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Orioles nearly absent from prospects lists; Steve Johnson signs with Rangers

Orioles pitcher Hunter Harvey participates during spring training at the Orioles' training facility Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015.
Orioles pitcher Hunter Harvey participates during spring training at the Orioles' training facility Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

We've heard Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette say that national experts haven't given the club's farm system its due.

If that's the case, Duquette can count this year's MLB Pipeline top 100 prospects list among the snubs.

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Just one Orioles minor leaguer, right-hander Hunter Harvey, made the MLB.com prospects site's list of the top 100 prospects.

Harvey ranked No. 85 on the list.

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Noticeably absent was Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy, who was No. 2 on the list in 2012.

If some are still wondering why the Orioles didn't make a stronger play to retain Steve Pearce, count the first baseman/outfielder among those looking for answers.

Yes, it's difficult to be considered a prospect when you're not pitching, and injuries have limited Bundy to 17 minor league outings over the past three years -- most of that time he was sidelined by Tommy John elbow reconstruction in 2013. But the Orioles are still counting on the 23-year-old right-hander to live up to the promise that made him the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft.

Bundy is throwing bullpen sessions in Sarasota, Fla., and expects to be healthy this spring training.

But it's obvious that Bundy's stock has slipped. After being the No. 2 prospect in 2012, he was ranked 15th before the 2013 season, 12th before the 2014 season and 64th before last season.

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Now he's out of minor league options, so provided he's healthy, the Orioles have to carry him on the 25-man roster.

Harvey, who didn't pitch in a minor league game last season because of a stress fracture in his fibula suffered during spring training followed by lingering elbow and forearm problems, also expects to be healthy this spring.

Harvey will be invited to big league spring training this year, his second big league camp.

Other prospects, like catcher Chance Sisco, first baseman Trey Mancini and third baseman Jomar Reyes, were absent from the list, even though Reyes was ranked ninth on MLB Pipeline's list of the top third base prospects.

Harvey, Bundy crack Baseball Prospectus list

Another prospect list – Baseball Prospectus' ranking of its top 101 prospects – included both Harvey and Bundy.

Harvey was ranked 58th and Bundy was No. 69. But both players dropped significantly. Bundy was ranked eighth last year and Harvey was 20.

Even though their ranking has slipped, both Harvey and Bundy only need to prove they're healthy -- as well as continue their development -- to get back to being considered among the top prospects in baseball.

Steve Johnson signs with Rangers

Former Orioles right-hander Steve Johnson, a St. Paul's School alumnus, signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers. He will receive a major league spring training invitation.

Johnson posted a 10.13 ERA over 5 1/3 big league innings last season after pitching well at Triple-A Norfolk, where he went 4-1 with a 2.30 ERA in 32 appearances.

Johnson was a valuable part of the Orioles staff in 2012 because he could be used both in relief and as a spot starter – and he could be shuttled to Norfolk when the team's bullpen needed a fresh arm – going 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA in 12 games (four starts).

Johnson struggled to regain his form from that season, hindered by a variety of injuries. He worked almost exclusively as a reliever last year at Norfolk and found success, but not during his September call-up.

Johnson took to Twitter to thank the Orioles and their fans.

Johnson's departure to the Rangers was first reported by MASNsports.com.

eencina@baltsun.com

twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

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