When he gets here, Rutschman's biggest foe may be expectations

When catcher Adley Rutschman got rated as baseball's No. 2 prospect this week by Baseball America, he achieved a ranking that only three other Orioles reached since the publication's first top 100 poll in 1990. Manny Machado never got to No. 2. He never even made the top 10 with rankings of No. 14 in 2011 and No. 11 in 2012. Rutschman joined Matt Wieters, ... read more

Rutschman, four other O's reach Baseball America top 100

A new Baseball America top 100 prospects list (subscription may be required) was released yesterday and it was a good day for the Orioles. Baseball America has published 32 lists since its first in 1990. And just twice - first in 2008 and now in 2021 - has the club put five players in the top 100. They have never had more than five. I ... read more

Taking a closer look at the MLB Draft League

When the Frederick Keys field a team this summer, for the first time they will not be sending Orioles prospects to the field. As part of the restructuring of minor league baseball, the Keys have joined the inaugural MLB Draft League. Six teams will begin play in a 68-game season beginning in late May and running through mid-August. It is a wood-bat league made up ... read more

Another look at a "landmark day" for the O's organization

If anyone still doubted that the Orioles were serious about their international amateur signings, those doubts surely vanished yesterday. From the first day he was on the job as executive vice president and general manager, Mike Elias made producing and developing a strong international program a priority. Now Elias, along with senior director of international scouting Koby Perez and his staff have put together their ... read more

Basallo, Hernández lead O's international class (updated)

The Orioles today announced a signing class of 17 international amateurs, including the club's first two players signed for seven figures. Per industry sources, the club has contract agreements with catcher Samuel Basallo from the Dominican Republic for $1.3 million and with Venezuelan shortstop Maikol Hernández for $1.2 million. The Orioles announced that 11 more from this group are six-figure agreements. Of the 17 agreements, ... read more

International amateurs can get there sooner and with great impact

When I wrote this entry earlier this week, I detailed the Orioles' efforts to reach agreements with 20 international amateurs for their upcoming signing class. It will be the second international class since Mike Elias took over as the club's executive vice president and general manager. Elias and the team's senior director of international scouting, Koby Perez, both have extensive international experience and contacts and ... read more

O's international efforts will soon take another big step

The Orioles continue to make some huge strides in their pursuit of international amateur talent. A class of what would eventually be 44 players was added in the signing period that began July 2, 2019 and ended in October. The Orioles will sign fewer players in the coming class, but were involved with many more players commanding bigger signing bonuses. This is the latest sign ... read more

A future rotation candidate who may be flying under the radar

He might be someone a bit overlooked among Orioles pitching prospects. But he probably should not be, despite the fact he has yet to advance beyond high Single-A ball and is not yet on the O's 40-man roster. He doesn't need to be there yet, but right-hander Kyle Bradish will get there when the time comes. He joined Isaac Mattson, Kyle Brnovich and Zach Peek ... read more

On the O's farm, versatility will be a real key

As the Orioles approached their recent instructional league camp, they knew a few things that would be important to consider. One is that building defensive versatility is never a bad thing for a player. If he can play multiple positions, his value to the team and the sport go up. The Orioles also knew they had drafted and acquired seven shortstops via the draft or ... read more

Director of player development Matt Blood on players skipping levels

There is a lot we don't yet know about the 2021 baseball season. We have a schedule for 162 games for each big league team; we just don't know if the sport will start on time and play all 162. After the restructuring on the farm, we still don't have schedules for minor league teams or any idea when those players will be in Florida ... read more

Looking at Frederick's immediate baseball future, while Aberdeen moves up

So yesterday, as it turned out, was the day. We finally got some clarity on the Orioles minor leagues for 2021. We hope that we get to see a full season of baseball as the country recovers from the pandemic. What we do know now is the likely makeup of the O's farm moving forward. Four teams were invited to be O's full-season affiliates. They ... read more

O's expected to field two GCL teams, notes on shortstop and more

Baseball America recently reported that baseball officials have tweaked the restructuring of the minor leagues. Previously, each organization was expected to have five domestic farm clubs - four full-season teams and one complex-based team. That is a Rookie-level club playing at their spring training complex. But Baseball America reported that officials are now expected to allow clubs to field two complex-based clubs. This would allow ... read more

A look at a player who may be the next O's top 100 prospect

When he arrived at the Orioles' alternate camp at Double-A Bowie on Aug. 7, he became the youngest player on the field there at 19. But also among those with one of the potentially brightest futures. He would face pitchers more advanced than he would have been facing in a normal 2020 season, but that would also eventually prove a great benefit. And the fact ... read more

Earl Weaver would approve: Keep adding shortstops

With the trade of José Iglesias to the Los Angeles Angels this week, who will play shortstop for the 2021 Orioles is an unanswered question right now. But the future O's shortstop may currently be in the organization. Over his first two drafts, Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias has drafted five shortstops. In 2019, three of his top six picks were ... read more

Will 2021 see O's top prospect in Baltimore?

It is not a pressing question, but rather an intriguing one for the Orioles: Will catcher Adley Rutschman make his major league debut in 2021? That might seem quite unlikely for a player with just 130 professional at-bats and 12 games of full-season ball - and that at low Single-A - on his resume. But of all the prospects that were fortunate enough to play ... read more

Talking O's farm with MLBPipeline.com's Jonathan Mayo

The Orioles organization is "on the move." That was the conclusion of MLBPipeline.com when the outlet recently published an article about the state of the O's farm system. Jonathan Mayo wrote that article and joined me recently for a Zoom interview to talk about the Orioles minor leagues. The O's are now No. 8, up from No. 13, in the latest MLBPipeline.com organizational rankings. That ... read more

A former farmhand with thoughts on O's prospects

He's not a scout, a pitching coach or someone that works in a baseball front office. But he's got an interesting perspective and I've known that since the first time I interviewed left-hander Brian Gonzalez, which was probably not long after the Orioles drafted him in 2014. After seven seasons in Birdland, Gonzalez left the flock recently to sign a minor league contract with the ... read more

Rule 5 protection date approaches for the Orioles

So a decision day is coming for the Orioles on Friday, unless they make some announcements before that. They have to decide which players to add to their 40-man roster to protect them from the December Rule 5 draft. They have five openings on their 40-man roster. That certainly does not guarantee they protect five players. They can protect as few as they want or ... read more

How it looks to get O's prospects back into minor league season

I wasn't aware of the term "coronavirus pandemic expansion" until reading it last week in an article detailing how Southwest Airlines is adding Sarasota, Fla., to its growing list of destinations. Finally, the official airline of the Baltimore Orioles is providing flights to the team's spring training home. Always made sense to me. This is big news to beat writers who have been flying into ... read more

Baseball America sizes up the O's top prospects

Baseball America released its new Orioles top 10 prospects list this week. The list shows that the Orioles continue to improve their farm system. Seven of these players were acquired on former general manager Dan Duquette's watch, and three came since current executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias took over. It's a list with some balance: There are five pitchers and five position ... read more