As the 2022 MiLB season has come to an end, it’s only right that we decide to honor players who have had incredible seasons.
We introduce to you the 2022 Orioles MiLB All Star Team. This is a team we created based on which O’s farm products played the best both at their position in the field and at the plate.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Catcher: Maverick Handley
Every team needs to start with a player who runs the infield, and the catching honors for this squad have gone to 24-year-old Maverick Handley.
The 2019 sixth-round draft pick spent the entire 2022 MiLB season with the Bowie Baysox. In 78 games, Handley slashed .236/.352/.417 with a .769 OPS and had 61 total hits, 12 doubles, one triple, 11 home runs and 45 RBIs.
Handley also had a wRC+ of 114 and brought his K% down almost 10%, from 30.3% to 20.8%.
What really helped Maverick earn this spot is his fielding. He spent 68 games behind the dish, having a .982 fielding percentage, with 628 putouts and 41 assists. His only struggle was with throwing runners out, with base stealers going 41-for-58 (70%) against him.
Handley finishes his third minor league season, second full season, in great fashion and has a bright future ahead.
First Base: Gunnar Henderson
We know, we know. It’s obvious that Gunnar Henderson is not an actual first baseman.
But there was no way to not put him on this team in a certain type of way. He did play a little first base in the minor leagues, however.
Henderson was one of the best prospects in MiLB this year. The 21-year-old 2019 draft pick spent the beginning of the season with Bowie and finished with Triple-A Norfolk, before his time with the Orioles.
In his minor league tenure this year, Gunnar slashed .297/.416/.531 with a .947 OPS, tallying 121 total hits, with 24 doubles, seven triples, 19 home runs and 76 RBIs.
Henderson was named Baseball America’s 2022 Minor League Player of the Year. He also earned the No. 1 spot on the Orioles Top-30 Prospects list and was No. 2 on MLB Pipeline’s Top-100 Prospects list after this year’s draft, along with being the league’s top shortstop prospect.
To not include this young star-in-the-making on this team would be a crime.
Second Base: Connor Norby
The Orioles’ 2022 minor league home run king, Connor Norby, had a season like no other.
The 22-year-old 2021 draft pick started the season in Aberdeen, spent some time in Bowie and finished in Norfolk. Norby slashed .279/.360/.526 with a .886 OPS and had 133 total hits, 23 doubles, four triples and 73 RBIS, with an O’s farm-high of 29 home runs.
Norby was given a plethora of honors this year as well. He was the Eastern League Player of the Month in August, was No. 11 on the Orioles’ Top-30 Prospect list and was eighth on MLB Pipeline’s Top-10 Second Base Prospects list.
Norby is definitely someone that should be on the radar to debut for the Orioles in 2023.
Shortstop: Joey Ortiz
The Orioles’ 2022 minor league hits leader, Joey Ortiz, had a season that went almost underrated.
The 24-year-old 2019 draft pick spent a good chunk of his season in Bowie, before getting called up to finish with Norfolk. Ortiz slashed .284/.349/.477 with a .826 OPS, having 153 total hits, 35 doubles, six triples and 19 home runs, while driving in 85 runs.
Ortiz was given honors as well. He was the Eastern League Player of the Week on the week of July 31, and was No. 19 on the Orioles’ Top-30 Prospects list.
Ortiz is another guy that O’s fans should look forward to in 2023. Just ask our very own Justin Sutphin (orioles4life96 on Twitter).
Third Base: Jordan Westburg
Here is a player that we can most likely guarantee is given a spot on the 2023 big league roster.
Jordan Westburg, 23, had a season that could have seen him called up this year. Starting the year off in Bowie, before complete domination in Norfolk, Westburg slashed .265/.355/.496 with a .851 OPS, tallying 144 total hits, 39 doubles, three triples and drove in 106 runs, with 27 home runs.
Westburg, as much as the other members of this team, was awarded different honors.
He was No. 5 on the Orioles’ Top-30, was No. 76 on MLB Pipelines Top-100 and was named Orioles MiLB Player of the Year by the Orioles Player Development team.
Expect Westburg to be featured on the 2023 Orioles roster, even as early as out of spring training.
Outfielder: Colton Cowser
We talk about studs all the time. But now it’s time to talk about a guy who took stud to a whole other level.
Colton Cowser, 22, had a fantastic season and lived up to his hype. Drafted in 2021 with the fifth overall pick, Cowser made sure his first full MiLB season was to be remembered.
He spent a good amount of time in Aberdeen, dominated in Bowie and finished in Norfolk.
He slashed .278/.406/.469 with a .875 OPS and had 142 total hits, 36 doubles, two triples and 66 RBIs. He also had 19 total home runs and walked 94 times.
What’s most impressive is that he slashed a clean .341/.469/.568 with a 1.037 at the Double-A level alone.
Cowser was No. 4 on the O’s Top-30 list and was No. 40 on MLB Pipeline’s Top-100 list. Cowser has a chance to possibly make the 2023 Orioles roster with the already stacked outfield.
Oh, he also played an entire season and won a build-off against Gunnar Henderson.
Outfield: Kyle Stowers
The man with phenomenal hair had a phenomenal minor league season.
Kyle Stowers, 24, made his mark in 2022. Spending his entire minor league tenure in Norfolk, Stowers slashed .264/.357/.527 with a .884 OPS and had 92 total hits, 29 doubles, three triples and 19 home runs. He also brought in 78 total RBIs.
The left-handed power bat was the International League Player of the Week in May, before making his big league debut a month later.
Outfield: Jud Fabian
The final spot of the lineup goes to a complete new player to the organization, Jud Fabian.
The 2022 draft pick balled out in his first summer of pro ball. Spending some time between rookie ball, Delmarva and Aberdeen, Jud “The Stud” showed that he is possibly a bright spot in the middle of the Orioles’ lineup within the next few seasons.
Fabian slashed a clean .333/.455/.615 with a 1.070 OPS, tallying 26 total hits, nine doubles, two triples and three home runs. He also had 16 RBIS and 19 walks.
The big bat right-hander was given the No. 22 spot on the Orioles’ Top-30 list. For more information about the complete career of Jud Fabian, check out our article we wrote earlier this season.
While Fabian only played 22 minor league games, he showed complete potential and proved that he deserves to be on this team.
Starting Pitcher: Grayson Rodriguez
There are many pitchers that could have been put in this spot. But, it wouldn’t feel right to put anyone outside of the future ace in Baltimore.
The right-handed, now-22-year-old top pitching prospect, Grayson Rodriguez, was the 11th overall pick in 2018. He had an impressive 2022 MiLB sesson that would have been more special if it wasn’t for injury.
Rodriguez spent most of his season in Norfolk, with some rehab starts at Aberdeen and Bowie sprinkled in throughout. He started 17 games, where he went 6-2 with a 2.62 ERA over 75.2 innings.
He gave up just 47 hits, 22 runs and 28 walks, but the most impressive stat is that he also struck out 109 batters. Gray-Rod will most likely be on the 2023 Orioles roster as a rotation piece, and it could be out of spring training.
Rodriguez had a lot of honors this past season. He won International League Player of the Week honors May 29, and was also the International Pitcher of the Month in May.
He was given the No. 2 spot on the Orioles Top-30 list and was No. 4 on MLB Pipeline’s Top-100 list. He was also the top pitching prospect in all of baseball for the entirety of the season.
Closing Pitcher: Nick Vespi
The final spot on this team goes to southpaw specialist, 26-year-old Nick Vespi.
A 2015 late round draft pick that was special in 2022, Vespi spent most of the season in Norfolk, where he was given appearances as both the set-up man and the closer.
Vespi pitched in 26 games, where he went 2-1 with a 0.00 ERA in 28.2 innings. He gave up 12 hits and three unearned runs, walked five batters and struck out 36. The lefty also had four holds and went 8-for-8 in save situations.
And there you have it; the 2022 Orioles Minor League All-Star Team.
Obviously, there are talented players that we could not fit in this list. However, we do have a few honorable mentions.
Coby Mayo, César Prieto, Dylan Beavers, Heston Kjersted, Luis Valdez, Hudson Haskin, D.L. Hall, Drew Rom, Justin Armbruester and Jackson Holliday all showed out this season on the farm.
All in all, the O’s minor league talent performed at a high level in 2022. We can’t wait to watch these young stars be grinding the way to the majors in 2023.
Do you agree with our picks? Did we leave someone out? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!
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