Another set of highly ranked Orioles prospects is on the move ahead of the end of the season.
The Orioles plan to promote catcher Samuel Basallo and right-hander Seth Johnson from High-A Aberdeen to Double-A Bowie, continuing their rise through Baltimore’s minor league system, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told The Baltimore Banner.
Basallo, especially, has the makings of another Orioles prospect who finds himself near the top of many national rankings. The 19-year-old, MLB Pipeline’s fifth-best Baltimore prospect, ranks No. 46 in the minors as a whole. He entered Sunday hitting .326 for Aberdeen in 26 games, with eight homers and a 1.115 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.
Basallo can play first base, as well. Between Low-A Delmarva and Aberdeen, Basallo played first base for 224 innings and caught for 553.
Johnson, acquired last year from the Tampa Bay Rays as part of the trade that sent first baseman Trey Mancini to the Houston Astros, made his organizational debut in August, having sufficiently recovered from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. The Orioles traded for Johnson despite his lengthy recovery process, rating the right-hander highly — he’s a former first-round pick in 2019 and reached the upper 90s with his fastball prior to injury.
“We view him, and the industry has viewed at times, as a top-100 talent,” general manager and Executive Vice President Mike Elias said the night Mancini was traded.
Johnson ranks as Baltimore’s 15th-best prospect and doesn’t appear on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list. But he has only just returned to affiliate play. Johnson debuted in August at the Florida Complex League, where he pitched one inning before moving to Delmarva. He swiftly advanced to Aberdeen, where he allowed four runs in 1 1/3 innings before throwing three hitless and scoreless innings for his second start.
Now he’s heading to Bowie, where he’ll likely begin the 2024 season. Johnson was added to the 40-man roster last offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 draft and, despite not being fully healed, he’s rising the ranks alongside Basallo.