We’re more than halfway through the season in the minor leagues, which means it’s time to reevaluate prospect rankings and dive a bit deeper into who sits on top of the lists. This week, it was MLB Pipeline’s turn to adjust their rankings as the outlet released a new MLB Top 100 along with top 30 lists for each team. And of course, the Orioles were included in the fresh rankings.
The full Orioles Top 30 has quite a few adjustments and quite frankly several surprises. Below, a few of the most notable storylines to emerge from the new list that includes high praise for several selections from the 2017 Draft.
Austin Hays leapfrogs Ryan Mountcastle, ranked #2 in the organization
If you’ve been following Camden Chat for a while, you know who Austin Hays is and why this might not be too massive of a surprise in terms of mid-year rankings. However Hays’ brilliance at every level — thus far — is noteworthy and clearly the national analysts are taking notice.
While Mountcastle is still most certainly well on his way, Hays is doing his recent damage (.319/.334/.588 in 28 games) at double-A Bowie rather than at Frederick, where Mountcastle has a .314 average on the year.
It speaks volumes that Hays is doing what he’s doing in his first full pro ball season. At 22, last year’s third-round selection might be seeing MLB action sooner rather than later.
2017 first-round pick DL Hall starts his Orioles career ranked #4
This was a formality, but it’s intriguing to see that Hall debuts at number four on the list. It also says a good bit about the current state of the Orioles organization that Hall is the highest-ranked pitching prospect on the list. He’s ahead of the likes of Hunter Harvey, Cody Sedlock and Tanner Scott. The hype is real — tracking Hall’s 2018 season will be among the top stories of next year.
Cedric Mullins cracks the top five, slotted #5 in the system
The folks at MLB Pipeline didn’t let an injury-plagued 2017 stop them from slotting Mullins into the top five. The outfielder has played in just 44 games throughout his age-22 season, but the results have been rather encouraging.
He’s hit .317 in 183 at-bats, totaling a .889 OPS in just his second full season in the Orioles system. We chatted with him earlier in the year in an interview in which he spotlighted on his spike in power over the 2016 season, noting that there hasn’t been a particular emphasis on getting stronger and that the slugging increase has come naturally. That’s exciting news, especially if his ability to get on base continues.
For the foreseeable future, we can probably put Mullins and Hays in the same tier in terms of potential starters in the Orioles outfield. Spring training next year will be quite the intriguing watch.
Cody Sedlock falls to #12, ranked behind five other pitchers
2017 hasn’t been kind to Sedlock — from what is said to be a minor throwing elbow injury to low strikeout totals, there hasn’t been much to be optimistic about in his first full season. The 22-year-old allowed six hits in 1.2 innings tossed in his last game back on Sunday, boosting his season WHIP to 1.74 through 64.1 innings.
Sedlock is now ranked behind Hall, Scott, Harvey, Keegan Akin and Michael Baumann, a third-round pick just this last June. So, in terms of national expectations, there’s been a significant downtick when it comes to Sedlock.
Does it mean he can’t make the leap to a legitimate top-tier prospect in 2018? Of course not — but, it does make projecting his future that much more difficult in the coming months. For a first-round selection, that’s certainly not ideal. Bottom line: ranking him outside of the top-10 makes sense.