Baltimore Orioles: How The Orioles Compare To Baseball’s Other Rebuilding Clubs
Current Major League Talent Signed Through 2022:
When comparing the Royals and Orioles locked up major league talent, it’s easy to say both teams desperately need pitching help. Outside of Baltimore’s Means and Brad Keller of Kansas City, neither team either have relief or starting pitchers on their current roster who are likely ever going to help their respective teams win.
Thus, this comparison will be completely based on offense, and it’s the Royals who have the edge. Of their productive bats, Mancini and Santander are currently under contract long-term for the Orioles. Kansas City, on the other hand as a much of young offensive talent locked up.
All-star Whit Merrifield is on a long-term team-friendly deal, 27-year-old Jorge Soler who has hit 35 home runs this season is locked up along with Ryan O’Hearn, Hunter Dozier and Adalberto Mondesi.
Kansas City’s young offensive core is just now reaching the majors and is developing while getting to play big-league games while Baltimore’s is still further behind.
Minor League Offensive Depth:
As touched on, the Orioles minor league system is offensive heavy. Six of their top 10 prospects are offensive players, and the Orioles had a hitter heavy beginning to the 2019 MLB Draft. Thus, they have among the best offensive minor league talent in the MLB.
Unlike Baltimore, Kansas City does not have as many big bats in the minors. Their top prospect is shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. who was the second overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. Their next highest rated bat is their fourth-ranked prospect Khalil Lee who does not rank among baseball’s top 100 prospects. Of their top ten prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, just four are offensive players.
In addition, many of the Royals minor league bats have had rough 2019 seasons. 2017 first-round pick Nick Pratto is batting below .200 in High-A ball, Seuly Matias is also below the Mendoza line in High-A, and Michael Gigliotti tore the cover off the ball in Low-A but hasn’t been nearly the same player in High-A.
With the Orioles having several talented bats in their system including the top overall pick Rutschman and top 100 prospect and near MLB ready Mountcastle they have the edge here.
Minor League Pitching Depth:
While the Orioles have two pitchers in Rodriguez and Hall who are ranked among baseball’s top 100 prospects they simply don’t have the pitching depth many other organizations have in their minor league system.
The Royals, on the other hand, are loaded with young pitchers destined to reach the majors. Their top pitching prospect is former Florida Gator Brady Singer who ranks as baseball’s 56th best prospect. After pitching to a 1.87 ERA in High-A this season was promoted to Double-A. Kansas City also has baseball’s 76th best prospect in left-handed pitcher Daniel Lynch. Lynch has been promoted twice this season and is now in High-A ball where he has pitched to a 3.09 ERA in 11 starts.
Not only do the Royals have two of the games best pitching prospects in Singer and Lynch they are loaded from the top to bottom of their farm system in the arms department. Some of those other arms include Jackson Kowar who has a 3.25 ERA in Double-A this season and Kris Bubic who has a 2.62 ERA in High-A.
While Baltimore may have two of the flashier arms, the Royals have more depth when it comes to minor league pitching depth.
Who’s in better shape?
Five short years ago the Royals and Orioles were playing in the ALCS now we’re discussing which team is closer to getting back there.
When comparing the organizational depth of both teams, it’s the Royals who are further along in their rebuild. The Royals have been through a major rebuild that eventually ended in two pennants and a world series victory and again look to be building up their farm system the right way.
They have far more impact arms than the Orioles do on the farm and have enough hitting in the minors to find a handful of players who will one day be ready to join their already offensive young core in the big leagues.
Also, the Royals have the benefit of rebuilding in a division where the Tigers are in worse shape than the Orioles, White Sox are an unknown, Indians are likely going to tear down at seasons end and the Twins still have question marks. The Orioles have to deal with the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox and soon the Blue Jays as they rebuild.
Verdict: Royals are a year or two ahead of Baltimore.