What the 2015 season might bring for some top O’s prospects

Baseball America released its list of the top 10 Orioles prospects at the end of October. Four players on that top 10 are already on the Orioles’ 40-man roster and probably six or more potentially could play for the Orioles this season.

Today, let’s take a look at what we might see from this group come April.

1) Dylan Bundy, RHP: Bundy is likely to begin the season in Double-A Bowie’s rotation. Believe it or not, Bundy has pitched just 16 2/3 innings in his life so far at that level. But where Bundy ends the year will be a bigger question. Can he impact the Orioles this year and how many innings can he pitch?

Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals had Tommy John surgery on Sept. 4, 2010 and pitched just 44 innings in 2011, but he threw 159 innings in 2012.

Bundy had his surgery June 27, 2013 and threw 41 1/3 innings last year. Can he get 150 this season? In his final three outings at Single-A Frederick last year, he pitched to a 1.23 ERA and while his fastball was sitting mostly 91-94 mph, he threw one pitch that touched 96 mph. The velocity was slowly coming back during the summer.

The O’s have to be excited to see what 2015 holds for Bundy, who turned 22 in November. He is out of options starting with the 2016 season, so this will be a big year for him to establish something in the majors at some point.

2) Hunter Harvey, RHP: Harvey was shut down in late July with a flexor mass muscle strain in his right forearm. He needs to show he’s healthy and, along those lines, everything seems to be going well at this point.

This kid has the potential for three plus pitches and one of his real strengths is a combination of smarts, composure and mound presence that rate high. One scout said he’s everything you want in a top-of-the-rotation starter. He should debut with Single-A Frederick this season.

walker-at-bat-white-sidebar.jpg3) Christian Walker, 1B: After getting a brief taste of the majors in September, Walker should begin this year starting for Triple-A Norfolk, but could easily find his way back in the big leagues.

He went from 11 homers and 56 RBIs in 2013 to 26 homers and 96 RBIs at Double-A and Triple-A last year to put himself on the map. If Chris Davis leaves the Orioles as a free agent, Walker could slide into that first base job for 2016.

4) Chance Sisco, C: With a .345 batting average in 147 career games on the O’s farm, Sisco has been impressive. He is expected to start for Frederick at 20 in April.

He won the South Atlantic League batting title last year at Single-A Delmarva, batting .340. On defense, he showed enough arm strength, but has work to do to improve his receiving and footwork.

5) Dariel Alvarez, OF: Alvarez seems close to major league-ready. Some think he would have been called up in September if the O’s were not a playoff team. He should have a good chance to see big league time this year but will likely start the season at Triple-A.

We’ve heard a lot about his big arm. One scout rated it 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale and Alvarez threw 93-95 mph during showcases before he signed with the Orioles when some clubs looked at him as a pitcher.

6) Zach Davies, RHP: After going 10-7 with a 3.35 ERA at Double-A Bowie, Davies then went 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA in seven Arizona Fall League starts. He seems likely to begin the year in the Triple-A rotation unless it gets so crowded there that he gets bumped back to Bowie to start the year. But Davies, who turns 22 in February, is clearly on the rise and someone to watch closely in 2015.

7) Tim Berry, LHP: The former 50th-round draft pick continues to make steady progress toward the majors. He will probably start in the Norfolk rotation and has a chance to make the O’s roster during the season, as he did for one day last year.

With a fastball that can touch 94, Berry’s changeup made big gains last year, going from a 40 to 60 grade according to one scout.

8) Mike Wright, RHP: Wright should start the season with Norfolk, but after being added to the 40-man roster in November, see some time in Baltimore this year. Some wonder if his mid-90s velocity and sinking fastball would play well as a late-inning reliever.

His very strong finish at Norfolk last summer included an ERA of 0.76 with an average against of .176 in five August starts.

9) Mike Yastrzemski, OF: The young Yaz filled up the stat sheet in 2014. At three levels, ending at Double-A, he had 34 doubles, 16 triples, 14 homers, 18 steals and added double-digit outfield assists. He could return to Double-A to start 2015, after batting .250 there in 43 games to end last summer, but Triple-A likely awaits before too long for the grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski.

10) Jomar Reyes, 3B: The Orioles bypassed the Dominican Summer League, sending Reyes to the Gulf Coast League last summer. And he showed he was ready for that at 17 by demonstrating two plus tools - arm and power.

Would it be pushing things for him to begin 2015 at Single-A Delmarva? Probably not, and that seems likely if he has a solid camp in March.

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