Major League Baseball’s offseason is in full swing, and that means everyone is thinking about the future. In most cities, that means next season; in some, though, it means the bigger picture, the next three to five years. You’re either selling wins or you’re selling hope, the old saying goes. We here at CBS Sports like to provide as much hope as we can around this time of the winter by evaluating each team’s farm system.
Of course, that doesn’t mean every team has an equally good farm system — some, as you’ll find out throughout this process, are lacking in that respect. It does mean, nevertheless, that CBS Sports will be spending the next few weeks examining the top three prospects in each organization. We define “prospects” as retaining their rookie eligibility for the 2023 season, so if a young player is missing that’s likely why.
These lists and evaluations are formed following conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development types. There’s also firsthand evaluation and bias thrown into the mix. Keep in mind that player evaluation is a hard task, and it’s fine if you disagree with the rankings. These are opinions, and they have no real bearing on the future..
With that in mind, let’s get to it by dissecting the Baltimore Orioles.
1. Gunnar Henderson, 3B, No. 1 on top 20 (2023 seasonal age: 22)
Henderson, the 42nd pick in the 2019 draft, began last season in Double-A and ended it in the majors, hitting at each stop along the way. That included 34 big-league games, in which he batted .259/.348/.440 (123 OPS+) with four home runs and a steal. Henderson primarily played third base, though he also saw action at second and short in a nod to his above-average athleticism and footwork. Offensively, he has a strong foundation to build from thanks to his well-above-average raw power and his disciplined eye. If there is a flaw in Henderson’s game, it’s that he’s had his problems with left-handed pitchers. Perhaps he can improve on that with time, but for now, it’s fair to expect most of his damage to come with the platoon advantage. Otherwise, he’s big-league-ready as it is, with an upside that could see him make All-Star Games.
2. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, No. 2 on top 20 (2023 seasonal age: 23)
Rodriguez would have debuted at some point last season had he not been sidelined in June by a right lat strain,…