Austin Hays and Ryan Mountcastle
credit: Patrick Cavey/MiLB.COM

After watching live games, BP, video analysis as well as talking with scouts, baseball executives and minor league coaches and managers in and out of the Orioles organization, here’s our top prospect list for the 2017 season.

The system overall has improved despite losing Trey Mancini from the list. Break out year by Austin Hays, Ryan Mountcastle and the health of Hunter Harvey give the Orioles some top 100 caliber prospects to discuss with impact upsides. Profiles for players will be made available on the plus forum of our message board initially over the next week.

  1. Austin Hays (RF) – From High-A ball toe the major leagues, Hays had a breakout season in which he proved he was one of the best prospects in all of baseball. He will have the opportunity to compete for an everyday RF job in 2018 with the Orioles.
  2. Ryan Mountcastle (3B/SS) – The 20-year old ended his second full minor league season in Bowie at third base as he begins his transition from SS. His 48 doubles and 18 home runs hint at the impact power this young man possesses. 3B may not be his ultimate positional home but he’ll get an opportunity to show he can stick there in 2018 at Bowie.
  3. Hunter Harvey (RHP) – Finally healthy, Harvey was sitting in the mid-90s and showing a hammer curveball in his rehab outings. He will be a full go next spring and the only question around him is can he hold up to be a starter who will he need to eventually be moved to a closer role? He will get every opportunity to be a starter.
  4. Chance Sisco (C) – Put up his worse full season offensive numbers in his career, but flashed some occasional power and improved a bit defensively. Still question marks on whether he can hit left-handed pitching and be good enough defensively to control the running game.
  5. DL Hall (LHP) – The Orioles 1st round pick in 2017, the high school left-hander looked more like himself in the instructional leagues though his command will need to improve. Fastball can reach the mid-90s and his curveball can be a real swing and miss pitch.
  6. DJ Stewart (LF) – Orioles first round pick in 2015 had a breakout season and put himself back on the prospect map. A smart hitter who can make in the at bat adjustments and who can hit right and left-handed pitching giving him an opportunity to be more than a platoon player.
  7. Alex Wells (LHP) – The Orioles minor league pitcher of the year was about as dominant as a pitcher can be over the second half of the season. Commands a three-pitch arsenal that includes a plus curveball, and a flash plus changeup to offset a below average 86-90 MPH fastball that plays average due to some deception and his ability to pitch inside on batters. If he threw 2-3 MPH faster he’d be one of the top prospects in baseball.
  8. Anthony Santander (RF) – The Orioles may have found something in the Rule Five draft, finding this injured high celling outfielder in Single-A and rehabbing most of the year. Shows power from both sides of the plate with an average hit tool. Still needs to spend time on the Orioles 25-man roster next year but could one day be an everyday outfielder in left or right field.
  9. Keegan Akin (LHP) – Came into his first full minor league season out of shape and it showed early on, but once he got in shape his stuff rebounded and he showed a solid fastball, slider combination and a useable change that gives him a chance to stick as a starter.
  10. Cedric Mullins (CF) – Impressed the Orioles so much in the spring that he was jumped two levels to Bowie in just his second full minor league season. Got off to a hot start but a hamstring injury put him on the DL and he battled the injury all season cutting into his stolen base attempts. The switch hitter is a much better hitter from the left side of the plate and may be limited to platoon duty. Solid defensive center fielder who also played a real solid left field so could be a great fit as a 4th outfielder.
  11. Tanner Scott (LHP) – No one throws harder in the system, but no one throws less strikes either. With a fastball that can hit triple digits regularly and an improved slider, Scot just needs to harness his stuff more often to find a place in a major league bullpen.
  12. Michael Baumann (RHP) – The Orioles 2017 3rd round pick dominated New York Penn League batters in his debut with a hard sinking fastball and solid slider. He’ll need to keep developing his change to develop into a starting option but with a mid-90s fastball and plus slider, he could move quickly as a relief option.
  13. Cameron Bishop (LHP) – Lefty with a low 90’s fastball and swing and miss slider has a chance to stay as a starter if his change develops. Fastball can touch mid-90s on occasion and might play up in a relief role.
  14. Jomar Reyes (3B) – Lost most of his season after punching a wall in the dugout after a bad at bat, but started to make some adjustments in the field and at the plate. Pretty athletic for a big guy and some believe he might be able to stay at 3B where his plus arm is a pleasure to watch. Had a good instructional league, but next year will be a very important year for him to take his BP power to the games.
  15. Adam Hall (SS) – The Orioles 2nd round pick in 2017 played just two games before hurting his oblique and missing the rest of the season. Reportedly has the arm and range to stay at short long term and plus speed. Should start next season in Delmarva as the everyday SS.
  16. Zac Lowther (LHP) – This soft tossing lefty will have to prove it up the ladder, but he can command three pitches and knows how to pitch. Scouts are mixed on his breaking ball though he can flash a plus one at times and can miss bats with the pitch. He commands his changeup well.
  17. Brenan Hanifee (RHP) – 19-year old righty held his own in the New York Penn league using a sinking fastball to get a lot of outs on the ground. Low 90’s fastball could still see a bump.
  18. Lamar Sparks (CF) – Toolsy 5th round pick in the 2017 draft, Sparks impressed many who saw him despite some rawness to his game. Can play an above average center field, is a plus runner, and some believe there is some power potential in his lanky frame and swing.
  19. Austin Wynns (C) – Started to break out last year but he really took a step forward with a solid all around year both offensively and defensively. Looks like a prototypical back-up catcher who can play solid defense, controls the running game, and can hold his own with the stick. The Orioles can do a lot worse with him as a caddy to Caleb Joseph.
  20. Ademar Rifaela (RF) – Another breakout player. Stocky left-handed swinger can put a charge into a fastball and started making adjustments to the off-speed pitches this past season. Plays an average right field, next season at Bowie will be a real test for him as the offspeed pitches are commanded better.
  21. Cody Sedlock (RHP) – After being a 1st round pick and having some success in the New York Penn League last year in his debut, went him and remade his delivery with disastrous results. Lost velocity and even worse, lost the sink that made him very interesting. We’ve seen a hard sinking mid 90s fastball and solid off-speed pitches from in the past so he’ll get a bit of a mulligan for this season.
  22. Grey Fenter (RHP) – Back from TJ surgery, the 21-year old righty flashed the mid-90s fastball and hammer curveball that had the Orioles shell out a million dollars after he was drafted in 2015. He’ll be full go next season and will probably start the year in Delmarva.
  23. Gabriel Ynoa (RHP) – An up and down season in AAA belies the fact that at times he can show mid-90s fastball with some ability to eat innings. Probably a long man and spot starter, but could find his way into a bigger role if things come together for him.
  24. Lucas Long (RHP) – A breakout pitcher when he was moved into a relief role, Long’s stuff plays up in relief and could be a solid option at some point in 2018 if a need arises. Solid sinker changeup combination works well especially when he’s willing to work inside.
  25. David Hess (RHP) – A solid righty who can run it up in the mid-90s at times. Stuff probably would play up in relief where his future most likely resides. His off-speed deliveries are all inconsistent so perhaps a move to the pen and focus on one off-speed pitch would help out the consistency.
  26. Jesus Liranzo (RHP) – After being added to the 40-man roster this offseason, his command left him at Bowie and his results were inconsistent. Can run it up to the high 90s with a plus slider at times. It’s all about command for him.
  27. Matthias Dietz (RHP) – Hard throwing raw righty who really is still learning the nuances of pitching. Made some strides this year and many more to go, but his fastball slider combination is intriguing. Might be able to pitch in the upper 90s in a relief role.
  28. Ryan McKenna (CF) – Solid defensive center fielder who can run a bit with some pop. Too much swing and miss though and he can get overwhelmed by good velocity. He’ll need to prove it as he goes up the ladder.
  29. Luis Gonzalez (LHP) – A left-handed pitcher who can run it up to the mid-90s at times. The Orioles sent him to the AFL where he pitched very well and he’ll most likely need to be protected on the 40-man roster. Some makeup concerns may have led him to stay down in Frederick all year rather than the stuff. Could honestly be an option in Baltimore at some point in 2018.
  30. Ofelky Peralta (RHP) – The second hardest thrower in the system behind Tanner Scott, this lanky right-hander is still struggling to find any consistent command of anything. His changeup can be a decent offering at times. Perhaps a move to the pen where he could use a high 90s fastball-changeup combinations would help him.
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Tony Pente
Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.