Adley Ratschmann’s delayed debut has provided the Orioles at least one advantage.
MLB Pipeline updated its potential rankings this week, with several players near the top of the list no longer qualifying after spending a substantial amount of time in the majors. That group includes top five prospects in Kansas City’s Bobby Witt Jr., Detroit’s Spencer Torkelson and Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez.
But that doesn’t include Reutsman, who – as those players did for their clubs – might have started the year on Baltimore’s season-opening roster, if not for the right tricep strain in spring training. He is still eligible for potential time, meaning the Orioles have two of the game’s top three prospects, with right-hander Grayson Rodriguez going at No.
Rodriguez was one of several players in the upper tiers of the Orioles system that stood out last week. Each week, The Baltimore Sun will break down five of the top performers in the Orioles’ potential ranks and hand out some superlatives for those who didn’t make the cut.
1. Triple-A Norfolk outfielder Kyle Stowers
Entering the finale of the Tides’ most recent homestand, Stowers hit .136/.222/.210 over the previous month, with one home run and a 28.6% strike rate. However, he made it home in the final game of that series with Memphis, and took whatever momentum he built and then some against Charlotte last week. In six games, Stowers made home five times – including three times on Sunday – and slowed to 1.200 to earn International Player of the Week honors. With six home runs in the span of eight days, he tied High-A Aberdeen’s Kobe Mayo for the system lead with nine.
2. Double-A Bowie infielder Jordan Westberg
In the past two weeks, Vestberg has increased his batting average by almost 50 points and his OPS by over 100. Hitting .298 with 1.004 ops in two series would do a lot to improve the .187/.308/.396 batting line, though he is out in plate appearances 36.5% of the time. Still, Westberg did well with the ball. Last week, he recorded four two-hit games, five of eight going for extra bases.
3. Triple-A Norfolk right-hander Grayson Rodriguez
With Ratsman up to the majors, Rodriguez is probably next to watch. In two starts last week, the 22-year-old dismissed 20 batsmen for four in 11 1/3 innings, making two runs. He scored 11 runs in 5 1/3 no-scoring frames last Tuesday. Statcast tracked the last of his 86 pitches to 98.6 mph on Sunday, his toughest offer of the day to secure his ninth strike. The Orioles have a few openings in their rotation this weekend, but given how executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias Talking about managing Rodriguez’s workload over the weekend, it doesn’t look like he’ll be called in to fill them.
4. Double-A Bowie infielder Gunnar Henderson
Henderson has made 160 plate appearances for the Baysox this year. No one came against a pot smaller than himself. The 20-year-old continues to break the level at which he is three years younger than the average player. Last week, his breakthrough came in the form of 1.268 OPS, with as many home runs (three) as strikeouts. Henderson is set to be promoted at some point this season, but no player needs to be so young at the start of this season.
5. Triple-A Norfolk outfielder Robert Newstrom
Upper Minors dominated this week’s recap. Like Stowers, Newstrom is a Tides outfielder who is not on the 40-man roster, which means his path to play in Baltimore is difficult – for the time being – given the presence of Cedric Mullins, Austin Hays and Anthony Santander. But should an opportunity present itself, Newstrom is doing as much as Stowers is doing to grab it. He hit .308/.333/.741 last week, with his three homers taking him to eighth for the season with a .497 slugging percentage.
Top prospect not displayed yet
3 prospect DL Hall threw 69 pitches for Norfolk in his lone start last week, working to build up after a stress fracture in his left elbow ended his most 2021 season after seven starts . But there were only nine dismissals on all those pitches, as Hall allowed five hits, three walks and four runs in three innings. His stuff was excellent—about half of his pitches were hard at 97 mph or more, with a couple of 99s mixed in—but as has long been the case for Hall, he had to improve it to eventually reach the bigs. Is required.
International Acquisition of the Week
There weren’t any exceptional players in this category this week, so we’ll take Cesar Prieto for granted, who earned Bowie the promotion he did last week – slashing .278/.278/.333 – but he did so far this year. What Hi-A has done for Aberdeen is hitting .340 with an Ops of 1.000. That wasn’t the only promotion this week, with Darrell Hernás and Alex Pham joining Aberdeen and Carter Bomler and Elio Prado moving from extended spring training to Lo-A Delmarva.
Best ex top-30 prospect of the week
With a former Oregon State teammate at Rutschman reaching the majors this week, Cadyn Grenier claims the title this week. Drafted 37th overall in 2018, Grenier is known for his gloves on the bat. The same has happened this season as well; He leads the tide in games played in the middle zone, but he came in .185 hits last week. Perhaps his .296/.367/.370 performance in Charlotte could go further.
Time to give some shine…
The Aberdeen pitcher collection had solid performances, including those by Ignacio Feliz, Conor Gillespie and Peter Van Loon. Carlos Tavera recorded the group’s most strikeouts, allowing one run on two hits, recording nine in 4 2/3 innings. Tied with Bommler for being the most drafted pitcher of Elias’ tenure as a fifth-round pick, 23-year-old Tavera has 3.21 ERAs through seven starts out of the batsmen he faced with 1,000 WHIPs. Killed a third.
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