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ESPN Top 100 prospect ranking includes four Orioles originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Another Top 100 prospect ranking has been released across the baseball world, this time coming from ESPN, and once again the Orioles' minor leaguers are listed quite favorably.
🚨 @kileymcd TOP 100 TIME 🚨
Wander Franco is No. 1, Adley Rutschman No. 2 and Jarred Kelenic No. 3.
Reams of interesting information in the capsules for the 100 prospects you need to know about now at ESPN+ -- and much more from Kiley to come soon, too: https://t.co/jElhOI5GBO
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 11, 2021
Baltimore only has four names on this list - 2020 number two overall pick Heston Kjerstad is missing here after being ranked by Baseball America, The Athletic and MLB Pipeline - but two of those names are in the top 30 across all of baseball.
Unsurprisingly, Adley Rutschman is the Orioles' top prospect, coming in at No. 2 overall. This is something of a consensus at this point, with nearly every prospect evaluator giving the Rays' Wander Franco top billing and Rutschman number two.
The O's second-best prospect is also close to a consensus, with Grayson Rodriguez sliding in at number two in the organization and 30th in baseball. While Rutschman has been the pre-ordained future face of the franchise from the day he was drafted, Rodriguez's rise has been more meteoric. He was considered a surprising pick at 11th overall in the 2018 draft, but the Orioles look prescient after his quick development.
Ryan Mountcastle (93rd) and DL Hall (97th) are lower on ESPN's list than in most other rankings - though the former is missing entirely from Keith Law's list at The Athletic - but it is still impressive to be included. This is a particularly difficult year to make it on a Top 100 prospects list, since the shortened 2020 season provided far fewer chances for prospects to graduate to the majors.
The Orioles are in good position to do even better in these types of lists next season. Mountcastle is only a few at-bats away from losing his prospect eligibility, but the other four commonly found names should still be available to be ranked, and prospects like Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg are knocking on the door just outside the Top 100.
The O's are still looking to add depth throughout their farm system, but having a handful of future stars at the top is a great place to start.