Baltimore Orioles: Five Prospects Facing Key Seasons In 2019
By Nick Stevens
The Baltimore Orioles farm system is growing and is sure to progress with new leadership in place. Here are five individual prospects who are approaching key seasons.
Unless you’re a fan of the Seattle Mariners or New York Mets, this offseason has consisted mainly of longingly staring into the cold, dark void that is winter. For fans of the Baltimore Orioles, it has been especially brutal, with much of the offseason focused on building a front office and staff. The additions of general manager Mike Elias, assistant GM of analytics Sig Mejdal, and manager Brandon Hyde are all positive first steps and have injected hope and intrigue into a fanbase which witnessed their beloved O’s drop a league-high 115 games. But what about the play on the field?
What will define success in 2019? A simple answer is growth. Does Austin Hays rebound from an injury-plagued 2018 and produce at the major league level? Will a league-worst starting rotation see improvements from top of the rotation arms in Dylan Bundy (5.45 ERA, 41 home runs allowed) and Alex Cobb (4.90 ERA, 1.41 WHIP)? Can Trey Mancini put his sophomore slump behind him and become a stable presence in the lineup?
The same thing can be said about the Baltimore Orioles’ farm system. This system isn’t as void of talent as some believe, with a number of recent draft picks finding early success in the lower-minors and showing real promise to become major league contributors. Top prospect Ryan Mountcastle hit nearly .300 and improved his walk rate with the Double-A Bowie Baysox last season and will likely make his Orioles’ debut at some point in 2019, but I want to look elsewhere for this piece.
Over the next few slides, I’m taking a look at five Baltimore prospects who are preparing for very critical seasons this year. You can make a case for many more names here, for various different reasons. This isn’t a list of prospects who need a big year or this is it for them and there isn’t a particular order here. After following this system for the last few years, I want to look at five guys who have had great success in the lower minors, but will now face a new set of challenges in 2019. All five names discussed have the potential to be regulars on the Orioles’ active roster. This season will be a tremendous step forward to that goal.