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Friday Bird Droppings: Still basking in Orioles prospect praise

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Baseball Prospectus followed Baseball America’s lead in placing five Orioles in its Top 100 prospects list. Very nice.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats v Bowie Baysox
Grayson Rodriguez might be pretty good, you guys.
Photo by: 2021 Rodger Wood/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

If you’ll allow me to be controversial for a moment, I think it’s a good thing when your baseball team has a very talented minor league system. (Yeah, that’s right, I went out on that limb.)

Prospect publications have begun releasing their yearly rankings of minor league talent, and the Orioles grade out about as highly as any O’s fan could dream. Yesterday, Baseball Prospectus unveiled its Top 101 prospect rankings (why 101 instead of 100? Because this is one better, of course). Five Orioles made the cut, including Adley Rutschman at #2 overall and Grayson Rodriguez at #5, the top-ranked pitcher on the list. Colton Cowser (#46), D.L. Hall (#80), and Gunnar Henderson (#88) round out the Orioles’ representatives.

It’s just the latest praise for Orioles prospects, coming on the heels of Wednesday’s top 100 from Baseball America, which included the same five Orioles, albeit in a different order. BA ranked Rutschman as the #1 prospect in baseball, while BP put him behind Bobby Witt Jr., whom the Royals picked second in the 2019 draft after the O’s selected Rutschman. BA agreed with BP about Rodriguez being the top-ranked pitcher, placing him #6 overall, but was higher on Hall (#52) and Henderson (#57) than on Cowser (#98), the Orioles’ 2021 first-round pick.

However you care to rank them, the point is the same: the Orioles have some real talent coming up through the system, with multiple blue-chippers in the pipeline for the first time in a long while. And we won’t have to wait long to see them, with at least three of that group — Rutschman, Rodriguez, and Hall — likely to make their MLB debuts in 2022. (Assuming there is, you know, a 2022 MLB season.) This is the second straight year the Orioles have had five prospects on Baseball America’s preseason Top 100 list, but before that, it hadn’t happened since 2008. So, yeah, it’s been a minute.

And that brings us to today’s Camden Chat Sporcle quiz. Can you name every O’s prospect who has appeared on the BA Top 100 since 2008? There have been 25 different players to do so — many of them appearing on the list in multiple seasons — and I literally just named five of them, so there’s a good starting point. Happy quizzing!

Links

Still No. 1: Rutschman leads five players on Baseball America list - Steve Melewski
Melewski interviews BA’s editor JJ Cooper about the freshly released prospect rankings, including what went into their decision to rank Adley first overall ahead of Bobby Witt Jr. and Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez. And no, it wasn’t just alphabetical by first name.

Looking at more bullpen candidates for 2022; Orioles have 5 top 100 prospects - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff profiles a few pitchers who have an outside shot of making the Orioles’ bullpen, featuring mostly no-name journeymen along with Gigantic Human Felix Bautista.

Conway on Stallings, Peek and Brnovich - School of Roch
Aberdeen pitching coach Josh Conway talks about three intriguing O’s pitching prospects. It’s impressive that the Orioles acquired all three from the same team, in exchange for veterans who have already departed said team. I’m starting to see why the Angels can never seem to win.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Four Orioles were born on this day, including the late Johnny Oates (b. 1946, d. 2004), who both played for and managed the club. The others are 1996 right-hander Keith Shepherd (54), mid-1970s righty Bob Reynolds (75), and the late Sam Mele (b. 1922, d. 2017), who played for the inaugural 1954 Orioles team.

Today marks an ignominious six-year anniversary for the Orioles. On this day in 2016, they officially re-signed Chris Davis to the now-infamous seven-year, $161 million contract that would quickly become one of the most ill-advised in professional sports history. Davis provided a -2.7 bWAR for the life of the deal, and -5.8 if you exclude his lone useful season, 2016. His unprecedented freefall into futility included the worst batting average in MLB history for a qualifying hitter (.168 in 2018) and a league-record 54 straight at-bats without a hit from 2018-19. Davis finally ended the misery by retiring last August, though the O’s still owe him more than $50 million in deferred salary through 2037.