Baltimore Orioles prospect Grayson Rodriguez was named one of the top right-handed pitching prospects in baseball, per MLB Pipeline.
Are you ready for prospect list season? As an avid follower of minor league baseball, specifically the Baltimore Orioles farm system, this is one of my favorite times of the year as major publications and local bloggers alike put together lists of their top prospects in each organization and debate ensues over how terrible said list is.
We are sure to have our own list of top Orioles prospects in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, MLB Pipeline has started revealing their lists of top prospects by position, ahead of their overall Top 100 for 2020.
The rollout started today with the top ten right-handed pitching prospects in all of baseball, with Baltimore Orioles RHP Grayson Rodriguez coming in at number 10. He was not on last year’s list.
The Top 10 (ETA)-
1. Casey Mize, Tigers (2020)
2. Nate Pearson, Blue Jays (2020)
3. Forrest Whitley, Astros (2020)
4. Michael Kopech, White Sox (2020)
5. Sixto Sanchez, Marlins (2020)
6. Dustin May, Dodgers (2020)
7. Matt Manning, Tigers (2020)
8. Luis Patino, Padres (2021)
9. Spencer Howard, Phillies (2020)
10. Grayson Rodriguez, Orioles (2021)
Rodriguez, a 2018 first-round pick of the Orioles in 2018, is coming off his first full season as a professional, a season that saw him dominate his competition in the South Atlantic League as a member of the Delmarva Shorebirds.
In 20 starts for Delmarva, Rodriguez went 10-4 with a 2.68 ERA (2.64 FIP) and a 0.99 WHIP. He fanned more than 34% of hitters he faced, held opponents to a .170 batting average, and allowed just four home runs in 94 innings.
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The 6’5″ righty just turned 20 years old has quickly evolved from a prospect very few outside Birdland talked about to one of the biggest risers in baseball who is now largely considered a possible top of the rotation arm in Baltimore.
The Orioles kept his innings limited last season, so one of the few questions surrounding Rodriguez right now is what will his stuff look like when he’s allowed to go deep into games. At just 19 years old last season, Rodriguez showcased his composure on the mound, ability to command a four-pitch mix, and increased his velocity a few ticks to where his four-seam fastball now sits in the mid-90s.
Can he hold that velocity late in games? Can he limit his walks as he moves up a level to High-A ball? Those will be two important things to keep an eye on in 2020.
There’s no denying that Rodriguez is an elite prospect with a real possibility of becoming the leader of this Orioles pitching staff in two years. Do you know what’s even better news? Some prospect evaluators will argue that he isn’t even the best pitching prospect in the Orioles system.
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MLB Pipeline will release their list of the top ten left-handed pitching prospects on Wednesday where are sure to see DL Hall make the cut.