While the Orioles' minor league system still remains one of the deepest in professional baseball, there aren't as many top-notch prospects as last season, according to MLB.com's Top 50 Prospect list.
Orioles left-handed pitcher Brian Matusz, who was 5-2 with a 4.63 ERA in eight starts for the team last season, is the organization's lone representative in this year's rankings after four players made the list in 2009. Matusz ranked fifth after being listed at No. 20 last year.The list was revealed on MLB.com and the MLB Network at 8 p.m. Wednesday night.
To compile the list, MLB.com polled a series of scouts throughout baseball. A complete breakdown of each player in the rankings, including statistics, quotes, a scouting report and upside potential is included -- along with video footage of the MLB Network broadcast -- on the Web site.
Here is a link to Matusz's summary.
"He really knows his way around on the mound. This is a real pitcher," MLB Network analyst John Hart said on the broadcast. "He's got pitchability. His stuff is plenty good enough. He's got a plus fastball, got good breaking stuff."
Last season, Orioles catcher Matt Wieters placed second on the list behind Tampa Bay Rays left-hander David Price. Orioles right-handed pitcher Chris Tillman (No. 16) and minor league right-hander Jake Arrieta (No. 36) also made the cut in 2009.
Wieters and Tillman weren't eligible for this year's list because they no longer qualify as rookies. Arrieta dropped out of the rankings after going 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA in 28 starts while splitting time between the Double-A Bowie Baysox and Triple-A Norfolk Tides last year.
What does everyone think of the list? Did MLB.com miss any Orioles prospects?
Another quick note: The 14th annual Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge is scheduled for Saturday.
Baysox communications manager Tom Sedlacek is participating in the event and I'd like to help him reach his goal. Sedlacek would like to raise at least $500 for Special Olympics Maryland, so I'm asking the loyal O's on Deck readers to take some time and visit his page. Here is a link.
Sedlacek will be jumping into the water at 1 p.m., and he has informed me that Louie, the Baysox mascot, will be in attendance at Sandy Point State Park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.