O's prospects Machado, Britton get love from Baseball America

February 23, 2011|By Matt Vensel

Baseball America released its list of the top 100 prospects in baseball this morning and two members of the Orioles organization cracked the top 28: shortstop Manny Machado and left-handed starter Zach Britton.

Machado, the team's first-round pick in 2010, was 14th on the list, and Baseball America gave the sweet-swinging 18-year-old an estimated time of arrival of 2013. Machado batted .345 with three RBI and an .855 OPS in seven games with the Aberdeen Ironbirds late last summer.

Britton, 23, came in at No. 28 with an ETA of 2011 (yes, sometime this season). He went 10-7 with a 2.70 ERA and 124 strikeouts in Bowie and Norfolk last season. He is expected to compete for a spot in the Orioles' Opening Day rotation during Grapefruit League play, but it's highly likely he will start the season in Norfolk.

There was some bad news for the organization, though: No other Orioles prospect made the list, which explains why Baseball America's executive editor Jim Callis called the farm system "imbalanced" in a recent story by my Baltimore Sun colleague Jeff Zrebiec.

Sure, a lot of talent has made its way to the majors -- former top prospects such as Brian Matusz, Matt Wieters, Adam Jones and Chris Tillman -- but the Orioles' inability to restock their system is alarming. To hang in there with the big boys in the AL East year in and year out, the Orioles need the pipeline from Norfolk to Camden Yards to be continuously pumping out prospects.

Still, it's nice to know they have two of baseball's best in Machado and Britton.

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