Welcome to the annual series: ‘A Minor (League) Review of 2015.” This series is a great way to receive a quick recap of the ’15 minor league season for your favorite club(s), while also receiving a brief look toward the 2016 season and beyond. It can also be a handy feature for fantasy baseball players in keeper and Dynasty leagues.
The Graduate: Chaz Roe, RHP: The Orioles featured a veteran-heavy squad in 2015 and, as of the end of August, did not field a true rookie on their roster. Now with his six organization, Roe has been a revelation in 28 relief appearances with the O’s after beginning his career as a starter. The former 32nd overall pick of the 2005 amateur draft has seen his velo tick up in the ‘pen and he’s been more consistent with his command. Look for the 28-year-old hurler to have a larger role in 2016.
The Riser: Jomar Reyes, 3B: I jumped on the Reyes bandwagon early, placing him on my pre-season Orioles’ Top 10 prospects list. He acquitted himself well in his first taste of full-season ball despite his age (18). He showed a lot of gap power that should turn into more over-the-fence pop as he matures as a hitter. Reyes also needs to tighten his approach at the plate and is likely about three years away from the Majors.
The Tumbler: Dylan Bundy, RHP: Through no real fault of his own, some of the luster is wearing off of Bundy. No longer the top pitching prospect in the minors, a litany of injuries have derailed his promising career, much like fellow O’s top prospect Hunter Harvey. Bundy, 22, three zero innings in 2013, 41.1 in 2014 and just 22 in 2015 — totalling 63.1 in three years. He has shown flashes of brilliance when on the mound but 2016 will be a huge year for him; he needs innings desperately.
The ’15 Draft Pick: Ryan Mountcastle, SS: This youthful shortstop (36th overall) has outplayed the more advanced college product and fellow first rounder, D.J. Stewart (25th). Mountcastle displayed an aggressive approach (9-41 BB-K rate) but he hit .304 with 10 steals in 34 games. The club could feature a talented left side of the infield in four years or so with Mountcastle and Reyes.
The Lottery Ticket: Jonah Heim, C: Heim got off to a decent start to the 2015 season in Low-A ball but an injury halted his season near the end of May. The former fourth rounder made it back for a couple of Rookie League games in late August. Matt Wieter’s days in Baltimore could be numbered but the organization also has another impressive catching prospect in Chance Sisco, who reached Double-A in 2015. Still, Heim — only 20 — has shown promise and is more likely to stick behind the dish. Add in the fact that he also switch hits and you have a catcher to keep an eye on in 2016.
Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.