A look at a prospects list where O’s fare well and Dan Duquette’s take on it

Well, here is a twist: a prospect ranking that likes the Orioles. At a time when their farm system has gotten ample criticism, a ranking was published this week where the Orioles look strong.

It was published on FanGraphs.com by Chris Mitchell, who calls it his KATOH system. The system uses only 2015 minor league stats and data to project future major league performance. Scouting reports and analysis are not part of this ranking. The list only considers players with at least 300 plate appearances or batters faced.

This is not FanGraphs’ official top 100 prospect list, but rather a ranking of where the players fell when the author put them through his projection system. You can read more about the methodology of the system here.

Mitchell writes:

“The general framework of my model is largely the same as it’s always been. As I did in the past, I deployed a series of probit regressions to see what factors are most predictive of major league performance. For each player, I generated probabilities that he would achieve certain benchmarks through his age-28 season: play in the major leagues, earn at least 1 WAR, earn at least 2 WAR, etc. These percentages gave me a probabilistic outlook for each player, and enabled me calculate an “expected value” for his WAR through age 28.

I should also note that while KATOH takes into account a player’s defensive position, it doesn’t consider his ability at said position. So the best defensive shortstop in the minors (whoever that might be) would get credit for being a shortstop, but not for being an excellent defensive shortstop.”

According to his top 100 rankings, three Orioles are among the top 50 and the rest of the American League East combined has four total, with two each for the Red Sox and Yankees.

Mancini Hitting Orange Bowie sidebar.jpgHe ranks catcher Chance Sisco at No. 22, first baseman Trey Mancini No. 42 and third baseman Jomar Reyes No. 49. Two O’s drafted pitchers who were traded also make the top 100, with Josh Hader at No. 63 and Zach Davies at No. 71.

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette has seen this list and said it reflects well on the Orioles’ farm system and scouting staff.

“It is a real positive reflection on the work the Orioles’ amateur scouting staff, led by Gary Rajsich and Fred Ferreria, are doing,” Duquette said. “The Orioles have good scouts and a system that is productive for the team. If you take five of the top 71, you are talking about a pretty high percentage across the industry.”

Of course, two of those ranked in the top 71 were traded away by the club: Hader as part of the Bud Norris deal in July 2013 and Davies to Milwaukee last July. Does Duquette have any regrets about those deals?

“I’ve always said the minor league system can help your team by bringing players directly through the system to the major league team or by a trade. If you are going to be in the hunt - and we’ve been in the hunt the last couple of years - one of the requirements is trading young players from your farm system to staff the major league team,” Duquette said.

Either way, this is at least one independent ranking that is favorable on Orioles prospects. Duquette knows it comes at a time when fans are reading that the Orioles’ minor league system is expected to be rated low in various future organizational rankings.

“That is not what this ranking says,” Duquette said. “Plus the fact that our major league club has been very competitive over the last four years. I think these ranking speak for themselves. Five in the top 71 shows that Orioles scouts are doing a good job.”

Boston paid the price for Price: It appears that the Boston Red Sox may win the winter. They traded prospects for closer Craig Kimbrel and opened their checkbook yesterday to sign free agent lefty David Price to a reported seven-year deal worth $217 million.

Boston is going to generate a lot of buzz for the addition of Price. As expected, Price’s career 5.12 postseason ERA and 6.17 postseason ERA this year did nothing to diminish his massive contract. He’s a fantastic talent that the Orioles will now face with a third different AL East team.

Boston remains very formidable. They have new front office management led by Dave Dombrowski, but they still have a very good farm system along with a big payroll. That is quite a one-two punch.

Peter Gammons made an interesting point on Twitter. With Price’s new deal, the three starting pitchers the Orioles faced and beat in the 2014 playoffs with Detroit - Price, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer - now have combined contracts totaling $607 million.

O’s add Trumbo: The O’s reported acquisition of Mark Trumbo was much discussed after the deal became known last night. Trumbo has averaged 26.2 homers per year the last five seasons. Now we wait to see if he is joining Chris Davis or replacing him, and what else the team does this winter. Some fans provided opinions here last night. Keep them coming today on this deal.

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