Baltimore Orioles top 10 prospects for 2019

SARASOTA, FL- MARCH 08: A Baltimore Orioles hat is seen against the Toronto Blue Jays on March 8, 2017 at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
SARASOTA, FL- MARCH 08: A Baltimore Orioles hat is seen against the Toronto Blue Jays on March 8, 2017 at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /
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6. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP

Birthday: 11/16/1999 (18)
Acquired: Draft, 1st round, 2018
Level(s): GCL Orioles
Statistics: 9 G, 8 GS, 19 1/3 IP, 1.40 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 8.8% BB, 25% K

One of the big risers on spring draft boards was 6’5″ Texas high school righty Grayson Rodriguez. This came after Rodriguez showed up to spring ball after adding 15-25 pounds (depending on who you believe) of muscle to his frame and was able to maintain his stuff later into starts.

Grayson is known for his movement on his mid-90s fastball that can touch 97-98. The high arm slot he has makes a horizontal breaking pitch a challenge, but his big curve fits well into that arm slot. The added muscle came with plenty of toning in his body, allowing him to be much more athletic on the mound and that has seen his arm slot be more consistent.

Right now, most see Rodriguez as a mid-rotation starter with a fairly safe floor, as safe as a high school pitcher can be. His increased athleticism, however, has him working better off the mound defensively and had him working with a few different looks on pitches in the complex.

I’m personally a big fan of the split-finger, whether as a fastball offering or as a changeup variety, but either way, with Grayson’s high arm slot and balance of other pitches, the split would seem a natural fit for him and could lead to even more ceiling to his already-potent mix of pitches.

Rodriguez should get his first look at low-A in 2019, whether he opens the season there or heads there after a short time in extended spring.