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Baltimore Orioles Top MLB Prospects for 2018 Dynasty Leagues


Howdy fellow RotoBallers! Fresh off the release of the final dynasty positional rankings list, I am publishing my rankings for each individual team in baseball, starting with the American League East.

Instead of giving full briefs of each prospect, I will just give the prospects' superlatives and then issue smaller descriptions for each player in the top 10.

The first prospect list I am going to go over will be the Baltimore Orioles, followed by the rest of the American League East. To read more about my prospect coverage, click here.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

Baltimore Orioles Top Prospects for Dynasty Leagues

Top Overall Talent: Austin Hays

Top Prospect to Debut in 2018: Austin Hays

No one believed Hays would be the first prospect drafted in the 2016 class to reach the majors. He made a meteoric rise through the minors, crushing Advanced Class-A pitching before being promoting to Double-A and then eventually the majors. He mashed 33 home runs between the three levels and hit .297 along the way. His walk rate was below 5 percent, but also ran a sub-20 percent strikeout rate. His tools don’t jump off the page, but he makes consistent contact and has shown an ability to drive the ball for power. He might begin 2018 at Triple-A, but should not take long until he is back in the majors for good.

Top Prospect who won’t debut in 2018: D.L. Hall

The Orioles’ first-round pick in the 2017 draft, Hall threw only 10.1 innings at Rookie ball, and it went poorly. He struck out 12, but walked 10 and gave up 10 hits. But that should not be too indicative of how he is expected to pitch moving forward. Hall has a low-90s fastball that should gain some velocity as he develops and a hard curveball that is an above-average pitch already. He still has work to do with his control and changeup, but those are both issues typical of younger pitchers and Hall is still only 19 years old. He still has plenty of time to develop into a No. 3 pitcher and could be a reliable arm for dynasty owners.

Biggest Boom or Bust: Hunter Harvey

No one has ever denied the talent Harvey possesses in his right arm. He has an outstanding fastball/curveball combination, an improving changeup and controls his pitches well. He has all the makings of a front-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. Except health. That he lacks. Since the end of the 2014 season in which he threw a career-high 87.2 innings, Harvey has thrown just 31.1 innings. He dealt with an elbow strain, had Tommy John surgery and then focused 2017 more on strength and conditioning than actual pitching. If he can return to the mound, he has the stuff to make quick work of the minors and reach the big leagues shortly. But at this point, counting on him to stay healthy is anything but a safe bet.

Biggest Sleeper: D.J. Stewart

Stewart was hyped up for a while when he was selected 25th overall in the 2015 draft, but failed to produce much in 2016, dimming his shine. But in his age-23 season at Double-A, he put together his best season yet, slashing .278/.378/.481 with 21 home runs and 20 stolen bases with just a 16.1 percent strikeout rate and 12 percent walk rate. That campaign did a lot to ease the minds of many who owned Stewart and were worried about his falling stock. Many other owners have jumped ship, but the tools are still there for Stewart to be a regular in the majors with some power and speed.

 

Top Prospect Hitters

Best Power Hitter: Austin Hays

Most Likely to Hit over .300: Austin Hays

As discussed earlier, Hays has shown he can do a little bit of everything at the plate. He does not walk as much as dynasty owners would like to see, but he makes up for it by consistently driving the ball with authority and should make enough contact to hit for a high average. Hays hits for plenty of power and appears to have a floor of 15 home runs per season with the chance to hit upwards of 25-30. He is not a typical No. 3 or 4 hitter, but instead could be a No. 2 hitter in front of a potent lineup.

Best Burner on the Bases: Cedric Mullins

The Orioles have several potent power bats, but not many speedsters. Mullins does classify as a burner, but he would probably not be in many other systems. He swiped 30 bags in 2016 at Class-A, but just nine in 2017 at Double-A. His speed grades out as above-average by scouts and he should be able to be at least a 15-base stealer when he reaches the majors. Mullins also comes with a little bit of pop and the ability to make enough contact to stay atop a big-league lineup in the future. He is not an 80-grade or even 70-grade burner, but owners of Mullins will be able to profit from a handful of stolen bases from him if he reaches the majors.

 

Top Prospect Pitchers

Strikeout Machine: Tanner Scott

Anytime a pitcher has a strikeout rate above 10 batters per nine innings, the label of “strikeout machine” would seem about accurate. Scott has on a regular basis torn through batters with ease, using his upper-90s fastball to blow right past hitters. The southpaw lacks a dominant offspeed pitch, however, and his control is downright terrible. He has never walked fewer than 10 percent of batters faced in a season. Scott will miss plenty of bats, but those two issues will almost certainly relegate him to the bullpen.

Best Command: Alex Wells

Remember when I said Scott walks more than 10 percent of batters faced? Wells does not. In 140 innings pitched at Class-A in 2017, Wells walked just 10 batters, good for a 1.8 percent walk rate. He did this while striking out 20.6 percent of opposing hitters, a solid rate for a control specialist. Wells only has one pitch that is considered much more than above-average — his changeup — and does not overwhelm batters. His fastball sits only in the upper-80s/low-90s, and that will limit his upside. But if he continues to show an ability to locate extremely well with his pitches, he could reach a big-league rotation.

 

Top 10 Dynasty Prospects for the Baltimore Orioles

1. Austin Hays (OF, MLB)
ETA: 2018
With the ability to make consistent contact and hit with power, Hays has the chance to be an electric, middle-of-the-order contributor for dynasty owners.

2. Ryan Mountcastle (SS/3B/OF, AA)
ETA: 2018
Left field might be Mountcastle’s future home, but his bat will play anywhere. His offensive output might be just a step below Hays with just a tad more risk due to a lack of walks.

3. Chance Sisco (C, MLB)
ETA: 2018
Contact-first catcher who is expected to start behind the dish in 2018, Sisco is valuable as a catcher due to high floor as a hitter. But a move off the position (especially to first base) tanks his value.

4. Cedric Mullins (OF, AA)
ETA: 2018
Under-sized speedster could be a 10/20 hitter or better at the top of the Orioles’ lineup if he can stay healthy.

5. Anthony Santander (OF, AA)
ETA: 2019
Powerful bat could be a 25-plus home run hitter annually, but will need to rely on bat to push him through the minors due to poor defense.

6. Hunter Harvey (SP, A)
ETA: 2019
Upside remains high with Harvey, but time is ticking as he approaches mid-20s and health still has not come for the talented starter.

7. D.L. Hall (SP, R)
ETA: 2021
Hall has the makings of a future No. 2 or 3 starting pitcher, but at age 19, he still has a long ways to go before he’s ready.

8. Adam Hall (SS, R)
ETA: 2021
Shortstop still has room to grow in 6-foot frame and develop into top-of-the-order speedster with 10/25 upside.

9. Jomar Reyes (1B/3B, A+)
ETA: 2019
Defensive issues and lack of power development have dimmed the shine of Reyes, but he could still develop into an above-average regular for dynasty owners.

10. Tanner Scott (SP/RP, MLB)
ETA: 2018
Explosive starter could be a strikeout machine if he ever learned how to control his arsenal, but Scott appears destined for the bullpen.

 

Conclusion

Baltimore’s farm system is about as strong now as it has been in many years. It has two of the best bats in the minors as well as a top 10 catching prospect. Dynasty owners will find better organizations for arms with each of the best pitchers in this system coming with some sort of risk (age, injuries, bullpen, etc.). The Orioles might lose each of its top four prospects to graduation by the end of the year. But with the 11th overall pick in the draft, they have a chance to further re-stock their system if they do well in the draft again.

 

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