During the 2022 season, the Orioles organization got a lot of props for its farm system and player development operation. Baseball America, MLBPipeline.com and ESPN now rank its system as No. 1. They all placed Baltimore at the top in midseason rankings, the latest we have from the outlets. They could update those soon.
Now comes an MLB Pipeline poll published recently in which the outlet surveyed major league front office officials. That group also has the Orioles as having the No. 1 farm in baseball.
Half of those asked which team has the best farm in baseball responded Baltimore. The Los Angeles Dodgers came next at 21 percent, and Arizona third at nine percent. Of the 30 clubs, nine got votes for the top farm, but no club got nearly as many votes as the Orioles did.
The article states: "The Orioles have ranked as the top farm system in our last three rankings, and it looks like the industry agrees. Even with Adley Rutschman graduated, the combination of high-end prospects just about ready to impact the big league team and depth in the system has them very well-regarded, with the Dodgers not too far behind."
So we have pretty much reached a consensus here with the top outside outlets selecting the Orioles, and many of those execs inside the game doing so as well.
In the same article, when asked which team uses the draft the best, big league execs gave Baltimore the second-most votes. Thirty-seven percent selected the Dodgers, with the Orioles getting 20 percent of the votes on this question.
Earlier, as mentioned right here, this polling showed the Orioles' Gunnar Henderson as the heavy favorite to win the 2023 American League Rookie of the Year award. He got a whopping 73 percent of the vote, with Houston pitcher Hunter Brown and Boston first baseman Triston Casas getting nine percent each. Only five players got votes, and most of them went to the O's infielder.
The top outlets should be coming out soon with new and updated top 100 national rankings. Here is where some O's stand now, per Baseball America and MLBPipeline.com.
* Henderson is No. 1, according to Baseball America, and No. 2 in MLB Pipeline's estimation.
* Grayson Rodriguez is No. 4 by both outlets.
* Jackson Holliday is No. 38 by Baseball America and No. 13 on MLB Pipeline.
* DL Hall is No. 55 by Baseball America and No. 87 via MLB Pipeline.
* Colton Cowser is No. 88 via Baseball America and No. 40 on MLB Pipeline.
* Jordan Westburg is No. 89 for Baseball America and No. 76 via MLB Pipeline.
Name this team: The city of Frederick, Md., which is no longer home to an Orioles affiliate, does not currently have an affiliated minor league club to root for. But there will be two non-scholastic teams playing this summer in Frederick. The Frederick Keys in the MLB draft league for amateur talent. And for the pros, the Atlantic League will have a team in Frederick this summer.
That club is looking for a team name, and it will be selected by the fans. Fans can submit a name entry at the club's website at frederickatlanticleague.com through Jan. 27. Starting Feb. 6, there will be a list of finalists to then vote for. A fan can win two season tickets for the 2023 season if their submitted name is the eventual winner.
The Frederick team will open its Atlantic League season on April 28, and Maryland will then be home to two clubs in the league as Frederick joins the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. There are also clubs in York and Lancaster, Pa.
Report dates finalized: We are now about one month away from the start of spring training. Major League Baseball announced report dates on Thursday for each club, with most teams reporting Feb. 15 or Feb. 16. The O's will report on Feb. 15, with the first workout set for the next day. Position players report on Feb. 20, with their next workout the following day. These are report dates, and many players will be in ahead of these dates. The O's first exhibition game is set for Feb. 25 against the Minnesota Twins in Sarasota. The 2023 season will be the club's 14th spring in Sarasota, Fla.
International additions coming: The Orioles will announce a new class of international amateurs this Sunday, when a new international signing period begins. In this excellent preview by Baseball America, the O's are expected to sign Baseball America's No. 17-rated international prospect, shortstop Luis Almeyda, a 16-year-old right-handed hitter from the Dominican Republic.
The publication predicts Almeyda will get a bonus of over $2 million, which would be a record for an O's international amateur signing. On signing day last Jan. 15, outfielder Braylin Tavera set a record when he agreed to a bonus of $1.7 million.
In 2021, the O's signed their first two international amateurs ever for seven figures, adding catcher Samuel Basallo for $1.3 million and shortstop Maikol Hernández for $1.2 million.
So Almeyda would be the fourth international prospect to sign with the club for $1 million or more under executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias and Koby Perez, the club's senior director of international scouting.