Continuing our offseason coverage, The Baltimore Battery returns with our annual Prospect Profiles series, now highlighting the Orioles’ Top-30 prospects for the 2021 season!
Next up at No. 22 is a product of the Manny Machado trade, 24-year-old infielder Rylan Bannon. Standing at 5’8” and weighing in at 180 pounds, Bannon was called up to Baltimore’s 40-man roster for the first time in his career last November. The former 8th round pick in the 2017 draft is being groomed to play a number of positions in the infield, which could be crucial for the Orioles in 2021 and moving forward.
HITTING GRADES: Hit 50 Run 50 Field 55 Power 45 Arm 55 Overall 45
2020 Rank: 23 – 2021 Rank: 22
Bannon started his career extremely strong at the plate in Los Angeles’ farm system, drawing the eyes of the Orioles in an exchange for Machado’s looming departure. He crushed 20 homeruns in his first 89 games at Class A; this is when the Dodgers shipped him to Baltimore in the Machado deal.
Bannon was sent straight to Double-A Bowie, where he struggled in 2018. However, in 2019 he picked up his batting numbers (.255, .345, .394 – 42 RBI, 45 R) and earned a call-up to Triple-A Norfolk. Bannon played 20 games for the Tides and hit .317 with 17 RBI and 18 runs.
Bannon’s numbers have been up and down so far in the minors, but he was certainly trending in the right direction prior to last season. Despite being brought up for his hitting, his defense is what might makes him very valuable to the Orioles this season.
Baltimore desperately needs help at shortstop, and Rio Ruiz is one year away from arbitration at third base. Bannon was primarily a third baseman before being traded to Baltimore, where he has played second base in our farm system. With the void at shortstop, Bannon could get reps at all three positions this season.
Bannon’s reflexes on the diamond are really strong, and his arm is solid. Utility infielders are always a crucial part of a roster, and Bannon looks like he could carve out a consistent role with the team if he can cover multiple positions. If he can continue to trend upwards with his performances at the plate, he could see action at Camden Yards very soon, even this season.
What do you think of our No. 22 overall prospect? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Twitter and Facebook!