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Power Ranking the Best Farm Systems in MLB

Marcelo VillaCorrespondent IINovember 4, 2016

Power Ranking the Best Farm Systems in MLB

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    Farm systems in MLB are vital to the development of baseball's future stars, and the opportunity to collect as many sound prospects as possible is a primary goal of any team.

    Top prospect Matt Moore of the Tampa Bay Rays is a prime example of what a good farm system can do to help a player achieve success. The 22-year-old pitcher excelled in the minors during the 2011 season, and when he was called up last September to the Rays, he didn't disappoint. In just his second MLB start, Moore pitched seven scoreless innings in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Texas Rangers and only allowed two hits in a promising start to his career.

    In 2012, Moore is ranked the No. 1 prospect according to, but his presence alone doesn't necessarily give the Rays the best farm system in MLB.

    Here are all 30 farm systems ranked from top to bottom for the 2012 season. Keep in mind that some of these players could hit the field as early as next season.

1. Toronto Blue Jays

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    2012 Top Prospects

    Travis d'Arnaud (C)

    Rank: 25

    AVG: .311

    HR: 21

    RBI: 78

    OBP: .371

    In 2010, the Toronto Blue Jays dealt Roy Halladay to the Philadelphia Phillies in return for top prospects Kyle Drabek, Travis d'Arnaud and Michael Taylor. Drabek was thought to be the prized piece of that deal, but a shaky ride in the majors during the 2011 season said otherwise.

    Taylor was sent to the Oakland Athletics immediately after the trade, leaving d'Arnaud as the only player left remaining from that deal. Since then, d'Arnaud has proven he was the best player acquired in that 2010 trade. The 22-year-old catcher is ranked 25th among the top 100 prospects and was a solid contributor in the minor leagues during 2011. D'Arnaud hit for a .311 average with 21 home runs and 78 RBIs.

    The Blue Jays also have three more players ranked in the top 100, with outfielders Anthony Gose and Jake Marisnick and pitcher Noah Syndergaard. D'Arnaud is a big threat to make a move to the majors and take over the starting catcher role from J.P. Arencibia, but for now, he'll continue to develop in the minors with the rest of Toronto's talented prospects.

2. San Diego Padres

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    2012 Top Prospects

    Yonder Alonso (1B)

    Rank: 39

    AVG: .296

    HR: 12

    RBI: 56

    OBP: .374

    The San Diego Padres added depth to their farm system this offseason when they sent pitcher Matt Latos to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Edinson Volquez and three prospects. The prospects included were Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger.

    First baseman Alonso is currently ranked 39 among the top 100 prospects and could see some playing time right out of the gate with the Padres. San Diego is looking to fill the gap at first base with Adrian Gonzales in Boston, and Alonso could very well be that guy. Alonso struggles defensively, but his big bat more than makes up for his lack of defensive skills.



3. Seattle Mariners

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Jesus Montero (C)   

    Rank: 12

    AVG: .288

    HR: 18

    RBI: 67

    OBP: .348

    The Seattle Mariners have a pretty solid class of talented prospects for the 2012 season, and it all starts with Jesus Montero, who came over from the New York Yankees in a January trade. Montero has power at the plate and could be called up very soon to catch for the Mariners in 2012.

    Playing in pinstripes is just the kind of exposure a player like Montero enjoyed, but Seattle will be a completely different experience.

    Seattle also has talent with their two first-round draft picks in pitcher Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker. James Paxton is another up-and-coming pitcher in the Seattle system that will try to crack the big-league surface in 2012. The Mariners have a lot of pitching depth, which they'll need in trying to replace Felix Hernandez.

4. Texas Rangers

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Jurickson Profar (SS)   

    Rank: 7

    AVG: .286

    HR: 12

    RBI: 65

    SB: 23

    OBP: .390

    At just 18 years of age Jurickson Profar had a great 2011 in the minors and has the potential to be a great player for years to come, but big-league shortstop Elvis Andrus should prevent Profar from taking his job anytime soon.

    The Rangers have a good balance of pitchers and position players in their farm system for 2012, with pitching prospect Martin Perez and third baseman Mike Olt in the top 100. Perez is a future member of the rotation, while Olt will have to wait for Adrian Beltre to retire before he can take over third base in the majors.

5. St. Louis Cardinals

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Shelby Miller (RHP)   

    Rank: 5

    ERA 2.77

    Strikeouts 170

    W-L 11-6

    The St. Louis Cardinals have slim pickings in their 2012 farm system, but their top pitching prospect, Shelby Miller, is truly a sight for sore eyes. Miller has progressed phenomenally despite only two years in the Cardinals farm system. Miller has developed his skills on the mound and could be a starter for the Cardinals within the next two seasons if he continues to post up numbers like he did last season.

    Pitcher Carlos Martinez is the Cardinals' second-best prospect and another capable starter in the near future despite some trouble with walks and hits last season. St. Louis is another system equipped with many young arms, but more position players may be needed to help fill aging spots in the majors.

6. Tampa Bay Rays

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Matt Moore (LHP)    

    Rank: 1

    ERA: 1.92   

    Strikeouts: 210   

    W-L: 12-3

    While Moore may be the pride and joy of the Rays organization, the team didn't hesitate to add depth behind him. The Rays farm system is stacked with six players in the top 100 prospects list featuring three position players and two pitchers.

    Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee is a flashy defender with speed capable of becoming a lead-off man in the big leagues. Lee only stole 33 bases last season, but time in the minors will help improve those numbers.

    Right-handed pitcher Taylor Guerrieri was the Rays' first-round pick last December and is a promising 19-year-old with big league speed on his pitches.

    Moore will more than likely see time in the majors again in 2012, but finding a home in the rotation may be tough with so many talented young pitchers already in the mix.   

7. Atlanta Braves

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Julio Teheran (RHP) 

    Rank: 4

    ERA 2.55

    Strikeouts 122

    W-L 15-3

    Atlanta Braves top pitching prospect Julio Teheran got his first taste of the major leagues in 2011, but enjoyed a less than perfect ride, giving up 21 hits and four home runs through five games. Teheran is believed to be a potential fit in the Braves rotation next season, leaving them with only three top 100 prospect players for 2012.

    Pitchers Arodys Vizcaino and Randall Delgado are the next best prospects in line after Teheran, and both are capable of pitching at the big-league level. Vizcaino had injury problems in 2010, and Delgado is another potential call-up for the Braves in 2012. The Braves are known for their pitching prospects, and 2012 will be more of the same as the team continues to develop young arms in the minors.

    Position players seem to be an overlooked position, as the Braves selected another pitcher in first-rounder Sean Gilmartin out of Florida State University.

8. Kansas City Royals

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Mike Montgomery (LHP)   

    Rank: 31

    ERA: 5.32

    Strikeouts: 129

    W-L: 5-11 

    Outfielders Bubba Starling and Wil Myers are Kansas City's top two prospects, but 2008 draft selection Mike Montgomery will look to rebound after a rough 2011 in the minors. Montgomery is a former first-round pick with good skills and plenty of potential, but has yet to come through with his expectations.

    Starling and Myers will more than likely challenge for a starting role with a struggling Royals team in 2012, but Montgomery will be someone to watch in terms of a breakout season in the minors.

9. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Tyler Skaggs (RHP)   

    Rank: 21

    ERA: 2.96

    Strikeouts: 198

    W-L: 9-6

    First-round draft pick Trevor Bauer had a brief season in the minors, but showed signs of potential with his steady pitching. Bauer will join 2009 first-round pick Tyler Skaggs as the top two prospects for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012. Both pitchers are capable of pitching in the majors, and Skaggs could be given his opportunity as early as next season.

    Another player to be on the lookout for is pitcher Archie Bradley, who was the seventh-overall draft pick in 2011. Pitching is plentiful for the Diamondbacks, but look for them to make moves to collect more positional players.

10. Boston Red Sox

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Will Middlebrooks (3B)   

    Rank: 56

    AVG: .285

    HR: 23

    RBI: 94

    OBP: .328

    Third baseman Will Middlebrooks might not help the Boston Red Sox win now, but he's bound to be a potential star when given the chance. Middlebrooks had good numbers offensively last season and has all the skills needed to play the third base position. At 23 years old, Middlebrooks may be an aging prospect, but the chance to play will be coming soon. Playing for the Red Sox is a big deal for a young players, and Middlebrooks may not be able to handle that responsibility yet.

    Bryce Brentz and Xander Boegarts are also solid options for the Red Sox in the outfield and at shortstop.

11. Oakland Athletics

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Jarrod Parker (RHP)   

    Rank: 26

    ERA: 3.79

    Strikeouts: 112

    W-L: 11-8

    Jarrod Parker was brought over from Arizona to an Oakland Athletics squad in need of young pitchers. Parker is a former 2007 first-round pick who has yet to live up to expectations and has undergone Tommy John surgery in the past.

    Parker joins 2010 first-round pick Michael Choice as two of Oakland's top prospects in 2012. Choice crushed 30 home runs in the minors, making him a threat at the plate in both the minor and pros, but the 22-year-old did have trouble with 134 strikeouts as part of his success. The Athletics are always looking for new talent, so it's not surprising to see that they are continuing to add depth.

12. Washington Nationals

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Bryce Harper  (OF)   

    Rank: 2

    AVG: .297

    HR: 17

    RBI: 58

    OBP: .392

    A lot of pressure comes with the being the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, but Bryce Harper has certainly lived up to the hype the Washington Nationals expected from him in 2010. At just 19 years of age, Harper has developed into a fine player and seems ready to play at the next level when the 2012 season gets underway.

    In addition to Harper, the Nationals selected third baseman Anthony Rendon with the sixth pick in the 2011 draft out of the University of Houston. Rendon has all the potential to play at the hot corner, but will probably spend time in the minors considering the fact that Ryan Zimmerman has third base locked down for the Nationals in the big leagues.

    Pitchers Alex Meyer and Sammy Solis round out the final two of Washington's four top 100 prospects.

13. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    2011 First-Round Pick

    Gerrit Cole (RHP)   

    Rank: 11

    2011 overall first pick Gerrit Cole out of UCLA will compliment top prospect Jameson Taillon in Pittsburgh. Both pitchers are former first-round picks that need time to develop, but the Pirates will have pitching depth with Cole, Taillon and the other prospects in the Pirates farm system.

    The Pirates also selected outfielder Josh Bell in the second round of the draft to try and bolster their outfield prospects. Bell is a high school draftee with a lot of upside, but will probably spend a lot of time in the minors improving.

14. Colorado Rockies

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Drew Pomeranz (LHP)   

    Rank: 24

    ERA: 1.78

    Strikeouts: 119

    W-L: 4-3

    The Colorado Rockies have a couple of solid prospects this year in Nolan Arenado, Drew Pomeranz and Wilin Rosario. Arenado is a power-hitting third baseman who had 20 home runs in the minors last season to go with 122 RBIs. Rosario is another power hitter for the Rockies who smashed 21 home runs in the minor leagues. Pomeranz is a 2012 first-round draft pick who played briefly in the majors during 2011 and has the ability to break into the rotation next season.

15. New York Yankees

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Dellin Betances (RHP)   

    Rank: 41

    ERA: 3.70

    Strikeouts: 142

    W-L: 4-9

    2006 draft selection Dellin Betances is an experienced minor-league prospect who has seen his share of big-league playing time, but injuries kept him from staying there in 2011. The New York Yankees also have a very talented left-handed pitcher in 20-year-old Manny Banuelos. The two of them will compete for a slot in the Yankee rotation, but there is no guarantee they will be regulars during the 2012 season. New York has done a fine job collecting young arms, but there is still a need for position players.

16. New York Mets

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Zack Wheeler (RHP)   

    Rank: 28

    ERA: 3.52

    Strikeouts: 129

    W-L: 9-7

    The New York Mets are stacked with pitching prospects this season, and their best is right-hander Zack Wheeler. Wheeler has good size for a pitcher and the talent to make a bid for a spot in the Mets 2012 rotation.

    Wheeler, along with Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia, are the core of the Mets system and should pay dividends when the time comes. All three players are capable of playing at the next level if they continue their minor-league success.

17. Minnesota Twins

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Miguel Sano (3B)   

    Rank: 23

    AVG: .292

    HR: 20

    RBI: 59

    OBP: .352

    Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has been praying for a guy like Miguel Sano to come his way through the Twins system. Sano has exceptional power at the plate, given his 20 home runs in the minors last season. Sano should challenge for a spot in the majors with his big bat, and outfielder Aaron Hicks could be another piece to add if need be.

    Hicks has good speed for an outfielder, but with average hitting. Sano's play is promising for the Twins' future, but his departure could leave a gap in the team's farm system.

18. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Mike Trout (OF)   

    Rank: 3

    AVG: 326

    HR: 11

    RBI: 38

    SB: 33

    OBP: .414

    Los Angeles Angels fans must be ecstatic about their team in 2012 with the additions of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson during the offseason, and with good reason. Even before Pujols and Wilson arrived, Angels fans caught first glimpses of the future in Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout. Trumbo wound up earning himself a permanent position in the lineup, while Trout got a considerable amount of playing time before being sent back down to the minors.

    Scouts will argue that Trout shouldn't even be considered a prospect anymore since a move to the majors is inevitable in the near future, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Now that Pujols takes over first base, it's to be assumed that Trumbo will transition to either third base or the designated hitter role, thus filling out the Angels roster. The only way Trout sees playing time in the big leagues is if the injury bug hits the team again or if the decision is made to use Trout as a utility player in the outfield, giving starters rest days.

    The Angels' two remaining top 100 prospects are shortstop Jean Segura and right-handed pitcher Garret Richards. Segura was injury prone last season, and Richards is an average player with minimal upside.

19. Chicago Cubs

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Brett Jackson (OF)   

    Rank: 33

    AVG: .274

    HR: 20

    RBI: 58

    SB: 21

    OBP: .379

    The Chicago Cubs have some good sluggers in Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo. Jackson is the complete package with power, speed and a feel for the outfield defensively. Rizzo, on the other hand, is a slugging first baseman that could easily make his way to the big leagues in 2012. The Cubs may want to develop Jackson a little more in the minors, but look for him to be a solid regular in the outfield for Chicago in the future.

20. Baltimore Orioles

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Manny Machado (SS)   

    Rank: 6

    AVG: .257

    HR: 11

    RBI: 50

    SB: 11

    OBP: .335

    The Baltimore Orioles have begun a trend of getting younger with their draft selections in the past two years. In 2010, the Orioles selected shortstop Manny Machado to be their future infield star, but Machado suffered a knee injury and was out a whole month before returning to the minors. Machado did not overly impress with his shortened season, but 2012 will be a fresh start for the 19-year-old.

    In 2011, the Orioles selected another high school player in pitcher Dylan Bundy with the fourth-overall pick. Machado and Bundy are the only Orioles players in the top 100, but with so little experience, it will be a few years before they challenge for positions in the big leagues. These two players will be worth the wait, as they have high ceilings ahead of them in their careers.

21. Cincinnati Reds

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Devin Mesoraco (C)   

    Rank: 14

    AVG: .289

    HR: 15

    RBI: 71

    OBP: .371

    The Cincinnati Reds did their part to make room for top prospect Devin Mesoraco to be the starting catcher in 2012, but it remains to be seen whether the team will follow through on their plans. Mesoraco had an impressive 2011 in the minor leagues and was called up to the majors as well. With Ramon Hernandez gone, the 23-year-old Mesoraco could be a starter for years to come.

    The Reds also have a speedy shortstop in 21-year-old Billy Hamilton. In the minors, Hamilton managed to steal a greedy 103 bases. This shortstop is another potential lead-off hitter with speed to help the Reds right now.

22. Detroit Tigers

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Jacob Turner (RHP)   

    Rank: 15

    ERA: 3.44

    Strikeouts: 110

    W-L: 4-5

    Succeeding pitching prowess like that of Justin Verlander will be tough work for pitching prospects in Detroit, but Jacob Turner has the skill set to break into the rotation for the Tigers in 2012. The 2009 first-round draft choice may not have a great record, but showed he has the tools to manage games on the mound.

    The Tigers' next best prospect is their 2011 draft selection, Nick Castellanos, who was originally a shortstop in high school, but has to transition to third base. Castellanos is still young at 20 years old, but his abilities at the plate make him a strong candidate to move to the next level soon.

23. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Zach Lee (RHP)   

    Rank: 45

    ERA: 3.47

    Strikeouts: 91

    W-L: 9-6

    LA Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt has seen his share of great pitchers, and it will be his job to groom the next crop of young pitchers should they make it to the big leagues next season.

    Zach Lee and Allen Webster are next in line for Dodger greatness, as they will compete in the minors for a shot at the major league rotation. Some of the pitchers in the Dodgers rotation are starting to get a bit older, and preparing a young player for the big-league atmosphere may be a good idea in 2012.

24. Philadelphia Phillies

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Trevor May (RHP)   

    Rank: 54

    ERA: 3.63

    Strikeouts: 208

    W-L: 10-8

    The Philadelphia Phillies have some of the best pitching in baseball with guys like Roy Halladay on the mound, but new talent is emerging from the farm system. Trevor May headlines a pitching group with a dominating approach on the mound. May and prospects Jesse Biddle and Brody Colvin will probably stay in the minor leagues next season, as the Phillies are already loaded with great pitchers in the majors, but if injuries do occur, then May could be a viable option for Philadelphia.

25. San Francisco Giants

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Gary Brown (OF)   

    Rank: 48

    AVG: .336

    HR: 14

    RBI: 80

    OBP: .407

    Gary Brown and Francisco Peguero are the two top prospects in the San Francisco Giants organization. Brown is a speedy outfielder with an average bat that could make it to the majors if the Giants get hit with injuries. Peguero, on the other hand, is an aging prospect that may be called up soon due to a pretty successful 2011 season.

    The Giants farm system has had success in the past with players like Buster Posey, so Brown and Peguero could enjoy similar success if they are brought up in a similar manner.

26. Houston Astros

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    2012 Top Prospect

    George Springer (OF)   

    Rank: 84

    AVG: .179

    HR: 1

    RBI: 3

    OBP: .303 

    2011 first-round draft pick George Springer had a successful career at the University of Connecticut, but only time will tell if he's ready to play in the pros. Springer and first baseman Jonathan Singleton are the top prospects in Houston, with hardly any talented pitchers in the system.

    Springer has the size and all the makings to be a good outfielder for the Astros, but again, this may be a situation where the players let their players develop rather than call them up early and possibly ruin their progression.

27. Milwuakee Brewers

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Wily Peralta (RHP)   

    Rank: 49

    ERA: 3.17

    Strikeouts: 157

    W-L: 11-7

    The Milwaukee Brewers will showcase their pitching prospects this season, as Wily Peralta and Jed Bradley lead the pack for the Brewers system. Peralta is a power pitcher who led the team in strikeouts last season and could be a starter in the rotation early this season, while first-round pick Bradley will begin his career in the minor leagues to hone his skills before he attempts to find a spot in the Brewers rotation as well. While the Brewers system is a bit thin, the quality of these two pitchers is top notch considering their potential.

28. Cleveland Indians

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Francisco Lindor (SS)   

    Rank: 32

    AVG: .316

    HR: 0

    RBI: 2

    OBP: .350

    Francisco Lindor was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Cleveland Indians and will be a future star in the big leagues. The 18-year-old prospect didn't get an opportunity to play much during the 2011 season, but his upside is too high to overlook at the shortstop position. Lindor plays the position well and is improving his batting skills in order to be ready for 2012 season.

    The Indians will need more help than Lindor to help the Tribe next season, though. Other than Lindor, the Indians do not have any other notable prospects that could make an early impact in 2012. It may be time to start preparing for the future in Cleveland.

29. Miami Marlins

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Matt Dominguez (3B)   

    Rank: 87

    AVG: .249

    HR: 12

    RBI: 58

    OBP: .309

    The stylish new Miami Marlins have a fresh new logo but are lacking in fresh new faces. Only two prospects stand out in Miami, and they are outfielder Christian Yelich and third-baseman Matt Dominguez.

    Miami will be looking for young stars in 2012, but neither of these outfielders seem ready to play at the next level. Dominguez is a great fielder, but is inconsistent at the plate, and Yelich has played well, but is still a bit young to be playing with the big boys next season.

30. Chicago White Sox

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    2012 Top Prospect

    Addison Reed (RHP)   

    Rank: 100

    ERA: 1.26

    Strikeouts: 111

    W-L: 2-1

    Addison Reed had big shoes to fill at San Diego State University when he took over the starting role in the rotation for Stephen Strasburg. Reed performed well in that role, and it has translated into a solid start to his pro career. Reed even got some playing time in the majors because of his success.

    As the only top 100 prospect in the White Sox farm system, Reed will need to play extremely well to become a regular in the majors. The White Sox organization will need to sign younger talent if they want to keep their farm system alive, as most of their prospects are beginning to age in the minors.

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