Baltimore Orioles Top Prospects 2023: Gunnar Henderson, Grayson Rodriguez Lead Promising O System

Baltimore Orioles Top Prospects 2023: Gunnar Henderson, Grayson Rodriguez Lead Promising O System

Baltimore Orioles Top Prospects 2023: Gunnar Henderson, Grayson Rodriguez Lead Promising O System

The Major League Baseball off-season is in full swing, and that means everyone is thinking about the future. In most cities, that means next season; however, for some it means the bigger picture, the next three to five years. You either sell victories or sell hope, says the old saying. We at CBS Sports like to give as much hope as we can this winter by evaluating each team’s farm system.

Of course, this does not mean that every team has an equally good farming system – some, as you will discover in the process, lack it in this regard. However, it does mean that CBS Sports will spend the next few weeks researching the top three prospects in each organization. We define “prospects” as retaining rookie qualification for 2023, so if a young player is missing, that’s probably why.

These lists and ratings are created after discussions with scouts, analysts and player development picks. There’s also first-hand assessment and bias thrown into the mix. Remember that rating players is a difficult task and there is nothing wrong with disagreeing with the rating. These are opinions and they have no real impact on the future. You can check out our winter top 20 by clicking here.

With that in mind, let’s get down to it by doing a Baltimore Orioles section.

1. Gunnar Henderson, 3B, No. 1 Top 20 (2023 Season: 22)

Henderson, the 42nd pick in the 2019 draft, started last season in Double-A and finished it in the Majors, hitting every stop along the way. That included 34 major league games where he batted .259/.348/.440 (123 OPS+) with four home runs and a steal. Henderson played mostly third base, although he also saw action on second and short, a nod to his above-average athleticism and footwork. Offensively, he has a solid foundation to build on thanks to his above-average raw strength and disciplined eye. If there’s a flaw in Henderson’s game, it’s that he struggled with left-handed pitchers. He may be able to improve this over time, but for now, you can expect most of his damage to come from Platoon Advantage. Otherwise, he’s ready to play in the big leagues now, with an advantage that could see him make it to the All-Star Games.

2. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, No. 2 Top 20 (2023 Season: 23)

Rodriguez would have made his debut at some point last season had he not been sidelined in June by a right chainsaw and eventually returned in September for a run of minor league appearances. He has a strong pitcher and an impressive arsenal that includes three well-above-average pitches or better: upper 90s fastball, slider and substitution. This trio enabled him to knock out 37 percent of the batters he faced last season, while also amassing a 2.62 ERA in 75 innings. The Orioles will likely try to limit his workload as he has never thrown more than 103 innings in a season, but he should make his debut early in the year with a view to becoming a front-row starter.

3. Jackson Holliday, SS, No. 10 in the top 20 (seasonal age 2023: 19)

Holliday, the son of new Cardinals head coach Matt, was the #1 pick in last July’s draft. He looked the part in his first touch of professional football, hitting .297/.489/.422 with more than twice as many walks as strikeouts in 20 games. Holliday boosted his ratings last spring, being in better shape and learning to use the entire pitch instead of ripping the pitches. He is an explosive athlete who can both run and throw, giving him the opportunity to become a high-profile shortstop. He will not be legally allowed to drink until December 2024, which will give him ample time to further improve his game.

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