Jonathan Tucker- Tucker won't wow you with any of his physical tools. Rather, at 5-7, he relies on advanced pitch recognition skills and a short line-drive swing (from both sides of the plate) to spray the ball to all fields.
#10 Luis Hernandez- Despite his stagnating offensive development, scouts still get excited about Hernandez's tools. He makes excellent contact, even if he doesn't hit with much authority, and can handle his bat in all situations.
#9 J.R. House- House hit .312 in double-A Corpus Christi before a promotion to triple-A Round Rock… where he hit .412. Don't expect him to match those gaudy batting averages for the Orioles, if he is able to beat out journeyman Paul Bako for the backup catcher job. Even if he doesn't, House would make a good bat-off-the-bench type that could see some time at first base.
#8 Val Majewski- Sure, his star has faded, but let's give him a full season of health before we forget about him entirely. Majewski still has the potential to be an everyday player who could consistently hit ~.280. He makes up for average bat speed with a mature approach and excellent coordination.
#7 Paco Figueroa- Figueroa has worked hard to become a top-of-the-order threat and even earned a bid to the Carolina League All-Star team this year. He has a compact swing and does a good job hitting breaking balls.
#6 Chris Vinyard- If only Vinyard could play defense, he would be quite a steal. Signed for only $90,000, Vinyard's outstanding power isn't his only offensive value. He has a short swing with plenty of bat speed that should allow him to hit for high averages as he moves up through the system.
#5 Jeff Fiorentino- Fiorentino has trouble standing out in any one area, but he will post solid-to-good batting averages in the majors. He makes up for his off-balance swing with uncanny eye-hand coordination
#4 Blake Davis- Davis' offensive value is completely tied up in his ability to hit for average. Luckily, he makes good contact and hangs in against tough breaking balls. With his considerable defensive value, Davis' ability to hit for average just might be enough to work him up the O's depth chart.
#3 Pedro Florimon- Florimon was all the rage early in the year, after hitting .333 in the Appalachian League. Things didn't go as smoothly in the New York-Penn League when he saw considerably better breaking balls, leaving scouts divided about his offensive potential. Nevertheless, there are people within the organization that feel Florimon has a chance to be a top-of-the-order hitter, which is why he ranks so high on this list.
#2 Ryan Adams - Renowned for his hand-eye coordination, Adams recognizes breaking balls better than most teenagers. He also has a mature and patient approach, with a willingness to use the opposite field.
#1 Billy Rowell- Rowell claims to model his game after Barry Bonds and, while any comparison to him would be incredibly premature, Rowell does have a chance to be a special hitter. He still has some work to do against southpaws and going with the pitch, but he has shown a remarkable ability to make adjustments in his brief professional career. The Orioles feel that he could have a perennial .300+ batting average with considerable power- a true #3 hitter.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via email at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com