings season winds down

We have about come to the end of “prospects ranking season” in baseball with the release on Wednesday of the FanGraphs.com top 100 prospects list. It actually goes 112 players deep.

The Orioles placed six players on this list, all among the first 66 ranked players. Infielder Gunnar Henderson got another No. 1 ranking and is the consensus top prospect in baseball, and he still holds rookie eligibility as 2023 begins. He is among the favorites to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award this November.

On the FanGraphs list, he also got just one of two 65 FV player rankings, meaning their Future Value number. FanGraphs calls Henderson “a well-rounded star and franchise cornerstone.”

Young Jackson Holliday, an O’s non-roster spring invitee about to enter his first full pro season, is ranked No. 9 and is one of 12 players on the FanGraphs list getting 60 FV grades.

Here is recap of where six major outlets ranked 11 different Orioles who got a top 100 listing from at least one outlet. I abbreviate BA for Baseball America, BP for Baseball Prospectus, MLBP for MLBPipeline.com and Athl for The Athletic. The rest are self-explanatory.

GUNNAR HENDERSON

No. 1 – BA, BP, MLBP, ESPN, Fangraphs
No. 2 – Athl

GRAYSON RODRIGUEZ

No. 6 – BA
No. 7 – MLBP
No. 8 – BP
No. 12 – ESPN
No. 15 – Athl
No. 17 – FanGraphs

JACKSON HOLLIDAY

No. 9 – BP, FanGraphs
No. 12 – MLBP
No. 15 – BA
No. 17 - ESPN
No. 19 – Athl

COLTON COWSER

No. 30 – ESPN
No. 38 – BP
No. 40 - MLBP
No. 41 – BA

DL HALL

No. 64 – FanGraphs
No. 75 – BA
No. 84 - Athl
No. 95 – BP
No. 97 – MLBP

JORDAN WESTBURG

No. 66 – ESPN
No. 73 – Athl
No. 74 – BP, MLBP
No. 76 – BA

CONNOR NORBY

No. 82 – BP
No. 92 – ESPN
No. 93 – BA

JOEY ORTIZ

No. 66 – FanGraphs
No. 71 – ESPN
No. 95 – BA, Athl
No. 99 – MLBP

COBY MAYO

No. 36 – FanGraphs
No. 47 – ESPN
No. 69 – BP

HESTON KJERSTAD

No. 80 – MLBP

CADE POVICH

No. 54 – ESPN

That is quite a listing of Orioles. They had six players ranked on lists by FanGraphs.com and The Athletic, and eight players ranked by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and MLBPipeline.com. ESPN topped them all, ranking nine Orioles on its list.

Baseball America released the first list on Jan. 18, and eight Orioles made it, with four in the top 41. That was a banner day for the club. The publication has been producing this list since 1990, and in its initial list released each year since then, never had more than five Orioles been ranked.

This is the second year in a row in which Baseball America has ranked an Oriole as the top prospect in the sport. Adley Rutschman was No. 1 in the poll released last year. The only other time the same organization had two different players at No. 1 in consecutive years was when the St. Louis Cardinals' J.D. Drew and Rick Ankiel topped the ratings in 1999 and 2000, respectively.

Also, no team had two players from the same draft class ranked No. 1 in back-to-back years until this year. The O’s selected Rutschman No. 1 overall in 2019 and Henderson was their second pick in that draft, at No. 42.

As you can see, the lists feature a lot of the same names, but there are some outliers. No one ranked Povich, save for ESPN, and only MLBPipeline.com included Kjerstad. No one was as bullish on Mayo as FanGraphs.com. Only The Athletic did not have Henderson No. 1, and he was No. 2 on its list.

For the Orioles to have 11 players make a list is pretty strong. I don’t think the Orioles had the most players on every list, but they came close. And they are ranked as the No. 1 farm system by many outlets.

Fans have asked me whether this is the best O’s farm I have ever covered. It is. Never before in my many years around the club have they gotten such accolades. In the minors and player development, they are doing a lot right. And if Holliday moves to No. 1 at the end of this year, well, I don’t think any organization has ever had three straight No. 1 players.

The Orioles said they wanted to build an elite talent pipeline and they did it. Now it's flowing toward the majors, with players like Rutschman and Henderson living up to their hype so far. Heading into a season when they hope to contend, they are positioned very, very well on the farm. It’s a fertile farm with several players close to big league debuts.

It’s a farm that will provide players for the parent club and players for trades that will help it compete. The Orioles' burgeoning international operation is now starting to send players to the O’s top 30 lists, and it’s only a matter of time until we start seeing international products from Baltimore's system ranked on a top 100 list. That will be yet another huge day for O’s player development.

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