Top Orioles prospects to watch in 2020
Top Orioles prospects to watch this season
The Orioles are finally starting to see some momentum in their farm system, thanks in large part to picking at the top of the 2019 draft. They've also made some savvy trades and seen some promising developments under new leadership in 2019.
Their minor league system should only keep improving as they inject more talent, including the number two overall pick in the upcoming 2020 MLB draft.
Here are the most exciting names to keep an eye on entering the 2020 season.
There are a few players worth mentioning who aren't featured here, including Cadyn Grenier, a former teammate fo Adley Rutschman's at Oregon State.
Kyle Stowers, the 71st overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, and Michael Baumann, who tossed a no-hitter at Bowie last summer, could move up the list quickly with strong campaigns in 2020.
12. Ryan McKenna, OF
McKenna enjoyed a terrific breakout season in 2018, but struggled to follow it up in 2019. He hit just .232 with an OPS of .686 last season, hitting just nine home runs.
He did manage to show off his speed with 25 steals, and he has the potential to play a role off the bench for the Orioles if he can get back to his 2018 form.
11. Keegan Akin, P
Likely not long for this list, Akin pitched at the Triple-A level all of last season. A 4.73 ERA wasn't what the Orioles were hoping for, but at 24-years old Akin will have to test himself at the Major League level sooner rather than later.
As one of the more established pitchers in the Orioles' farm system, he will have a shot at a rotation spot this spring training.
10. Adam Hall, SS
Hall is one of the fastest players in the organization, stealing 33 bases in 2019. He'll never be confused for a power hitter, but he did hit nearly .300 as a 20-year old at Low-A Delmarva while playing a decent shortstop.
He remains a project, but has some nice upside thanks to the speed.
9. Zac Lowther, P
Lowther will never light up the radar gun, but his delivery and spin rate allow him to flummox hitters nevertheless.
He pitched to a 2.55 ERA in Double-A in 2019, earning himself a non-roster invite to spring training in 2020. He likely won't see time in the rotation this season, but he's closer than most pitchers in the organization.
8. Gunnar Henderson, SS
Henderson was the Orioles' second selection in the 2019 MLB Draft, so he didn't have much of a chance to establish a professional track record last summer.
He is a high-upside talent the O's had to pry away from college, and he could turn out to be a quality everyday player down the line. Unfortunately, it's way down the line, as he's only now entering his first full season.
7. Dean Kremer, P
Kremer wasn't the top choice for most fans when Manny Machado was traded to the Dodgers in the summer of 2018, but he has developed more quickly than anyone expected.
He has become one of the top strikeout pitchers in all of Minor League Baseball, and in the process established himself as the third-best pitching prospect in the organization.
6. Yusniel Diaz, OF
Diaz struggled with health and consistency during a rocky 2019 season that saw him hit .265 with an .805 OPS.
As the centerpiece of the Machado trade, expectations will always be high for Diaz. It's likely fans will get their first tastes of him in Baltimore at some point this summer.
5. Austin Hays, OF
Hays made it back to Baltimore in 2019, hitting .309 with four home runs in 21 games. He also wowed fans with multiple highlight-reel worthy plays in centerfield.
Now, it looks like he might be the team's centerfielder of the future. At the very least, he is the strong favorite to start the season there for the O's.
4. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B
A former shortstop-turned-third baseman-turned-outfielder-turned-first baseman, Mountcastle spent most of his 2019 season working to improve enough defensively to earn an opportunity in Baltimore.
That chance will likely come in 2020, and as the best bat in the organization not named Adley Rutschman, it will be very exciting for fans to see him make his eventual debut.
He batted .312 with 25 home runs during an MVP season at the Triple-A level in 2019.
3. DL Hall, P
Hall looked dominant at times in 2019, making batters miss on a regular basis and looking like a future top-of-the-rotation starter. He also struggled with command and consistency, regularly putting runners on base thanks to his lack of control.
Ultimately, if he turns into a middle-of-the-rotation starter, that will be a huge win for an organization that hasn't developed many pitchers in the last two decades.
Another strong season with a bit more command could see Hall jump into the top-25 prospects in all of baseball.
2. Grayson Rodriguez, P
Rodriguez is the consensus second-best prospect in the organization, a ranking he earned behind a terrific 2019 season. Rodriguez had a 2.68 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP over 94.0 innings.
At 20 years old and already built like a big league starter, Rodriguez is on track to be the future ace of the Orioles rotation. He's still a couple years away, but he is among the most exciting prospects the Orioles have had in the last half-decade.
1. Adley Rutschman, C
It couldn't be anybody else at number one, could it? Rutschman is in a tier with three others as the consensus four best prospects in the sport, and two of those players are set to graduate off prospect lists early in the season.
Rutschman was the most highly-touted draft prospect in nearly a decade, and the Orioles considered themselves lucky to be picking at the top of the draft in the same year he was eligible.
He is the most exciting name not just in the Orioles' minor leagues, but across the entire organization. His development is the most important storyline of the season.