After three straight years with the Baseball America No. 1 player, could O's extend streak?


When I interviewed Baseball America’s JJ Cooper this week to talk about the Orioles making history in the BA top 100, becoming the first team to have three No. 1 players in three straight years, he had an interesting comment.

“It’s hard to imagine we are going to see this again anytime soon,” he said.

To that point, many in Birdland may have thought “unless the O’s Samuel Basallo (No. 10 right now) makes it four in a row for the Orioles this time next year.”

And that was my follow up to Cooper in that interview. Well, what about a Baltimore four-peat this time with Basallo in 2025?

“It is absolutely a possibility,” said Cooper noting that several players ranked ahead of Basallo currently in their new top 10 are likely to graduate from list eligibility during the new season and he could move up several spots based on that alone. 

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An Oriole three-peat: Three years, three different No. 1 ranked prospects

Jackson Holliday

It was not unexpected as O’s prospect Jackson Holliday ended last season as the sport’s No. 1 ranked player. But when Baseball America released a new top 100 list on Wednesday, the Orioles officially became the first team in the 35-year history of their list to have the No. 1 player for three straight seasons.

Three years, three different No. 1 players.

Catcher Adley Rutschman was No. 1 in the initial list release of 2022, infielder Gunnar Henderson was No. 1 in 2023 and now Holliday in 2024.

In 2022, Rutschman went on to post an OPS of .806 for the Orioles and he finished second for AL Rookie of the Year and was 12th in the AL MVP voting. Last year, Henderson posted an OPS .814, won the AL Rookie of the Year Award and finished eighth in the MVP voting.

With the poll release last year, the Orioles then become the first team to ever have two players from the same draft class be No. 1 in consecutive years, with Rutschman and Henderson drafted in 2019. The only team previously with two straight years with two different players getting to No. 1 before 2023 was St. Louis, with J.D. Drew in 1999 and Rick Ankiel topping the ratings in 2000.

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Will the O's need to hit more homers in the 2024 season?

Gunnar Henderson

Earlier this week, in a blog about the Orioles 2023 offense, it was noted that while the club finished fourth in the American League scoring 4.98 runs per game, they were not rated that highly in some other stats like team batting average (sixth), OBP (tied for seventh), slugging (seventh) and team OPS (eighth).

The Orioles were very strong, leading the American League and all of MLB in batting average (.287) with runners in scoring position and team OPS (.837) with RISP. Those are real strong numbers and could well be hard to duplicate.

One area on the stat sheet that the club could hope for some improvement would be in hitting homers. The Orioles have hit fewer homers in two seasons now that the left-field wall is much deeper at Camden Yards. But they actually moved up a bit in team rankings in the AL in homers, despite hitting fewer.

Here is the look at the last four full seasons for the Orioles, two before the wall was moved back and two after.

In 2019 the O’s hit 213 homers to rank 12th in the AL. In 2021 they hit 195 to rank 10th. In 2022, after the wall was moved, they hit 171 but that was eighth and last year they hit 183 and that rated ninth in the AL.

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Trainer on Coby Mayo: “We started seeing that he’s the real deal"


The memory still makes Tom Flynn laugh. The sound rings in his ears like the ones created each time that Coby Mayo smacked another baseball.

Mayo was an 8-year-old hitter on his Little League team in South Florida. The Spanish-speaking players in the Latino community would affectionately bark out his nickname after another home run.

“Coby always had a lot of pop in his bat and they used to call him ‘The Hammer.’ ‘El Martillo,’” Flynn said last week.

“They called him that all through Little League. And he had a different stance, too. He used to lean back with his front leg real straight and long, and just turn on balls and explode on them. ‘El Martillo!’”

Flynn goes back much further with Mayo, the Orioles’ fourth-round draft pick in 2020. Mayo was 4 and a preschool classmate of Flynn’s son, Colin. They played travel ball together and were high school teammates.

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Agent on Coby Mayo: "Now you ask teams and they’d all take him in the first round"


Coby Mayo isn’t bothered or distracted by the passing traffic. By the Orioles prospects in the fast lane and the attention that's tailgating them.

Prior to the farm system’s rise to a No. 1 ranking, Mayo would have been the center of attention and recipient of the organization’s top player award. Rarely is a hitter ignored who slashes .290/.410/.564 at the two highest levels with 45 doubles, three triples, 29 home runs and 99 RBIs in 140 games.

No one had more doubles, homers or RBIs or a higher slugging percentage and OPS, and his 93 walks ranked second behind Jackson Holliday, who won the award and is the top prospect in baseball.

Holliday could make the team out of spring training despite turning 20 this month and appearing in only 18 regular season games with Triple-A Norfolk. Mayo is 22 and he played in 62, but he’s likely to return until a spot opens for him.

Patience and understanding are two other tools that rate highly on any scale.

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