A lot has changed since preseason prospect lists were released. A number of top prospects such as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper have been called up to the majors. Other talented prospects have struggled.
Most recently, MLB teams have selected a number of new players in the 2012 MLB draft. These players will have a major impact on farm system rankings moving forward.
For the sake of this article, it will be assumed that all players will sign with the teams that drafted them. This obviously will not be the case, but this at least provides a possible glimpse into what the farm system rankings may look like next year.
Coming into the 2012 season, the Chicago White Sox had one of the weakest farm systems in the majors. Not much has changed since then.
Chicago selected Courtney Hawkins with its first pick in the 2012 MLB draft, and as soon as he signs, he will immediately become the team's top positional prospect.
Following his outstanding performance in High-A ball in 2012, Gary Brown flew up the prospect rankings and became the San Francisco Giants' top prospect. He has struggled mightily this year in Double-A.
The Giants chose Mississippi State pitcher Chris Stratton with their first pick this year. He had an ERA over 5.00 during his first two years in college, but he has good stuff. Stratton has performed much better in 2012, and it should be interesting to see how his stuff translates to the next level.
Trading for Ubaldo Jimenez in 2011 depleted the Cleveland Indians farm system. They began to restock last season when they drafted Francisco Lindor.
Cleveland continued to add to its farm system by drafting Tyler Naquin out of Texas A&M. He is a very good hitter, but he does not have the power profile that an MLB corner outfielder has. The Indians would have been better off adding pitching to their minor-league system.
Pitching is certainly a strength in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system. However, two of their top pitching prospects, Trevor May and Brody Colvin, have struggled this year.
The Phillies did not get to select until the 40th overall pick of the 2012 MLB draft after they signed Jonathan Papelbon this offseason. When they finally selected, the Phillies selected high school pitcher Shane Watson. While he is a nice addition to their system, he cannot move the Phillies that far up the rankings.
The Milwaukee Brewers have a pitching-heavy farm system, but they do not have any prospects who look like they are going to turn into superstars. Top Brewers prospects such as Wily Peralta and Jed Bradley have struggled.
Milwaukee went after a number of position prospects this year—guys who have a lot of potential. High school catcher Clint Coulter and Georgia Southern outfielder Victor Roache both have a lot of potential. Roache is a huge power threat, and he could turn into a big-time prospect for the Brewers.
Mike Trout has graduated from the minors for the Los Angeles Angels, which certainly has a large impact on where their farm system is ranked. The team still has a number of good prospects, including Garrett Richards and Jean Segura.
Following their busy offseason, the Angels were not able to make a selection until the 114th pick of the 2012 MLB draft. At the moment, none of the players the Angels chose will move them up the rankings.
It is believed that a team can never have too many pitching prospects, and the Los Angeles Dodgers have certainly followed that approach. Four out of their top five prospects are pitchers.
The Dodgers looked to fill their minor-league system with position players during this year's draft. They chose two high school shortstops, Corey Seager and Jesmuel Valentin, with their first two picks this year.
The Cincinnati Reds farm system took a hit when they traded a few of their best prospects away to acquire Mat Latos. They also saw the graduation of Zack Cozart from their prospect list.
Speedster Billy Hamilton and catcher Devin Mesoraco have the potential to do impressive things in the bigs. The team does have three solid pitching prospects, including Tony Cingrani, but the system is not too deep after that.
Nicholas Travieso was the Reds' choice with the 14th overall pick in this year's draft. He is a boom-or-bust type of guy, as he has great stuff but still needs a lot of time to develop.
There have certainly been some surprises in the New York Yankees farm system this year. Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances have gotten off to rough starts. However, Tyler Austin is looking like a future star.
Oklahoma high school pitcher Ty Hensley was the Yankees' first pick in this year's draft, and he has all the makings of a big-league starter. He has set an aggressive timetable for himself and wants to reach the majors by the time he is 21 years old.
Jacob Turner is one of the top pitching prospects in the majors, and Nick Castellanos is one of the best third base prospects in the game. They are both Detroit Tigers minor leaguers. Detroit has a number of other players in its system who could soon become contributors.
Jacob Thompson was the team's first selection and was chosen 91st overall. He has been described as a power arm by Jim Callis of Baseball America (via Detroit Free Press).
Bryce Harper has shown why he was ranked as the game's No. 1 prospect heading into the season ever since he has been promoted to the big leagues. The team has also seen Stephen Lombardozzi contribute at the big-league level.
That does not mean that the Nationals system is now devoid of talent. They still have 2011 first-round pick Anthony Rendon, as well as Matt Purke. Potentially adding Lucas Giolito to the Nationals farm system prevents it from falling too far.
One of the things that made the Oakland Athletics farm system so interesting coming into the season is that they had a number of pitching prospects who could reach the majors this year. Jarrod Parker and Tom Milone have done just that.
The Athletics took a gamble with their first pick, and Addison Russell can be considered a bit of a reach at the No. 11 spot. He will have to show what he can do in the minors before he moves up the prospect rankings in the Athletics system.
So far this season it looks like Jose Fernandez is the best prospect from the 2011 MLB draft class, not named Dylan Bundy. He is looking like an elite prospect for the Marlins. The team also has two potential outfielders to build around in Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.
With their first pick in this season's draft, the Marlins selected pitcher Andrew Heaney from Oklahoma State. He is considered a polished pitcher who could move quickly through the Marlins system.
The rebuilding process has begun for the Houston Astros, and they may need to rely on their current minor leaguers over the next few years in the hopes that they can turn the team around. The good news is that the Astros have a lot of guys such as Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart who can contribute.
Houston had the first overall pick in the 2012 MLB draft, and it chose Carlos Correa, a high school shortstop who has been compared to Alex Rodriguez. He is certainly a big piece to add to the Astros system.
Will Middlebrooks will see his prospect eligibility run out very soon, but he does get included for the sake of this list. Even when Middlebrooks can no longer be considered a prospect, the Boston Red Sox will have a strong farm system.
The team is stacked with a number of players who have the potential to contribute at the big-league level. Picking up Deven Marrero was a great move by the Red Sox, as ESPN's Keith Law considered him a steal (via SB Nation Boston).
Anthony Rizzo has been absolutely dominant in the minor leagues this year, and he looks like one of the best offensive prospects in baseball. The Chicago Cubs also have a number of other talented positional prospects, such as Matt Szczur and Brett Jackson. The Cubs' pitching prospects are not at the same level.
Chicago used its first pick on potential star outfielder Albert Almora but then shifted its focus to pick up pitching prospects such as Pierce Johnson.
Few farm systems are as tough to get a read on as the Minnesota Twins system. They have a number of guys with boom-or-bust potential, including Miguel Sano, Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks and Eddie Rosario.
Minnesota added another player who could be a big contributor in the majors when it selected Byron Buxton, an outfielder from Appling County High School, with the second pick in the 2012 MLB draft. It has been noted that Buxton has five-tool potential and could be a star.
The Colorado Rockies have a farm system that is talented at the top, but they also have a lot of depth. Nolan Arenado is the crown jewel of the system, and Trevor Story is another guy who stands out. Colorado also has a number of talented young pitchers in the minors.
David Dahl was selected by the Rockies in the first round of this year's draft, and he has the potential to be a run producer. The power is not there yet, but it could still develop as he fills out his frame.
Two of the Atlanta Braves' top prospects have recently been called up to the majors. Both Julio Teheran and Andrelton Simmons may be staying there for good. Starter Randall Delgado no longer qualifies as a prospect based on the number of innings he has thrown in the majors.
The Braves' first-round pick, high schooler Lucas Sims, will have a long way to go to reach the majors. He needs to develop his secondary pitches, but he does have the potential to be a No. 2 starter, according to Brian French of Seedlings to Stars.
The importance of pitching cannot be overstated, and the New York Mets have made it part of their development strategy to have a number of young arms. Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Jenrry Mejia andcould all be part of the Mets pitching staff soon.
The Mets have a number of talented prospects on the other side of the ball as well. Brandon Nimmo, Cesar Puello and Wilmer Flores all could be impact players, and Jordany Valdespin is already producing in the majors.
Adding Gavin Cecchini to the Mets farm system will only make it better.
Having a player like Matt Moore no longer qualify as a prospect would send almost every team down the farm system rankings, but not the Tampa Bay Rays. They still have an incredibly talented system.
Pitchers Alexander Torres and Taylor Guerrieri, along with shortstop Hak-Ju Lee and outfielder Mikie Mahtook, are some of the top players in the Rays system. Tampa Bay chose Richie Shaffer, one of the top collegiate bats in this year's draft, with its first pick.
Dylan Bundy is trying to make the case that he should be rated as the best prospect in baseball by the end of the year with his performance this season. Lights-out would be the best possible way to describe him. Adding in Manny Machado, the Orioles may have two top-10 prospects when the season is over.
Baltimore spent its first pick in the 2012 MLB draft on another pitcher who could be a difference-maker. LSU pitcher Kevin Gausman has front-of-the-rotation potential and could eventually form a lethal one-two with Bundy.
It is possible that the Arizona Diamondbacks may have more pitching prospects than they know what to do with. Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs, Archie Bradley and Andrew Chafin are all top pitching prospects in the Diamondbacks system. One of them could eventually end up being trade bait.
Arizona went for a position player with its first pick and chose high school catcher Stryker Trahan. He is a long way from reaching the big leagues, but Trahan will certainly be one of the Diamondbacks' top 10 prospects next year.
It is scary to think what the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation could look like in four or five years. Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon and Luis Heredia all have top-of-the rotation stuff. Add in 2012 first-round draft pick Mark Appel, and the Pirates have an outstanding rotation in the making.
Alen Hanson has been one of the biggest surprises in the minor leagues this year, and he gives the Pirates a top offensive prospect, although his defense does need work. Josh Bell and Robbie Grossman are two others to keep an eye on.
Over the past few years the Kansas City Royals have been able to graduate a number of their top prospects to the major leagues and still maintain a top farm system. They deserve credit for this.
Right now, the Royals' top prospect is Wil Myers. He is on course to be an outstanding player. Bubba Starling and Cheslor Cuthbert are also intriguing prospects. Pitching prospects Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery could reach the majors soon.
Joining these talented prospects in the Royals system is pitcher Kyle Zimmer of the University of San Francisco.
There is likely not a better trio of pitchers in the minor leagues than Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton. All of these starters are close to being major-league-ready, and they are all very talented.
In addition to these pitchers, the Seattle Mariners have a number of hitters who could become impact bats. Shortstop Nick Franklin has a lot of power for a middle infielder. 2012 first-round draft pick Mike Zunino from the University of Florida could be on a fast track to the majors.
When the San Diego Padres traded Mat Latos to the Cincinnati Reds, they were able to fill their farm system with a few of the Reds' top prospects. Yasmani Grandal, Yonder Alonso (no longer a prospect) and Brad Boxberger joined Rymer Liriano and Robbie Erlin in the Padres system.
With the seventh pick in the 2012 MLB draft, the Padres choose Harvard-Westlake lefty Max Fried, who has one of the best arms in this year's draft class.
Coming into the season, Lance Lynn was ranked as the sixth-best prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system, according to John Sickels of Minor League Ball. Imagine how good the Cardinals could be in a few years if the guys ranked in front of Lynn also live up to their potential.
Electric arms such as Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez, Tyrell Jenkins and Trevor Rosenthal are some of the highlights of the Cardinals' minor-league rotations. Outfielder Oscar Taveras has been dominating Double-A pitching at the age of 20.
With five picks in the first 60, the Cardinals were able to go after a number of talented players, such as Texas A&M pitcher Michael Wacha and outfielder James Ramsey from Florida State.
The Texas Rangers have been to back-to-back World Series, and they could stay a threat to reach the World Series if their farm system continues to produce outstanding talent. Jurickson Profar, Leonys Martin, Mike Olt and Martin Perez could all be making an impact for the Rangers soon.
There are a number of other players in the Rangers system, such as Rougned Odor and Justin Grimm, who have looked very impressive.
Texas took a risk with its first pick and reached for high school outfielder Lewis Brinson. Its gamble could pay off, as it was noted on ESPN that he has one of the highest upsides of any position player in the 2012 draft class.
The list of Toronto Blue Jays prospects who could develop into above-average, big-league players is likely the longest of any team in baseball. Travis d'Arnaud, Jake Marisnick, Anthony Gose, A.J. Jimenez andare all talented positional prospects.
Toronto has an even more impressive list of pitching prospects. Noah Syndergaard, Justin Nicolino, Daniel Norris, Deck McGuire, Aaron Sanchez, Asher Wojciechowski, Adonys Cardona and Roberto Osuna are all pitchers with at least middle-of-the-rotation upside.
D.J. Davis, a speedy outfielder from Stone County High School, was the Blue Jays' first pick. He projects to be a leadoff hitter. With their second pick in the first round, the Blue Jays chose pitcher Marcus Stroman from Duke University. Stroman could reach the majors as a reliever by the end of this year.