5 MLB Teams That Most Desperately Need a Farm System Overhaul
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Over the last two weeks, I’ve started to gradually unveil my team-specific, top-10 prospect rankings by looking at the farm systems of the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants.
However, not every system possesses the impact prospects or overall depth as the aforementioned organizations. In fact, it’s shocking just how barren some teams’ prospect pools are headed into the offseason.
Therefore, I thought I’d offer a quick yet comprehensive overview of five farm systems that I perceive to be the weakest in the game. In addition to identifying their respective strengths and weaknesses, I’ve also offered a few suggestions on how they could improve over the course of the 2013 season.
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Top 50 Prospects: SS Francisco Lindor
Strengths: Depth at shortstop: Francisco Lindor, Dorssys Paulino, Ronny Rodriguez and Tony Wolters; strong presence in international market; plenty of relief pitchers.
Weaknesses: Years of poor drafting with little to show for it; severe lack of impact pitching prospects; lack of projectable hitters, especially outfielders; lack of near big-league ready prospects.
How to Improve: Trade either Shin-Soo Choo or Asdrubal Cabrera for legitimate pitching prospect(s); resist the urge to draft safe, high-floor players.
Chicago White Sox
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Top 50 Prospects: None
Strengths: System is stocked with premium athletes; numerous potential Nos. 3-5 starting pitchers; switch hitters and left-handed hitters; solid assemblage of power-speed prospects.
Weaknesses: More athletes than baseball players; lack prospects capable of contributing in 2013; no pitching prospects with frontline-starter upside; too many strikeout-prone hitters.
How to Improve: Draft less high-risk, high-reward prospects; trade veteran talent for prospect packages rather than re-sign them; target pitchers likely to at least reach the major leagues without moving to the bullpen; place a premium on prospects with the chance for an above-average-to-plus hit tool.
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Top 50 Prospects: 3B Nolan Arenado, SS Trevor Story
Strengths: Left-handed hitting prospects; power-speed outfielders; left-handed pitching prospects.
Weaknesses: Lack front-of-the-rotation pitching prospects; too many swing-and-miss hitters; dearth of right-handed pitchers and catching prospects.
How to Improve: Trade one of their left-side-of-the-infield prospects or left-handed pitchers; target speed as much as power in draft; develop stronger presence in international market.
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Top 50 Prospects: RHP Dylan Bundy
Strengths: Dylan Bundy; a pair of frontline starters in Bundy and RHP Kevin Gausman; lack of projectable infielders beyond Jonathan Schoop; speedy outfielders; defense-oriented prospect pool.
Weaknesses: Lack of power hitters and left-handed pitching; no sure-fire big-league talent outside of Bundy, Gausman and Schoop.
How to Improve: Find more value beyond first round of the draft.
Los Angeles Angels
Top 50 Prospects: 3B Kaleb Cowart
Strengths: Assemblage of infield prospects; house a slew of switch hitters and highly athletic outfielders; numerous relief pitchers likely to reach major leagues.
Weaknesses: Overall lack of high-upside prospects after trading for Zack Greinke; lack a true starting pitching prospect.
How to Improve: Given big-league talent, they’ll have to find value deeper in the draft; will need to move one of their many big-contract stars for multiple impact prospects.