Throughout the year, being a Baltimore Orioles fan has been an interesting time to say the least. We have experienced some ups and, unfortunately, many downs.
But our die hard and loyal fans have also looked beyond just the big league team to guage what the future just might hold for our beloved Birds.
Most talk centers around Adley Rutschman and Grayson Rodriguez, but as many fans are also seeing, we have talent that is popping up throughout our system, leaving a hopeful tomorrow and many years to follow.
One player who is catching the eyes of fans and the brass is outfielder Zach Watson. Drafted in the third round of the 2019 draft, Watson is currently with the Double-A Bowie Baysox and is making some noise on the circuit.
Starting tbe season in High-A Aberdeen, Watson collected 54 hits across 56 games. Of course, that doesn’t seem too special, until you look closer at what Watson accomplished across those 56 games.
The reason those 54 hits stood out so much was the fact that almost 40-percent of them went for extra bases, showing some pop at the plate that just needs some harnessing. He managed to hit nine doubles and three triples, but he also had nine home runs.
His power caught eyes, because Watson slates in as a center fielder with plus speed. He stole 18 bases across 21 attempts, making him not only a threat at the plate, but on the bases as well. This was enough to earn Watson a promotion to Bowie, where facing some tougher talent might show the Orioles what they really have.
Usually, a promotion to a higher league tames things down a bit, but Watson used this time to actually improve. He has played in 43 games and collected 42 hits, batting 10 points higher than his Aberdeen line.
So, what about the power numbers? Well, his power numbers have 48-percent of his hits coming as extra bases, with nine doubles and 11 home runs in less games and 49 less at-bats.
Now, this writer is pretty sure that reading this article doesn’t really show something overly special, but when you look at the combined numbers, something really big stands out; Zach Watson is a 20-20 guy.
Now, why does this seem so special when our very own Cedric Mullins is flirting with a 30-30 season? Well, Watson would become only the second player in 40 years to reach that feat in the Orioles minor league system.
In a draft class that included the No. 1 overall pick and prospect, Adley Rutschman, and outfielder, Kyle Stowers, there is now the third rounder from LSU jumping into the conversation.
Coming in at just six-feet tall and 160 pounds, his stature can be a bit misleading. His swing is built for line drives, but he has power to drive the ball anywhere. Also a gap hitter, his speed will only improve the likelihood of extra base hits. His speed measures in at 4.1 seconds down the first base line and at 6.4 in the 60-yard dash.
Speed, power and the ability to hit to all fields, Watson looks like the making of a smaller Austin Hays, who has the ability to be a big part of the Orioles’ future. If Watson hasn’t turned your head yet, you better catch him before he runs on by you!
Fun Fact: the only other Orioles minor leaguer to have a 20-20 season in the last 40 years is current Orioles OF/DH, DJ Stewart.
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