USA TODAY Sports
Baseball America's released their top 30 Oriole prospects. Last week we looked at prospects 21 to 30, this week we look at prospects 11 through 20. Who is on this list? What do these names say about the state of the farm?
Continuing our collective examination of Baseball America's top 30 Oriole prospects, today's installment focuses on prospects 11-20. Out of necessity, I feel worth mentioning that I strongly recommending purchasing the prospect handbook. As mentioned last week, ages listed are for the 2013 season, with 6/30 as the cut-off. Anyway, onwards and upwards!
#11 is Tim Berry, 22 y/o LHP. If you followed ATM last year, you likely recall my affinity for Tim Berry, and the vignette on Berry highlights some of the appeal: "live, loose arm 90-94 MPH" (from the left side), "plus curveball...solid changeup." In 2012 mainly across Salisbury and Frederick, Berry posted a 7.6 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 with a FIP of under 3.85. His ERA was over 5, but his peripherals are more attractive. He was a 50th rounder so it is hard not to root for the kid. Given how age appropriate he has been with some success, it seems like he is proving his worth. BA notes a ceiling of a #3 starter, so here is hoping.
#12 Christian Walker is a 22 y/o RHP first baseman, a 4th rounder in 2012. He was a slugger while at South Carolina and BA reports he will go as far as his bat takes him. BA also mentions comparisons to "Kevin Millar and Steve Pearce" which has to be about the oddest comp ever. He played in only 22 games in Aberdeen, so it's hard to make much out of it, as he OPSed 796.
#13 is 26 y/o switch hitting OF Henry Urrieta. He apparently makes "consistent line drive contact." There is a whole mess of opinions on him, though I think we should all reserve judgment until he plays for awhile. Of course, given his age, time is of the essence. What do you believe the future will hold for the Cuban?
#14 is 21 y/o right handed burner Glynn Davis. Admittedly, I'm not his biggest fan, primarily due to his Luis Hernandez-esque ISO. BA notes that he does have patience, which is good, but an ISO of 050 in Salisbury seems like he is destined to not be too relevant. If the Orioles could run the read option they may be onto something however.
#15 is 22 y/o lefthanded hitting 3B prospect Torsten Boss. Boss's review is not exactly glowing, but does state that he does not have any clear weakness, though projects as a utility infielder. But hopefully he will continue to play with a chip on his shoulder. He performed acceptably in Aberdeen in 57 games, 257/360/414 for an OPS of 774 with a K/BB of 53/30 in 237 at bats. I like the decent ISO and nice BB%. He is definitely worth watching in 2013, hopefully in Frederick.
#16 is RHP Steve Johnson who is seemingly year older than his actual 25 years. We all love his ability to miss bats and dread his fly ball tendencies. I don't know really what to add, other than him holding his own in Baltimore is pretty compelling. I'm trying, albeit poorly, to not be fooled by the small sample size, but maybe making the most of what he has is genetic.
#17 is Clay Schrader, a 23 y/o right handed reliever. 2012 was not exactly a banner year for him, as he continued to struggle with wildness as he climbs the organizational ladder. K/BB ratios over his last few stops: Delmarva 44/15 in 26 IP, Frederick 86/46 in 59 IP, Bowie 17/24 in 23 IP. The last ratio is not transposed. It definitely seems like he has the tools, but whether he can harness them or whether the organization can develop those tools in an open question. BA notes 90 plus FB and a slider that has a "hard bite."
#18 is 22 y/o RHP Devin Jones, who shares the same birthday as Peter Angelos. The Orioles have been converting the reliever into a starter, noting his 90 plus FB and a slider that is a "solid offering." His stats have been kind of all over the place, but BA notes the method to the Orioles' madness. What is discouraging was his pedestrian K/9 in Frederick last year while starting (4.8/9), a precipitous though unsurprising drop from his days as a reliever. His ERA as a starter was shiny at 2.80, but his FIP was 4.34. He did have a 2.15 GB/FB ratio as a starter. So we'll see how he performs in Bowie.
#19 is local boy Josh Hader, who was born 2 days after Kurt Cobain committed suicide. That last part is not germane to this discussion. It is simply true. Drafted in the 19th round of last year's draft, Hader is a 19 y/o southpaw who set the prospect world on fire posting a ridic K/BB ratio of 35/7 in 20 GCL innings last year. Apparently the Orioles "straightened out his delivery" and put him on a long toss program. (Westie, it is that simple!) He definitely will be watched in 2013!
#20 is 20 y/o rightie Zach Davies. He was something of a bonus baby in the 2011 draft. I maintain my enthusiasm for him, though 2012 honestly could have gone better in Salisbury, with a K/BB of 91/46 K/BB in 114 innings with a FIP of 4.52. It also looks like he is doomed to be compared to Mike Leake given that he turned down a scholarship to Arizona State and is "athletic with 4 pitches." I hope the Macy's in Frederick is aware of his imminent arrival.
So, which of these kids strikes your fancy? Is my pessimism on Davis and Schrader unwarranted?