MLB Power Rankings: Re-Ranking All 30 MLB Farm Systems Post-Trade Deadline

Mike Rosenbaum@GoldenSombreroMLB Prospects Lead WriterAugust 1, 2012

MLB Power Rankings: Re-Ranking All 30 MLB Farm Systems Post-Trade Deadline

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    With yesterday’s chaotic yet disappointing 2012 MLB trade deadline now behind us, it’s significantly easier to digest and analyze all of the deals that transpired over the past week.

    For teams like the Cubs, Phillies, Astros and Marlins, the goal for this year’s deadline was simple: build towards the future. On the other hand, the Tigers, Dodgers, Angels and Rangers were unabashedly "all-in," unified by the desire to obtain the top big-league talent on the market.

    When it was all said and done, multiple organizations netted a new crop of promising prospects in exchanged for major-league talent, and, in turn, significantly improved the overall standing of their team’s farm system.

    Therefore, I have ranked each organization, Nos. 1-30, based upon the state of their farm system, and put together a separate ranking of each team’s top-five prospects—and yes, this time, it includes players from the 2012 draft class.

30. San Francisco Giants

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    Overview: After trading Zack Wheeler to the Mets for Carlos Beltran at this time last season, the Giants’ farm system has been considerably weaker. Both Brown and Panik have turned in disappointing seasons—although Brown has worked his way back to respectable thanks to a hot bat in July—and their top pitching prospects are still years away from contributing. I must admit that I was surprised to learn the Hunter Pence deal didn’t involve either Brown or Crick.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Gary Brown, OF (23)

    2. Chris Stratton, RHP (21)

    3. Kyle Crick, RHP (19)

    4. Clayton Blackburn, RHP (19)

    5. Joe Panik, SS (21)

29. Atlanta Braves

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    Overview: Despite turning in a highly disappointing season at Triple-A, Teheran still ranks as the Braves’ top prospect. Beyond that, their system is shockingly thin—although there are a few intriguing pitching prospects mixed in here and there.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Julio Teheran, RHP

    2. Andrelton Simmons, SS

    3. Sean Gilmartin, LHP

    4. Christian Bethancourt, C

    5. Lucas Sims, RHP

28. Detroit Tigers

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    Overview: Due to GM Dave Dombrowski’s sense of urgency and willingness to rush prospects up the organizational ladder, the Tigers struggle to keep their farm system stocked with more than a few high profile players at one time.

    In previous years, many of the team’s top prospects have been shipped off to acquire reputable major leaguers—and this year is no different. The good news is that they’re unwilling to part with Nick Castellanos, who has been playing right field at Double-A on a nightly basis.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Nick Castellanos, 3B/RF

    2. Avisail Garcia, OF

    3. Casey Crosby, LHP

    4. Jake Thompson, RHP

    5. Tyler Collins, OF

27. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Overview: After a last-minute fire-sale before Tuesday’s trade deadline, the Phillies’ farm system is once again respectable. Still, it’s surprising that they didn’t receive a top prospect for either Hunter Pence or Shane Victorino. Their system is still relatively weak overall, but their recent acquisitions are a step in the right direction.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Jesse Biddle, LHP

    2. Trevor May, RHP

    3. Tommy Joseph, C

    4. Ethan Martin, RHP

    5. Julio Rodriguez, RHP

26. Chicago White Sox

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    Overview: Perennially one of the worst—if not the worst—farm systems in all of baseball, the addition of draftees Courtney Hawkins and Keon Barnum is a substantial improvement. Still, neither player is exactly a "safe" bet to reach the major leagues, as they both possess loads of raw talent and are only beginning to understand how it can be utilized.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Courtney Hawkins, OF

    2. Keenyn Walker, OF

    3. Keon Barnum, 1B

    4. Andre Rienzo, RHP

    5. Carlos Sanchez, 2B/SS

25. Cleveland Indians

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    Overview: Beyond Francisco Lindor, who has the upside of an elite big-league shortstop for at least the next 10-15 years, the Indians’ system is bleak and lacks highly projectable talent. However, other than Tyler Naquin, most of the Tribe’s top prospects are young and therefore have time to develop.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Francisco Lindor, SS

    2. Dillon Howard, RHP

    3. Tyler Naquin, OF

    4. Ronny Rodriguez, SS

    5. Mitch Brown, RHP

24. Washington Nationals

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    Overview: A Nationals’ top prospect list just looks weird without Bryce Harper’s name at the top, right? Good, we agree.

    While the Gio Gonzalez acquisition cost the Nationals several promising pitching prospects, they still have a core of talented prospects that may reach the major leagues by late 2013. And if Lucas Giolito pans out, who really cares about about what they gave up for Gonzalez?


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Anthony Rendon, 3B

    2. Alex Meyer, RHP

    3. Brian Goodwin, OF

    4. Lucas Giolito, RHP

    5. Michael Taylor, OF

23. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Overview: Amazingly, the Dodgers didn't deal their top prospects in order to land either Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino prior to Tuesday’s trade deadline. After drafting pitchers in each of the last five years, they finally broke the trend this past June when they selected Corey Seager.

    Considering the inherent high-risk associated with each of their top-five prospects, fans will have to be very, very patient with their development. And besides, with new ownership, the team may be able to regularly buy big-league talent as needed.  


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Zach Lee, RHP

    2. Corey Seager, SS

    3. Allen Webster, RHP

    4. Joc Pederson, OF

    5. Chris Reed, LHP

22. New York Mets

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    Overview: Even though the Mets’ system lacks depth, especially positional talent, it does boast two of the game’s more promising right-handers in Wheeler and Harvey. Beyond those two, the majority of the Mets’ prospects are years away from making an impact in the major leagues. So don’t expect the organization to jeopardize their future and rush them through the system.  


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Zack Wheeler, RHP

    2. Matt Harvey, RHP

    3. Gavin Cecchini, SS

    4. Michael Fulmer, RHP

    5. Brandon Nimmo, OF

21. Los Angeles Angels

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    Overview: After trading three of their four top prospects to Brewers for Zack Greinke, the Angels’ system is severely depleted. Their new top prospect, Kaleb Cowart, is enjoying a breakout campaign, going from a player with contact issues to one with an advanced feel for the strike zone. Furthermore, the switch-hitting third baseman has emerged as a successful run producer despite a lack of power.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Kaleb Cowart, 3B

    2. C.J. Cron, 1B

    3. Nick Maronde, LHP

    4. Taylor Lindsey, 2B

    5. Randal Grichuk, OF

20. Chicago Cubs

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    Overview: With Anthony Rizzo already headlining the Cubs’ wave of the future in the major leagues, they will have to wait two or three more years for the reinforcements to arrive. But when they do—and it’s only logical to believe the Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will continue to add—the Cubs will field one of the youngest and most promising teams in the game.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Javier Baez, SS

    2. Albert Almora, OF

    3. Jorge Soler, OF

    4. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP

    5. Jeimer Candelario, 3B

19. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Overview: It cost the Brewers an arm and a leg to acquire Greinke prior to the 2011 season, when they traded RHP Jake Odorizzi, OF Lorenzo Cain, RHP Jeremy Jeffress and SS Alcides Escobar to the Royals for the 2009 Cy Young winner. But if you think about it, the Brewers invested in Greinke, who gained value, and then sold him for potentially a better crop of prospects than they originally traded.

    Each of the prospects that the Brewers acquired are either major-league ready or within one season reaching such status. More importantly, Segura, Hellweg and Pena all fit a specific need within their severely lacking system.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Jean Segura, 2B/SS

    2. Tyler Thornburg, RHP

    3. John Hellweg, RHP

    4. Jimmy Nelson, RHP

    5. Ariel Pena, RHP

18. Minnesota Twins

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    Overview: For a team that will have to rely heavily on minor league talent over the upcoming seasons, the Twins sure love high-risk, high-reward prospects. All five players on the list below fit that bill, although for Hicks and Rosario, it appears that they’re finally bridging the gap between their baseball skills and athleticism.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Byron Buxton, OF

    2. Miguel Sano, 3B

    3. Eddie Rosario, 2B

    4. Aaron Hicks, OF

    5. J.O. Berrios, RHP

17. Colorado Rockies

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    Overview: Although Arenado is having a disappointing season at Double-A, he has retained the status of the Rockies’ top-prospect. After that, however, is a mix of 2011 and 2012 draft picks, all of whom have flashed considerable upside during their young careers. There was a lot of skepticism regarding Dahl’s hit and power tool, but he has quickly quieted the doubters with an impressive professional debut.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Nolan Arenado, 3B

    2. Trevor Story, SS

    3. David Dahl, OF

    4. Tyler Anderson, LHP

    5. Eddie Butler, RHP

16. Cincinnati Reds

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    Overview: On any prospect list, it’s hard to look past Billy Hamilton—you may know him as the fastest man in baseball. The switch-hitting shortstop’s improvements this season have been one of the more remarkable stories of the 2012 minor league season. The same goes for Cingrani, who has already dominated at multiple levels and ranks among all minor leaguers near the top of every pitching category. 


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Billy Hamilton, SS

    2. Robert Stephenson, RHP

    3. Tony Cingrani, LHP

    4. Daniel Corcino, RHP

    5. Nick Travieso, RHP

15. Boston Red Sox

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    Overview: Headed into the 2012 season, the Red Sox’s farm system was clearly one of the worst on paper. However, nearly all of their top-ranked prospects have exceeded expectations, especially Bradley and Barnes, who have been highly impressive in their first full professional season. 


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Xander Bogaerts, SS

    2. Jackie Bradley, OF

    3. Matt Barnes, RHP

    4. Blake Swihart, C

    5. Garin Cecchini, 3B

14. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Overview: After a series of strong drafts, not to mention the shrewd development of pitching prospects, the Rays system appeared to be stacked for years to come. Yet many of their pitching prospects have trailed off due to command issues, while some of their more promising players in the low minors haven’t developed as quickly as anticipated.

    Their system still has tremendous depth; just not that same concentrated talent of a few years ago.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Hak-Ju Lee, SS

    2. Taylor Guerrieri, RHP

    3. Chris Archer, RHP

    4. Drew Vettleson, OF

    5. Richie Shaffer, 3B

13. Miami Marlins

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    Overview: It’s crazy to think that of all the major league talent dealt by the Marlins prior to the trade deadline, they only netted one top-five prospect in return. Regardless, their pitching staff of Fernandez, Heaney and Turner has the potential for great things by 2014, while Christian Yelich has the makings of an All-Star outfielder.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Christian Yelich, OF

    2. Jose Fernandez, RHP

    3. Andrew Heaney, LHP

    4. Jacob Turner, RHP

    5. J.T. Realmuto, C

12. Baltimore Orioles

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    Overview: Sure, the Orioles have two of the top prospects in the game in Bundy and Machado. But after that, the depth of talent in their system is one of the worst, lacking prospects who have the upside of a major leaguer. Still, credit must offered where it’s due, and the Orioles definitely deserve some for harboring Bundy and Machado.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Dylan Bundy, RHP

    2. Manny Machado, SS

    3. Kevin Gausman, RHP

    4. Jon Schoop, 3B

    5. L.J. Hoes, OF

11. New York Yankees

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    Overview: Well, the “Killer Bs” have officially disbanded, as Banuelos has spent the majority of the 2012 season on the disabled list and Betances continues to battle his control problems in Double-A. Luckily, the 2010, 2011 and 2012 draft class has yielded several promising prospects at premium positions who continue to improve.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Mason Williams, OF

    2. Gary Sanchez, C

    3. Tyler Austin, OF

    4. Manny Banuelos, LHP

    5. Ty Hensley, RHP

10. Houston Astros

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    Overview: Since the 2010 the draft, the Astros have done the best job of any organization to rebuild their system—at least seven of their top-10 overall prospects may reach the major leagues, and several may even be stars. Whether it be via the draft or trade, the Astros continue to do a tremendous job adding high-upside prospects of a similar mold to their already flourishing system.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Carlos Correa, SS

    2. Jonathan Singleton, 1B

    5. George Springer, OF

    4. Lance McCullers, RHP

    5. Delino DeShields, 2B

9. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Overview: Thanks to the pre-2012 struggles of the team, the Pirates have composed a talent-rich system of high draft picks and pricey international signings. More importantly, their prospects are spread throughout the organization with depth at many vital positions.

    Their unexpected success this season may force some of these prospects to be traded within the upcoming years, but, at the same time, it may also expedite their arrival.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Gerrit Cole, RHP

    2. Jameson Taillon, RHP

    3. Alen Hanson, SS

    4. Luis Heredia, RHP

    5. Starling Marte, OF

8. Kansas City Royals

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    Overview: Headed into the 2011 season, the Royals were the unanimous selection for best farm system in baseball. But following Hosmer and Moustakas’ promotions, it’s merely a shell of what it was—yet still insanely good.

    Mike Montgomery, John Lamb and Chris Dwyer haven’t developed as hoped; however, Wil Myers appears to be a sure-fire run-producer upon reaching the major leagues.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Wil Myers, OF

    2. Bubba Starling, OF

    3. Kyle Zimmer, RHP

    4. Jake Odorizzi, RHP

    5. Jorge Bonifacio, OF

7. Oakland Athletics

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    Overview: With A’s prospects, one never knows which prospect will develop into the next big-league star. This year, it’s been right-hander Dan Straily, who leads the minor leagues in strikeouts and is poised for a promotion in the near future.

    First-rounders Addison Russell and Daniel Robertson are enjoying strong professional debuts and could comprise the left side of the A’s infield by 2015.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Dan Straily, RHP

    2. Addison Russell, SS

    3. A.J. Griffin, RHP

    4. Michael Choice, OF

    5. Daniel Robertson, 3B

6. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Overview: Thanks to a consistently strong draft strategy over the last several years, the Cardinals continue to churn out big-league prospects—and the best are yet to come. It won’t be long before Taveras, Miller and Wong arrive, and there are countless other pieces in their deep system that should make them a highly competitive team for the considerable future.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Oscar Taveras, OF

    2. Carlos Martinez, RHP

    3. Shelby Miller, RHP

    4. Kolten Wong, 2B

    5. Trevor Rosenthal, RHP

5. Seattle Mariners

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    Overview: The debate to open the 2012 season was which Double-A pitching staff was more talented: the Diamondbacks’ or the Mariners’? With only two months left in the season, I can’t say I’m entirely sure. Regardless, Walker-Hultzen-Paxton could pitch in the same major league rotation by 2013, and it’s only a matter of time until Zunino is behind the plate on an everyday basis.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Taijuan Walker, RHP

    2. Danny Hultzen, LHP

    3. Mike Zunino, C

    4. Nick Franklin, SS/2B

    5. James Paxton, LHP

4. Texas Rangers

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    Overview: With two of the best left-side of the infield prospects (Profar, Olt) in all of baseball, it’s no surprise that the Rangers rank near the top. However, their system has far more depth than they receive credit for, especially on the mound. But given the age of their current big-league roster, it'll be vital that the organization holds on to as many of their prospects as possible.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Jurickson Profar, SS

    2. Mike Olt, RHP

    3. Martin Perez, LHP

    4. Cody Buckel, RHP

    5. Jorge Alfaro, C

3. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Overview: Even if Trevor Bauer wasn’t sent back to Triple-A, the Diamondbacks would still possess one of the top farm systems in baseball. Their three top prospects—Bauer, Skaggs and Bradley—all have the No. 1 starter upside and could comprise a majority of the team’s starting rotation by 2014.

    Other than that, there are a host of position prospects who possess tons of raw power, but struggle to put the ball in play with consistency.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Trevor Bauer, RHP

    2. Tyler Skaggs, LHP

    3. Archie Bradley, RHP

    4. Matt Davidson, 3B

    5. Stryker Trahan, C

2. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Overview: In my opinion, each of the Blue Jays’ top five prospects—and that’s not including Anthony Gose—has the potential to an impact player in the major leagues. The three-headed monster of Sanchez, Syndergaard and Nicolino has been dominant at Low-A this season and is poised to be the next great homegrown pitching staff.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Travis d’Arnaud, C

    2. Aaron Sanchez, RHP

    3. Jake Marisnick, OF

    4. Noah Syndergaard, RHP

    5. Justin Nicolino, LHP

1. San Diego Padres

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    Overview: Although it doesn’t foster a legitimate star-level prospect (yet), the Padres’ system has a deep mix of high floor players at nearly every position. With such an assemblage of young, cost-controlled talent, the Padres figure to compete for years to come.


    Top Five Prospects:

    1. Max Fried, LHP

    2. Yasmani Grandal, C

    3. Rymer Liriano, OF

    4. Casey Kelly, RHP

    5. Jedd Gyorko, 3B