Prospects ranking season winds down

As yet another top 100 prospects list was published recently by a major outlet and then yet another - by first and then The Athletic – once again Jackson Holliday of the Orioles was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the sport.

This is long since no surprise as he ended last season atop prospects lists and will begin this year No. 1 via Baseball America, and the two listed above.

Just yesterday, Holliday was among the list of 20 non-roster invitees heading to spring training, which begins in Sarasota, Fla. next week.  

While the Orioles list of players via Baseball America,, ESPN and The Athletic is significant, what is most impressive is that most of their top 100 players are really top 50.

Of the six Orioles that were rated top 100 by Baseball America, three were in the top 25 and five were in the top 41. They are down to five now with DL Hall at No. 93 now a Brewer. Of the six rated top 100 by MLBPipeline, five were top 32. They are down to five there with Joey Ortiz at No. 63 now a Brewer. Of the seven ranked by ESPN (six minus Ortiz), five are top 50. The Athletic lists three among the top 27. ranked Holliday No. 1, Coby Mayo No. 19. Samuel Basallo No. 27, Heston Kjerstad No. 48, Colton Cowser No. 50, and Enrique Bradfield Jr. at No. 94.

The Athletic rated Holliday No. 1, Basallo at No. 20, Mayo No. 27, Kjerstad No. 64 and Bradfield No. 64. The outlet rated Ortiz No. 58.

While last year the Orioles had eight top 100 players via both Baseball America and MLBPipeline, four were ranked No. 74 or higher by the publications. The O’s, per those outlets this time, have more high-end prospects.

And with Bradfield getting rated on the list by ESPN and The Athletic, now every Oriole top draft pick since lefty Hall in 2017, has been a top 100 prospect.

Bradfield’s inclusion by ESPN and The Athletic is a nice sign for him, a player drafted No. 17 overall last year by the Orioles out of Vanderbilt. A player that some scouts say has both 80 grade speed but also defensive tools.

As the ESPN writeup pointed out, Bradfield in 25 games last year walked 26 times and fanned 16. While he reached High-A Aberdeen for five games at the end of the year, he didn’t homer in his pro debut last summer. The hit tool is way ahead of the power tool but again, this might be a kid with two tools that are at or approach 80 grade. That is elite stuff.

When we talk about the long list of young and talented O’s outfielders, add this guy to the list.

In earlier rankings BA had Holliday No. 1, Basallo No. 10, Mayo No. 25, Cowser No. 34, Kjerstad No. 41 and Hall at No. 93.

MLBPipeline had Holliday at No. 1 with Basallo at No. 17, Cowser No. 19, Mayo No. 30 and Kjerstad No. 32.

ESPN calls Mayo a nearly-MLB ready third baseman with 30-homer upside. Basallo is said to have 30+ homer upside with a plus-plus arm at catcher. Actually, considering he made Double-A at age 19 and plays a premium defensive position, I see a No. 27 ranking too low, believe it or not.

The Athletic in its top 100 (subscription may be required) notes that Basallo has big power but also strong plate discipline. The outlets agree with me that he can stay as a catcher, and he has a huge arm. 

In recently released organizational rankings both BA and ESPN list the Orioles with the No. 1 farm in baseball. The ranking from BA came even after the trade for Corbin Burnes. 

Arbitration decisions: There have not been too many cases in recent years of a player winning an arbitration hearing against the Orioles. But it happened twice yesterday.

Outfielder Austin Hays won his case and will play for a salary of $6.3 million in 2024 and not the $5.85 million the team had sought. 

Reliever Jacob Webb won his case as well and will play for $1 million in 2024 and not the $925,000 the club had sought.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network first reported the Hays decision and the Baltimore Banner was first on Webb. 

There is one arbitration case left for the Orioles, with Ryan O'Hearn, who seeks $3.8 million while the club countered at $3.2 million. 






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