Baltimore Orioles Top Prospects 2024
The Baltimore Orioles Top Prospects for dynasty fantasy baseball, including Jackson Holliday, Coby Mayo, Samuel Basallo, and more!
By: Bob Phelan(TheOrioleReport on x)
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Welcome to our team prospect rankings. Over the next two months, I will be pumping out team top prospect rankings and evaluations for dynasty baseball. These reports are generated from live looks, film study, and advanced data analysis to bring you in-depth fantasy scouting reports on every player you need to know, with today’s being the Baltimore Orioles Top Prospects.
Not all 30 players in each writeup will be dynasty relevant, but many will, and if you play in a deep league, certainly most of the names will be worth knowing.
You can check out our previous Top Prospect Rankings:
Each player has a detailed write-up. The top 10 rankings and writeups are free for all, but the rest of the top prospects are for paid subs. Get an edge in your dynasty leagues and get in on some of these players first! Let’s get to it, our Orioles Top Prospect list.
Thanks to continuing to hit on early draft picks, finally being involved in the international scene, and having a tremendous player development system in place on both the position player and pitching front the Orioles have maintained a top of the line farm system despite graduating players like Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson, Grayson Rodriguez, DL Hall, Jordan Westburg, and Kyle Bradish over the past couple of seasons. There will be ebbs and flows over the years as their contention window has opened because of drafting later in each round and trading from the farm system to acquire talent at the trade deadline and in the offseason but that comes along with the goal of winning major league baseball games. I would put the current Orioles top 15 prospects up against any other team’s and there is plenty of depth behind it for new players to break out in 2024.
Baltimore Orioles Top Prospects
1. Jackson Holliday, MI, 20, 6’0”/185
What do you know, the number one prospect in baseball also happens to be the number one prospect on an Orioles-centric list. At just 19 years old in his first full professional season after being selected number one overall in the 2022 MLB draft, the son of former very successful major leaguer Matt Holliday raced through the minor leagues ending the year with AAA Norfolk, holding his own.
The surprises started early in 2023 when Jackson was invited to big league spring training and stuck around longer than your typical young prospect that has no chance of making the team. Despite that, he started his season all the way down in low A Delmarva where he finished 2022. A 226 wRC+ over 67 plate appearances got him quickly promoted to A+ Aberdeen, where he settled in with 259 PA’s to the tune of a 162 wRC+. Next was AA Bowie where he didn’t slow down at all, 154 wRC+ over 164 PA’s, and then 91 PA’s in AAA where he put up a measly 109 wRC+.
Holliday combines an elite hit tool with an elite batting eye at such a young age that he has set himself up to potentially make his major league debut not long after his 20th birthday perhaps as soon as opening day 2024. Checking in with a chase rate under 20 percent last season shows the elite batting eye as well as making contact on over 82 percent of pitches in zone.
If he doesn’t start next season with the Orioles it will only be a matter of time until he is called up. A lot depends on the improvements he is able to make over the offseason as well as the Orioles front office weighing the importance of a potential bonus first round pick (like the one they just received for Gunnar Henderson winning AL RoY) versus an extra year of control of the Scott Boras client.
Offensively the only thing missing is growing into a little more power, although he still had 30 doubles, 9 triples, and 12 home runs combined last season. The exit velocities were pretty respectable for a hitter with a smaller build that is 19, as Holliday posted a 91 mph average exit velocity and a 102.3 mph 90th percentile. The average exit velocity is firmly above average and the 90th percentile being average for the minor leagues.
He also needs to lift the ball more to get into 20+ home run territory and it shows as the harder he hit the ball, the lower the launch angle. Holliday had just a 6 degree launch angle on balls hit over 95 mph and a negative one degree launch angle to the pull side.
His defense has yet to catch up with his bat so he may start his career as more of a second baseman than a shortstop, but these are not long-term concerns. Holliday is about as safe of a prospect as you will find and could spend the entire 2024 season in the Majors as a 20 year old.
FFG: Top Five 2B
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .290/.400/23 HR/10 SB
2. Coby Mayo, CI, 21, 6’5”/230
The Orioles also have another very young infielder who will indubitably make his Major League debut in 2024, and this one has no questions remaining regarding his power. Mayo will spend the entire season next year as a 22-year-old with 267 plate appearances under his belt in AAA already.
The fourth round overslot pick from the COVID-shortened 2020 draft started 2023 with AA Bowie and dominated the pitching at that level over 347 PAs with a 178 wRC+. Repeating the level after getting 145 PAs with Bowie to end the 2022 season, Mayo doubled his ISO (.296), dropped his strikeout rate by nearly 10% (24.8), and increased his walk rate by 6.4% (14.7).
When he finally moved up to AAA his walk and strikeout rates only got even better (15.7% and 23.2% respectively) as he put up a 127 wRC+. Even better, after an early adjustment period he finished the season by hitting .308 with a 1.036 OPS and 162 wRC+ over his final 185 plate appearances with a 19.5% walk rate and 21.1% strikeout rate.
Mayo makes enough contact when you considering the quality of the contact, checking in with a 74 percent clip, while making contact on pitches in the zone at an 83 percent rate. He also posts low chase rates and is a selective hitter.
The power is massive and Mayo posted an average exit velocity of 92 mph to pair with a near 107 mph 90th percentile, putting the power in the plus or better range.
That is elite stuff at 21 years old. He also continued to improve his defense at third base giving him a very good chance to play the position in the majors, but he will also be getting reps in the outfield over the offseason, where his 70 grade arm can play.
FFG: High-End Power CI
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .275/.380/35 HR/5 SB
3. Samuel Basallo, C/1B, 19, 6’3”/180
The Orioles have had the best prospect in baseball for three straight years (Adley Rutschman entering 2022, Gunnar Henderson entering 2023, Jackson Holliday entering 2024) and if they’re going to do it again for the fourth straight season – this is the guy.
Before Mike Elias took over the front office the Orioles simply didn’t participate in the international market. It took a year or two to build that operation from the ground up, but in January 2021 International Scouting Director Koby Perez signed Basallo to a then-team-record $1.3 million after his previous agreement with the New York Yankees fell through.
Signed as a catcher, the raw power was the standout tool from a guy who it was assumed would outgrow catcher fairly quickly. Not so fast, as his athleticism has him looking smooth behind the plate (and at first base) with a cannon for an arm.
The power is still eye-popping, and the hit tool has developed very nicely. Basallo’s 90th percentile exit velocity was one of the best for his age, checking in over 106 mph. The contact skills also play as Basallo posted a 73 percent contact rate on the season.
Like a snowball rolling downhill, you could see Basallo’s game developing before your eyes in 2023. He put up a 149 wRC+ over 352 plate appearances in low A and a 195 wRC+ in A+ over 115 PAs before getting a quick taste of AA in his 18-year-old season. He will be 19 for the vast majority of the 2024 season and starting the year in AA which is the early sign of an international superstar especially when you consider his excellent walk and strikeout rates at his age and level.
FFG: Power Hitting C/1B
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .280/.370/30 HR/5 SB
4. Joey Ortiz, SS, 25, 5’9”/190
Everyone knows Joey Ortiz is a defensive wizard at shortstop and should certainly be able to translate anywhere else on the infield left of first base. What everyone doesn’t know is that he is very close to being an offensive dynamo. He fought through injuries this past season but was still able to put up a 121 wRC+ in AAA over 389 plate appearances and also got his major league debut out of the way as an injury replacement for Ramon Urias.
The thing with Ortiz is that he almost never swings and misses. He has an excellent in-zone contact rate and he hits the ball incredibly hard. His contact rate checked in at 82.5 percent and jumped to 90 percent in zone. He had a higher exit velocity (114.9) than anyone else in the Orioles organization that played at AAA in 2023 – that includes Heston Kjerstad, Coby Mayo, Kyle Stowers, etc, while the average exit velocity of 90 mph and 90th percentile north of 105 both show above average or better power.
The problem is he chases too many pitches out of the zone and hits too many balls on the ground. That makes sense when you consider he has great bat-to-ball skills so as long as he can improve his swing decisions (something this player development system is known for) then his offensive profile should only improve. He already has a high floor thanks to his defense but the ceiling is a lot higher than most people suspect as well.
FFG: Sneaky Power/Speed SS
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .280/.350/20 HR/20 SB
5. Colton Cowser, OF, 23, 6’2”/220
Cowser was expected to make his major league debut in 2023 and he did, but not with the results Orioles fans were hoping for. He came up two days short of losing his rookie/prospect status but hopefully can learn from his struggles during his first run in the bigs. He ended up batting .115 with a 40 wRC+ and 28.6% strikeout rate over 77 plate appearances. He walked 16.9% of the time but just looked way too passive and tentative at the plate and in the field.
I’ve personally seen him get great jumps and make great plays in the outfield but he looked slow and tentative out there on tv, maybe an adjustment to playing in three-tiered stadiums.
Confidence is key entering the 2024 season because the potential is there for Cowser to be a 20/20 guy who gets on base a ton and is capable of playing center field as evidenced by his 136 wRC+ over 399 AAA PAs with 17 home runs and 9 stolen bases. The power is there as Cowser posted an average exit velocity north of 91 and a 90th percentile at 105. The issues remain with contact and passivitiy.
He is a good buy-low candidate in fantasy baseball leagues if anyone is putting too much stock in his major league numbers from last season.
FFG: High-OBP OF with some Power and Speed
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .270/.370/23 HR/15 SB
6. Heston Kjerstad, 1B/OF, 24, 6’3”/205
What an incredible 12 months from October 2022 to October 2023 for Kjerstad. After being selected second overall in the 2020 MLB draft he didn’t make his professional debut until exactly two years later, June 10, 2022, thanks to a career-threatening bout with myocarditis and then a hamstring injury in the spring of 2022.
He performed well in Single-A, as you would expect for a renowned college hitter playing against younger competition, and then struggled a bit in High-A. But he went on to win the Arizona Fall League MVP following the minor league season and hasn’t slowed down since.
Kjerstad impressed everyone in Major League spring training with his easy power to all fields and went on to put up a 160 wRC+ over 206 plate appearances in AA and a 116 wRC+ over 337 PAs in AAA before making his major league debut in September. He cracked two home runs over 33 PAs and earned his spot on the playoff roster in the ALDS.
Kjerstad posted a 75 percent contact rate with a major jump to 88 percent on pitches in the zone. He is aggressive and does have some chase, but the high zone-contact counteracts it.
From a power standpoint, Kjerstad has easy plus or better power projection, posting a 106 mph 90th percentile last season with an average near 90 mph.
He likely isn’t going to walk much more than at a league average rate and needs to improve his defense in RF and 1B to be considered more than a DH but he is very good at barreling up baseballs and should be doing so at the major league level for a long time to come.
FFG: Power Hitting CI or COF
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .275/.350/28 HR/5 SB
7. Dylan Beavers, OF, 22, 6’4”/206
Remember Kyle Stowers? Of course you do, a power-hitting corner outfielder who hung around the top 10 of the Orioles prospect lists and who seemed like a natural Anthony Santander replacement eventually but who is now stuck in AAA.
Beavers reminds me of him but without the strikeout issues. He also hasn’t consistently translated his raw power to in-game the way Stowers did at this point in his professional career but he made some big strides in 2023.
Beavers is a tinkerer, and he struggled to find his swing early in the year (.214 BA, .664 OPS, 83 wRC+ over his first 193 plate appearances in A+) but something clicked once the calendar switched to June.
Over his last 333 PAs of the season, he hit .332 with a .961 OPS, 161 wRC+, .199 ISO, 14.7% walk rate, and 19.5% strikeout rate. He was promoted to AA in the middle of that stretch and wound up with a 150 wRC+ with Bowie over 157 PAs.
The contact skills made a massive jump as Beavers posted a contact rate of 81 percent up from 74 percent in 2022, showing substantial progress.
A good 2024 season split between AA and AAA would set Beavers up nicely to make his major league debut sometime in 2025.
FFG: Power/Speed OF
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .280/.370/20 HR/20 SB
8. Connor Norby, 2B, 23, 5’9”/180
Norby broke out in 2022 by putting up 137 wRC+ between three levels (A+, AA, AAA) with solid walk and strikeout numbers. Even more impressive was the fact that he seemed to get better at each stop up the ladder.
Enter 2023, and he played the entire season with AAA Norfolk. Six hundred thirty-three plate appearances later, he had 40 doubles, three triples, 21 home runs, ten stolen bases, and a 109 wRC+. As an offense first second baseman and maybe left fielder that was a little disappointing considering the expectations for him coming into the season. The good news is he got better as the season went on and should be plenty seasoned enough to make his major league debut early in 2024 whether it is with the Orioles or another team that trades for him.
Norby doesn’t hit the ball as hard as the other top position player prospects in this system, posting an average exit velocity of 86.5 and a 90th percentile of 101.5, both suggesting slightly below-average power. Norby rarely misses mistake pitches and gets the ball in the air which results in good outcomes. The zone-contact rate of 85 percent leads to a high potential high average to pair with decent power and some speed.
FFG: Starting Caliber 2B
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .285/.355/18 HR/10 SB
9. Enrique Bradfield Jr., OF, 22, 6’1”/170
Bradfield was the Orioles first round pick in the 2023 MLB draft, the first time they picked outside of the top five since 2018, and he was a different style of position player than the team has taken under the current regime. His standout tools are speed and defense. Considering he plays center field that could lead him to eventually be Cedric Mullins’ replacement as long as his development goes well.
Both of those tools were immediately on display in his first taste of professional ball following the draft, with multiple highlight plays in the outfield and 25 stolen bases over 25 games played between the FCL, low A, and A+. All of this isn’t to say that Bradfield’s hit tool is a liability. He is another player like Joey Ortiz above who basically doesn’t whiff at pitches in the strike zone.
The difference is Bradfield doesn’t hit the ball as hard as Ortiz, but also doesn’t chase pitches out of the zone very often. That has resulted so far in, admittedly, a small sample size, a high average and on-base percentage, and not many extra-base hits.
I’m sure the Orioles are hoping to refine the bat to have more impact but the fact that he is essentially already major-league-ready in the field and on the bases should allow him to rise through the system quickly.
FFG: Elite Stolen Base Asset
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .275/.375/8 HR/50 SB
10. Cade Povich, LHP, 23, 6’3”/185
It has taken all the way until the 10th name on this list to get to the first pitcher. Does that mean the Orioles farm system is lacking in pitching talent? Not necessarily. In terms of top-end arm talent that tends to get pitchers mentioned in top 100 lists the O’s may be lacking but in terms of depth and development they have been very successful.
We’ve seen Kyle Bradish turn himself into a top 5 finisher in the AL Cy Young in 2023 and Grayson Rodriguez finish strong after a rough start to his big league career. Next up is DL Hall who has graduated as a prospect but looked great out of the Orioles bullpen down the stretch and in the playoffs and the next three names listed here.
Povich was acquired from the Minnesota Twins at the trade deadline in 2022 along with Yennier Cano, Juan Nunez, and Juan Rojas. He is a lefty that sits in the low 90’s with his fastball but can touch the mid 90’s and has an arsenal of 5-6 pitches including a beautiful curveball that is nearly impossible to hit well if he is able to locate it. And therein lies the issue for Povich, consistency with command led to almost alternating great and rough starts most of the 2023 season.
The reason I have him higher than the next two guys on the list is that I believe he has the highest ceiling and a reasonable chance of reaching it.
FFG: High K/High BB SP
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: 160 IP/4.00 ERA/185 K
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