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Baltimore Orioles 2015 Top 10 Fantasy Prospects

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The prospect staff at Fake Teams continues their fantasy prospect rankings and system reviews with an in-depth look at the Baltimore Orioles.

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Just like last year, the prospect staff here at Fake Teams will be taking an in-depth look at each major league organization, including our top 10 fantasy prospects, an overview of the organization's minor league system as a whole and potential opportunities for playing time in 2015. Our goal is to provide you with more information as you prepare for minor league drafts for dynasty and keeper leagues, as well as look at players that could potentially be worth watching during the spring, as they could be in line to potentially help your fantasy team. We will be reviewing two teams per week until we are through all 30 teams, and you can see the schedule of when your favorite team will be reviewed below. if we have already reviewed the team, a link to the post, along with the team's top prospect is noted.

System Schedule

AL East

AL Central

AL West

NL East

NL Central

NL West

Baltimore
(Today)

Chicago
(Rodon)

Houston
(Correa)

Atlanta
(Sims)

Chicago
(Bryant)

Arizona
(Bradley)

Boston
(3/14)

Cleveland
(Lindor)

Los Angeles
(Heaney)

Miami
(Kolek)

Cincinnati
(Stephenson)

Colorado
(Gray)

New York
(3/18)

Detroit
(Hill)

Oakland
(Olson)

New York
(Syndergaard)

Milwaukee
(Taylor)

Los Angeles
(Pederson)

Tampa Bay
(3/21)

Kansas City
(Manaea)

Seattle
(Jackson)

Philadelphia
(Crawford)

Pittsburgh
(Glasnow)

San Diego
(Renfroe)

Toronto
(3/25)

Minnesota
(Buxton)

Texas
(Gallo)

Washington
(Giolito)

St. Louis
(Piscotty)

San Francisco
(Crick)

Organizational Overview
by Jason Hunt

The Orioles under general manager Dan Duquette have taken advantage of an unusual window in their division. The perennial teams at the top of the division, the Yankees and Red Sox, have been up and down, with the Yankees missing the playoffs in each of the last two years and the Red Sox having a World Championship bookended by a pair of last place finishes. The Orioles have made the playoffs two of the last three seasons, including an appearance in the ALCS last year. They unfortunately ran into the buzzsaw that was the Royals in 2014 and were swept there, but 2015 looks like they will have another shot to go deep in the playoffs.

The lineup is buoyed by center fielder Adam Jones, third baseman Manny Machado, and shortstop J.J. Hardy. While he struggled last year in batting average, the team will hopefully get a bounceback performance from 1B Chris Davis. Davis missed the last 24 games of the season (including the playoffs), and will miss another game to start this year after being suspended for taking Adderall without a therapeutic use exemption.

The rotation is an unusual mixture that works well for them. Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen and Kevin Gausman are all expected to play significant roles again in 2015, and with Bud Norris and Miguel Gonzalez slotted behind them, form a very solid rotation from 1-5. Interestingly, their big free agent signee from a year ago, Ubaldo Jimenez, pitched himself out of the rotation last year and it's not clear that he'll get back in any time soon. Zach Britton emerged as the best option at the back end of a strong bullpen, which didn't lose anyone significant this offseason and should help lock down games for the Orioles again in 2015.

The farm system is a bit down from where it once was, but this isn't unexpected given the success at the major league level. The team did not pick until the third round in last year's draft as a result of signing Jimenez and Nelson Cruz, and their top pick isn't likely to be in our top 10 fantasy prospects list. With that though, the two top prospects in the system, Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey, are both potential top-of-the-rotation starting pitchers, although neither may make an impact in 2015 as they both return from injuries.

Something else to watch as the season progresses is whether the rumored discussions about general manager Dan Duquette start back up, as it was reported that the Blue Jays were very interested in hiring him to run their team and replace the retiring Paul Beeston. A change at the top could potentially slow down their long-term growth, but they are in a great position to continue to sit at or near the top of the division for the next few years.

2014 Graduates

The following players have surpassed their rookie maximums of 130 AB, 50 IP, or 45 days of service time.

Caleb Joseph (AB), Jonathan Schoop (AB), Kevin Gausman (IP)

Major League Opportunities in 2015
by Jason Hunt

The prospect that is most likely to make an appearance this year and make a significant impact is Dylan Bundy, but that will be entirely contingent upon his return from injuries. It's possible that he makes a bigger impact for the Orioles than for fantasy owners, as he could end up working in the bullpen to help limit his innings somewhat. Christian Walker and Dariel Alvarez are both in the high minors, with Walker debuting in 2014, but there isn't a clear spot in the lineup for them. If the Orioles' experiment with Chris Davis in right field continues, it's possible that Walker could be in the lineup every day, and would be an interesting option for deep leagues and AL-only if that happens.

Top 10 Fantasy Prospects
by Jason Hunt

Our top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are based upon standard 5x5 fantasy baseball leagues, with a balancing of ceiling and present value. While we are having discussions regarding these lists as a collective group, the top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are finalized by the writer listed above. Players are no longer considered prospects once they exceed either 130 at bats, 50 innings pitched, or 45 days of service time in the Majors.

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1. Dylan Bundy (RHP)

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
1 0 3.27 1.31 37
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
41.1 0.00 1.31 9.25% 21.39%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
21 S R A+-A-
Roster Status: On 40 Man Roster (2 Options Left)
ETA to Majors: Late 2015

Bundy was viewed as one of the most advanced high school pitching prospects ever, and a candidate to go at #1 overall in a very deep draft. The Orioles took him with the 4th overall pick, and gave him a bonus of $4 million at the signing deadline. He did not pitch that year, but instead debuted in 2012 at full-season low-A. The organization kept him on very strict limitations that year, but he was dominant there and moved quickly to both High-A, then AA before debuting in late September at the age of 19.

He was expected to return to AA to start the 2013 season, with a call up expected during the season. However, he stopped throwing during Spring Training with elbow soreness, and ended up having Tommy John surgery in late June. He returned to the field about a year later, throwing a total of 41 innings between short-season ball and High-A last year.

The scouting report on Bundy is the stuff of legends, as he features three plus to plus-plus offerings, all of which can get strikeouts at a high rate. There are going to be questions until he throws enough innings to put the surgery behind him. Reports on his velocity were that it was not yet back to his pre-surgery levels, but was already well on its' way back. Bundy has true #1 potential, both from a fantasy and real-life perspective, although the likelihood of reaching that potential may not be as high as before the surgery. He'll likely head to AA at some point during the 2015 season, and could be back in the majors by the 2016 season.

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2. Hunter Harvey (RHP)

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
7 0 3.18 1.129 106
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
87.2 0.50 1.13 9.04% 29.04%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
19 R R A
Roster Status: Protect after 2017 Season
ETA to Majors: 2018

Taken with the 22nd overall pick in the 2013 draft, Harvey has baseball in his bloodlines, as his father Bryan Harvey pitched as a reliever for parts of nine seasons. Harvey signed quickly for a bonus of just under $2 million, and was able to throw 25 innings before the season ended, notching 33 strikeouts against just six walks. The Orioles sent him to full-season Low-A last year, pitching well before being shut down with a shoulder injury.

Harvey features a three-pitch mix consisting of a low-90's fastball, a plus curveball, and an above-average changeup. He gets rave reviews about both his makeup and his competitiveness, as well as a nice, easy delivery that is very repeatable. The injury will continue to cause concerns until we see him throwing again, but the potential is there for another top-flight starting pitcher for the Orioles. He'll likely be in line for a jump to High-A in 2015, and could potentially move quickly if he shows that he is fully healthy.

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3. Christian Walker (1B)

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.284 74 27 97 2
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
618 0.353 0.485 9.22% 22.82%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
23 R R AA-AAA-MLB
Roster Status: On 40 Man Roster (3 Options Left)
ETA to Majors: 2015

A fourth round pick out of the University of South Carolina in 2012, Walker has moved relatively quickly through the minors. He spent his signing year with the Orioles' New York-Penn League affiliate in Aberdeen, and in his first full season rocketed through three levels before finishing up at AA. He returned to AA to start the 2014 season, and after hitting 20 home runs with a .301 average in just 95 games, he moved up to AAA in mid-July. His performance there wasn't up to the same level, but he did end up earning a September call-up to the show.

Walker's potential fantasy value is tied to his potential to provide decent power to go with a solid batting average. He can potentially provide 20+ home runs a season, although with being limited to first base, it may not necessarily mean he would be a starting 1B in a lot of leagues. He could see playing time this year depending on how injuries play out, but more likely he will return to AAA for most of the year. That could put him in line to potentially replace Chris Davis should he leave via free agency.

4. Chance Sisco (C)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.340 56 5 63 1
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
478 0.406 0.448 8.79% 16.53%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
19 L R A
Roster Status: Protect after 2017 Season
ETA to Majors: 2019

The Orioles' second round pick from the 2013 draft, Sisco came out after signing and hit the cover off the ball. Over 33 games that year, he hit .363 with almost as many walks as strikeouts. The Orioles gave him a full season assignment last year, where he went out and won the batting title in the Sally League.

Sisco's carrying tool is his ability to hit, with a smooth swing that is well suited for line drives. He should provide a good batting average, with .280-.290 seasons being a fairly regular occurence and the potential for more some years. What can potentially make Sisco a top five catching prospect is the potential that his power could develop into a 15-20 home run per year hitter. Right now, his power doesn't translate to in-game success quite yet, but that should take time. If that power comes through, he could be a top 10 option at the position on a regular basis. If it ends up being closer to 8-10 home runs with a bunch of doubles, he's probably going to be more of a deeper league option.

Sisco only took up catching in his senior year of high school, so he remains a bit raw behind the plate and will continue to need time and repetitions to develop defensively.Reports on his abilities behind the plate are generally positive though, and that he should be able to turn into at least an average defender and stay at the position. His value takes a pretty obvious hit if he can't, but he'll likely be given every opportunity to do so, and may not debut in the majors for another three to four years as a result.

5. Josh Hart (OF)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.249 24 1 28 13
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
377 0.294 0.283 5.84% 23.34%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
19 L L A-Rk
Roster Status: Protect after 2017 Season
ETA to Majors: 2018

A supplemental first round pick in the 2013 draft, Hart is going to be a prospect that will take a bit more time to develop than some. The performance his first professional season wasn't great (.218/.302/.226), but not to be unexpected from an 18 year old in rookie ball. The Orioles moved him up to full-season ball for the 2014 season, and had his season interrupted with a torn meniscus. He missed most of the month of June, and overall the performance was a bit underwhelming.

Hart gets good reviews on his defense, which leads him to be ranked higher on regular prospect lists than fantasy ones, but that doesn't really mean he won't have value. His best tool is his speed, which is consistently grading out between 60 and 70 on multiple reports, and should translate into stolen bases given a solid contact rate. There are questions right now about how much he will hit, and it's not clear that he'll hit for very much power. That said, if he can put together at least a decent batting average and on-base percentage, 25+ steals a year is possible. He's likely at least three years away from the majors, and is really only a deep-league option as of right now.

6. Zach Davies (RHP)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
10 0 3.35 1.26 109
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
110 0.700 1.580 6.88% 23.44%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
21 R R AA
Roster Status: Protect after 2015 Season
ETA to Majors: 2016

Davies fell all the way to the 26th round in 2011 in part due to a commitment to Arizona State University, but the Orioles were able to convince him to skip college with a bonus of nearly $600K. He has moved up a level per year, providing solid numbers at each stop and spending all of 2014 at AA Bowie. He missed almost a month due to a shoulder injury, but that occurred early enough in the year to allow him to throw 83 innings before the season ended

Davies features a three-pitch repertoire consisting of an average fastball, a changeup which can be above-average, and a curveball that can be at least an average offering. He helps his raw stuff play up with excellent command, and features a clean, easy delivery that gets good downward plane. There are some questions about whether he will able to handle a 200+ inning workload given his relatively small size (6'0, 150 lbs), but he has pitched well at every stop and shows no reason to think he can't continue to do so. The upside is likely a mid-rotation starter at best and a streaming option in shallow leagues, but he's an interesting name for the back end of a rotation in an AL-only league.

7. Jomar Reyes (3B)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.285 23 4 29 1
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
207 0.333 0.425 7.25% 18.36%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
17 R R Rk
Roster Status: Protect after 2017 Season
ETA to Majors: 2019

The Orioles signed Reyes out of the Dominican Republic in early 2014, and sent him to their GCL affiliate when their season started in June. The performance there was good, hitting for a high average and showing decent power potential in game.The reports on him point to a bit of a lottery ticket right now, as there is a lot of upside based on his potential to hit for power at a high rate and potentially pair it with a good batting average. That said, he was still just 17 years old this past year and has not played in full-season ball yet, which leaves the range of potential outcomes extremely wide. There is also the potential that he will have to move off of third base, but that isn't likely to occur anytime soon. He might head to full-season ball, but it wouldn't surprise me if he was sent to the NYPL instead, and is likely at least four seasons away from the majors. He's a name worth watching, but not necessarily worth owning except in the deepest of formats just yet.

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8. Dariel Alvarez (OF)

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.306 75 15 87 8
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
564 0.330 0.472 3.72% 10.99%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
25 R R AA-AAA
Roster Status: Protect after 2016 Season
ETA to Majors: Late 2015

Signed out of Mexico after defecting from Cuba in 2013, Alvarez was only able to appear in 41 games after signing, including 19 in the Arizona Fall League. He started the 2014 season with AA Bowie, hitting 14 home runs with a .309 average over 91 games before a promotion to AAA. The home run power didn't continue at the same level as he hit just 1, but still added 17 doubles and a 301 batting average. The numbers don't tell the whole story with Alvarez though, as he is already older than your typical prospect (26) because of the defection.

Alvarez doesn't have the same upside as we've seen with a number of Cuban defectors lately, but there is the potential for him to turn into a decent deep-league option. His raw tools point to a potential power hitting corner outfielder, albeit one that may have more value to the Orioles than your fantasy team in most cases.There are questions about how well the power will translate for fantasy, as he may turn into a 10-15 home run hitter who hits a fair amount of double with a decent average. Additionally, there are concerns about his plate discipline and pitch recognition, but there were positive reports about his ability to make adjustments this year. He'll likely return to AAA to start 2015, and could be in line for playing time should the team have a need in a corner spot for an extended period of time.

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9. Tim Berry (LHP)

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
6 0 3.51 1.25 108
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
133.1 0.80 1.25 8.11% 19.46%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
23 L L AA
Roster Status: On 40 Man Roster (2 Options Left)
ETA to Majors: 2016

Berry signed out of high school as a 50th round draft pick (yes, the 50th round) after needing elbow surgery during his draft year, and has been slowly plugging towards the majors. He spent the 2014 season at AA, posting a similar strikeout rate to his career numbers, but with a slight spike in walks. He also missed the last few weeks of the season with a shoulder injury, but overall the performance was solid.

Berry features a three-pitch mix consisting of a fastball, curveball, and changeup, all of which can potentially be average offerings and his changeup considered his best pitch. There are questions about whether his long-term value might be higher in the bullpen or not, but unless they need him there's not a lot of reason to move him just yet. The upside isn't particularly high here, as he most likely will be a back-end starting pitcher who provides decent ratios and some strikeouts. He's likely going to be a candidate for the rotation should the Orioles need a spot start, as he is already on the 40-man roster and will pitch at AAA Norfolk this year. He's probably only worth a look in deep AL-only formats, and I wouldn't hesitate to cut him from your fantasy roster if you needed the spot.

10. Mike Yastrzemski (OF)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.288 96 14 75 18
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
594 0.346 0.490 6.90% 19.19%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
23 L L A-AA-A+
Roster Status: Protect after 2016 Season
ETA to Majors: 2017

As you might imagine from the last name, Yastrzemski has an excellent baseball lineage as the grandson of Hall of Fame outfielder Carl Yastrzemski. With that said, the comparisons start to run a bit thin. The Orioles drafted Yastrzemski in the 13th round out of Vanderbilt University in 2013, and churned through three levels this year. The numbers were good last year overall, but it's worth noting that until he reached AA in mid-July, he was old for the level and playing against much younger competition.

Yastrzemski doesn't have a tool that projects as above-average, but all of them potentially project as average, giving him a broad base of skills that should help him. His best value for fantasy owners is likely to come in batting average, and can be an interesting AL-only option down the line. The power and speed aren't likely to translate into a ton of counting stats, but should provide 5-7 of each in a full-time role. He gets good reviews on his makeup and work ethic, but it sounds like he will most likely end up as a backup outfielder, which severely diminishes the potential for positive fantasy value down the line.

Other Interesting Prospects
by Jason Hunt

Mike Wright (RHP) - Wright was added to the 40-man roster after last season, and it was hoped that with a repeat of his 2013 performance, might be a candidate for the rotation this year. However, he struggled at AAA, and between control issues and delivery concerns, it's not clear that he'll remain a starting pitcher long-term, and his value drops down to almost nil if that happens.

Brian Gonzalez (LHP) - Gonzalez was the Orioles' top draft pick this year, although that pick came in the 3rd round. He profiles as more of a back-end starting pitcher, although there is some upside that he turns into more depending on how he develops now that he is concentrating fully on pitching.

About the Authors

Jason Hunt is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in the minor leagues and prospects
Follow him on Twitter 

Brian Creagh is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
Follow him on Twitter