Re-Ranking All 30 MLB Farm Systems at the End of 2017's MiLB Season

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2017

Re-Ranking All 30 MLB Farm Systems at the End of 2017's MiLB Season

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    Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna
    Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald AcunaLynne Sladky/Associated Press

    The 2017 MiLB regular season is over, and each league's respective postseason is already underway.

    With that in mind, it seems like the perfect time for one final look at where all 30 MLB farm systems rank, as well as an updated look at each team's top 10 prospects.

    The following factors helped determine the rankings of players and teams:

    • Potential (Player): Potential trumps production a lot of the time, especially in the lower levels of the minors and with recent draft picks. Skill set and overall tools are often a better indication of what kind of player a guy will be.
    • Talent (Player): As for guys in the higher levels of the minors who are close to breaking through at the big league level, production and current talent are the determining factors, as these players are viewed as more complete products.
    • Overall Depth (Team): Having one or two elite prospects is great, but having a deep farm system from top to bottom is the way to build a sustainable contender. The overall depth and level of talent were the biggest factors in ranking each team.
    • High-End Talent (Team): That being said, there is a difference between a prospect who has a chance of making an impact at the big league level and a prospect who could be a star. Elite prospects served as a tiebreaker of sorts when two teams were close in the rankings.

    We've incorporated a tier system to help differentiate between levels of talent. Here's a quick explanation: 

    • Tier 1: Prospects who have an elite skill set and legitimate All-Star potential. These are the guys who would receive consideration for a spot on leaguewide top-100 prospect lists.
    • Tier 2: Prospects who have a good chance of becoming at least a contributor at the MLB level. This is where most prospects on the following list will fall.
    • Tier 3: Prospects who profile as fringe MLB contributors or young prospects who are still too raw to project any higher. Having one of these players ranked among your top 10 prospects is a good indication of a thin system.

    We capped that with a quick rundown of each farm system and each team's MiLB Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year.


    Note: Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Rhys Hoskins (114 AB), Cleveland Indians third baseman Yandy Diaz (123 AB) and New York Mets first baseman Dominic Smith (109 AB) and shortstop Amed Rosario (117 AB) are technically still prospects, but since all four are in line to exceed the rookie-eligibility limit of 130 at-bats before the season is over, they were excluded from these rankings.

    The graduated/traded section refers to players who have departed the organizational list since the rankings were last updated Aug. 1.

30. Los Angeles Angels (Previous: 30)

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    Matt Thaiss
    Matt ThaissRob Tringali/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. OF Jahmai JonesA+2
    2. OF Jo AdellROK2
    3. 1B Matt ThaissAA2
    4. RHP Griffin CanningROK2
    5. RHP Jaime BarriaAAA2
    6. OF Brandon MarshROK2
    7. C Taylor WardAA2
    8. RHP Jesus CastilloAA2
    9. RHP Chris RodriguezA3
    10. OF Jacob PearsonROK3

    Graduated/Traded: RHP Grayson Long


    Farm System Update

    Slowly but surely, the Los Angeles Angels are using the draft to build what has long been one of the league's worst farm systems.

    Toolsy outfielder Jo Adell and polished collegiate right-hander Griffin Canning headlined this year's draft haul, and they join 2015 top picks Taylor Ward and Jahmai Jones and 2016 top picks Matt Thaiss and Brandon Marsh to give the organization intriguing top-end talent.

    The front office also did well to add Justin Upton and Brandon Phillips in August without mortgaging much in the way of prospect talent.


    MiLB Player of the Year: CF Jahmai Jones, A/A+ (Age: 20)

    127.282/.348/.44650 (14)478627


    MiLB Pitcher of the Year: RHP Jaime Barria, A+/AA/AAA (Age: 21)


29. Kansas City Royals (Previous: 29)

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    Foster Griffin
    Foster GriffinMike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. 1B Nick PrattoROK2
    2. OF Khalil LeeA2
    3. LHP Foster GriffinAA2
    4. RHP Josh StaumontAA2
    5. 3B Hunter DozierAAA2
    6. LHP Eric SkoglundMLB2
    7. SS Nicky LopezAA2
    8. C M.J. MelendezROK2
    9. OF Seuly MatiasROK3
    10. RHP Scott BlewettA+3

    Graduated/Traded: RHP Jake Junis


    Farm System Update

    The decision to hang on to upcoming free agents Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Jason Vargas at the trade deadline is one that could come back to haunt the Kansas City Royals.

    They could still pick up draft-pick compensation if one or more of those guys is extended a qualifying offer, but they left a sizable prospect haul on the table in hopes of making one last playoff run with this core.

    Khalil Lee has significant offensive upside and enjoyed a breakout season in Single-A after going in the third round of the 2016 draft. He joins 2017 first-round pick Nick Pratto and Futures Game participant Foster Griffin as the headliners of a thin system.     


    MiLB Player of the Year: 3B Emmanuel Rivera, A (Age: 21)

    122.310/.364/.46844 (12)72608


    MiLB Pitcher of the Year: LHP Foster Griffin, A+/AA (Age: 22)


28. Miami Marlins (Previous: 28)

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    Brian Anderson
    Brian AndersonRob Foldy/Miami Marlins/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. LHP Braxton GarrettINJ1
    2. LHP Trevor RogersROK2
    3. 3B Brian AndersonMLB2
    4. LHP Dillon PetersMLB2
    5. 3B James NelsonA2
    6. RHP Tyler KolekROK2
    7. OF Brian MillerA2
    8. RHP Merandy GonzalezA+2
    9. OF Brayan HernandezA-2
    10. 3B Joe DunandA-3

    Graduated/Traded: None


    Farm System Update

    The Miami Marlins haven't had the best luck with top-prospect health in recent years as Tyler Kolek (2014 draft, No. 2 overall) and Braxton Garrett (2016 draft, No. 7 overall) both underwent Tommy John surgery.

    With the development of those two potentially elite prospects stalled, slugging third baseman Brian Anderson and left-hander Dillon Peters have taken over as the team's top performing prospects. They could both step into key roles with the MLB club next season.

    Adding right-hander Merandy Gonzalez (for AJ Ramos) and outfielder Brayan Hernandez (for David Phelps) in July trades added further depth to the system. The team also brought in a nice haul of talent in this year's draft.


    MiLB Player of the Year: 3B Brian Anderson, AA/AAA (Age: 24)

    120.275/.361/.49246 (22)81741


    MiLB Pitcher of the Year: RHP Trevor Richards, A+/AA (Age: 24)


27. New York Mets (Previous: 20)

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    Tomas Nido
    Tomas NidoJoel Auerbach/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. LHP David PetersonA-2
    2. SS Andres GimenezA2
    3. RHP Justin DunnA+2
    4. LHP Thomas SzapuckiINJ2
    5. C Tomas NidoAA2
    6. OF Desmond LindsayA2
    7. RHP Chris FlexenMLB2
    8. RHP Jordan HumphreysINJ2
    9. RHP Marcos MolinaAA2
    10. 3B Mark VientosROK2

    Graduated/Traded: *SS Amed Rosario, *1B Dominic Smith


    Farm System Update

    With shortstop Amed Rosario and first baseman Dominic Smith each on his way to exceeding rookie eligibility limits, the New York Mets farm system is now without a top-tier prospect.

    Left-hander David Peterson has a chance to make that leap after going No. 20 overall in this year's draft. The same goes for fellow southpaw Thomas Szapucki if he can stay healthy, and 2016 first-round pick Justin Dunn if he can harness his power stuff.

    For now, they drop toward the bottom of the farm system totem pole. There's decent pitching depth throughout the organization, and catcher Tomas Nido looks like a potential future starter, but they're sorely lacking in high-end talent.


    MiLB Player of the Year: 1B Dominic Smith, AAA (Age: 22)

    114.330/.386/.51952 (16)76771


    MiLB Pitcher of the Year: RHP Jordan Humphreys, A/A+ (Age: 21)


26. San Francisco Giants (Previous: 26)

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    Christian Arroyo
    Christian ArroyoEzra Shaw/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. IF Christian ArroyoAAA1
    2. 1B/OF Chris ShawAAA2
    3. OF Bryan ReynoldsA+2
    4. OF Heliot RamosROK2
    5. RHP Tyler BeedeAAA2
    6. OF Sandro FabianA2
    7. C/1B Aramis GarciaA+2
    8. OF Austin SlaterMLB2
    9. OF Steven DuggarA+2
    10. OF Heath QuinnA+2

    Graduated/Traded: None


    Farm System Update

    An already thin San Francisco Giants farm system has seen a disappointing season from Tyler Beede and an injury-plagued campaign from Christian Arroyo take a further bite out of their long-term outlook.

    However, slugger Chris Shaw has been a bright spot. He should be ready to push for the starting left field job next season after raking against upper-level pitching this year.

    High-ceiling 18-year-old outfielder Heliot Ramos and 19-year-old Sandro Fabian both have significant upside, but the organization is lacking in pitching talent and MLB-ready impact talent in general beyond Shaw.


    MiLB Player of the Year: 1B/OF Chris Shaw, AA/AAA (Age: 23)

    125.292/.346/.52560 (24)79580


    MiLB Pitcher of the Year: LHP Garrett Williams A/A+ (Age: 22)


25. Chicago Cubs (Previous: 25)

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    Victor Caratini
    Victor CaratiniJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. RHP Oscar De La CruzA+1
    2. RHP Jose AlbertosA-2
    3. RHP Adbert AlzolayAA2
    4. RHP Alex LangeROK2
    5. RHP Thomas HatchA+2
    6. C Victor CaratiniMLB2
    7. SS Aramis AdemanA-2
    8. LHP Brendon LittleA-2
    9. OF Mark ZagunisAAA2
    10. RHP Jen-Ho TsengAAA2

    Graduated/Traded: None


    Farm System Update

    The Chicago Cubs traded several prospects to acquire controllable pitchers Jose Quintana and Justin Wilson this summer—most notably Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, Jeimer Candelario and Isaac Paredes.

    There's still plenty of talent in the system, but the bulk of it is in the form of lower-level arms that are still at least a few years from making a pro impact.

    Catcher Victor Caratini should step into the backup catcher job behind Willson Contreras next season, and right-hander Adbert Alzolay could push for a promotion after an uptick in his stuff led to a breakout season and allowed him to reach Double-A.


    MiLB Player of the Year: C Victor Caratini, AAA (Age: 24)

    83.342/.393/.55840 (10)61501