1) Nolan Reimold - (Bowie Baysox/GCL Orioles) - (59 G, 216 AB, .296/.372/.546)
For the second year in a row, Reimold missed a lot of time with injury. Last season, it was his foot and back; this season, he was one of the many oblique injury victims within the organization. The good news is that, when Reimold was healthy, he raked. The bad news is that health is a skill, like any other. He's never going to approach a ~.300 batting average in the major leagues, but 30 home runs and plenty of walks are not out of the question. Reimold has good speed when he's underway, but his routes to flyballs can be an adventure.
2) Brandon Tripp - (Delmarva Shorebirds) - (104 G, 371 AB, .288/.377/.531)
Brandon Tripp was drafted by Joe Jordan twice; once with the Flordia Marlins in 2003 and again with th Orioles in the 12th round of the 2006 draft. After fixing a flaw with his swing mechanics, Tripp's raw power emerged in a breakout campaign with the Shorebirds. The 22 year old is athletic enough to handle centerfield, but moved to right field to take advantage of his arm strength. There are some doubts about whether he can maintain a high batting average at higher levels, but Tripp has the ceiling to be a solid regular in the big leagues
3) Kieron Pope - (Buefield Orioles) - (20 G, 66 AB, .197/.284/.227)
Coming into 2007, many observers had Pope pegged as a breakout candidate. The 20 year old outfielder was coming off of a fine showing in rookie-ball, even if he did struggle when promoted to Aberdeen. Alas, it wasn't to be. Pope fell vistim to the injury bug and struggled when finally activated from extended spring training. His big time raw power is still there, as are the abundant questions about his contact skills. As a defender, he has adequate range and a below average arm. He has a ton of work to do, but few players in the organization can match his ceiling.
4) Arturo Rivas - (Frederick Keys) - (37 G, 123 AB, .317/.397/.504)
Statistically, the 23 year old had his finest season to date. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury limited him to just 37 games this year. Rivas good range for a corner outfielder and a cannon for an arm. He also has some speed, good power, and an improving approach at the plate. Rivas should finally crack double-A in 2008 and could sneak up on the Orioles as, at least, a viable fourth outfielder. If he continues to improve, he could be more than that.
5) Val Majewski - (Bowie Bayox/Norfolk Tides) - (127 G, 456 AB, .272/.345/.386)
It's been a long, hard path for the former top prospect, but Majewski's second season back from his labrum injury did not go as well as expected. After being sent back a level out of spring training, he didn't exactly rake in double-A. And a promotion back to triple-A was even more disappointing. One scout told me that his bat speed was just not the same as before. As a corner outfielder, he'll have to hit more like his pre-injury self, and in short order, if he wants to stay in the organization's picture. Time is not on the 26 year old's side.
6) Wally Crancer - (Aberdeen Ironbirds) - (67 G, 237 AB, .241/.319/.359)
Crancer was considered a safe pick in the 12th round of this year's draft, as a senior sign from Georgia Tech. He displayed good contact skills in college, despite his struggles in his professional debut.
Joe Jordan told ITW "I think he’s got average power. At times he’ll hit the ball pretty good, but as far as raw power, he’s got average, at least Major League average raw power."
7) Luis Montanez - (Norfolk Tides/Bowie Baysox) - (100 G, 333 AB, .288/.356/.417)
Although it looks like Montanez did a lot better in triple-A than in double-A this season, park effects and league difficulty make his numbers in both leagues pretty closer than they appear A former middle infielder, Montanez is now a good outfielder, capable of playing all three slots. His bat is another matter, but he offers enough speed and defense to be a potential role player, if he can just gain some consistency.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via e-mail at Publisher@InsideTheWarehous.com