Where are the Orioles’ Top 30 MLB Pipeline Prospects of 2019 now?

What is happening with the Orioles 2019 preseason top 30 prospects?
Mar 12, 2024; Sarasota, Florida, USA;  Baltimore Orioles first baseman Ryan Mountcastle (6) hits a ball during a spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays
Mar 12, 2024; Sarasota, Florida, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Ryan Mountcastle (6) hits a ball during a spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

While the Baltimore Orioles are focused on making a deep run in the playoffs this season, a lot of attention is still directed at the farm system. It's for good reason, too, as Baltimore's group continues to be the best in baseball, and the Norfolk Tides are putting up otherworldly numbers.

The reason the Orioles are as good as they are right now is because of the dark ages, the rebuild of 2018-2021. Let's flash back to 2019, just a little before the draft that saw the Orioles take all of Adley Rutschman, Kyle Stowers, Gunnar Henderson, and Joey Ortiz. That's right, we're looking at the preseason top 30 prospects according to MLB Pipeline, and we're gonna see what happened to these players.

What happened to the Orioles' MLB Pipeline top 30 prospects of 2019?

The number one prospect at the time was Yusniel Diaz. Largely seen as the best player the Orioles got in the Manny Machado trade in 2018, Diaz just never panned out. He did make the majors in 2022 with the San Francisco Giants, but only got one at-bat and struck out. He's still in the Giants organization, playing for Triple-A Sacramento right now. I think it's safe to call Diaz a bust.

Number two on the list behind Diaz was Ryan Mountcastle. He made his major league debut in the 2020 season when Trey Mancini had to miss the year as he battled cancer. I think it's safe to say Mountcastle has turned out pretty good, considering he's the starting first baseman and a reliable player with the bat and the glove for a stacked Orioles squad.

DL Hall followed Mountcastle at number three. Hall had a lot of buzz and made his major league debut in 2022, seeing most of his action in the majors as a reliever with the Orioles. This offseason, the Orioles turned him and Joey Ortiz into Corbin Burnes. While Hall is getting his chance as a starter in Milwaukee, the Orioles are doing just fine with Burnes this year.

Rounding out the top five are Austin Hays at four and Grayson Rodriguez at five. Hays is a veteran leader of the Orioles, which sounds crazy to say right now, and Rodriguez is a burgeoning star at the top of the rotation alongside Burnes and Kyle Bradish (once Bradish returns to the mound). I think the Orioles are happy with these two.

The rest of the top 10, at the time, were Keegan Akin, Ryan McKenna, Zac Lowther, Dean Kremer, and Blaine Knight. Akin and Kremer are solid contributors to this year's Orioles team, with Akin working in the bullpen and Kremer the rotation. McKenna was pushed off the roster but is still in Norfolk, while Lowther and Knight are currently free agents.

Brenan Hanifee, ranked 11th to open 2019, is currently in the Tigers organization, having made his major league debut in 2023. Hunter Harvey clocked in at 12 and has turned into a quality reliever for the Washington Nationals. JC Encarnacion, ranked at 13th, is currently out of baseball entirely, while 14th-ranked Adam Hall hasn't made it above A-Ball since 2022. He's currently a free agent after playing in Aberdeen and the FCL sparingly in 2023.

Richie Martin, entering 2019 at 15, also didn't pan out; he, too, is a free agent. DJ Stewart, who was average at best in Baltimore, is currently average at best with the New York Mets as a reserve outfielder. Cadyn Grenier, ranked 17th, announced his retirement early in 2023 and is out of baseball.

Dillon Tate came in at 18 on the list and is a middle reliever in the Orioles bullpen. Despite being out for all of 2023 due to injury, he's been rock solid to start the year. Luis Ortiz, ranked right behind Tate, has bounced around a little bit, but is with the Philadelphia Phillies this year. Zach Pop, another part of the Machado trade, is in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

From 21 to 30, there ... are not a lot of guys who have panned out, so I'll save you all the time. Mike Baumann was ranked 27th on the list and has had a decent major league career, headlined most by his switch to a reliever last season. That has lengthened his career by giving him more time in the majors, and he's done well following the switch.

The last prospect worth bringing up is Drew Rom, who was ranked 29th on the list. Rom never played in the majors with the Orioles, instead finding himself a part of the Jack Flaherty trade with the Cardinals at the trade deadline last year. Rom is currently on the 15-Day IL and has not pitched this year.