They are No. 1, the best farm system in all of Major League Baseball. The Orioles moved to the top spot in the latest organizational rankings released last night by MLBPipeline.com. Just eight days ago, the Orioles were ranked No. 2 by Baseball America.
So this news comes at a time when the Orioles have the worst record in the majors and a 19-game losing streak after Tuesday’s 14-8 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
The Orioles had the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2019, No. 2 the next year and No. 5 last month. Right now, they are in the No. 1 spot for the 2022 draft.
They are indeed building an elite talent pipeline and their work is being recognized.
In the 2020 MLBPipeline.com preseason rankings, the O’s farm was No. 13 and it moved to No. 8 by midseason. Before this year, they got the No. 5 ranking and now they are No. 1.
In an email late last night, MLBPipeline.com’s Jim Callis gave me his take on the Orioles’ move up to No. 1.
“The Orioles are obviously struggling at the big league level, but the farm system is headed in the right direction,” Callis wrote. “They have the best prospect in baseball in Adley Rutschman, who is the best catching prospect I have seen in three decades of covering prospects. They also have the game’s best pitching prospect in Grayson Rodriguez. They have built nice depth, especially in terms of position players.”
Rutschman is MLBPipeline.com’s No. 1 prospect with Rodriguez No. 8. Also in its latest top 100, they list pitcher DL Hall No. 78, infielder Gunnar Henderson No. 80 and the 2021 top pick, outfielder Colton Cowser, at No. 83.
Click here to see the MLBPipeline.com rankings with Seattle second and Miami third following Baltimore. Tampa Bay, the previous No. 1 organization, is now No. 6, with Boston No. 12, Toronto No. 14 and the New York Yankees No. 19.
On Aug. 16, the Orioles were rated No. 2 in the latest ratings by Baseball America, behind only Seattle.
In the Baseball America rankings, the Orioles ended last year No. 12, moved to No. 7 in preseason and now to No. 2. As for the rest of the division, in the latest from Baseball America, Tampa Bay is No. 7, Boston No. 9, Toronto No. 10 and New York No. 19.
“It’s nice,” O’s director of player development Matt Blood told me then of the No. 2 ranking. “It’s nice to be recognized for the improvement of talent throughout our system. From the player development side, we’re not going to be complacent because we are ranked No. 2 now. I think we have a lot of work to do and it’s our job to get these players to actualize that talent and value.”
It’s been clear on this blog that many, many fans have taken a bigger interest in the minors than ever before. And now they have a bit to crow about with the Orioles ranked No. 2 by one major publication and No. 1 by the other.
On the farm last night: The low Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds won 9-4 at Salem to improve to 55-42 overall and to 7-0 since they added a host of 2021 O’s draft picks. One of those picks, second-rounder Connor Norby from East Carolina, went 3-for-4 last night with two RBIs. After getting just one hit in his first two games with the Shorebirds, Norby is 7-for-14 over his past four games with three doubles, a triple, a homer and seven RBIs. Third baseman Cody Mayo hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs.
Delmarva has scored 65 runs during its seven-game win streak, scoring nine runs or more in five of the seven games.
Right-hander Mike Baumann threw five scoreless innings on four hits for Triple-A Norfolk Tuesday night, but the Tides let the lead get away late in a 4-3 home loss to Jacksonville. Baumann has an ERA of 2.14 in five Triple-A games.
O’s streak still going: The Orioles’ losing streak reached 19 straight games at Camden Yards on Tuesday night, as they trailed the Los Angeles Angels 13-2 in the fourth before eventually losing 14-8.
Ryan Mountcastle hit two solo homers and now has 23 on the year. That is the fourth-most by a rookie in O’s history behind only Cal Ripken Jr. (28 in 1982), Eddie Murray (27 in 1977) and Trey Mancini (24 in 2017). Mountcastle has hit six homers in his past 11 games and nine in his last 20.
Anthony Santander went 4-for-5 with a Eutaw Street two-run homer in the loss. It was his fourth homer onto Eutaw Street this year and seventh of his career, which trails only Chris Davis with 11 on the all-time list.
Santander’s homer in the sixth was blasted 443 feet, making it tied for the second-longest home run in the history of Eutaw Street with Montreal’s Henry Rodriguez on June 17, 1997. The longest was one foot farther at 444 feet by Lance Berkman of St. Louis on June 30, 2011, according to Orioles records.