Baltimore Orioles Top 30 Prospects

The Orioles system was the first part of the organization to be remade, as the team jettisoned established stars, Manny Machado, Zack Britton, and Kevin Gausman. While the return didn’t net a plethora of top-100 prospects, they did get a talent injection into an organization badly in need of one.

Four of their top 10 are players acquired this July, while it’s even more magnified in the top 15, with nearly half (seven) coming in via the summer fire sale. The organization has also drafted relatively well over the last few years, adding players like Grayson Rodriguez, Zac Lowther, and D.L. Hall, among others. It’s a system and an organization in flux, possibly on the come up. With the top selection in next June’s draft the O’s look to take a big jump in the system talent rankings in 2019. While all of you fans in Birdland ponder Bobby Witt Jr. vs. Adley Rutschman, here’s something to chew on in meantime. It’s the Baltimore Orioles top 30 prospects for 2019.

1. Yusniel Diaz, OF

Age: 21

Highest Level: AA

.285/.392/.449, 11 HR, .164 ISO, 135 wRC+, 16.1% K%, 14.2% Bb%, 12 SB 

The jewel (juul?) in the return for Manny Machado. Many Orioles fans were left underwhelmed by Diaz as the headliner. It’s understandable, that you’d expect a potential superstar in return for player of Machado’s ilk. However, that’s not how it works with expiring contracts in this day and age. Diaz however is an excellent all-around player with the ability to bring value on both sides of the ball. He’s an above average fielder and thrower with 55 grades the range of consensus on both. His offensive game is predicated on his advanced understanding of the strike zone, and above average contact skills. His power and speed grade out as average, but could produce 15-15 type totals as an everyday regular. ETA: 2019 

2. Ryan Mountcastle, 3B

Age: 21

Highest Level: AA

.297/.341/.464, 13 HR, .167 ISO, 121 wRC+, 18.5% K%, 6.1% Bb%, 2 SB

Blessed with quick hands and a pretty right-handed swing, Mountcastle is a contact-over-approach hitter with above average power. His 2018 got off to a late start due to a hairline fracture in his right hand he sustained late in Spring Training on a hit by pitch. He returned in mid-May and produced a 121 wRC+, the third highest mark by a qualified hitter in the Eastern League 21 years of age or younger. Despite a below average walk rate of just 6.1%, it was a nearly 100% jump year over year. If he can sustain this improvement, it raises his overall profile. In the field, Mountcastle has more questions than answers. He’s been moved to third from short, but his arm is limited and makes a move off the hot corner an almost certainty. All this to say, Mountcastle needs to hit in order to play everyday. Lucky for him it looks like that’s a strong possibility. ETA: 2019

3. D.L. Hall, LHP 

Age: 20

Highest Level: A

94.1 IP, 2.10 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 9.54 K/9, 4.01 Bb/9, .198 BAA

One of the best young arms in the lower minors, Hall dominated in the second half of 2018. Over his final ten starts, spanning 53 2/3 innings, Hall allowed just 5 earned runs, on 32 hits, and 20 walks, while striking out 29.8% of the batters he faced. His stuff really began to tick up later in the season, and this played out his in his swinging strike numbers. Hall had just one start with double digit swinging strikes over his first ten. Conversely he had seven over his final twelve. Beyond just the swings and misses, Hall threw more strikes overall in the second half. More strikes is really the theme with Hall. If he’s able to throw strikes and control his secondaries he flashes top of the rotation upside. Other days he can look like a bullpen arm.

The arsenal is comprised of a plus fastball that sits 92-95 with late jump, and some run, an above average curveball sitting 75-79 that he lands for strikes, and can bury when needed. Hall also throws an average changeup with some fade, he doesn’t use it much, but the quality of this pitch when called upon more will determine where Hall’s final future value ultimately lands. His mechanics are smooth and easy, with a semi-windup and three-quarters arm slot. Hall is an arm to watch as he poses stuff, size, and pitchability from the left side. ETA: 2021 

4. Austin Hays, OF

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

.235/.266/.410, 12 HR, .175 ISO, 83 wRC+, 20.2% K%, 4.3% Bb%, 6 SB

After a storybook 2017, Hays followed it up with an injury-riddled 2018 campaign. It started with shoulder injury early in camp, followed by back pain later in spring training followed by an ankle injury in late May. He returned in late June, played some up and down baseball for a few months before it was announced he needed surgery on his ankle due to a stress fracture. So all this to say, it’s fair to give Hays a pass during a season in which he was obviously ailing. The player Hays is at his best can only be described as “Quintessential Orioles” as contact- and power-first types have come to define the exiting regimes tenure. Well that, and their reluctance to participate in the International market.

He has a quick right swing and taps into his pull-side power with regularity. Saying he’s allergic to walks is stating the obvious, but you’d be incorrect to say he has a poor approach. Even throughout his struggles in 2018 Hays was only around the 20% mark for the season. The biggest factor working in Hays’ future as a big leaguer is his plus arm and above average defense in right. No burner but he’s at least an average runner giving him the ability to get to what he should. ETA: 2019

5. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP

Age: 18

Highest Level: Rookie

19.1 IP, 1.40 ERA, 2.58 FIP, 9.31 K/9, 3.26 Bb/9, .233 BAA

There were quite a few raised eyebrows on draft night when the Orioles took Rodriguez at 11. He quickly shut up the naysayers, with one of the more dominant seasons from any draftee in rookie ball. Jason Pennini, our resident Scouting Director took in Gray-Rod down at Instructs last month. Here’s his thoughts…

“Prototypical pitcher’s body. Listed 6-foot-5, 230 pounds. Maximum body projection. Looks bigger than listed size. Brings a physicality to the mound. Easy delivery with smooth actions. Good lower half utilization. Fastball velo 90-94. Elevates fastball for swing-and-miss offering. Punched out 2 of 6 hitters faced on high fastballs. Slider is 83-84 with glove side run, acts like a cutter, inconsistent tilt, consistently missed spots with it in this look. Changeup is firm. Curveball is a tight-spinning hammer at 75-76. Throws with confidence. Looks like a future beast.”

Looks like the Orioles might potentially have multiple interesting arms in the system for the first time, in a very long time. ETA: 2022

6. Ryan McKenna, OF

Age: 21

Highest Level: AA

.315/.410/.457, 11 HR, .143 ISO, 148 wRC+, 18.4% K%, 12.0% Bb%, 9 SB

One of my favorite prospects in the Orioles system, McKenna offers something the Orioles have lacked. An athletic on-base machine with plus defense, and enough hitting ability to impact a game at the top of the lineup. Plucked from the New Hampshire prep ranks, McKenna wallowed in obscurity for a few seasons before finishing 2017 strong and then went full breakout in 2018. Some adjustments to his swing in the offseason aided the effort, but the ability to not expand the strike zone, and grinding out at bats, has set him apart. A 70-grade runner, and true center fielder, McKenna has a multitude of assets that should aid in his ultimate outcome. The year over year hike in walk rate by nearly 4%, while his strikeout rate dropped 6%. The advanced approach led to lots of long grind-it-out type at bats. This is a future up-the-middle leadoff profile. Not since the days of Brian Roberts have the O’s had a leadoff option with this potential. ETA: 2019

7. Dean Kremer, RHP

Age: 22

Highest Level: AA

131.1 IP, 2.88 ERA, 2.99 FIP, 12.2 K/9, 3.87 Bb/9, .223 BAA

If I was asked “Who is one Player Orioles fans and prospect hounds should be more excited about?” The answer would be Dean Kremer. The righty mixes a fastball in the 91-95 range with serious arm-side run, an above average curveball, and two fringe-to-average offerings in his slider and changeup. The fastball-curveball combo can be devastating, leading to a consistently high number of swinging strikes from start to start. His control flashes plus, stealing strikes in the black with regularity. With his combination of a prototypical starters frame, stuff, and pitchability, Kremer has the potential to be a solid mid-rotation starter. ETA: 2019

8. Jean Carmona, SS

Age: 18

Highest Level: Short Season

.234/.292/.367, 4 HR, .133 ISO, 77 wRC+, 25.7 K%, 7% Bb%, 5 SB

Another player acquired at the deadline by the O’s, Carmona might offer the most untapped offensive upside of any player brought in during the fire sale. A switch-hitter that possesses plus bat speed, above average raw power, and an advanced feel to hit for a teenager. Our very own Jason Pennini took in Carmona during his Florida trip, and had this to say…

“Advanced for his age. Aggressive early in counts. No issues catching up to premium velocity. Plus bat speed. Creates torque with hip rotation. Does not look over-matched versus older competition.”

The swing is compact, and he uses an slight toe-tap before he loads. His defensive future is somewhat in question. In fact, offline Jason told me he doesn’t expect Carmona to stick at short, and that tends to be the book. Years away, Carmona has the opportunity to be an above average hitter at maturity. ETA: 2021

9. Jean Carlos Encarnacion, 3B

Age: 20

Highest Level: A

.273/.298/.439, 12 HR, .167 ISO, 107 wRC+, 27.7% K%, 3.3% Bb%, 5 SB

Blessed with strength and athleticism, JCE is one to dream on. Part of the return for Kevin Gausman, Encarnacion combines power and hit at his best. At his worst he chases bad pitches, expands the zone, and loses control of his at-bats. He’s still young and has the type of ability that garners your attention. He fields his position well, showing soft hands and a strong arm. The Jason’s got some looks at JCE during Instructs, and Jason Woodell noted improvement in the profile, saying:

He’ll need to improve his ability to pickup spin and maintain a plan at the plate to take the next step as a prospect. If he ever figures it out Encarnacion has above average regular upside. ETA: 2021

10.  Zac Lowther, LHP

Age: 22

Highest Level: A+

123.2 IP, 2.18 ERA, 2.75 FIP, 10.99 K/9, 2.55 Bb/9, .192 BAA

Lowther broke out early in 2018, due to his combination of a deceptive delivery, and excellent extension that plays up the pedestrian velocity on his fastball. His whippy-quick arm from his low three-quarters slot only plays all of this up, leading to reports from hitters of the ball appearing to explode from his hand. Lowther’s fastball has also recorded above-average spin rates, only adding to the legend of his four-seamer. His best secondary is a circle change, that tunnels well with his fastball. His third offering is a curveball, but it lags behind his other offerings. His command and control are at least above-average, if not plus, as he’s effective to both sides of the plate and in all four quadrants of the zone. A standout at Xavier, the lefty led the Cape Cod league in strikeouts in 2016, and built his pedigree enough that he went to Baltimore 74th overall. There’s still some question to whether Lowther will find the same success as he faces more advanced hitters, but for now he’s a player trending up. ETA: 2020

11. Keegan Akin, LHP

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

137.2 IP, 3.27 ERA, 4.13 FIP, 9.28 K/9, 3.79 Bb/9, .223 BAA

After reports of falling velocity toward the end of 2017, the former second round pick’s prospect stock was trending downward. Faced with a crossroads in his development, Akin met the call in 2018, leading Double-A Bowie’s staff in Innings, starts, and strikeouts, posting a 3.27/4.13/4.02 pitching slash, with a 25% strikeout rate. His velocity returned in 2018, sitting low-mid 90’s. He pairs his heater with an above average slider, and fringe-average changeup. His success versus right-handed batters, and ability to generate swings and misses (his 11.9% swinging strike rate was the second highest in the Eastern League among qualified pitchers) should set his floor at an above average middle relief arm. ETA: 2019

12. Rylan Bannon, 2B/3B

Age: 22

Highest Level: AA

.275/.389/.507, 22 HR, .232 ISO, 142 wRC+, 24.2% K%, 15.4% Bb%, 4 SB

A college teammate of Lowther’s at Xavier, Bannon is an above average defender at second with an elite approach and some thump in his bat. A two time All-Big East Conference team member, and Big East player of the year in 2017, Bannon’s strong collegiate career led to the Dodgers selecting him in the 8th round of the 2017 draft. After a tremendous debut in Ogden of the Pioneer league, in which he hit .336/.425/.591 with 10 homers in 40 games, Bannon was assigned to High-A Rancho Cucamonga. He proceeded to slash .296/.401/.559 with 17 homers in 89 games before moving to Baltimore as part of the Manny Machado deal.

He was assigned to Double-A Bowie, and struggled to find the power he flashed in the Cal League. Despite this he still managed to provide value with an elite 18% walk rate over his 32 games. Another player Jason Pennini caught in Florida, here’s his take…

“Small frame but strong. Brings some physicality to the plate. Polished hitter, shows good patience, has a plan. Wide open stance. Big swings early in the count. 4.44 run times. Quicker than home-to-first times indicate but speed is still below average. Quick first step on defense, good reads off the bat, plus range at second base. Fringe arm. Made two diving stops to both sides, covering a lot of ground.”

ETA: 2020

13. Luis Ortiz, RHP

Age: 23

Highest Level: MLB

99.2 IP, 3.70 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 7.77 K/9, 2.35 Bb/9, .247 BAA

If Andre the Giant has a posse, Luis Ortiz has a fan club. Dating back to his Texas days Ortiz has long been billed as an above average pitching prospect with mid-rotation upside. While some might still see that, in reality he’s more what I’ve suspected for years, a back end starter with an uninspiring profile. He doesn’t generate a lot of swings and misses with his four-pitch profile, which is led by an above average four-seam fastball that sits 92-95, an above average slider that flashes plus that he commands well to his glove side, a fringe changeup, he started to feature more last season, and an average curveball.

His pitchability and feel has long been his strength. He’s quick to home plate, controls the running game well, and throws strikes. There’s something to be said for a “sum-of-its-parts” profile, but his lack of overpowering stuff, and poor conditioning limit his overall future value. He’s the definition of a bad body, and has dealt with hamstring injuries in consecutive season. After getting some looks at the MLB level toward the end of 2018, Ortiz should be in the mix for a rotation spot at some point in 2019. This is a big year for his development, as a strong performance early could land him back on the prospect radar. ETA: 2019

14.  Dillon Tate, RHP

Age: 24

Highest Level: AA

123.1 IP, 4.16 ERA, 3.90 FIP, 7.01 K/9, 2.48 Bb/9, .243 BAA

An athletic starter with smooth mechanics and some pedigree dating back to his time at UC Santa Barbara. I caught Tate earlier this season when he was still with the Yankees organization, and he pitched well against a tough New Hampshire lineup featuring Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio. He sat 93-95 on his fastball touching 96 on occasion with some run and decent command. His secondaries were made up of an above average slider, and fringe changeup. A college reliever it wouldn’t surprise me to see Tate head back to that role eventually. ETA: 2019

15. Hunter Harvey, RHP

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

32.1 IP, 5.57 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 8.35 K/9, 2.51 Bb/9, .284 BAA

I’ve been sucked into Hunter Harvey enthusiasm one too many times at this point. So forgive me if this rank is a bit low. The stuff we saw from Harvey out of the draft still shows flashes of returning, but his inability to maintain his stuff and command the second time through the order has put a damper on his outlook for me. He’s dealt with a laundry list of serious injuries the latest of which was a shoulder injury. His velocity was back up to 92-95, touching 96-97 on occasion, following Tommy John surgery late last year and early this season. The once plus-plus hook remains a plus pitch, but it doesn’t look as devastating as his early pro days. Harvey works his way back from yet another injury as he looks to get his career fully back on track. ETA: 2019

16. Adam Hall, SS

Age: 19

Highest Level: Short Season 

.293/.368/.374, 1 HR, .081 ISO, 124 wRC+, 22.7% K%, 6.6% Bb%, 22 SB

A 2017 2nd-rounder, Hall is the type that doesn’t a little of everything well, but nothing spectacular. He’s the white rice of Orioles prospects. His hit tool and plate approach is his carrying tool, if he has one, with above average fielding at short not far behind. Another player Jason Pennini took in during his time in the Sunshine State, and here’s his take…

“Solid defender with good first-step quickness, but looks like more of a 2B than a SS. Made nice play to his right with Jeter-esq jump throw to second for a force out. Upright stance and stays upright through swing. Mostly hands and little lower half. Linear bat path. Will take outside pitches to opposite field.”

ETA: 2021

17. Blaine Knight, RHP

Age: 22

Highest Level: Short Season

10.1 IP, 2.61 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 6.97 K/9, 2.61 Bb/9, .302 BAA 

A successful starter at the University of Arkansas, Knight went 14-0 with a 2.80 ERA and 102 strikeouts to 25 walks in 112 frames. He mixes a plus fastball that sits 91-94 touching 97 when he reaches back, a plus slider-cutter, as well as average offerings in his changeup and curveball he can land for strikes. The thing that sticks out most about Knight is his ability to generate plus velocity with little effort in his delivery. He’s tall and incredibly thin at 6-foot-3, 165 pounds, but looks like he could add good weight to his frame. His bulls has led to questions about his durability. This will be an area of focus for Knight, as well as a reason to be optimistic regarding untapped potential. ETA: 2020

18. Brenan Hanifee, RHP

Age: 20

Highest Level: A

132 IP, 2.86 ERA, 3.63 FIP, 5.8 K/9, 1.5 Bb/9, .240 BAA

Hanifee is a big boy at 6-foot-5, but still lean as he looks to add his “man-muscles”. While his fastball, slider, changeup three-pitch mix and average control don’t inspire much excitement on its face, he does have the body to add a few ticks to his fastball, and he already uses his size to generate significant downhill plane. I’m not sure Hanifee is anything more than a big body with some projection, but he’s worthy of more than passing glance due to his ability to generate weak contract and throw strikes.  His 54.5% ground-ball rate was fourth best in the Sally League. ETA: 2021

19. Cadyn Grenier, SS

Age: 21

Highest Level: A

.216/.297/.333, 1 HR, .117 ISO, 84 wRC+, 29% K%, 9.3% Bb%, 3 SB

A light-hitting middle infielder that teamed with White Sox first rounder Nick Madrigal to form a dynamic double-play combo for the National Champion Oregon State Beavers. Unlike Madrigal, Grebier lacks much offensive upside, profiling more as a utility type. The real question is, “does he hit enough to earn an everyday major league gig?” He’s a 70 runner with an average hit tool, a patient approach, and below average power. Based on Jason Pennini’s report there might be more there in terms of power. Here’s what Jason said…

“Strong, athletic build. Closed stance, hands at shoulder height. Minimal stride. No lower half in swing. Patient hitter. Drew two walks on the afternoon but did swing through a 91 mph fastball on a 3-1 count. Flashed above-average range to his right, making diving stop in hole, but airmailed the throw. Probably second base long-term based on build, athleticism, and arm.”

ETA: 2020

20. Cameron Bishop, LHP

Age: 22

Highest Level: A 

125.2 IP, 2.94 ERA, 3.03 FIP, 7.09 K/9, 1.43 Bb/9, .225 BAA

After some drama regarding his signing following the 2017 draft, Bishop has posted good numbers so far in the power minors. His walk rate however has been deceiving, any extended look at Bishop shows his 4% walk rate is the product of fooling lower level competition. He did make strides with his fastball command this year, but it can still be an adventure when it comes to hitting his spots. He made 22 starts for Low-A Delmarva this year, and got out of the 5th in every start but one. In eleven of those starts he had 14 swinging strikes or more including a pair of 20+ swinging strike performances. On paper the numbers look good for Bishop, but it’s tough to know if his live mid-90’s fastball, and bad of average-fringe secondaries will work as he moves up the ladder. A wait-and-see rank on Bishop. ETA: 2020

21. D.J. Stewart, OF

Age: 24

Highest Level: MLB

.235/.329/.387, 12 HR, .152 ISO, 101 wRC+, 21% K%, 11% Bb%, 11 SB

If you squint hard enough, you can see a second division regular, but in all likelihood it’s a fourth outfielder. A former Florida State standout and product of the famous Bolles School in Jacksonville. He was a star for the Seminoles his Sophomore year, winning ACC player of the year in 2014. He was then selected by the Orioles in the first round the following year, but fell flat in his early professional days. After significant swing adjustments prior to 2017 (more upright, closed off) allowed Stewart to find his power, resulting in a 20-20 season. Stewart slid back to earth a bit in 2018, but managed to still provide double digit homer and steal totals. Despite a bad body Stewart has above average athleticism and base-stealing ability. His fielding and arm are sub-par leading to his banishment to left field, this unfortunately limits the profile. In other words Stewart will have to really hit to earn everyday looks. ETA: 2019

22. Drew Rom, LHP

Age: 18

Highest Level: Rookie 

30.2 IP, 1.76 ERA, 3.24 FIP, 8.22 K/9, 1.76 Bb/9, .180 BAA

A prep lefty with projectable stuff, and some feel for his secondaries. Rom sits 89-91 on his fastball, mixing in a slider with two-plane break, and a split-change. There’s some projection left in his 6-foot-2, 170-pound frame, leading to hope he can add a few ticks on the heat in the coming years. ETA: 2022

23. Brett Cumberland, C

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

.224/.350/.391, 14 HR, .166 ISO, 115 wRC+, 24.9% K%, 13.9% Bb%, 0 SB

I want to love Cumberland, if only for his mustache and solid offensive output throughout the years. He’s a switch-hitter with at least average power from both sides of the dish, but his catching development as been a slow burn. He has shown noticeable strides since being drafted 76th overall out of Cal. He’s never going to be a starting MLB catcher, but he could be an offensive backup that could fill in at first when needed. ETA: 2020

24. Robert Neustorm, OF

Age: 21

Highest Level: Short Season 

.272/.313/.404, 4 HR, .132 ISO, 111 wRC+, 18.5% K%, 5.3% Bb%, 1 SB

A 5th rounder out of Iowa, Neustrom drew some strong praise after showing power and above-average approach in his pro debut. He has a quick left handed swing, with natural loft, through he can get pull-happy at times. His defense is average, and should he bat carry the profile, Neustrom’s future MLB home is in left. A good late-round sleeper for your dynasty FYPD. ETA: 2021

25. Alex Wells, LHP

Age: 21

Highest Level: A+

135 IP, 3.47 ERA, 4.53 FIP, 6.73 K/9, 2.2 Bb/9, .268 BAA

The best control-command in the Orioles system, Wells mixes a low-90’s fastball, an above average changeup, and a fringe curveball. All of the Aussie’s offerings (g’day mate!) play up due to his advanced feel. Not sure he’s anything more than a fringe MLB however. ETA: 2020

26. Zach Pop, RHP

Age: 22

Highest Level: AA

64.2 IP, 1.53 ERA, 8.91 K/9, 2.64 Bb/9, .173 BAA

A true relief prospect, Pop sits mid-upper 90’s on the four-seamer, as well a two-seam fastball that has “Popped” 99. His slider is a mid-80’s weapon when paired with his fastball, giving him the look of a high octane pen guy in the future. Pop was acquired in the Manny Machado deal along with Diaz, Kramer, and Bannon. ETA: 2019

27. Michael Baumann, RHP

Age: 23

Highest Level: A+

130.2 IP, 3.17 ERA, 3.95 FIP, 7.3 K/9, 3.65 Bb/9, .220 BAA

Baumann is a tough read, on one hand he has an intriguing arsenal. One comprised of a mid-90’s four-seamer he can ramp up to 95-97, an above average slider, an average changeup that he flashes feel for, and a fringe curveball. He’s also had relatively strong results in his pro career. On the other hand he flashes spotty control and hasn’t missed bats as a starter. In this Prospector’s humble opinion a move to the pen is in Baumann’s future. Where his premium velocity, and above average slider should play up. For now it’s a backend ceiling, in a 6-foot-4, 225-pound inning eater’s body. ETA: 2021

28. Cody Sedlock, RHP

Age: 22

Highest Level: A+

37 IP, 5.11 ERA, 4.87 FIP, 6.81 K/9, 4.38 Bb/9, .270 BAA

Shoulder injury robbed Sedlock of a chance to rebound from his poor full season debut in 2017. His good size and potential for three above average or better pitches led many to overlook his relatively short track record as a starter while at Illinois. This led to the always frustrating projectable college tag. It’s easy to see what evaluators liked. Sedlock at his best mixes a plus fastball that ranges from 91-97 in terms of readings, his hard slider and curveball both flash above average for different reasons, and he’ll show a fringe changeup. His struggles to work in the strike zone and lack of weapon versus left-handed hitters has been a major theme to his struggles. Now add a shoulder injury in the mix, and it spells trouble for Sedlock’s future returns. Looks like a bust at the moment. ETA: 2020

29. Lamar Sparks, OF

Age: 20

Highest Level: DNP INJ

An athletic specimen to dream on. A shoulder injury robbed Sparks of his 2018, but a strong baseline of skills makes him a sleeper in the system. He’s a 60 run, with a 60 arm, and at least 55 fielding. Meaning Sparks can man all three outfield positions, but profiles in center or right. His 39:33 strikeout to walk ratio during his only professional experience in last season’s GCL, shows a good baseline of approach. The swing is a little long, and he lacks much power to sting the ball with authority. That said, Sparks is young and coming off a shoulder injury, so it might take a few years before we have a grip on his true power. ETA: 2022

30. Zach Jarrett, OF

Age: 23

Highest Level: A

.277/.342/.437, 14 HR, .160 ISO, 123 wRC+, 24.5% K%, 7.4% Bb%, 4 SB

A strong and powerful 6-foot-4 frame gives Jarrett the look of a slugger. A 28th-rounder in 2017 out of Charlotte, Jarrett looks to mash his way above his draft stock, and 2018 was a solid first step. His overall game is limited, but the power projects. Jason Pennini caught Jarrett at instructions, here’s his take…

“Tall, muscular. Looks like a tight end. Mashes fastballs including one for a homer off Yoendrys Gomez. Short stride, brute strength is enough for substantial power.  Below average OF range, but makes diving plays on the periphery of range. Heavy feet.” 

ETA: 2021