It's no secret that the Baltimore Orioles have the best farm system in baseball, being ranked as the number one system for a few years in a row. Five of those top prospects debuted in 2023, with Colton Cowser, Jordan Westburg, Joey Ortiz, Grayson Rodriguez, and Heston Kjerstad making their debuts.
On Thursday, Baseball America released their projected Orioles lineup and starting rotation for 2027, with a key disclaimer being that these projections were done based solely on players that are in the system right now, without any free agent additions. Nonetheless, it's a projected group that should have Orioles fans excited
Baseball America's projected 2027 Orioles lineup should have fans excited
There are some faces included in Baseball America's projections that have already cracked the big leagues. Adley Rutschman, Ryan Mountcastle, Gunnar Henderson, Kyle Bradish, Félix Bautista, DL Hall, Dean Kremer, Kjerstad, Rodriguez, and Cowser are all included.
There is also plenty of talent still in the minors that's included as well. Jackson Holliday is penciled in at second base, Coby Mayo is in at third, Enrique Bradfield Jr is in center, Samuel Basallo is at DH, and Chayce McDermott is listed as SP5. The lineup, based solely on position, is as follows:
Adley Rutschman (Catcher), Ryan Mountcastle (1B), Jackson Holliday (2B), Coby Mayo (3B), Gunnar Henderson (SS), Colton Cowser (LF), Enrique Bradfield Jr (CF), Heston Kjerstad (RF), Samuel Basallo (DH).
The starting rotation, in no particular order, is as follows: Grayson Rodriguez, Kyle Bradish, DL Hall, Dean Kremer, Chayce McDermott. Bautista is the only relief pitcher listed, as he is the closer.
While none of these selections are surprising, it's a projected lineup like this that should have Orioles fans excited. A middle infield combo of Holliday and Henderson is a combo of dreams. Cowser, Bradfield, and Kjerstad patrolling the outfield give the Orioles a good combo of power, contact, and defense in the same outfield. Basallo's big bat also provides the lineup with more thump.
It's a bit surprising that Hall is projected as a starter, but if he can unlock his potential at the major league level, he'll be a weapon for Hyde, whether it's out of the bullpen or in the rotation. McDermott is one of the fastest rising prospects in the Orioles system, with a 2024 callup not out of the question. Rodriguez and Bradish at the top of the rotation is a good thing for the Orioles long term, with both having incredible moments in 2023.
Of course, having Bautista as the closer essentially secures the win as soon as he takes the mound. He's one of the best relievers in baseball, and he certainly proved that in 2023 as he took home the AL Reliever of the Year award.
The present in Baltimore is pretty awesome, with the Orioles coming off their first AL East title in almost a decade, although it didn't lead to anything in the playoffs. If this projected lineup is any indication, the future looks pretty awesome as well.