By Contributing Writer: Nick Stevens
The 2017 MLB Pipeline Top 30 Orioles Prospects list is out, and while Chance Sisco and Trey Mancini highlight the list, one of the more intriguing and lesser known prospects is outfielder Randolph Gassaway.
Photo: Baby Birdland
Gassaway was selected in the 16th round of the 2013 MLB draft out of Riverwood International Charter in Sandy Springs, GA. The then 18-year-old was seen as a long-term project, but scouts loved his plus-power potential and 6’4” frame.
The 27th-ranked Orioles prospect struggled in his first three seasons as a professional, hitting just two home runs in 451 at-bats. The now 21-year-old; however, is seemingly putting his skill set together. Last season, as a member of the Delmarva Shorebirds, Gassaway hit seven home runs and hit .330 in 50 games and 182 at-bats.
Despite small sample sizes at each level, he has consistently shown improvement as he rises through the Orioles farm system. Coaches and staff rave about the student Randolph is and his dedication to his craft. In an interview with MASN’s Steve Melewski back in November, Orioles’ minor league hitting coordinator Jeff Manto said, “This kid wants to learn. You want to be around this guy.”
In 60 games for the Aberdeen Ironbirds in 2015, Gassaway slashed .273/.381/.335 with no home runs, 22 RBIs, 13 walks and 48 strikeouts.
In 50 games for Delmarva, Gassaway’s numbers improved to .330/.372/.511 while adding seven home runs and 17 RBI. His best stretch included a 12-game hitting streak, six of which were multi-hit performances.
What coaches and fans want to see now is the level of of production from a full season against high-level competition. I would expect Gassaway to begin the season at High-A Frederick with the Keys. With a bevy of outfielders at the big-league level, the Orioles can remain patient with Randolph Gassaway, as he fills out his large frame and continues to develop his long-ball. His defense and arm strength raise questions though, pointing to a potential career as a left fielder.
Gassaway projects as an everyday corner outfielder, a position that some say the Orioles have a weakness in. Being one of the most improved Baby Birds earned Gassaway a spot on the list of top Orioles prospects. With a solid showing in full-season minor league ball, Gassaway will stay on the path to Camden Yards.