In the midst of the playoffs across MLB, Minor League Baseball on Thursday announced the 2022 Baltimore Orioles organization all-stars, given to players throughout the Orioles farm system. Organizational all-stars are given to players at each position with the best seasons, regardless of prospect status or age. There’s a lot to get into, so let’s jump right in.
Catcher: Cody Roberts
Roberts was drafted in the 11th round of the 2018 draft by the Orioles out of North Carolina and had his best season as a pro in 2022. His .429 slugging percentage and .776 OPS led all Orioles catchers and hit .271 with eight home runs and 42 RBI’s. He earned a late season promotion to Triple-A Norfolk, where he had nine hits in 24 at bats. Defensively, he threw out 20 of 62 potential base stealers, good for 32 percent.
First base: TT Bowens
Bowens was signed by the Orioles as an undrafted free agent after the 2020 draft out of Central Connecticut State. He spent the entire season with High-A Aberdeen, hitting .248 with a .376 on base percentage and .768 OPS, leading Orioles first base prospects with at least 200 plate appearances. His on-base percentage surged from .321 in 2021 to .376 in 2022, although his power did noticeably drop off as a result, managing only seven home runs. Regardless, it’s a good season for Bowens, and Double-A Bowie might be calling soon enough.
The Baltimore Orioles Minor League All Star team has been unveiled.
Second base: Connor Norby
You might not be so familiar with Norby, and I wouldn’t blame you. After all, he’s in the group with guys like Gunnar Henderson, Jordan Westburg, and Coby Mayo as top infield prospects. But now you have to know the name. He hit so well this season that he started the year at High-A, and ended it at Triple-A. His 29 home runs led the whole Orioles system and added 16 stolen bases to his .279 batting average across all three levels. His on base percentage was .311 at Aberdeen, .389 at Bowie, and .405 at Norfolk. The dude hits and gets on base. He’s a name to watch in 2023.
Shortstop: Joey Ortiz
Another name that might have been lost in the middle infield prospect shuffle, Ortiz is another really good one. He had 153 total hits in 2022, leading the whole farm system. He appeared in 137 games this season, 111 of which were at Bowie, earning a late season promotion to Norfolk. Over the season, he hit .284 with a .349 on base percentage to go with 19 home runs and 85 RBI’s. Like Norby, Ortiz is someone to keep an eye on in the 2023 season.
Third base: Jordan Westburg
Gunnar Henderson was omitted from this list due to his success at the majors, so Westburg gets the nod to round out the infield. Westburg spent 47 games with Bowie and 91 with Norfolk in 2022, hitting .265 with a .851 OPS, leading the farm system with 39 doubles and 106 RBI’s on the season. His 27 home runs made him one of six hitters with at least 25 homers and 35 doubles in the minor leagues in 2022. Westburg is another top prospect who is loudly banging on the door for a callup.
Outfield: Heston Kjerstad
By now, everyone knows the story of Kjerstad, returning to the field this season after his battle with Myocarditis in 2021. In his first professional season, Kjerstad lit it up. He had a ridiculous .463 average and 1.201 OPS in 22 games before a promotion to Aberdeen. His average dropped to .233 in High-A, but he had 13 extra base hits and scored 28 runs while adding 20 RBI’s and 3 homers. He was one of seven prospects the Orioles sent to the Arizona Fall League, and he’s tearing it up there too. Keep an eye on Kjerstad, he could be a quick riser in 2023.
Outfield: Colton Cowser
Much like Norby in the infield, Cowser made noise in the outfield this season, jumping from High-A Aberdeen at the start of the year to Triple-A Norfolk at the end of the year. The 5th overall pick in 2021 combined to hit .278 with a .406 on base percentage, adding 19 homers and 66 RBI’s with 18 stolen bases in 138 games. In an already crowded outfield picture in the big leagues, Cowser could find himself in the mix pretty soon.
Outfield: Kyle Stowers
Stowers is one of three players on this list that made big league debuts this season, and Stowers is likely up for good in Baltimore. He hit .253 with a .724 OPS, with 3 home runs and 11 RBI’s in 34 big league games. In 95 games with Norfolk this season, Stowers hit .264 with 19 home runs and a .884 OPS. His 19 home runs were tied with Cowser for best among qualified outfield prospects, and his .884 OPS was tops in that category.
RH starting pitcher: Justin Armbruester
Grayson Rodriguez likely would’ve been here if he weren’t injured, so Armbruester gets the nod instead. A 12th round pick in 2021, Armbruester started the year in Aberdeen and was in Bowie by the end of the year. The 30th ranked prospect posted a combined 3.85 ERA and 1.068 WHIP, striking out 126 hitters in 117 innings. He’ll likely remain in Bowie to start 2023, with the potential for a Norfolk callup if everything goes right.
LH starting pitcher: DL Hall
Like Stowers, Hall made his MLB debut this season, pitching to a 5.93 ERA and 1.65 FIP in 11 games, 10 of which came in relief. Hall had a meteoric rise, starting the season at Aberdeen and ending the year in the Orioles bullpen. He had a 4.48 ERA and 1.387 WHIP in 84 1/3 innings in the minors, making 20 starts and 4 relief appearances. He struck out at least 10 batters three times, including a 14 strikeout showing for Norfolk in July.
Relief pitcher: Rico Garcia
Rounding out the list is Garcia, who did make the majors this season, pitching in six games out of the bullpen, recording a 4.50 ERA in eight innings. He also spent time at Aberdeen, Bowie, and Norfolk this season, recording a sturdy 1.99 ERA and 1.081 WHIP in 45 1/3 innings, striking out 60 hitters in 24 appearances, making three starts. His 1.99 ERA was the lowest among Orioles pitchers with at least 40 minor league innings in the 2022 season.