Power Ranking All 30 MLB Farm Systems, Pre-Spring Training Edition
Due to the amount of trades this offseason involving consensus top prospects, the overall farm system ranking was in need of a major overhaul.
After dealing star-caliber major leaguers for high-end prospects, organizations such as the Miami Marlins, New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays have seen a jump in the rankings. Meanwhile, the teams on the opposite end of those trades, namely the Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals, have plummeted.
To properly rank each system, I employed a value system that awards specific points for a team’s quantity of top-100 prospects. In this scenario, a top-25 prospect is worth three points and top-50 worth two, while any prospect who ranks in the top-50-100 returns one point.
I then assigned a value, ranging from one to three points, to each organization based on the overall quantity and quality of their farm system.
For tie-breaking scenarios, I favored the organization with more top-50 prospects.
Here’s a look at Prospect Pipeline’s farm system rankings headed into spring training.
*The index for each organization's top 10 prospects can be found here.
30. Los Angeles Angels
Top 100: 3B Kaleb Cowart
Any organization that graduates a player such as Mike Trout will take a hit, obviously. However, beyond the 21-year-old superstar, the Angels’ system was never very strong, and after trading Jean Segura, John Hellweg and Ariel Pena late last summer, it now ranks as the worst in the game.
29. Chicago White Sox
Top 100: OF Courtney Hawkins
Given their hesitancy to spend big money on draft picks, not to mention their over-valuation of raw talent compared to projectable talent, it should come as no surprise that the White Sox’s system once again ranks as one of the worst in the game.
28. San Francisco Giants
Top 100: RHP Kyle Crick, RHP Clayton Blackburn, OF Gary Brown
Although it lacks projectable hitters, the San Francisco Giants’ farm system does feature a pair of young, high-ceiling pitching prospects in Kyle Crick and Clayton Blackburn. However, both players are still multiple years away from reaching the major leagues. Having won a pair of World Series titles in the last three years, the organization’s relatively barren system isn’t overly concerning.
27. Milwaukee Brewers
Top 100: RHP Wily Peralta
To their credit, the Brewers have made a considerable effort to improve their system over the last two seasons, establishing tons of depth through both trades and the draft. Unfortunately, very few of their prospects project favorably in the major leagues, except for possibly Wily Peralta.
26. Detroit Tigers
Top 25: OF/3B Nick Castellanos
GM Dave Dombrowski doesn’t have a great track record of developing prospects. It’s not that he’s a particularly poor drafter or evaluator; rather, he’s always been more inclined to cash in on the organization’s young talent through trades for big-league talent. Even though there are several solid prospects mixed throughout the system, very few are in close proximity to the major leagues.
25. Toronto Blue Jays
Top 50: RHP Aaron Sanchez
Top 100: RHP Roberto Osuna
Headed into the offseason, the Blue Jays’ farm system ranked in the top-third among all organizations. However, after parting with four legitimate prospects (Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, Justin Nicolino and Jake Marisnick) in trades with the Marlins and Mets, respectively, they now feature one of the game’s weaker systems.
24. Oakland Athletics
Top 100: SS Addison Russell, RHP Dan Straily
Although the A’s system lacks both the quantity and quality of prospects relative to other American League West teams, they do feature countless players that are safe bets to reach the major leagues—many within the next two seasons. The organization will only grow stronger, too, given their knack for moving impact big leaguers in exchange for young, projectable prospects.
23. Philadelphia Phillies
Top 50: LHP Jesse Biddle
Top 100: SS Roman Quinn
Despite the addition of right-hander Ethan Martin (Dodgers) and catcher Tommy Joseph (Giants) last season through trades for outfielders Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, respectively, only a few of their prospects project favorably in the major leagues.
22. Atlanta Braves
Top 50: RHP Julio Teheran
Top 100: RH J.R. Graham
Aside from the Braves’ obvious depth on the mound, both at the major- and minor-league level, the organization’s lack of projectable hitters is a noticeably deficiency. At the same time, don’t be surprised if they tap into their vast array of right- and left-handed arms to land a middle-of-the-order bat at some point during the 2013 season.
21. New York Yankees
Top 100: OF Mason Williams, C Gary Sanchez, OF Tyler Austin
While the Yankees lack of pitching prospects hurts their overall rank, they do house an impressive core of young position talent, especially in the outfield. Although the organization lacks a true, top-25 talent, it features a wave of projectable talent that should begin to arrive in the major leagues in 2014.
20. Los Angeles Dodgers
Top 100: OF Yasiel Puig, RHP Zach Lee, SS Corey Seager, OF Joc Pederson
Since purchasing the team last season, the Dodgers’ new owners have made it abundantly clear that they’re in it to win it. Backed by their bottomless pockets, the organization continues to emphasize the quality of their on-field talent, which will likely result in an ongoing neglect of the farm system.
19. Kansas City Royals
Top 50: RHP Kyle Zimmer
Top 100: OF Bubba Starling, RHP Yordano Ventura
Despite the graduation of former blue-chip prospects Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas to the major leagues over the last two seasons, the Royals were able to maintain a top-third-caliber farm system. However, after dealing top prospects Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi to the Rays this offseason, the system is now the weakest it’s been in the last five years.
18. Colorado Rockies
Top 50: SS Trevor Story, OF David Dahl
Top 100: 3B Nolan Arenado
Although the Rockies do feature several high-upside bats in shortstop Trevor Story, third baseman Nolan Arenado and outfielder David Dahl, their lack of projectable arms is worrisome. And unless they decide to deal either Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez or Dexter Fowler, it’s difficult to envision their situation improving any time soon.
17. San Diego Padres
Top 100: C Austin Hedges, OF Rymer Liriano, LHP Max Fried, 2B/3B Jedd Gyorko
Boasting one of the more well-rounded farm systems for the second-consecutive season, a majority of the Padres’ young talent is within a few years of reaching the major leagues. Highlighted by top-prospect Austin Hedges, a potential star-caliber catcher, the organization’s depth could allow them to trade at least one coveted major leaguer during the upcoming season.
16. Cincinnati Reds
Top 25: OF/SS Billy Hamilton
Top 100: RHP Robert Stephenson, LHP Tony Cingrani
The Reds cleared house last offseason in the deal for Mat Latos, sending prospects Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger, as well as Edinson Volquez, to the Padres. However, with the emergence of speedster Billy Hamilton, the organization boasts arguably the most dynamic prospect in the game.
15. Washington Nationals
Top 25: 3B Anthony Rendon
Top 100: OF Brian Goodwin, RHP A.J. Cole, RHP Lucas Giolito
Headed into the 2012 season, the strength of the Washington Nationals’ prospect pool was heavily weighted by the presence of Bryce Harper. However, in the wake of the phenom’s graduation to the major leagues, the organization’s farm system is a shell of what it was a year ago, but with a few intriguing pieces scattered throughout.
14. Baltimore Orioles
Top 25: RHP Dylan Bundy
Top 50: RHP Kevin Gausman
Top 100: IF Jonathan Schoop
After graduating Manny Machado to the major leagues late last season, the Orioles’ system was due for an inevitable drop in the rankings. The good news is that they still boast the game’s top pitching prospect, 20-year-old Dylan Bundy, as well 2012 first-rounder Kevin Gausman and infielder Jon Schoop, both of whom could be big-league regulars by 2014.
13. Cleveland Indians
Top 25: SS Francisco Lindor, RHP Trevor Bauer
One of the game’s weaker farm systems, the Indians took a step in the right direction with the offseason acquisition of right-hander Trevor Bauer, who now represents the organization’s future ace. Beyond that, they feature a host of positional talent at up-the-middle positions highlighted by Francisco Lindor.
12. Chicago Cubs
Top 25: SS Javier Baez
Top 50: OF Albert Almora, OF Jorge Soler
Since their hiring in October of 2011, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have begun to right the ship by revamping the Cubs farm system. The organization still lacks legitimate pitching prospects, but boasts a trio of young, projectable hitters in Javier Baez, Albert Almora and Jorge Soler.
11. Minnesota Twins
Top 25: 3B Miguel Sano
Top 50: OF Byron Buxton
Top 100: RHP Alex Meyer, OF Aaron Hicks
Headed into the 2012 season, there were few players worth getting excited about in the Twins’ system. However, all of their prospects have taken a step in the right direction over the last year, led by third baseman Miguel Sano who boasts arguably the most raw power in the minor leagues. The Twins also added several legitimate prospects via the 2012 draft (Byron Buxton, Jose Berrios) and offseason trades (Alex Meyer).
10. New York Mets
Top 25: RHP Zack Wheeler, C Travis d’Arnaud
Top 50: RHP Noah Syndergaard
The Mets’ farm system recently enjoyed a huge jump in the rankings thanks to the acquisition of catcher Travis d’Arnaud and right-hander Noah Syndergaard from the Blue Jays. Even though they lack the overall depth of projectable talent relative to other highly regarded organizations, the Mets’ trio of top prospects (Wheeler, d’Arnaud and Syndergaard) rank among the best in the game.
9. Houston Astros
Top 25: 1B Jonathan Singleton
Top 50: SS Carlos Correa
Top 100: OF George Springer, 2B Delino DeShields, RHP Jarred Cosart
Although the Astros’ on-field product in the major leagues continues to disappoint, and may continue to do so for several more years, help is on the way. Since the start of the 2010 season, the organization has assembled an impressive core of high-upside prospects through perennially strong drafts and under-the-radar trades.
8. Boston Red Sox
Top 25: SS Xander Bogaerts
Top 50: OF Jackie Bradley, RHP Matt Barnes
Top 100: LHP Henry Owens, RHP Allen Webster
The Red Sox system enjoyed an unexpectedly solid 2012 season, highlighted by strong performances by Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley and Matt Barnes. Beyond those three, they also boast an impressive core of young talent that’s seemingly only a few years away from reaching the major leagues.
7. Tampa Bay Rays
Top 25: OF Wil Myers
Top 50: RHP Taylor Guerrieri, RHP Jake Odorizzi
Top 100: SS Hak-Ju Lee, RHP Chris Archer
The perennially loaded Rays’ system has weakened over the last two seasons due to their graduation of players to the major leagues. However, the organization received an infusion of high-level, young talent this offseason through the acquisition of both Wil Myers, a top-five overall prospect, and right-hander Jake Odorizzi.
6. Texas Rangers
Top 25: SS Jurickson Profar, 3B Mike Olt
Top 100: LHP Martin Perez, RHP Cody Buckel, C Jorge Alfaro
Led by shortstop Jurickson Profar, the top prospect in the game, the Rangers’ farm system is stacked with young talent. Due to the organization’s international scouting presence, they continue to land, year after year, many of the top teenage prospects, such as Profar, from Latin America. Much like the Mariners, the Rangers have both the quantity and quality of talent necessary to execute a significant trade.
5. Miami Marlins
Top 25: RHP Jose Fernandez, OF Christian Yelich
Top 50: OF Jake Marisnick, LHP Justin Nicolino
Top 100: LHP Andrew Heaney
Over the last year, the Marlins’ farm system endured a 180-degree swing. However, it came at the cost of essentially all their premier big-league talent. Through trades with the Blue Jays, Dodgers and Tigers, respectively, the organization bolstered their prospect pool at nearly every position. Beyond the understandable resentment of the team’s front office, the Marlins actually have assembled one of the better systems in the game.
4. Seattle Mariners
Top 25: RHP Taijuan Walker, C Mike Zunino
Top 50: LHP Danny Hultzen
Top 100: SS/2B Nick Franklin, LHP James Paxton
Highlighted by the potential All-Star battery of Taijuan Walker and Mike Zunino, the Mariners’ system features a combination of high-floor and high-ceiling prospects that, collectively, are close to reaching the major leagues. However, it’s doubtful many of their young, highly regarded prospects will debut with the organization, as Mariners' exceptional depth (at nearly every position) makes them a strong candidate for a blockbuster trade.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
Top 25: LHP Tyler Skaggs, RHP Archie Bradley
Top 50: OF Adam Eaton, 3B Matt Davidson
Top 100: SS Didi Gregorius
Despite dealing top prospect Trevor Bauer to the Indians this offseason, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ farm system still ranks among the best in the game. With a healthy blend of projectable hitters and pitchers, the organization has the potential to separate itself from the field with a significant return for outfielder Justin Upton.
2. St. Louis Cardinals
Top 25: OF Oscar Taveras, RHP Shelby Miller
Top 50: RHP Carlos Martinez
Top 100: RHP Trevor Rosenthal, 2B Kolten Wong, RHP Michael Wacha
Although highlighted by the best pure hitter in the minor leagues, outfielder Oscar Taveras, the St. Louis Cardinals’ farm system stands out for its depth and quality of pitching prospects. Because most of the team’s prized young arms are within a year of reaching the major leagues, the Cardinals are one of a few select teams capable of swinging a midseason trade.
1. Pittsburgh Pirates
Top 25: RHP Gerrit Cole, RHP Jameson Taillon
Top 50: OF Gregory Polanco, SS/2B Alen Hanson, RHP Luis Heredia
One of the better system’s headed into the 2012 season, the Pirates’ prospect pool has strengthened over the last year thanks to breakout performances by outfielder Gregory Polanco and infielder Alen Hanson. Once again, the organization features two of baseball’s top pitching prospects in right-handers Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon.