What stands out with Orioles’ minor league rosters, from Bowie’s talented infield to where Grayson Rodriguez will start (2024)

At certain positions, there’s as much intrigue at the minor league level — if not more — than the group of Orioles soon heading to face the Tampa Bay Rays in Baltimore’s season opener. The team finalized its break camp rosters Monday, announcing the destinations for several top prospects in the organization.

Catcher Adley Rutschman, the crown jewel of the bunch and baseball’s top prospect, won’t be among that group. Executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias ruled the 24-year-old out for both the Triple-A and Major League Baseball season-opening rosters because of a right tricep strain.

But there are interesting pairings across the Orioles’ minor league setup, with right-hander Grayson Rodriguez beginning at Triple-A Norfolk and a slew of infielders at Double-A Bowie who could one day all play together in Baltimore.

Here’s a look at each affiliate’s roster to open the season.

Triple-A Norfolk Tides

Pitchers: Diógenes Almego, Kyle Brnovich, Marcos Díplan, Conner Greene, Ryan Hartman, Blaine Knight, David Lebron, Ofelky Peralta, Grayson Rodriguez, Cody Sedlock, Kevin Smith, Cole Uvila, Nick Vespi, Alex Wells

Catchers: Brett Cumberland, Chris Hudgins

Infield: Rylan Bannon, Patrick Dorrian, Cadyn Grenier, Jahmai Jones, Mason McCoy, Terrin Vavra

Outfield: Yusniel Diaz, Robert Neustrom, Johnny Rizer, Kyle Stowers

Best position group: Outfield. There’s plenty of pitching talent on the Tides this season, highlighted by Rodriguez — the top pitching prospect in baseball. But the outfield boasts three players included in Baseball America’s Top-40 prospects rankings for Baltimore. Stowers, ranked No. 7, shared the Orioles’ minor league Player of the Year award with Rutschman in 2021, hitting 27 homers between High-A, Double-A and Triple-A.

Diaz, part of the Manny Machado trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, hasn’t reached the steady production needed to break into the major leagues yet and struggled mightily in 2021. He still ranks No. 23 in the organization, though, and is coming off a strong spring training. And Neustrom, who’s No. 38, finished 2021 with a .790 OPS across the Double-A and Triple-A levels.

Fans should know: Former Orioles minor leaguer Buck Britton will make his debut as a Triple-A manager Tuesday, when the Tides open their season against the Charlotte Knights. Britton, the brother of former Orioles closer Zack Britton, led Bowie to the Double-A Northeast finals last year. He has a .551 winning percentage as a manager.

Double-A Bowie Baysox

Pitchers: Cameron Bishop, Tyler Burch, Ryan Conroy, Logan Gillaspie, Nolan Hoffman, Conner Loeprich, Easton Lucas, Morgan McSweeney, Zach Peek, Shelton Perkins, Drew Rom, Garrett Stallings, Adam Stauffer, Matt Vogel, Ryan Watson, Brandon Young

Catchers: Maverick Handley, Cody Roberts

Infielders: Andrew Daschbach, Adam Hall, Gunnar Henderson, JD Mundy, Joey Ortiz, Jordan Westburg

Outfielders: Shayne Fontana, Hudson Haskin, Zach Watson, Toby Welk

Best position group: Infield. Between Westburg, Hall, Henderson and Ortiz, the Baysox’s starting infield could be what the Orioles run out in the near future at Camden Yards. Westburg, a 2020 first-round pick out of Mississippi State, is as strong in the field as he is at the plate, and his future could be at shortstop or third base. He ranks No. 6 in Baltimore’s pipeline.

Henderson ranks No. 4, and he also has the ability to play either position on the left side of the infield. He raked at the Low-A and High-A levels last season before a late call-up to Double-A. Ortiz, who slots in at No. 16 for the Orioles, can play either middle infield role. Hall, a second baseman at No. 27, rounds out the talented group.

Fans should know: Bowie plans to give away bobbleheads depicting both of the Orioles’ top two prospects. Rodriguez (July 31) and Rutschman (Sept. 9) bobbleheads will be available to the first 750 fans, and Rutschman will also have a Maryland flag hat with his name on it for an Aug. 19 giveaway.

What stands out with Orioles’ minor league rosters, from Bowie’s talented infield to where Grayson Rodriguez will start (1)

High-A Aberdeen IronBirds

Pitchers: Justin Armbruester, Noah Denoyer, Jensen Elliott, Ignacio Feliz, Connor Gillispie, Clayton McGinness, Griffin McLarty, Xavier Moore, Jean Pinto, Jake Prizina, Rickey Ramirez, Wes Robertson, Houston Roth, Nick Roth, Kade Strowd, Carlos Tavera, Peter Van Loon, Gregori Vasquez

Catchers: Conner Pavolony, Ramon Rodriguez

Infielders: Collin Burns, TT Bowens, Coby Mayo, Connor Norby, Cesar Prieto, Jacob Teter

Outfielders: Billy Cook, Colton Cowser, John Rhodes, Donta’ Williams

Best position group: Outfield. Cowser’s inclusion in the outfield is the main attraction, coming in as the No. 5 prospect in Baltimore’s farm system. Rhodes is another name to watch in the future, ranking No. 24.

The Orioles selected Cowser with the fifth pick in the 2021 draft out of Sam Houston, where he hit .374 last year with 16 homers and 17 stolen bases.

Fans should know: The infield in Aberdeen has talent, too, with Mayo slotting in at No. 10 and Norby ranking No. 12. Those two prospects could see quick rises, especially once the infield group at Double-A receives promotions.

Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds

Pitchers: Carson Carter, Moises Chase, Shane Davis, Juan De Los Santos, Daniel Federman, Thomas Girard, Conor Grady, Dan Hammer, Yeankarlos Lleras, Daniel Lloyd, Ryan Long, Hector Lopez, Alejandro Mendez, Eduard Monroy, Preston Price, Raul Rangel

Catchers: Brayan Hernandez, Michael Mantecon

Infielders: Josue Cruz, Isaac De Leon, Darell Hernaiz, Ryan Higgins, Moises Ramirez, Noelberth Romero

Outfielders: Isaac Bellony, Mishael Deson, Davis Tavarez, Luis Valdez

Best position group: Pitching. The lone top-40 prospect at Low-A Delmarva is Deson, who ranks No. 34. But there are several intriguing names on the pitching staff, with many of them coming up from international rookie leagues.

Fans should know: Felipe Rojas Alou Jr. will manage for the first time in the United States. Alou has been with the Orioles for nearly two decades, serving mainly as the organization’s Dominican Republic academy director.

What stands out with Orioles’ minor league rosters, from Bowie’s talented infield to where Grayson Rodriguez will start (2024)
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