The Orioles prospect promotions just keep on coming down into the final week of the minor league seasons. News of two more players heading up a level dropped in the middle of Sunday’s game against the Red Sox, as The Baltimore Banner’s Andy Kostka reported that 19-year-old catching prospect Samuel Basallo, as well as pitching prospect Seth Johnson, are being promoted from High-A Aberdeen to Double-A Bowie for next week.
After today’s games, the Aberdeen IronBirds season is over, and Bowie only has a week of games remaining. So these are more symbolic promotions than anything, but especially in Basallo’s case, it’s exciting that the Orioles are choosing to recognize him in that symbolic way. He’s broken into top 100 lists as the season has gone along, including on MLB Pipeline, where he’s currently the #46 prospect in the game, and #5 in the Orioles system.
Basallo only turned 19 years old a month ago and for basically that whole month he’s been lighting up the South Atlantic League. In 27 games for Aberdeen, he batted .333/.443/.688. That included six homers over his final seven games. In Sunday’s season finale for the IronBirds, Basallo merely tripled as part of a two-hit effort. It’s really something to see how well he’s done this year, just his third professional season since signing with the Orioles as a 16-year-old amateur on January 15, 2021.
Johnson, who turns 25 a bit more than a week from now, does not have such extreme youth on his side in boosting his prospect stock. He was acquired by the Orioles from the Rays in what made last year’s Trey Mancini trade a three-team swap. The Orioles added Johnson to the 40-man roster last offseason to protect him as he became eligible for last year’s Rule 5 draft.
By some outlets a top 100 prospect by the time of the trade, Johnson was known to need Tommy John surgery at the time of the trade and has been working his way back since then. High-A was as high as Johnson reached before the surgery. The O’s have opted to get him to Double-A after two short outings there, one of which had bad results. Hopefully, the 6’1” righty can show a bit more if he gets in another game or two.
Bowie still being alive for a postseason spot in the second half of the 2023 minor league season probably isn’t the biggest reason these guys were added to that roster, but I’m sure it didn’t hurt. The Baysox enter their final six games with an elimination number of 4, meaning either four wins by New Hampshire or losses by Bowie will seal their fate. They’d pretty much have to run the table and then hope for some help, which probably won’t happen, but good luck to them.