We have reached the halfway point of the season. With June now behind us, it’s time to take a look at how the baby birds fared during the month. Prospect ranks are based on Tony Pente’s mid-season updated Top 30 Oriole prospects published back on June 27th. Check that out if you haven’t already.
In case you’re unfamiliar with how this column works, it is based off of the Baseball America prospect hotsheet they post on a weekly basis that spotlights the top ten hottest performing prospects in the minors. The only difference is we only focus on Oriole prospects. The rankings are somewhat subjective but I tend to emphasize who had the best ERA, FIP, K/BB ratio and Opponent Average for pitchers and Average, Home Runs, and OPS for hitters and rank them as I see fit.
This time around, hitters dominate the list, many of whom weren’t considered serious prospects to begin the season but are changing minds with their offensive performances date. Number one on this list will likely win organization hitter of the month and has a strong case to be called the new top prospect in the system.
Without further ado…
1) Austin Hays – RF – Bowie Baysox (AA)
Top 30 Rank: 1
If you thought his month of May was impressive, Hays kicked it up a notch in June. After making the Carolina League all-star team on June 20, Hays earned a well deserved promotion to Bowie where he has continued to rake. Hays is batting .405/.421/.703 with 3 HR in 9 games with the Baysox. Overall, he’s batting .338/.371/.605 with 19 HR in 73 games. With each passing day, Hays looks more and more like the top prospect in the system and a potential everyday right-fielder for the Orioles.
2) Keegan Akin – LHP – Frederick Keys (A+)
Top 30 Rank: 4
Akin turned his season around in a big way in June. Since returning to the Keys on June 4, Akin has lowered his ERA from 5.95 to 3.51, showing much improved control in the process. With Hunter Harvey still on the shelf and Cody Sedlock struggling, Akin looks like the clear top pitching prospect in the organization at the moment.
3) David Washington – 1B/OF – Norfolk Tides (AAA)
Top 30 Rank: 28
Washington put himself on the radar with a tremendous month of June, earning a brief callup to the Orioles in the process. He struggles to produce against lefties but it’s hard to ignore a guy who has posted a a .320/.378/.577 slash line with 10 home runs in 175 at bats against righties. Not bad at all for a guy who was considered a minor league depth signing this offseason. He has seen some time in the outfield too at Norfolk which improves his chances of finding a role in the majors if he continues to produce with the bat.
4) Ademar Rifaela – RF – Frederick Keys (A+)
Top 30 Rank: 12
Rifaela had a huge power breakthrough in June that officially has him on the prospect radar. There’s some swing and miss in his game that may lead to contact issues at higher levels but he’s an intriguing name to follow now considering he’s just 22 years old in his first season of High-A level pitching. We’ll see if he can maintain this power spike he showed in June.
5) Aderlin Rodriguez – 1B – Bowie Baysox (AA)
Top 30 Rank: 23
Rodriguez put up big offensive numbers last year with Frederick but it was easy to dismiss that since he was 24-years old and had two previous seasons worth of experience at the High-A level. Now that he has taken his breakout success to AA with him, Rodriguez has put himself on the radar as a potential contributor. Due to his extreme platoon splits though (.352 AVG, .906 OPS versus LHP, .277 AVG, .786 OPS versus RHP), he may only project as a bench bat with some pop at this point.
6) Steve Wilkerson – 2B – Bowie Baysox (AA)
Top 30 Rank: 30
Wilkerson is yet another older prospect that has hit his way onto the radar this season. He has now slashed .313/.378/.443 in 35 games with the Baysox after slashing .323/.407/.426 in 41 games with the Keys.
7) Lucas Long – RHP – Bowie Baysox (AA)
Top 30 Rank: UR
Regardless of the role he pitches in, Long continues to post dominant numbers across the board for the Baysox, showing an intriguing mix of weak groundball contact and strikeout ability.
8) Chance Sisco – C – Norfolk Tides (AAA)
Top 30 Rank: 7
After a slow first two months, Sisco heated up at the plate in June. Behind the plate, he remains a question mark though, throwing out just 18% of runners on the season.
9) Randolph Gassaway – OF – Frederick Keys (A+)
Top 30 Rank: UR
Gassaway continues to hit for average in his first full season at the High-A level. He has just three home runs on the season but the power potential is certainly there.
10) Ryan Mountcastle – SS – Frederick Keys (A+)
Top 30 Rank: 2
Mountcastle led the way on the list in May but cooled off a bit in June. Nevertheless, he still bashed 13 doubles and three homers and punched out in just 13.7% of his plate appearances.
- Jayson Aquino – LHP – Norfolk Tides (#14) 3.98 ERA, 31.2 IP, 33 H, HR, 8 BB, 25 K, .270 AVG
- Stefan Crichton – RHP – Norfolk Tides (UR) 0.00 ERA, 7.1 IP, 3 H, 0 HR, 0 BB, 8 K, .115 AVG
- Jimmy Yacabonis – RHP – Norfolk Tides (UR) 0.75 ERA, 12 IP, 5 H, 0 HR, 9 BB, 10 K, .134 AVG
- Cedric Mullins – CF – Bowie Baysox (#5) .261/.313/.443 over 96 PA, 4 HR, 8 BB, 16 K
- David Hess – RHP – Bowie Baysox (#18) 4.08 ERA, 28.2 IP, 25 H, 2 HR, 11 BB, 20 K, .231 AVG
- Jesus Liranzo – RHP – Bowie Baysox (#15) 2.61 ERA, 10.1 IP, HR, 6 BB, 12 K, .216 AVG
- Tanner Scott – LHP – Bowie Baysox (#6) 0.60 ERA, 15 IP, 0 HR, 7 BB, 14 K, .246 AVG
- Alex Wells – LHP – Delmarva Shorebirds (#9) 4.46 ERA, 38.1 IP, 41 H, 8 HR, 2 BB, 30 K, .270 AVG
- Jake Ring – CF – Delmarva Shorebirds (#24) .267/.337/.413 over 82 PA, HR, 7 BB, 22 K
The Not Sheet (Uh Oh)
- Chris Lee – LHP – Norfolk Tides (#29) 4.50 ERA, 32 IP, 36 H, 3 HR, 11 BB, 18 K, .275 AVG –
- Austin Wynns – C – Bowie Baysox (#13) .240/.321/.373 over 83 PA, 2 HR, 8 BB, 13 K
- D.J. Stewart – LF – Bowie Baysox (#26) .263/.337/.300 over 89 PA, 0 HR, 9 BB, 11 K
- Garrett Cleavinger – LHP – Bowie Baysox (UR) 4.50 ERA over 10 IP, 7 H, 0 HR, 6 BB, 11 K, .194 AVG
- John Means – LHP – Bowie Baysox (UR) 5.75 ERA, 20.1 IP, 29 H, 6 HR, 4 BB, 15 K, .326 AVG
- Brian Gonzalez – LHP – Frederick Keys (UR) 5.97 ERA, 31.2 IP, 43 H, 3 HR, 16 BB, 25 K, .319 AVG
- Cody Sedlock – RHP – Frederick Keys (#8) 7.43 ERA, 13.1 IP, 24 H, 2 HR, 8 BB, 8 K, .387 AVG
- Ofelky Peralta – RHP – Frederick Keys (#22) 7.84 ERA, 20.2 IP, 33 H, 2 HR, 14 BB, 26 K, .351 AVG
- Jhon Peluffo – RHP – Delmarva Shorebirds (#16) 5.03 ERA, 19.2 IP, 19, 5 HR, 8 BB, 15 K, .275 AVG
- Matthias Dietz – RHP – Delmarva Shorebirds (#21) 5.53 ERA, 27.2 IP, 38 H, HR, 7 BB, 15 K, .328 AVG
- Zach Muckenhirn – LHP – Delmarva Shorebirds (#20) 6.83 ERA, 27.2 IP, 38 H, 5 HR, 7 BB, 22 K, .314 AVG
- Jomar Reyes – 3B – Frederick Keys (A+) – Reyes remains sidelined with a broken hand he suffered back in April when he punched a wall. He should be returning sometime this month.
- Hunter Harvey – RHP – Frederick Keys (A+) – Harvey is still in rehab after undergoing Tommy John surgery a year ago. Depending on how he progresses this month, he may return to the mound to make a few starts in August.
- Cody Sedlock – RHP – Frederick Keys (A+) – Sedlock was placed on the DL on July 1st with a right elbow flexor strain.
- The Aberdeen Ironbirds and GCL Orioles have started play. As of now, not enough games have been played for players from these two teams to be considered for the HOTSHEET. They will be included in the July edition. Two young pitchers are off to good starts for the Ironbirds that I wanted to single out real quick.
- Brenan Hanifee – RHP (2016 4th Round Pick) – Hanifee has dominated in his first two outings for Aberdeen, tossing six inning quality starts in both. He’s 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA, allowing 8 hits and 2 walks while punching out 12.
- Tobias Myers – RHP (2016 4th Round Pick) – Likewise, Myers has looked sharp in his first two outings for the Ironbirds. He has allowed just one run on 5 hits and 2 walks while wiffing 13 over 9 innings pitched.