7/27/2014 9:00 P.M. ET
Bundy headlines Orioles' updated Top 20 list
Right-hander on path to return to big leagues after Tommy John surgery last year
By Teddy Cahill / MLB.com
With the passing of the Draft signing deadline, teams have had a recent influx of talent into their farm systems, and with that, we've updated the Top 20 Prospects lists of all 30 teams.
To be on a list, a player must have rookie eligibility. To qualify for rookie status, a player must not have exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues, or accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club or clubs during the 25-player limit period, excluding time on the disabled list or in military service.
Players are graded on a 20-80 scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average.
Check out all 30 team Top 20 lists and the Top 100 on Prospect Watch.
1. Dylan Bundy, RHP
Preseason rank: 1
MLB Top 100 rank: 16 (Preseason: 20)
Scouting grades: Fastball: 70 | Curveball: 65 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 60 | Overall: 65
Bundy was so advanced as a prep star in Oklahoma that scouts viewed him more like a college pitcher than one in high school. He lived up to that evaluation, racing to the Major Leagues in his first full professional season as a 19-year-old. But Bundy's progress hit a roadblock in 2013 when he underwent Tommy John surgery in June.
Bundy returned to action this year, and he looks to be on his way to recapturing his top-tier stuff. His fastball sits in the mid-to-upper 90s, and it has touched triple digits. Bundy's best secondary pitch as an amateur was his cutter, but the Orioles took it away to force him to improve his other offspeed offerings. Bundy's curveball and changeup have both improved, and they have plus potential.
Bundy is an exceptional athlete and his work ethic and makeup are very well regarded. He profiles as a front-line starter if he can make a full recovery from surgery.
2. Hunter Harvey, RHP
Preseason rank: 4
MLB Top 100 rank: 35 (Preseason: NA)
Scouting grades: Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 50 | Overall: 60
Harvey, the son of former All-Star closer Bryan Harvey, was eager to get his professional career started -- so much that he never committed to a college. He quickly signed with the Orioles after the 2013 Draft. That has looked to be a smart decision, as Harvey has dominated professional hitters, and he earned a trip to the 2014 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.
Harvey throws his fastball in the low-to mid-90s, and he has the projectability to more consistently hit the upper end of that range in the future. He has a good feel for his curveball, and though he didn't need it much in high school, his changeup has the makings of a third quality pitch.
Harvey has a good understanding of pitching, and he earns praise for his poise on the mound. He's coming along faster than expected, giving Baltimore another premium starting pitching prospect.
3. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP
Preseason rank: 3
MLB Top 100 rank: NA (Preseason: 68)
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 55 | Overall: 55
Rodriguez has made steady improvement since signing out of Venezuela as a 17-year-old in 2010. He made a big jump in 2013 when he reached Double-A Bowie, and then finished the year as the starting pitcher in the Arizona Fall League championship game.
Initially more of a command-and-control lefty, Rodriguez has grown into his lanky frame and has seen his velocity jump as a result. He now throws his fastball in the low 90s, with good sink and movement. Rodriguez pairs his fastball with a hard changeup and a tight slider, both of which grade out as above-average offerings.
Rodriguez hasn't been quite as sharp in 2014, but at 21 years old, he's young for Double-A, and he still profiles as a middle-of-the rotation starter.
4. Chance Sisco, C
Preseason rank: 10
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 30 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
Sisco transitioned from shortstop to catcher as a senior in high school, and he quickly showed the skills necessary to remain at his new position long term. His bat helped him get drafted in the second round, but his catching skills have been better than expected.
Sisco's athleticism plays well behind the plate and he's a good receiver. He has an average arm and good hands. Offensively, Sisco has an advanced understanding of the strike zone and does a good job of using the whole field to hit. He has some pop now, and he should develop more power as he physically matures.
Like 2013 first-rounder Harvey, Sisco has excelled as a 19-year-old in the South Atlantic League. Together, they could form an exciting battery for years to come.
5. Christian Walker, 1B
Preseason rank: 15
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 20 | Arm: 40 | Field: 45 | Overall: 50
Walker was a part of South Carolina's back-to-back national championships and has established a long track record as a successful hitter. He adjusted well to the professional ranks, reaching Double-A Bowie in his first full professional season.
Walker has a good approach at the plate and has an excellent feel for the barrel. He has unlocked more of his power as a professional, and he blasted 20 home runs in the first half with Bowie in 2014. Defensively, Walker is strictly a first baseman, but he has the tools to be a solid defender.
Walker earns praise for his understanding of the game, and as he taps into more of his raw power, fits the traditional first-base profile better now than scouts thought he would when he was at South Carolina.
6. Josh Hart, OF
Preseason rank: 6
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 30 | Run: 60 | Arm: 45 | Field: 60 | Overall: 50
Hart was the third Georgia high school outfielder drafted in the first round in 2013. He doesn't profile as a five-tool player like fellow Peach State natives Clint Frazier and Austin Meadows. Instead, Hart's speed and athleticism make him a potential top-of-the-order catalyst.
Hart's best tool is his plus speed, which makes him a threat to steal and allows him to cover ground well in center field. He also earns praise for his understanding of the game, helping his speed to play up on both sides of the ball.
Hart has an easy and smooth stroke, and he has a knack for putting the bat on the ball. His swing is geared to hitting line drives into the gaps, limiting his power potential.
7. Tim Berry, LHP
Preseason rank: 8
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
Berry hurt his elbow during his senior year of high school, and though he ultimately underwent Tommy John surgery, the Orioles selected him in the 50th round. That decision is beginning to pay off as Berry turns his promise into results.
Berry's fastball sits in the low-90s, and he commands it effectively to both sides of the plate. He shows some feel for both his curveball and changeup, giving him two more average offerings.
Because Berry doesn't have overwhelming stuff, he has to command all of his pitches to succeed. He's made strides in that area, and if he continues to do so, he'll have a chance to stick as a middle-of-the-rotation starter.
8. Mike Wright, RHP
Preseason rank: 7
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Curveball: 40 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 50
By reaching Double-A Bowie in his first full professional season, Wright put himself on the fast track. He returned there in 2013 and led the Eastern League with a 3.26 ERA. Wright hasn't repeated that level of success this season with Triple-A Norfolk.
Wright's fastball sits in the low-90s, and it can touch 95 mph. He throws from a steep downhill angle and uses his fastball's heavy sink to generate ground-ball outs. None of Wright's offspeed pitches truly stand out, but he adds to their deception by throwing them all from the same arm slot. Though he fills up the zone, Wright has more control than pinpoint command.
Some scouts think Wright's stuff would play up in the bullpen. But his build suggests a workhorse starter, and Baltimore believes he can fill that role in the Major Leagues.
9. Zach Davies, RHP
Preseason rank: 14
Scouting grades: Fastball: 50 | Slider: 40 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 55 | Overall: 45
Davies was largely overlooked as an undersized high school right-hander in 2011, but the Orioles liked him enough to take a chance on him in the 26th round. He has pitched well at the outset of his professional career, posting a top-10 ERA in his league in each of his first two Minor League seasons.
Davies doesn't have overwhelming stuff, but all of his pitches play up thanks to his polish and above-average command. His fastball sits around 90 mph, with some projectability remaining. Davies' fading changeup is his best pitch and he gets good depth on his curveball.
Davies earns comparisons to Mike Leake for his physique and overall skill set. Like Leake, Davies profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter.
10. Branden Kline, RHP
Preseason rank: 16
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 40 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
Kline grew up in Frederick, Md., also the home of Baltimore's Class A Advanced affiliate. His first full season in his parents' favorite organization was derailed by a broken ankle that required surgery and kept him out for three months. Kline returned home in 2014 and pitched well for the Keys.
Kline throws his fastball in the low-90s, with some sinking action. His slider gives him a second solid pitch, while his changeup lags behind. Kline earns praise for his makeup and intelligence.
Kline was used as a starter and closer in college, but the O's have kept him in the rotation as a professional. They see him as a starter, though some scouts believe his power arsenal is better suited for the bullpen.
11. Michael Ohlman, C
Preseason rank: 9
Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 50 | Run: 30 | Arm: 50 | Field: 45 | Overall: 45
Ohlman's professional career was already off to a rough start before hitting a low point in 2012. He suffered a shoulder injury in a Spring Training car accident, and he later received a 50-game suspension for a second positive drug test. But Ohlman rebounded from his lost season and won the Carolina League batting title in 2013.
Ohlman has made adjustments to shorten his swing and become more selective at the plate. As a result, he is better able to use his raw power and handle offspeed pitches. His defense hasn't made the same strides, however. Ohlman has a solid arm, but he's big for a catcher and is a below-average receiver.
Even if Ohlman doesn't make further improvements behind the plate, his bat should be enough to get him to the big leagues.
12. Drew Dosch, 3B
Preseason rank: None
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 40 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 45 | Overall: 45
Dosch tore his ACL a month before the 2013 First-Year Player Draft but he still became the highest drafted position player from Youngstown State in more than 20 years. His injury kept him out the rest of the year, delaying his professional debut until 2014.
Dosch has a smooth left-handed swing and a good feel for the barrel. He has some pop, but his swing is more geared to hitting line drives than home runs.
While Dosch is an average runner and has a solid arm, he doesn't have great range at third base. That leads some scouts to wonder if he'll need to eventually move to the outfield or first base. Regardless of his ultimate position, it will be incumbent that Dosch continues to produce at the plate.
13. Parker Bridwell, RHP
Preseason rank: 17
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 40 | Overall: 45
A three-sport star in high school, Bridwell was eager to start his professional career when the Orioles drafted him in 2010. His adjustment to the professional ranks hasn't been seamless, but Bridwell has shown flashes of his potential.
Bridwell utilizes his big frame to throw his low-90s fastball from a steep downhill angle and to create ground ball outs. His curveball and changeup give him two more average offerings. Bridwell earns praise for his athleticism and loose arm.
Bridwell's biggest problem as a professional has been his command. He has made strides in that area, and he can throw strikes with all his pitches when he's at his best. Bridwell will need to learn to throw strikes more consistently as he advances in the Minor Leagues.
14. Adrian Marin, SS
Preseason rank: 11
Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 30 | Run: 55 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
As a high school shortstop from South Florida drafted by the Orioles, Marin draws some natural comparisons to Manny Machado. While Marin can't match Machado's lofty ceiling, he has acquitted himself well as a professional.
Marin has a good feel for the bat and makes consistent contact. Though a triple he hit off Joey Gallo as a high school senior helped push Marin up Draft boards in 2012, he has below-average power.
Marin's athleticism and instincts help him defensively, but some scouts remain unconvinced he will be able to handle playing shortstop every day. With so many middle infielders already in the big leagues, Baltimore can afford to give him plenty of time to improve his defense and refine his overall game.
15. Francisco Peguero, OF
Preseason rank: 13
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 55 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
Originally signed by the Giants in 2005, Peguero quickly established himself as one of their top prospects until a pair of knee injuries in '11 derailed his progress. He made his Major League debut in 2012, but he was unable to break through. Peguero latched on with the O's after being non-tendered in 2013.
Peguero is toolsy and athletic, with a good combination of speed and power. He is a free swinger, but his quick hands enable him to make a lot of contact. Peguero covers ground well in the outfield, and his plus arm makes him a good fit in right field.
After several years in the Minor Leagues, Peguero is nearly Major League ready. He'll need to stay healthy to get the opportunity that has so far eluded him.
16. Stephen Tarpley, LHP
Preseason rank: 12
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
Tarpley began his college career at the University of Southern California, but he transferred to Scottsdale Community College after one season -- bringing him closer to home and making him eligible for the 2013 Draft. The Orioles selected him in the third round and he pitched well in his professional debut.
Tarpley impresses scouts with his size, stuff and pitchability. He has a loose and lively arm, and he throws his fastball up to 94 mph. Tarpley's curveball is a solid offering, and his changeup has the potential to develop into another average pitch in time.
Tarpley throws a lot of strikes and earns praise for his mound presence. That combination, especially from the left side, offers a lot of upside.
17. Tyler Wilson, RHP
Preseason rank: None (2014 Draft)
Scouting grades: Fastball: 50 | Curveball: 40 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 60 | Overall: 45
Wilson was rotation mates with Danny Hultzen at the University of Virginia, and he was drafted about 300 picks after the Cavaliers' ace in 2011. Wilson earns praise for his makeup and smarts, traits that helped earn him the Lowe's Senior Class Award in 2011.
Wilson's fastball peaks at 91 mph, with sinking action. His slider and changeup give him two more average offerings. Though Wilson's stuff isn't overwhelming, he has found a way to be successful as a professional.
The key to Wilson's success is his control, competitiveness and feel for pitching. He does a good job keeping the ball down in the zone and maintaining his stuff deep into games. Wilson will have to rely on his command and pitchability to reach the Major Leagues as a back-of-the-rotation starter.
18. Brian Gonzalez, LHP
Preseason rank: None (2014 Draft)
Scouting grades: Fastball: 50 | Curveball: 45 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
The Orioles lost their top two picks in the 2014 Draft as compensation for free-agent signings, making Gonzalez their top selection. He was a part of three Florida state championship teams at Archbishop McCarthy High School, the same school that produced big leaguers Alex Avila and Nick Castellanos.
While Gonzalez doesn't have overpowering stuff, he is more polished than most high school pitchers. His fastball sits around 90 mph, with good life. At his best, Gonzalez throws from a good downhill angle and adds run to the pitch. He has good feel for his changeup and gets good depth to his curveball.
Gonzalez stands out for his control and pitchability. With time, his strong build, stuff and polish could help him develop into a solid Major League starter.
19. Ofelky Peralta, RHP
Preseason rank: 20
Scouting grades: Fastball: 65 | Slider: 40 | Curveball: 40 | Changeup: 40 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
Baltimore didn't need to see Peralta pitch much before deciding to sign him to one of the biggest bonuses the club has ever given to a Dominican amateur. Some clubs thought he wasn't eligible to sign until 2014, but the Orioles knew differently and were able to add another premium arm to their system.
Peralta's fastball peaks at 95 mph, and scouts believe he'll throw even harder as he physically matures. He shows good feel for both a curveball and a slider, and he is working to develop his changeup as well.
Peralta earns some physical comparisons to Taijuan Walker. Peralta is a long way from that lofty ceiling, but his raw stuff and projectability already have the O's excited about his future.
20. Pat Connaughton, RHP
Preseason rank: None (2014 Draft)
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 45 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 40 | Overall: 45
Eight years after Notre Dame produced dual star Jeff Samardzija, Connaughton starred on the hardwood and the diamond for the Fighting Irish. The Orioles grabbed him in the fourth round of the 2014 Draft, and they signed him to a deal allowing him to play his senior basketball season this winter.
On the mound, Connaughton uses the leverage in his 6-foot-5 frame to deliver fastballs up to 95 mph, with good sink. His size also creates an angle and plane that make his pitches more difficult to hit. Connaughton's athleticism should allow him to make more strides once he concentrates solely on baseball.
Like Samardzija at the same stage, Connaughton is far from a finished product on the mound. He lacks fastball command and doesn't miss as many bats as his velocity suggests he should. Connaughton has some feel for a changeup, but scouts aren't convinced he spins the ball well enough to develop an average curve.