Orioles top all of MLB with eight ranked in the new Baseball America top 100

It was a record-setting day for the Orioles with the release of the new Baseball America national top 100 prospects list today. Not only does Gunnar Henderson continue as the publication’s No. 1-ranked prospect, but the Orioles topped all of Major League Baseball with eight players ranked in the top 100, one more than Cleveland's seven and two more than the Dodgers, Mets and Rays, who had six each. 

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 publication has been producing top 100 lists since 1990, and 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 ranked No. 1 in back-to-back years until today. The O’s selected Rutschman No. 1 overall in 2019 and Henderson was their second pick in that draft, at No. 42.

So Henderson, who was the 2022 Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year also, is still No. 1. Pitcher Grayson Rodriguez is now No. 6 and the second-highest rated pitcher behind the Phillies' Andrew Painter at No. 5. Baseball America now ranks Jackson Holliday, the overall No. 1 pick by the Orioles in the 2022 draft, at No. 15. The Orioles also have Colton Cowser at No. 41, pitcher DL Hall No. 75, Jordan Westburg No. 76, Connor Norby No. 93 and Joey Ortiz at No. 95. Norby and Ortiz crack Baseball America's top 100 rankings for the first time this year.

With eight players ranked, the Orioles blew away their previous best in this initial pool release by Baseball America. We say initial as the last several years the publication has tweaked its poll throughout the season. In 2022, the Orioles ended the season with six in the top 100. But in the initial poll release of each year, the Orioles' best previous showings were five players ranked in 2008, 2021 and 2022.

Offering further proof that the building of the elite talent pipeline has been successful is that, for the first time, the Orioles have three players in the top 15 of the initial list. The closest they had come previously was two in 2012, with Dylan Bundy at No. 10 and Manny Machado at No. 11, and two last year, with Rutschman No. 1 and Rodriguez No. 6.

Henderson also becomes the third Oriole ever to be ranked No. 1 in the initial poll release. Matt Wieters topped the charts in 2009 and Rutschman last January.

Henderson, 21, retains rookie eligibility and thus qualifies for these lists because, with 116 at-bats last season, he came up short of the 131 that would make him no longer a rookie.

Heading into 2022 he was ranked No. 57 by Baseball America and No. 64 by MLBPipeline.com. Then he got off to a sizzling start at Double-A Bowie, moved to Triple-A Norfolk in June, played in the All-Star Futures Game in July and ended the season in the majors.

In 34 games with the Orioles he batted .259/.348/.440/.788 with seven doubles, a triple, four homers and 18 RBIs. At the time of his call-up to the majors on Aug. 31, he was the youngest player on any team’s 40-man roster. He became the fourth player in team history and first since Jonathan Schoop in 2012 to homer in his first game. And he was the youngest Oriole ever to homer in his debut game.

This followed a 2022 minor league year in which he batted .297/.416/.531/.947 between the Baysox and Tides and hit 19 homers with 76 RBIs and 101 runs scored.

Henderson is considered by some to be the odds-on favorite to win the 2023 American League Rookie of the Year Award, an honor Rutschman finished second for after last season.

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