O's farm ranked No. 1 by Baseball America (plus other notes)

When Baseball America recently released a new top 100 prospects lists, the Orioles had eight players ranked, with three among the top 15. That included the No. 1-ranked prospect in baseball: Gunnar Henderson, who for now still holds prospect eligibility.

On the strength of those rankings, and with a farm showing strong depth as well, Baseball America now ranks the Orioles as having the top-ranked farm system in the major leagues. The Orioles are No. 1, followed by Arizona, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland and the New York Mets.

The next-highest-rated American League East team is Tampa Bay at No. 6. Boston is No. 10 with New York at No. 15 and Toronto No. 17.

According to Baseball America, since 2005, 17 of the 18 teams to have the No. 1 farm system made the playoffs within two years. The only team that took longer, the 2011 Kansas City Royals, made back-to-back World Series appearances in years three and four, winning the Fall Classic in 2015. Five of the last 15 No. 1 farms saw their major league organization win the World Series in the near future after their No. 1 ranking, and there were a total of 13 World Series appearances over the following five seasons between the 15 selections.

With Henderson at No. 1 on the Baseball America top 100, the O’s also have Grayson Rodriguez at No. 6, Jackson Holliday No. 15, Colton Cowser at No. 41, DL Hall No. 75, Jordan Westburg No. 76, Connor Norby at No. 93 and Joey Ortiz ranked No. 95.

The Orioles had nine players ranked in the ESPN top 100, and also got eight ranked via MLBPipeline.com and Baseball Prospectus. Six Orioles each made their way onto the lists compiled by The Athletic and FanGraphs.com.

Baseball America has released a top 100 every year since 1990, and until this year the Orioles never had more than five players ranked in the initial list release each year.

MLBPipeline.com recently noted that the organizations with eight or more prospects on a preseason Top 100 in the previous five years - Rays (2021), Padres (2020), Braves (2020, 2019, 2018) - all made the postseason in 2022.

Baseball America notes that from 1984-2020 the Orioles were never higher than eighth in their preseason organizational ratings. They were No. 12 in 2020, No. 7 in 2021 and No. 4 last year.

It should be noted that in the 2022 midseason rankings, the Orioles were No. 1 via Baseball America, MLBPipeline.com and ESPN.

Here is a link to the new Baseball America organization rankings (subscription may be required). And here is a link to a previous story on this site about what getting such a ranking could mean for the Orioles' future. 

O’s back in Lakeland today: Speaking of prospects, right-handed starting rotation candidate Rodriguez is slated to make his spring debut today when the Orioles return to Lakeland to play the Detroit Tigers. The Orioles scored 20 runs in winning their first two spring games over the weekend, but have been held to seven runs in losing the last three. And the Orioles were hitless until the ninth yesterday.

On the mound they have gotten back-to-back two-inning scoreless starts from Kyle Bradish and Cole Irvin. Through five games, O’s starters have worked a combined 10 innings, allowing seven hits and four runs with three walks and six strikeouts.

International rankings about to drop: For the second year in a row, I will be publishing a MASNSports.com top 20 O's international prospects ranking. We will run a series of stories on this list over the next few days, starting tomorrow when we unveil the No. 1-ranked player for 2023. This was fun to compile and research, and we hope it provides all of us with more information on these players in the O's ever-improving international program. Hope you enjoy the series, which will run the next four to five days here. 

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