Baltimore Orioles Prospect Draft

Houston Astros v Baltimore Orioles
Houston Astros v Baltimore Orioles / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Since 2019, the Baltimore Orioles have been meticulously curating their minor league system and have produced an industry-best collection of talent that has begun to produce results at the major league level. 100+ loss seasons have netted them top draft picks like Adley Rutschman and Jackson Holliday. The high-end slot money the big league club’s futility earned them enabled Mike Elias to spend over slot on prospects such as Gunnar Henderson, the current #1 overall prospect in the game. The Orioles system features so much top end talent and overall depth that you could theoretically build the foundation of multiple different farm systems with just O’s prospects.

Birds Watcher’s Baltimore Orioles Prospect Draft

That’s exactly what we here at Birds Watcher ventured out to do. I along with Andrew, Cameron, and Vitor, took turns drafting (in snake format, of course) and constructing our own respective “farm systems”. Here are the results:





G. Henderson

G. Rodriguez

J. Holliday

C. Cowser

D.L. Hall

J. Westburg

C. Mayo

H. Kjerstad

S. Johnson

C. Norby

C. Povich

D. Rom

C. McDermott

J. Ortiz

S. Basallo

D. Beavers

D. Hernaiz

J. Fabian

F. Bencosme

C. Baumler

Andrew’s Picks

Round 1, Pick 1: SS/3B Gunnar Henderson

Andrew: “When Josh told me I had the number one pick, I told myself I was not going to overthink this. Yes Grayson Rodriguez is a great pitching prospect, and yes, Jackson Holliday was the first pick in the draft and will be a stud shortstop. But I knew I had to take the number one prospect in the Orioles' system - and thenumber one prospect in baseball -Gunnar Henderson.”

Round 2, Pick 8: SP D.L. Hall

Andrew: “The 6th ranked prospect in the Orioles system and 87th in Major League Baseball per MLB Pipeline, Hall is still just 24 years old after making his long-awaited debt with the Orioles this past season. And while he struggled in his first taste of the big leagues, Hall flashed the potential that Orioles fans have waited for for so long.”

Round 3, Pick 9: SP Seth Johnson

Andrew: “With the first pick of the third round, I selected right-handed pitcher Seth Johnson, pairing him with DL Hall for a formidable one-two punch of pitching in my system. The Oriolesacquired Johnson, along with right-hander Chayce McDermott in the deal that sent the beloved Trey Mancini to Houston. Johnson is likely set to miss all of 2023 due to Tommy John surgery but while my system is not counting on him for 2023, taking Johnson in the third round should pay dividends in 2024 and beyond.”

Round 4, Pick 16: SP Chayce McDermott

Andrew: “McDermott, 24, was the12th-rankedprospect in the Houston Astros' system at the time of the deal and, unlike Johnson, came to the Orioles ready to pitch in 2022. McDermott struggled a bit in his first taste of pitching in the Eastern League but if he pitches well at Bowie, he should see time at Norfolk this year with a chance for a cup of coffee with the Orioles.”

Round 5, Pick 17: SS Darell Hernaiz

Andrew: “Hernaiz spent 2022 with the Delmarva, Aberdeen, and Bowie Baysox,putting up a solid .273 average with 12 home runs, 62 RBIs, 32 stolen bases, and a .779 OPS. Although he struggled a bit in Bowie, the 21-year old shortstop is likely to begin the season as Baysox starting shortstop. And, with the athletic ability to change positions if needed, Hernaiz could be up with the Orioles sometime in 2024.”

Josh’s Picks

Round 1, Pick 2: SP Grayson Rodriguez

Josh: “Rodriguez is arguably the best SP prospect in baseball, has a high 90’s heater with secondary pitches that don’t quit, and should sit atop the Orioles rotation for awhile. I’ll put that ace up my sleeve.”

Round 2, Pick 7: IF Jordan Westburg

Josh: “He probably won’t stick at shortstop but he should settle in as a capable glove at second or third. The bat is the star of the show here. Westburg has proven in-game power and his batting eye is on constant display (70 walks between AA and AAA in ‘22).”

Round 3, Pick 10: 2B Connor Norby

Josh: “I’ll take all the power hitting middle infielders you can throw at me. Norby and Westburg battled for the organizational home run lead with Norby’s 29 prevailing. He won’t be a standout defender but will do the job and regardless, the bat is too good to pass up.”

Round 4, Pick 15: SS Joey Ortiz

Josh: “The defensive wizard! Ortiz is an absolute force with the glove and would be a standout wherever he played on the diamond, but he’s absolutely a shortstop. A .269/.337/.455 slash line at Bowie with a career high 15 homers (plus 4 more in Norfolk) has made Ortiz a legit top 100-caliber prospect who could rise even further if he continues his offensive breakout.”

Round 5, Pick 18: OF Jud Fabian

Josh: “I love Fabian’s profile: a big swinging power bat with a chance to stick as an above average center fielder. He needs to trim the strikeout rate a bit, but I’m taking my chances with the athletic college prospect.”

Vitor’s Picks

Round 1, Pick 3: SS Jackson Holliday

Vitor: “The 2022 first overall pick is a left-handed hitter with great discipline, a great glove and great speed. A rising star with high-ceiling in the minors and one of the most coveted prospects for years to come until he reaches the majors. Like Jim Callis says: "I will be absolutely surprised if Jackson Holliday is not a superstar".”

Round 2, Pick 6: 3B Coby Mayo

Vitor: “Mayo is a destroyer of baseballs. A 4th round pick in 2020, he finished with 19 Home Runs across A+ and AA. His grades with power (60) and arm (70) shows great potential for a player with only 21 years old. Another high-ceiling prospect.”

Round 3, Pick 11: SP Cade Povich

Vitor: “Arguably the best prospect the O’s got back in the Jorge Lopez trade with Minnesota. The lefty strikes out a plenty 41 K's on 8 games) but his ERA suffers because of his last game last year for Bowie (6.94 in AA). If his ERA came down, he'll be in the majors in the near future with his four-pitch mix.”

Round 4, Pick 14: C Samuel Basallo

Vitor: “One of the international prospects from 2021 and the best catcher from the Dominican Republic per Baseball America, Basallo impressed during his time in the Florida Complex League last season. His slash line: .278/.350/.424 with 6 Home Runs and 32 RBI. He'll be 19 years old next August and he is expected to play in Delmarva this season. His ETA to reach majors is for 2025.”

Round 5, Pick 19: SS Frederick Bencosme

Vitor: “Bencosme signed for only $10,000 in 2020 but has burst onto the scene and finished 2022 in Aberdeen. He's not a power hitter, but he is a OBP machine (.381) and across Low-A and High-A he finished with 88 hits last season (17 extra-base hits). Don't sleep on him.”

Cameron’s Picks

Round 1, Pick 4: OF Colton Cowser

Cameron: “Cowser has looked really good in his first season and a half of pro ball and seems destined to make his big league debut in 2023 as he climbed his way up to Triple-A last season. He hit particularly well in Bowie with a 1.037 OPS and 10 home runs in 49 games which shows off his power potential and his elite ability to get on base. His ability to play all three outfield positions is also a plus as this versatility allows flexibility for the O's and for my hypothetical farm system to move him to wherever he is needed.”

Round 2, Pick 5: OF Heston Kjerstad

Cameron: “I ultimately decided to pick the player that I felt had the highest ceiling of the prospects remaining. It is well-known that Kjerstad dealt with several health issues after being drafted second overall in the 2020 draft which delayed his professional debut to last season. However, in 2022 Kjerstad showed off his potential in the minor leagues and in the Arizona Fall League as he had an .851 OPS combined between Delmarva and Aberdeen in 65 games and showed off his power with five home runs in 22 games with the Scottsdale Scorpions during the fall.”

Round 3, Pick 12: SP Drew Rom

Cameron: “The numbers certainly are not eye-popping as he sported a 4.43 ERA between the two levels but his consistent ability to get outs and work through innings does make him a fairly safe bet to be a back-end starter in a couple of seasons. He struck out nearly 11 batters per 9 innings pitched and only one home run for every 12 innings pitched. Rom has had success at every level of the minors and should hope to continue that through his big-league career in Baltimore.”

Round 4, Pick 13: OF Dylan Beavers

Cameron: “He is still unproven in the professional ranks but played three seasons of high-level college baseball at California and one season in the Cape Cod League where he showed off his power and versatility. Between his sophomore and junior seasons at Cal, he hit 35 home runs in 111 games and also had a collective .294/.409/.615 slash line which is just in line with the kind of players that Mike Elias has been targeting as general manager of the Orioles.”

Round 5, Pick 20: SP Carter Baumler

Cameron: “Injuries have riddled him over the past three years and the pandemic also slowed his development at a critical time for him so his career projections are mostly uncertain right now. However, if he can add some velocity to his fastball which was already sitting in the low-90's as a senior in high school and develop some solid secondary pitches, he has the chance to be an above-average starter at the big league level which is about as good as I can ask for with the final pick in this draft.”

So what do you think, everyone, which one of us assembled the best mini minor league system? We’d love to hear your opinions!