5. Mychal Givens, RP
Date of Birth: 5/13/90
Height/Weight: 6’0″/210 lbs
Acquired: Drafted by the Orioles in the 2nd round of the 2009 Draft
Givens was initially drafted as a shortstop, but injuries and an inability to hit minor-league pitching prompted his move to the mound. He’s only spent three years as a sidearm reliever and has gradually improved every year. Givens debuted for the Orioles in 2015 and threw 30.0 innings of 1.80 ERA ball. He struck out 38 and walked only six.
Givens throws his fastball at a cruising velocity of 95 mph, which can be devastating given his low arm slot. Not many pitchers with his delivery can generate that type of velocity. His slider and changeup both come in at roughly 85 mph. Givens’ slider is nearly unhittable when he’s on. Big-league hitters have only had a brief look at Givens so far, but the results point to future success. He has not been tested in a truly high-pressure situation in his young career, but that could come this season. It’s still unclear what the plan for Givens is, but he should see far more than 22 games. Buck Showalter has expressed some concerns over throwing Givens straight into the fire, but if he proves himself early on, the seventh inning could be his. Givens has made quite the transition, but is poised to breakout in a big way in 2016.
4. Chance Sisco, C
Date of Birth: 2/24/95
Height/Weight: 6’2″/195 lbs
Acquired: Drafted by the Orioles in the 2nd round of the 2013 Draft
The Orioles drafted Sisco out of high school, just a few picks behind Hunter Harvey. The Corona, California product had not picked up catching until his senior year. In three professional seasons, Sisco has already made huge strides behind the plate, thanks in part to coaching from Orioles’ bench coach John Russell. He is getting more comfortable blocking, receiving, and getting in position to throw. At the time of the draft, Sisco’s arm was the only catching tool that was not incredibly raw. The rest of his game is beginning to catch up.
Offensively, Sisco has put up numbers not seen by a catcher in the Orioles’ system since Matt Wieters tore through the minor leagues. He has batted .326/.402/.436 in 242 games while showing good on-base skills and a consistent ability to make contact. Against top pitching prospect Lucas Giolito, Sisco was the only player on the Baysox to make solid contact. His power will come as he begins to grow into his frame. Sisco’s swing is smooth, and as he begins pulling the ball more frequently, more power will come. He also has good speed for a backstop.
With Matt Wieters likely back for only one more year, and Caleb Joseph just serviceable on the offensive side of the coin, Sisco could see the big leagues as soon as 2017. He is already a very solid hitter, and will only continue to grow behind the plate. Joseph was seen as only a marginal prospect with terrible defensive skills, but has grown into one of the more underrated catchers in the league.
3. Jomar Reyes, 3B
Date of Birth: 2/20/97
Height/Weight: 6’3″/220 lbs
Acquired: Signed by the Orioles as an international free agent in January, 2014
Finally, an elite international free-agent prospect in the Orioles’ system. Baltimore rarely spends big on teenage talent from Latin America, but made an exception for Reyes. The third baseman is one of the only power-hitting prospects in the farm system.
After signing before the start of the 2014 season, Reyes skipped the Dominican Rookie League entirely, and posted solid numbers in the Gulf Coast League. He has a ton of raw power, and can hit the ball to all fields. Reyes followed up his strong debut season with an equally solid 2015 campaign in which he reached Single-A Delmarva. Reyes will only see his power numbers continue to grow as he enters his age-19 season. His swing has very few holes in it for a player his age, and his swing appears very natural, with very few moving parts.
It’s on defense that Reyes may have some problems. At 220 pounds, he does not move well at third base. While he does have the arm strength to play the position, his range and footwork may prompt a move to first base. By the time he is ready for the big leagues, Reyes could be splitting first base and DH time with Chris Davis.
2. Dylan Bundy, SP
Date of Birth: 11/15/92
Height/Weight: 6’1″/200 lbs
Acquired: Drafted by the Orioles in the 1st round of the 2011 Draft
It sure feels like a long time ago that Bundy was blazing his way through the minor-league ranks and debuting for the Orioles at the age of 19. Bundy flew too close to the sun, and has struggled with injuries for three years. Tommy John surgery came first in 2013, and Bundy was on a very tight leash when he returned mid-2014. Nagging injuries kept him to just 41.1 innings in nine games that year.
Bundy again started 2015 on a very short leash, throwing only 22.0 innings in eight games. Disaster struck yet again, as calcium deposits on Bundy’s shoulder prompted another shut down. He experienced minor discomfort in his throwing arm while pitching in the Arizona Fall League, and was shut down yet again.
Bundy enters 2016 with no minor-league options remaining, a consequence of the major-league contract he signed out of high school. The Orioles never imagined they would be in this position, forced to stash Bundy in their bullpen. Bundy’s development has definitely taken a huge hit the past three years, but he was one of the most polished high-school pitchers to come out of the draft in years. He has four plus pitches — fastball, cutter, curveball, and changeup. Bundy’s future has to be in the rotation, as Baltimore continues searching for an ace. If he can get through the first few months of the season healthy, the Orioles may consider beginning to stretch Bundy out with an eye on cracking the rotation for good in 2017.
1. Hunter Harvey, SP
Date of Birth: 12/9/94
Height/Weight: 6’3″/175 lbs
Acquired: Drafted by the Orioles in the 1st round of the 2013 Draft
Harvey is the only Orioles’ prospect to crack the league-wide top-100 list. Like Bundy, he has his own share of health concerns. Harvey’s career got off to a great start in 2014, as he struck out 106 in just 87.2 innings at Single-A. His season ended after 17 starts with a flexor mass strain. Harvey entered the 2015 season supposedly healthy, but could not catch a break. He was struck by a batted ball in spring training, breaking a bone in his leg.
Harvey was on track to return to the mound in mid-May, but was shut down again with elbow tightness. Tommy John was a legitimate concern, but Harvey avoided surgery, and now enters 2016 supposedly healthy. At 175 pounds, Harvey needs to add some significant bulk if he is going to hold up to the rigors of starting pitching. He’s very lean and lanky on the mound.
Harvey possesses three plus-pitches. His fastball hovers around 95 mph, and his curveball is thrown with a tight break and good depth. Rounding out the arsenal is a good changeup with late movement. Of the three pitches, the changeup has the most room for growth. If Harvey can stay healthy this season, plenty of frontline starter potential remains. He will be brought along slowly this season, and is probably still two years away from the big leagues.