Depending on which publication you ask, the Orioles’ farm system has ranked in the bottom five or ten of Major League Baseball in every season since 2015. Even after adding consensus top pick Adley Rutschman in the 2019 MLB Draft, some have the organization just 24th out of 30.
Now, after a few successful drafts in a row and a well-received 2020 trade deadline, the Orioles are finally moving on up again.
MLB Pipeline issued updated rankings on Tuesday, bumping the Orioles up another five spots to bring them to No. 8 in all of Major League Baseball, their highest ranking in years.
This is a huge boost for an organization that desperately needed an infusion of talent. General Manager Mike Elias has made no secret of the fact that his primary goal is to raise the bar for talent at all levels of the organization. And it hasn’t just been the top-two draft picks, though Rutschman and Heston Kjerstad (2020 2nd overall pick) have certainly helped.
According to MLB Pipeline, every O’s pick in the truncated 2020 MLB Draft made the team’s Top 30 list, and they added three more Top 30 players in their trades of Mychal Givens and Miguel Castro this week.
Add in the continued development of pitchers Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall, both of whom appear to be benefiting greatly from the organization’s new minor league pitching philosophies, and all of a sudden the Orioles look well-stocked.
It speaks to the difficulty of playing in the AL East that despite ranking No. 8 overall, the O’s are just third in their own division. The Blue Jays are one spot ahead of them at seventh, and the Rays top all of baseball at number one, thanks to consensus top overall prospect Wander Franco.
The Yankees and Red Sox rank significantly lower, but of course, have the added benefit of larger payrolls.
The Orioles’ rebuild isn’t close to being finished yet, but this is a major milestone for a franchise that needed a complete overhaul. If they come away with another high pick in what looks to be a strong 2021 crop of draft prospects, while continuing to finally dip their toes into the international market, then this ranking should continue to rise. And soon, so will the big league win total.