According to one analyst, the Orioles have two of the 13 best prospects in all of baseball. ESPN's Keith Law released his midseason top 50 prospect rankings (Insider required) on Thursday afternoon, which included two Orioles minor leaguers: Dylan Bundy at #12 and Hunter Harvey at #13. The O's are one of three clubs with at least two players ranked so high, and the only one in their division to do so.
Prior to the season, Bundy was ranked #31 and Harvey was ranked #38, so they have moved up significantly. While there were some players who came off the prospect list because they graduated to the major leagues - such as Kevin Gausman, who was ranked #23 before the season started and is no longer eligible, but is still very highly regarded - for the most part the elevation is due to their prospect stock increasing in Law's eyes.
Bundy suffered a setback by having to have Tommy John surgery last year, but he was back pitching in competitive games in less than a year after that surgery. The results haven't quite been there yet for Bundy, who's allowed a 9.26 ERA in three starts at High-A Frederick as he works his way back to form. but Law believes that the stuff is "most of the way back" and that Bundy could even help the Orioles bullpen in September if they want him to.
Harvey has been blowing people away all season at Low-A Delmarva, racking up 93 strikeouts in 77.2 innings in his first full professional season. Law notes that Harvey can get his fastball up to 97mph and has a "plus curveball when it's on," but that he also needs to get more consistent with his delivery and work more on his changeup. Law's past comments on Harvey have noted that he won't need to develop the changeup until he moves up closer to the majors, so he thinks the Orioles should challenge Harvey at Frederick or Bowie sooner rather than later.
One Orioles prospect who started out the season in the top 50 has fallen out. Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez was rated as the #43 prospect when the season began and is not included in this top 50 at all. In 13 starts for Double-A Bowie, the 21-year-old Rodriguez has a 4.81 ERA this season and missed about a month worth of starts due to a knee injury back in April.
The Orioles' division rivals appear on the list as follows:
At least as far as Law is concerned, when it comes to having the very top end prospects, none of the divisional competitors can compare to the Orioles right now. Hopefully Bundy and Harvey turn out to be what he thinks that they can be.