As we all know, baseball teams that want to win titles have to develop a foundation of young, talented players. Players that serve as the glue of the team.
The MLB Network crew was recently discussing and covering teams with the best “Core Fours.” That’s young players that have very bright futures and make their teams championship contenders for years to come.
It’s no secret that the Orioles have easily the strongest, richest farm system and also have plenty of young talent already on the big league roster. Tim Kurkjian immediately labeled the Orioles and gushed over their young talent.
We at The Baltimore Battery couldn’t agree more, and today, we will break down our choices of the Orioles’ “Core Four.” Let’s dive right into the breakdown.
We all saw this coming. Adley Rutschman burst onto the scene last season and made a huge impact, enough to early 2023 AL MVP consideration.
Rutschman is receiving major hype, and for good reason. The 25-year-old backstop has superb plate discipline and provides a spark to this young lineup.
Rutschman flat out doesn’t bite out of the strike zone and has plate vision hitting coaches dream about, with the composure and ability to make contact of a vet. Not to mention his well above average defensive skills behind the plate.
Being a former No. 1 overall pick, Rutschman has a lot of hype to live up to, but hype has to come from somewhere. A young catcher who posted a WAR of 5.2 has a lot to boast about.
There’s a reason he’s building MVP hype before the season has even started and was voted as the best catcher in the AL going into the season. Dadley, I mean Adley, gives this team a bonafide star at the center of an up-and-coming team.
Just as we hype and drool as Orioles fans over Adley, we do just the same and some of us even more so for Gunnar Henderson. The 21-year-old worked his way up to the majors a little later in the season last year, but he really hit the ground running.
One place Henderson struggled in over his minor league career was strikeouts and staying disciplined at the plate. Last season, he was a whole new man in the batters box.
Henderson showed a lot of discipline, took his walks and sprayed the ball all over the field. He looked like he was a little more than comfortable at the top level.
Henderson is a player who can do it all and never needed a “catch-up” period like most guys do when called up. He was very exciting to watch and showed he’s an already well-rounded player, being ranked the 2023 No. 1 prospect for a reason.
This year should be a banner year for the “Gunn Show.” He may not be in the same boat as Rutschman yet, but notice I say “yet.”
Let’s be honest. Grayson Rodriguez has immense potential on the mound and looks to have the makings of a bonafide ace, something the O’s truly haven’t had since Mike Musinna.
Rodriguez is on track to get a spot in the Orioles starting rotation out of spring. He’s going to have plenty of chances to show whether or not he’s this team’s best pitcher.
His fastball/changeup combo should be enough to at least ingrain him in as a league average starter, emphasis on AT LEAST. Don’t forget his cutter that he’s been working on more this spring.
The young right-hander still has to prove he can hang for a full season’s workload, as he’s missed time due to a lat strain and has yet to eclipse 103 innings. However, if he can stay healthy and composed long-term, his ceiling is practically limitless.
Gray-Rod has the opportunity to show that he’s the O’s rotation cornerstone for years to come. Adding him to the list with Rutschman and Henderson was a no-brainer and is enough to make any fan shout the team’s praises from the mountain tops.
Jackson Holliday is oozing with talent and baseball pedigree, as he is the son of former big league powerhouse Matt Holliday. He was one of three first overall picks for the Orioles in the team’s history (Ben McDonald in 1989 and Adley Rutschman in 2019).
One of the biggest things people look for in a prospect is poise and maturity. Holliday might be just 19 years old, but he already carries himself like a seasoned veteran.
In his small sample size of 20 games, he slashed .297/.489/.422 and collected five doubles and one home run. He also drew a walk rate of 30.3.
We will see how quickly Holliday can move through the O’s farm system. But don’t be surprised if we see this young man sometime in 2024.
The Orioles’ “Core Four” has all the hype and deservedly so. The group has a ton of young talent, sprinkled with some strong, experienced pieces as well.
This team gives fans a lot to be excited about. For a team that’s struggled over the last few years, it’s enough to make fans of the game in general excited for them, as they finally seem to have all the pieces coming into place.
Having a “Core Four” like this, how much longer does the clock really have left before making this Cinderella story a reality? It should be much sooner rather than later.
What do you think of the Orioles’ “Core Four?” 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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