MLB Trade Scenarios: Ranking MLB Farm Systems Entering 'Deadline Week'

Mark MillerCorrespondent IJuly 29, 2012

MLB Trade Scenarios: Ranking MLB Farm Systems Entering 'Deadline Week'

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    The 2012 MLB trade deadline is just a few days away and GMs all across the league are probably losing plenty of sleep as they continue to do whatever they can to better their rosters, be it for a postseason push, or a long-term rebuild.

    Some teams have already made their moves, as players like Hanley Ramirez and Zack Greinke have already found themselves in new clubhouses, but that doesn't mean there won't be plenty more to come.

    Farm systems are always a big part of any trade, as teams have prospects that others will always covet, and even though they may seem "untouchable," the right price can make almost anything possible. 

30. Chicago White Sox

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    The Chicago White Sox have already made one big move this summer in acquiring Kevin Youkilis from the Boston Red Sox, but if GM Kenny Williams has it his way, they may not be done just yet.

    Sitting atop the AL Central by just a half game, the Sox would no doubt love to add a pitcher like Zack Greinke for a potseason push, but the reality is that their farm system may not be enough to get a deal done.

29. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    After moving to acquire Hanley Ramirez last week, the Los Angeles Dodgers definitely sent a signal that they're looking to contend, now.

    The Dodgers may be looking to respond to their American League counterparts trade for Zack Greinke with the possibility of bringing in a pitcher like Ryan Dempster, but they may not have the prospects in their farm system to make that dream a reality.

28. Cleveland Indians

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    Prior to last season's acquisition of Ubaldo Jimenez, the Cleveland Indians had a number of strong prospects in their farm system.

    With some promising infield prospects like Francisco Lindor and Tony Wolters, the middle of the team's infield could take on a new look in a few seasons.

27. Miami Marlins

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    With outfielder Christian Yelich representing the Miami Marlins' top prospect, the team's organization could be getting some additional boosts this coming week as other players may end up departing.

    Hanley Ramirez already brought in a good return, and if Josh Johnson ends up being dealt, things will no doubt be looking better down on the farm.

26. San Francisco Giants

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    The San Francisco Giants farm system took its biggest hit last summer when they gave up the highly touted Zack Wheeler to get Carlos Beltran, but there are still some prospects worth watching.

    It's hard to predict which they'll be willing to move, but with Buster Posey set at catcher and some good catching prospects in the organization, the team could look to build on the momentum gained after their recent acquisition of Marco Scutaro from the Rockies.

25. Detroit Tigers

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    For quite some time, many wondered whether or not the Detroit Tigers would end up making a move to improve their starting rotation as they look to make their mark on the AL Central.

    The Tigers farm system hasn't been up to par compared to the past thanks in part to trades that have been made (along with less than stellar drafting), but the team did still manage to improve two positions last week in acquiring Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante from Miami.

24. Milwaukee Brewers

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    The Milwaukee Brewers farm system got a big jolt yesterday with the trading of ace Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels.

    In sending Greinke out west, the Brewers picked up three top-20 prospects from Los Angeles, two of which are set to toe the rubber in the Major Leagues shortly.

23. New York Mets

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    The New York Mets farm system boasts a phenomenal pitching prospect in Zack Wheeler, and while he's almost certainly untouchable, there are a number of other players that are impact-type players.

    Depending on which bullpen arm the team seeks out toward the deadline, they may end up moving some less MLB-ready prospects, but with some ready to step up, they won't be out of luck if they don't get a deal done.

22. Baltimore Orioles

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    With a couple of top prospects like Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy coming through their system recently, it's not surprising to see many believing that the Baltimore Orioles have huge upside in the coming years.

    The O's also have some moveable infield prospects at their disposal that could be used to get an impact player in return if they look to make a move next week.

21. Los Angeles Angels

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    The Los Angeles Angels minor league organization may have taken a hit yesterday when they sent three top prospects to Milwaukee in exchange for Zack Greinke, but the team certainly won't regret that decision as they now have to be one of the teams to beat in the AL.

    With players like Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo coming through the farm system recently, it's clear to see the Angels know how to develop top talent when they get their hands on it.

20. Cincinnati Reds

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    The farm system for the Cincinnati Reds took a hit this offseason when the team sent a number of prospects to San Diego in acquiring Mat Latos from the Padres.

    Catcher Devin Mesoraco came into the season as the team's top prospect and when speedster Billy Hamilton makes his way to the Major Leagues, the Reds will certainly add a new dimension to their roster.

19. Oakland Athletics

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    Trading away some top pieces like Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez this past offseason certainly helped bolster the talent in the Oakland Athletics organization from the bottom.

    Now, the A's find themselves within striking distance of a postseason appearance and should the team opt to make a move in the next week, they may have the pieces necessary to get a deal done.

18. Minnesota Twins

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    Based on some of their more recent drafts, you would think the Minnesota Twins would have a better farm system on their hands.

    For all the talent they have in their outfield, however, the team lacks much in the way of starting pitching when it comes to the farm system—something they'll surely look to address as they consider trading away some mainstays over the next week. 

17. Philadelphia Phillies

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    The Philadelphia Phillies surprised many with their massive contract extension given to Cole Hamels, though that commitment certainly won't mean they won't trade players next week.

    As they look to find long-term solutions to help the franchise in the coming years, they'll have no trouble in bringing in top prospects if they choose to trade away players like Hunter Pence before the end of July.

16. Houston Astros

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    The Houston Astros had a relatively strong farm system as it was heading into this season, though a number of moves made in recent weeks should only help the team's outlook as they make their move to the American League.

    The pieces in return for Wandy Rodriguez, Carlos Lee and Brett Myers may not be ready immediately, but the team's standings in most organizational rankings should definitely head in the right direction.

15. Boston Red Sox

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    The Boston Red Sox farm system may not have any top prospects like Mike Trout or Bryce Harper waiting in the wings, but that certainly doesn't mean they don't have their share of impact players that could make their way into a lineup in the future.

    A number of recent draftees should definitely help the team build up their standings in the organizational rankings, and if they end up selling at the deadline, that will only help add-on to the talent in waiting.

14. Colorado Rockies

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    The Colorado Rockies brought in talented prospects last season when they sent ace Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland prior to the deadline.

    They've had some bad luck with top picks over recent seasons, but that's not saying that top prospects like Nolan Arenado won't be able to contribute in a short matter of time.

    Marco Scutaro's departure may not have yielded the biggest return, but other valuable pieces could certainly bring in a haul if they end up being shipped out of Coors Field.

13. New York Yankees

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    The New York Yankees have boasted strong pitching prospects in Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances in their farm system for years now, but aside from that, they have lacked some of the depth that a team could hope for.

    It's not biting them at this point as their current roster boasts a plethora of all-stars, but making another deadline deal could prove difficult if they hope to keep their best prospects in house.

12. Tampa Bay Rays

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    The Tampa Bay Rays have been one of the best run organizations in baseball for years, managing to field very competitive ballclubs on a yearly basis in spite of playing in one of the hardest divisions in baseball with a shoestring budget.

    They have a number of prospects widely regarded as some of the best in baseball as it is, and may be in a position to bolster their farm system even further if they opt to trade starting pitcher James Shields prior to the July 31st trade deadline.

11. Chicago Cubs

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    With the Chicago Cubs set to sell this week, Theo Epstein will have his hands full as he looks to get the best return possible for Ryan Dempster and anyone else that could be departing from Wrigley Field.

    Whoever is added to the farm system will join an already deep system with prospects like Brett Jackson and newly signed Jorge Soler.

10. Washington Nationals

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    The Washington Nationals may have moved some important prospects to add pieces like Gio Gonzalez to their 2012 roster, but they've held onto their top talent down on the farm recently and it's definitely translated to success on the field.

    They're in position to do very big things in the last months of the season, and should they opt to make a trade in these final days, they should definitely be able to move some of the arms they have at their disposal.

9. St. Louis Cardinals

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    The St. Louis Cardinals may have taken a hit this past offseason when they lost longtime mainstay Albert Pujols to the west coast, but they're continuing to remain relevant in the NL Central, and will likely continue to contend thanks in part to the young stars that are ready to emerge.

    They've got Shelby Miller honing in his skills in Class-AAA this season, and a number of highly thought of international prospects should make the transition to major league play before we know it.

8. Atlanta Braves

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    You might think of it as somewhat of a defeat in Atlanta when Ryan Dempster didn't end up coming to town and Zack Greinke ended up with the Los Angeles Angels—but you just need to look to the team's farm system to see where the real future of the rotation lies.

    With Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado and Arodys Vizcaino set to become big-name arms in this league, the Braves pitching staff should be in good shape for years to come.

7. Seattle Mariners

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    The already deep farm system in Seattle got another lift this past week when longtime Mariner Ichiro Suzuki was shipped out to New York, and while the return may not yield immediate results, there are other facets of the farm system that should be making impacts in no time.

    Danny Hultzen represents the team's top prospect, but he's just one of a number of arms that promise to do big things for the team's pitching staff in the next year or two.

6. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    The Pittsburgh Pirates made a huge move to continue their ascent to relevance this past week in acquiring Wandy Rodriguez from the Houston Astros.

    They may have sent out some useable pieces in the deal, but the team still has one of the best groups of arms in any minor league system in Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon and Luis Heredia.

5. San Diego Padres

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    As the San Diego Padres continue to do whatever they can to get back to postseason play in the NL West, they've got a number of prospects that promise to play a big role in the coming years.

    In sending out Mat Latos this past offseason, the Padres did move one of the best arms in the game, but at the same time brought in a handful of players that could help the fanbase forget about Latos in due time.

4. Toronto Blue Jays

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    As the Toronto Blue Jays continue to try to inch their way closer to contending in the always tough AL East, GM Alex Anthopoulos has plenty of prospects on hand to ensure they're able to compete in the near future.

    Sitting nine games out in the division, it's unlikely they'd consider buying at the deadline this season, but with a solid core on hand, it'd be hard to believe they'll do much of anything in the way of selling.

3. Kansas City Royals

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    With the emergence of prospects like Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas at the major league level, you might think the Kansas City Royals farm system could be looking to reload on top talent, but that's definitely not the case in K.C. as the team still has plenty left in the tank.

    With Wil Myers representing their top prospect and a number of pitchers working their way up the system, the Royals shouldn't be too far from contending in the AL Central once again.

2. Texas Rangers

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    Only time will tell as to whether or not the Texas Rangers have had their hands forced by the Los Angeles Angels acquisition of Zack Greinke this week, but even if they force themselves into a trade, they have the tools to make the deal work.

    Prospects like Jurickson Profar will almost certainly be untouchable for teams calling on the Rangers this week, but with plenty of other options that would make most organizations salivate, the Rangers could still continue to be the team to beat.

1. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    The best move the Arizona Diamondbacks may have made recently didn't even cost them prospects, as Jason Kubel has proven to be one of the best offseason free agent signings throughout the league.

    With the D-Backs currently sitting a handful of games out in the NL West, they still may be looking to sell before the deadline, as Justin Upton's name continues to circle the wagons.

    If they do end up dealing a player like Upton, their already deep farm system will only get deeper.