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Baltimore Orioles Top-10 Fantasy Prospects

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The Orioles farm system has been bereft of top-flight talent since Manny Machado debuted back in 2012. What, if anything has changed?

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Our Basis

With fantasy prospect rankings, the key to knowing the usefulness of a specific player is how large and deep of a league you would need to be in for them to end up as a fantasy starter. We will be ranking 10 prospects in each system, but that doesn't mean that every one of them is useful if you play in a 12-team mixed dynasty league. With that said, we're aiming to provide useful information whether you play in a 10-team mixed, a 15-team AL-only, or a 24-team mixed.

Prospect rankings also come with the same caveat that must be rehashed every year. They represent a snapshot of how we view the players at the time of publication. There will inherently be more information published throughout the off-season, and so how we view a player may evolve significantly over time. We're going to get some of these right, we're going to get some of these wrong, and in general my reminder is to find information you trust, and use it to your advantage. If that comes from us, that's great and we're happy you're here. If it doesn't, we'll continue to work and hope that you'll keep checking in to see how we're doing.

The Tiers

The tiers are here though to provide some clarity when comparing players between different teams. It's by no means a perfect system, but the goal is to give you a general idea of which players we think are in a similar range in terms of value and ranking. Since the tiers are also expected to be relatively consistent across teams, there may be tiers that do not have prospects for certain teams.

Tier 1 - The Elite Prospects

These prospects are expected to be in the top-50 prospects overall, and have the potential to be among the top options at their position regardless of format or league size.

The Orioles don't have anyone in this tier.

Tier 2 - The Top 100 Candidates

These prospects are expected to be in the discussion for the top 100 prospects overall, and are expected to be starting options in all formats.

The Orioles don't have anyone currently in this tier.

Tier 3 - The Next Group of Starters

These prospects would likely slot into the 100-200 range on an overall ranking list, and would be starters in mid-depth formats, like 12 and 14 team leagues.

#1 - Chance Sisco (C)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 22
ETA: 2017

Heading into 2016, Sisco's stock was wholly dependent on his ability to play catcher, as Sisco's profile fits best at a skill position. The 21-year-old moved to the position just a few years ago, in his senior year of high school, and was considered a work in progress from the moment the Orioles drafted him in the second round of the 2013 draft. He has made tremendous strides defensively, due in large part to his excellent athleticism, and now seems a lock to stick behind the plate. That's good news for fantasy owners. He has a plus hit tool, and should hit .280-plus, with average power that could result in a dozen or more home runs per season. That's a solid starting catcher for your squad.

Tier 4 - Single League and Deep Format Plays

These prospects would likely slot into the 200-300 range on a ranking list, and would have the most value to mixed leagues with 16+ teams and single-league formats with 12+ teams.

#2 - Cody Sedlock (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 21
ETA: 2018

Sedlock was the team's first round pick last year, and was a consensus top-40 prospect in the draft. He throws a sinking fastball in the low-to-mid 90s, and he complements it with a bat-missing slider in the low-80s. He also throws a curveball and a change-up; both pitches tend to flash average, but they lag behind his fastball and slider. Sedlock profiles as a solid mid-rotation starter that racks up groundballs, whose fantasy value will be dependent upon his ability to get swings and misses.

#3 - Keegan Akin (LHP)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 22
ETA: 2018

The Orioles followed-up their Sedlock pick by taking Akin in the second round. The hard-throwing southpaw was brilliant in his professional debut, pitching to a 1.04 ERA and striking out 29 in 26 IP in Low-A. Akin works with a low-to-mid 90s fastball and a mid-80s slider, and should get plenty of strikeouts. His biggest hurdle as a starter may be his change-up, which remains inconsistent and somewhat unrefined. He'll need that to be effective against RHH at the highest level. Some are concerned with Akin's height - he's just under 6'0" - but his mechanics are excellent, and he has demonstrated the ability to maintain his velocity late in games.

#4 - Jomar Reyes (3B)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 20
ETA: 2019

Reyes had a supremely disappointing 2016, batting .228/.271/.336 with 10 HR in 498 PA at HIgh-A. He was particularly impotent against RHP, slashing .213/.264/.293 and failing to tap into his considerable raw power (though, his .270/.290/.452 line against LHP doesn't jump off the page, either). These struggles can be at least somewhat attributed to a broken hamate in his left hand last fall, which required surgery. His placement on the list, then, is a product of two factors - his tools, and the paucity of high-end talent in the system. Reyes has the raw power to hit 25-plus home runs, while batting around .260. He should also stick at the hot corner, at least in the short term.

#5 - Trey Mancini (1B)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 25
ETA: 2017

Mancini earned a cup of coffee with the Orioles in late September, and made the most of it by batting .357/.400/1.071 with 3 HR in just 15 PA. His above-average hit tool and power are going to have to carry him in both the real world and fantasy, as he is limited defensively to first base. He's blocked by Chris Davis and his massive contract there, but I'm not sure that that will have much of an impact, given that Davis can play RF, and the team has vacancies both there and at DH. Mancini ultimately profiles as a .270 to .280 hitter with the pop to hit 20 or so home runs, and he should get a fair amount of playing time at the big league level in 2017.

Tier 5 - We Ranked Ten Prospects, We Really Did

These prospects generally will be useful in the deepest of formats. Think 24+ teams for mixed leagues and single-league formats with more teams than the league it uses. In many cases, these will be part-time players or utility-types when they get to the majors.

#6 - Ryan Mountcastle (SS)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 20
ETA: 2019

Discussing Mountcastle is an interesting proposition, as his offensive tools and current position suggest that he is a legitimate, high-ceiling prospect. He's a shortstop that has average or better hit, power, and base-running tools, as well as the ability to drive the ball to all fields. Many project him as a player capable of batting in the .270s with 12 to 15 home runs and double-digit steals. The issue, however, is that Mountcastle is a well below-average defender at short, with poor range and a lack of arm strength. If he moves to second, there's still value there - but some see him as a better fit in left field, due to his size and poor infield actions. And his fantasy value as an outfielder is much, much lower. Call this placement splitting the difference.

#7 - Ofelky Peralta (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 19
ETA: 2020

Peralta has a jaw-dropping fastball in the mid-90s, that flirts with triple-digits and has a good bit of movement. He has also begun to show promise with his slider, which is a promising sign that he's transitioning from "thrower" to "pitcher." That being said, he still has a lot of work to do, as evidenced by his high pitch counts and walk rates (5.23 BB/9 this year). Peralta checks in at 6'5", and has trouble repeating his delivery, which hinders both his control and release point on his change-up. He's still a teenager, and is relatively new to pitching, so his beta is incredibly high - as is his ceiling.

#8 - Matthias Dietz (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 21
ETA: 2019

The Orioles were all-in on drafting pitching this year, as Dietz rounded out their top three picks. The 6'5", 220 pound northpaw was drafted out of the tiny John A. Logan Community College, and was considered the top junior college pitching prospect in the draft. He sits in the low-to-mid 90s with his fastball, and has shown a bit of promise with his slider and change-up - but, with few exceptions, most consider those offerings to be works in progress. He's not as advanced as his age might dictate, and comes with more risk than either Sedlock or Akin.

#9 - Hunter Harvey (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 22
ETA: 2020

On stuff alone, Harvey might just be the best prospect in this system. He has three average or better offerings in his fastball, curveball (his best pitch), and change-up, and solid-average command and control. Unfortunately, he underwent Tommy John Surgery this year, and will miss all of 2017. This, after missing all of 2015 with other injuries, and throwing just 12.2 IP in 2016. There's just too much risk with Harvey to feel comfortable ranking him based on his skill alone, despite his age and ultimate ceiling.

#10 - Austin Hays (OF)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 21
ETA: 2019

Hays was the Orioles third round pick in the 2016 draft (their fourth overall, and the fourth on this list), and might just have the best blend of ceiling and floor in the system. He has fringe-average or better tools across the board, and the skills to be an average defensive center fielder or an above-average defender in right. He hit .336/.386/.514 in his short season debut, with 4 HR and 4 SB in 153 PA, and drew rave reviews for his work ethic. Hays ultimately profiles as something of a tweener (depending upon his position), as a player that can hit around .270 with double-digit home runs and steals.