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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles are stacked with prospects

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Don’t believe me? Check out Baseball America, which ranked five O’s prospects among the top 63 in baseball.

Baltimore Orioles v Atlanta Braves
Adley Rutschman, coming soon to a ballpark near you.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Here are some words I’ll never get tired of saying: the Baltimore Orioles have some of the best prospects in baseball.

But don’t take my word for it. Just ask one of the most preeminent prospect publications, Baseball America, which yesterday unveiled its Top 100 MLB Prospects list for 2021. Their list included five — count ‘em, five — O’s prospects, headlined by catcher Adley Rutschman at No. 2, behind only the Rays’ Wander Franco. Per MASN’s Steve Melewski, Rutschman is BA’s highest-ranked Orioles prospect since Dylan Bundy also placed second in 2013.

Only three teams — the Padres, Marlins, and Blue Jays — have more than five prospects on BA’s list. And if you want to have fun with arbitrary endpoints, you could narrow the field to 63 players and the Orioles would still have five on the list. Rutschman is joined by righty Grayson Rodriguez (No. 22), lefty DL Hall (No. 59), and outfielders Heston Kjerstad (No. 62) and Ryan Mountcastle (No. 63).

Last year, Rutschman, Rodriguez, and Hall were the only Orioles on BA’s top 100 list. They’ve now been joined by Kjerstad, the second overall pick in the 2020 draft, and Mountcastle, who was excluded last winter but forced his way back into the conversation with his excellent MLB debut. (Since he didn’t play enough games in the majors to lose his rookie status, Mountcastle is still eligible for prospects lists this year.)

The Orioles’ farm system has made great strides in recent years, with the Mike Elias regime drafting talented youngsters like Rutschman and Kjerstad to complement Dan Duquette-era holdovers such as Mountcastle, Rodriguez, and Hall. The Birds are steadily improving their talent pipeline, and someday soon it’s bound to pay dividends at the big league level.

At least, that’s the plan. Let’s see how it all turns out.

Links

Orioles roster projection: With spring training a month away, here’s who might be on the team opening day - Baltimore Sun
I don’t know if Jon Meoli intended for that headline to rhyme, but it’s a nice touch. The Orioles’ projected roster, though, isn’t particularly pretty.

Top 5 pitching performances in O’s history - Orioles.com
The Orioles have had some incredibly well pitched games over the years, as evidenced by the fact that none of their five no-hitters even made Joe Trezza’s top five list. I’m not sure I knew that Jerry Walker once threw a 16-inning shutout. Wowza!

Taking a closer look at the MLB Draft League - Steve Melewski
The Frederick Keys are no longer an Orioles affiliate, but they’re still alive as part of the new MLB Draft League. If you’re asking, “What the heck is the MLB Draft League?”, then Melewski’s got you covered.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have three Orioles birthday buddies: 1995-97 lefty Rick Krivda (51), third baseman and Rec Specs icon Chris Sabo (59), and outfielder Fred Valentine (86), who had two stints with the Birds to begin and end his career.

Today marks a somber eight-year anniversary in O’s history, as Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver passed away on this date in 2013 while on an Orioles-themed cruise. Weaver, the most successful and most popular manager in club history, amassed 1,480 victories and led the Birds to four World Series, winning it all in 1970. Just six months before his passing, Earl was honored with a statue unveiling at Camden Yards as part of the Orioles Legends Celebration Series.