With spring training starting in a month and a new season on the horizon, The Baltimore Sun's Dean Jones Jr. and Mike Miller put together a list of the top 10 players in the Orioles' minor league system. Jones and Miller ranked players on their career performance through the 2010 season, as well as their potential contributions in the major leagues. They also took other publications' rankings into consideration and included only players who haven't exhausted their rookie eligibility. Over the past three seasons, several highly regarded prospects have been drafted by the Orioles and moved through the organization to the majors. Catcher Matt Wieters (No. 1 in 2009) and left-hander Brian Matusz (No. 5 in 2010) both made appearances in the top five of Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects during that span. Right-hander Jake Arrieta (No. 67 in 2009, No. 99 in 2010) and outfielder Nolan Reimold (No. 91 in 2008) have also spent their entire careers with the organization. The Orioles have acquired right-hander Chris Tillman (No. 22 in 2009), third baseman Josh Bell (No. 37 in 2010) and left-hander Troy Patton (No. 78 in 2008) in separate trades since 2007. Tillman made the biggest impact of the three players over the past three years, but Bell and Patton each made their Orioles debut in 2010. Now, the organization features two players — lefty Zach Britton and shortstop Manny Machado — who are viewed as future stars. Britton, a third-round pick in the 2006 amateur draft, has climbed steadily through the organization and will likely make his major league debut this season. Machado, last year's first-round selection, is still at least a couple of years away from helping the Orioles, but he has drawn comparisons to New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez. The rest of the prospects on the list, for the most part, could fluctuate by a few spots in either direction. All eight are viewed as above-average prospects, but they're not on the same level as Britton or Machado.
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