How Long is the Rebuild Going to Take?

To say that the Orioles have been gutted this past trade deadline would be a large understatement. The Orioles have essentially been taken behind a barn and had every single organ worth a penny sliced out of them and traded for an 18 year-old. While this was extremely difficult to watch unfold over the past few weeks, it has left a surprisingly pleasant aftertaste. The starting lineup every day from now until the end of the year may be tough to look at, but at least us fans know that the club has a sense of direction, something that we have lacked for many years.

I am not nearly qualified enough to give a scouting report on the players received at the deadline, but what I can do is look at other teams who have had success in the total rebuild strategy which the Orioles are using. It is interesting that the past 3 teams who have won the world series, the Astros, Cubs, and Royals, are teams who have participated in a massive rebuild within 5 years of their championship.

To get a good look at how the teams accomplished the rebuild, I put into a spreadsheet their respective records and pre-season farm rankings for each year leading up to their championship.

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Of the seasons that are listed, the 2018 Orioles are the most similar to the 2012 Astros. The Orioles entered this season with the 23rd ranked farm system, while the Astros entered the 2012 season with the 25th ranked farm system. The Orioles are currently on pace to win 50 games, which is very close to the Astros’ 55. Going into next season, it is expected that the Orioles farm rank will be somewhere between 10 and 15 depending on international signings and trades that may occur in the offseason, and it will be boosted later in the year with the addition of the 1st or 2nd overall pick.

While some AAA prospects such as Cedric Mullins may bring life to the 2019 Orioles, there is no real reason to expect any improvement between this year and next year. Every team on this list who had a bad season with a bad farm system at the start of the season spent about 3 years of rebuilding before the team became competitive again.

Two things that are similar for every team is that the year before the team won the championship, they entered the season with a top 10 farm system and they had a winning record.

While the Orioles might be a top 10 farm system by this time next year, it will take time before all of the prospect stockpiling pays off and a strong core of players is created. If the Orioles get lucky and follow the trends of the Astros, Cubs, and Royals, competitive baseball will return to Baltimore in 2021, and the Orioles will be world champions in 2023.