As we lead up to both the start of the 2008 season and our “Diamond Cutter” top 100 prospects list, I will be taking a look at the top five prospects from every single Major League team. Each team will have its top five prospects along with a brief scouting report on each player that I have pulled from my scouting notes. Today we jump away from the National League and start digging into the AL East with the prospect hungry Baltimore Orioles. As always, let me know how you feel about the rankings in the comments section below or via email.
1.) Matt Wieters, C: Major League Baseball will soon have yet another strong offensive catcher thrust upon it once Wieters makes his debut. The switch hitting catcher has the tremendous ability to hit for average and power (better hitter from the left side and more power from the right). While he’s only an average catcher at best, if he can improve on his footwork and receiving skills a little more he should be ok. Otherwise a move to another position might be a good idea both defensively and to help preserve his bat.
2.) Chris Tillman, RHP: Just picked up in the Erik Bedard trade, he quickly took over the number two spot on this list thanks to the potential he has in the future. Right now Tillman looks to be a power pitcher with a fastball that sits 90-94 mph while at times reaching 96 mph. He also has a plus overhand 12-to-6 curve that falls in the mid-70’s with a nice sharp, late break on it. While Tillman does have a nice frame and mechanics, he will only be able to succeed in the Majors if he can begin to gain a little more control and command of his plus pitches. If he is able to continue to grow and develop in this area, he looks to be a solid number two starter someday.
3.) Troy Patten, LHP: If Troy Patten can fight off the injuries and his seemingly annual bout of arm fatigue, he will make a very good Major League pitcher. Patten brings his solid stuff and great command of his pitches (two fastballs, slider, and a change) to the Orioles as part of the Miguel Tejada trade with Houston this winter. If he can stay healthy and strong Patten looks like he could iron out to be a solid middle of the rotation type guy that is in high demand these days.
4.) Nolan Reimold, OF: Reimold looks to be a solid corner outfielder of the future for the O’s with a big bat to boot. While it may not be perfect, he posses a very nice swing and a keen eye at the plate. This coupled with a powerful bat will make him a nice addition to the Orioles before too long. Look for a potential 25-30 homers from this kid if he can keep some protection around him in the lineup.
5.) Billy Rowell, 3B: Rowell excites many people at the incredible power potential he posses at the hot corner. With the body frame to continue to pack on muscle along with a very nice swing, the Orioles are hoping he develops into the player they drafted in 2006. After a shaky start and inconsistent year many began to get down on Rowell and began to doubt what they thought he could be. He should be able to bounce back and put up some solid numbers and help anchor the middle of the Baltimore lineup in a few seasons.
(* This list was updated on 2/9/08 after the Erik Bedard trade that brought Chris Tillman and others to the Orioles.)
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