Surprising Orioles Prospect Viewed As Their Best From 2023 Draft Class

The best Baltimore Orioles prospect from their 2023 draft class might surprise a lot of fans.
Baltimore Orioles hat and glove
Baltimore Orioles hat and glove / Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports
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The Baltimore Orioles have been able to build the best farm system in baseball by selecting elite talent with their high draft picks, developing them into stars, and selling off some of their MLB pieces over the years to get back young players.

It's worked out incredibly well.

The Orioles are way ahead of schedule in their rebuild with the likes of Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson leading the way, paired with Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez in their rotation, plus other rising stars throughout the lineup.

There are more top prospects in Triple-A who are continuing to develop until it's their turn to produce at the Major League Level.

Because of their already loaded pipeline, the 2023 draft was really seen as a way for Baltimore to surplus all the talent they already have by adding players who are projected to have high ceilings at future positions of need.

One of those picks, Enrique Bradfield Jr., is already considered the Orioles' No. 5 prospect despite being in his first full season of professional baseball.

However, MLB Pipeline thinks it's actually their 10th round pick, Matthew Etzel, who has been their best selection from that class so far.

It's hard to argue with that.

He started out the year with their High Single-A affiliate and has put together a slash line of .306/.379/.478 with four homers, 20 extra-base hits, and 37 RBI through 51 games.

Etzel is currently outside of Baltimore's Top 30 prospects as he was relatively unheralded coming out of Southern Miss after transferring there following two seasons of junior college.

Still, talent can be found all over the place and it looks like the Orioles may have gotten themselves a gem in the 10th round.

It will be interesting to see how Etzel's career progresses. If he continues this hitting pace, he likely will jump up in a major way across all prospect rankings as he works his way through the pipeline.

Brad Wakai


Brad Wakai graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Journalism. While an undergrad, he did work at the student radio station covering different Penn State athletic programs like football, basketball, volleyball, soccer and other sports. Brad currently covers the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros for Sports Illustrated/FanNation. He is also the Lead Contributor for Nittany Lions Wire of Gannett Media where he continues to cover Penn State athletics. Brad is the host of the sports podcast I Said What I Said, discussing topics across the NFL, College Football, the NBA and other sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @bwakai