MLB Power Rankings: Ranking Every Farm System By Hitting Depth

Jim MancariCorrespondent IMay 17, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: Ranking Every Farm System By Hitting Depth

0 of 30

    While pitching and defense are important, you can’t win baseball games without scoring any runs. Hitting, therefore, is just as important.

    Though most teams tend to stockpile good pitching prospects if they can, hitting prospects are often overlooked until they enjoy a breakout season.

    Each team hopes that its young hitting prospects can pan out in order to provide some pop to the parent team’s lineup or serve as trade bait in acquiring other areas of need.

    Here is a power ranking of each team’s farm system based on hitting depth.

    Note: Analyzing prospects based on minor league numbers is an arduous task, so some of the rankings are interchangeable. However, the top rankings show the teams that have the luxury of good offensive depth on the farm.

30. Milwaukee Brewers

1 of 30

    The Milwaukee Brewers have some highly-touted pitching prospects, especially Mark Rogers, which bodes well for their future.

    However, the Brewers' hitting prospects are still developing.

    Outfielder Erik Komatsu is one of the offensive bright spots. He earned an All-Star selection last year after batting .323 with five HR and 63 RBI.

    Patience will be key in seeing which prospects can contribute offensively on the next level.

29. Atlanta Braves

2 of 30

    The Atlanta Braves always have some of the game’s top pitching prospects. From Tom Glavine to Tommy Hanson to Julio Teheran, the talent level has been elite.

    However, eight of the Braves top-10 prospects are all pitchers. The No. 2 rated prospect is Freddie Freeman, who’s already contributing at the Major League level.

    Young shortstop prospect Matt Lipka has some upside. He’ll be brought along gradually, especially his offensive development.

    The Braves should stick with developing their pitchers, since this formula for success had worked over the last decade.

28. Tampa Bay Rays

3 of 30

    The Tampa Bay Rays have plenty of good pitching prospects, but will rely on their prized possession, Desmond Jennings, for offensive production.

    Jennings fell short on winning a roster sport, as the Rays would have rather him play every day at Triple-A instead of sitting on the bench with the big club.

    His speed is ridiculous, but he also sports a little pop in his bat.

    If he can improve his plate discipline, he has a chance to be a regular contributor to the Rays lineup at some point this season.

    Sam Fuld has taken Tampa Bay by storm, but Jennings has all the tools to be a successful Major Leaguer.

27. St. Louis Cardinals

4 of 30

    Daniel Descalso’s strong offensive year last year—.282, nine HR, 71 RBI—landed him on the St. Louis Cardinals once Skip Schumaker went on the disabled list.

    He’s struggled with the bat, and will likely be sent back to the minors to work on his stroke.

    Third baseman Zack Cox is tearing up Rookie ball right now, with his .323 BA and 42 hits through 32 games. He does need to cut down on the strikeouts, however.

26. Pittsburgh Pirates

5 of 30

    Though the Pittsburgh Pirates have some strong pitching prospects, they have one standout hitting prospect in catcher Tony Sanchez.

    Sanchez is almost Major League ready, and may only need another year or two of seasoning.

    He hit .314 at High-A ball last year, and has started on a .277 clip this year at Double-A.

    Some more experience will lead him to being the next in the Pirates successful string of developing offensive players—Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata, Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen.

25. Baltimore Orioles

6 of 30

    Shortstop Manny Machado has been called the best middle infield prospect in the game.

    Not only is he a defensive whiz, but he also can hit. He’s off to a .333 start with five HR.

    However, he’s only in Single-A, so the Baltimore Orioles will have to be patient until he’s ready to take over the MLB job.

    First base prospect Joseph Mahoney should also begin to open some eyes. He has big time power, and has drawn early comparisons to Luke Scott.

24. Florida Marlins

7 of 30

    Matt Dominguez was a candidate to win the Florida Marlins' third base job, but he struggled offensively during spring training.

    He fractured his elbow as well, and has just begun his rehab assignment. He could have the potential to be a big time power hitter in Florida.

    Outfielder Christian Yelich impressed in his first minor league action by hitting .296 in 32 games at Single-A last year.

    Many of the Marlins top hitting prospects over the last few years—Mike Stanton, Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez—are already contributing on the Major League level.

23. Chicago White Sox

8 of 30

    Dayan Viciedo was mentioned as a dark-horse candidate to win the Chicago White Sox' third base job, but the team appears to be patient with the 22-year-old prospect. He’s actually been playing outfield this year.

    He’s off to a good start, hitting .314 with five HR at Triple-A.

    Jared Mitchell is also a good hitting prospect, but he’s known more for his speed than for his bat. Still, he managed a .296 average at the plate last year.

    Having Brent Morel on the Major League roster detracts from the team’s hitting depth in the minors.

22. San Francisco Giants

9 of 30

    Brandon Belt is one of the best hitting prospects in all of baseball.

    He made the San Francisco Giants roster out of spring training, but was sent back to the minors to work on his swing.

    Belt has shown he’s still got it, and is hitting .400 in 21 minor league games. He’s expected to rejoin the big club soon, which would take a huge chunk out of the Giants' minor league hitting depth.

    Outfielder Thomas Neal has put together a few solid offensive seasons for the Giants, and could be ready to make the jump to the majors at some point in the near future.

21. Toronto Blue Jays

10 of 30

    After dealing Roy Halladay and Shaun Marcum, the Toronto Blue Jays have been stocking up on good minor league talent.

    Pretty soon, these trades will pay off in the form of young, Major League ready ballplayers.

    The most notable of these is infielder Brett Lawrie, who appears on the verge of making the jump to the bigs. He’s hitting .321 with eight HR in 37 games at Triple-A. He’s played third base this year, but also has experience at second.

    Down on the farm, young catcher Travis D’Arnaud has some hitting talent. He has good pop, and the Blue Jays hope he can develop like their current catcher, J.P. Arencibia.

20. Minnesota Twins

11 of 30

    The Minnesota Twins always have some good young pitching prospects brewing in the minor league system.

    This season, they also have a few hitters to watch out for.

    Speedy outfielder Ben Revere has turned a few heads. His power hasn’t quite developed yet, but he does have 28 triples in parts of five seasons.

    Revere has begun the year on a .293 clip, and even earned a call-up to the big team.

    Another outfielder, Aaron Hicks, is also a threat offensively. He put together a solid all-around season in 2010, and will look to improve upon those numbers.

    Young third baseman Miguel Sano hasn’t drawn much attention yet, but the 18-year-old slugger is said to have a big power stroke.

19. Seattle Mariners

12 of 30

    The Seattle Mariners second baseman of the future, Dustin Ackley, continues to go through his growing pains.

    Thought to be the favorite to win the Mariners second base job, Ackley has struggled to a .247 BA so far. He has shown some pop by blasting five HR.

    The Mariners would rather be patient in bringing along their budding young star, similar to how they handled Michael Saunders.

    Deep in Seattle’s system, Johermyn Chavez put together one of the best seasons by any player in the minors last year.

    The outfielder hit .315 with 32 HR and 96 RBI in 136 games.

    He has all the tools to be a successful contributor to the big club.

18. Washington Nationals

13 of 30

    Two words: Bryce Harper.

    Harper has been everything and more in the Washington Nationals system.

    He’s hitting .393 with nine HR and 31 RBI in his first 34 games this season at Single A.

    Harper is expected to cruise through the minor leagues and be ready for Major League action within a few years.

    The young phenom needs to just keep his focus on hitting, and the results will keep coming.

17. Texas Rangers

14 of 30

    The Texas Rangers sport a few prospects that can swing the stick.

    Double-A outfielder Michael Bianucci has been a consistent power threat for his five minor league seasons. He already has 11 HR in 36 games.

    Outfielder Engel Beltre has had his ups and downs, but is still just 21 years-old. He has good speed and good pop, which could both make him an offensive threat.

    In High-A ball, third basemen Mike Olt is off to a good start with the bat—a .296 clip with six HR.

16. Boston Red Sox

15 of 30

    The Boston Red Sox have an eclectic mix of pitching and hitting prospects.

    First baseman Lars Anderson has showed some pop, but still needs time to develop. With Adrian Gonzalez signing long-term, Anderson could be used as trade bait if he pans out.

    Outfielder Josh Reddick already has 10 HR in 35 games. Unless the Red Sox are content moving forward with J.D. Drew in right field, Reddick may be able to win an everyday job next season.

    Daniel Nava will always be remembered for hitting a grand slam on the first pitch he saw in the majors. However, his 15 minutes of fame are up, and he’s back in the minors. This year has been a struggle so far.

    Young third base prospect Garin Gechinni is said to have plenty of upside. Give him some time, and he can be another offensive threat to Boston’s lineup.

15. New York Mets

16 of 30

    The New York Mets actually have a handful of good, young hitting prospects, especially outfielders.

    Lucas Duda tears up the minor leagues, but hasn’t been able to hit consistently at the Major League level.

    Kirk Nieuwenheis can hit for power and average, and will be in the discussion to take over next year in right field for Carlos Beltran.

    Fernando Martinez will also be in that discussion. He’s hit the cover off the ball since being promoted when Ike Davis went on the disabled list. He even hit a ball in Houston that hasn’t quite landed yet.

    Cory Vaughn and Darrell Ceciliani may also wind up at Citi Field someday soon.

    On the infield, second baseman Reese Havens, third baseman Aderlin Rodriguez and shortstop Wilmer Flores can all handle the bat well.

14. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

17 of 30

    Other than Bryce Harper, Mike Trout has to be the most exciting prospect of any Major League team.

    Trout hit .341 with 10 HR last year, and has handled the stick well in the early going this year at Double-A.

    He’s more known for his great speed, however. Trout stole 56 bases last season.

    Another speedy prospect for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is shortstop Jean Segura.

    He already has 15 steals, but has been a consistent force with the bat as well, hitting .290 through 30 games in High-A ball.

13. Cleveland Indians

18 of 30

    The Cleveland Indians are out to a fast start this season, and the future is even brighter based on the handful of strong hitting prospects in the system.

    Second basemen Jason Kipnis and Cord Phelps ban both handle the bat well, and are splitting time in Triple-A. They are battling for the future opening at the position.

    Andrew Lambo was once a big time power-hitting prospect for the Dodgers, but now finds himself in the Indians system. His stroke is a little off this year, but he’ll look to be patient in his approach, since he’s only 22.

    The Indians hope third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall can pan out. He’s coming off a big year in Double-A where he hit 17 HR. He could be viewed as the long-term solution at third base on the big club.

12. Philadelphia Phillies

19 of 30

    Though Domonic Brown was eliminated from the Philadelphia Phillies’ right field competition due to injury, he’s settled back into the hitting shoes that gave him a chance for the job in the first place.

    Brown has already made the jump back to Triple-A after rehabbing in the low minors for a few games. He’s hitting .353 since making the jump.

    It’s only a matter of time before Brown winds up in right field for the Phillies.

    Waiting in the wings behind Brown is Jonathan Singleton, another outfield prospect. Singleton has shown good power in his limited time in the minors, and is only 19 years-old to boot.

    Young catching prospect Sebastian Valle should continue making a name for himself in Philadelphia’s system. After crushing 16 HR last year, he’s hitting .337 this year. Once he combines he average and power stroke, he’ll be a can’t miss offensive prospect.

11. Houston Astros

20 of 30

    If Delino DeShields, Jr. is anything like his father, the Houston Astros could have the makings of pesky top of the order hitter. DeShields, Jr. is said to have a little more pop than his dad, however.

    Jonathan Villar came to the Astros in the Roy Oswalt trade. He’s still developing with the bat.

    Since being drafted in 2009 by the Astros, outfielder J.D. Martinez has done nothing but hit, hit and hit some more. He’s off to a .340 start in Double-A.

    Keep an eye on Ariel Ovando, a 16-year-old outfield prospect that the Astros signed last year out of the Domincan Republic. He’s said to have a violently powerful swing. If he pans out, his name will quickly spread around the league as a big time offensive prospect.

10. Detroit Tigers

21 of 30

    Second baseman Scott Sizemore won the 2010 Opening Day job for the Detroit Tigers, but his bat landed him right back in the minors.

    This season, Will Rhymes beat out Sizemore for second base.

    However, Sizemore has responded by hitting .408 through his first 23 games. He could find himself back in the majors if he keeps up this pace.

    First baseman Ryan Strieby has shown solid power this season at Triple-A, but also is dealing with a roadblock in Miguel Cabrera.

    Daniel Fields is said to be a good offensive prospect, but will look to bounce back from his .240 performance last year.

    The Tigers are also hopeful that 19-year-old third baseman Nick Castellanos develops.

9. Los Angeles Dodgers

22 of 30

    The Los Angeles Dodgers have a nice contingent of offensive players on the farm that may be expected to contribute sooner rather later based on the team’s financial constraints.

    First base/outfielder Jerry Sands was hitting .400 before being called up the big club. He’s only hit .200, but it’s a small sample.

    Shortstop Dee Gordon is a possible successor to Rafael Furcal. He’s off to a solid .305 start this year.

    Trayvon Robinson has shown a nice combination of speed and power. He’s another Matt Kemp in the making.

    Gorman Erickson is impressing in High-A ball, and is batting .400 at the plate.

8. Chicago Cubs

23 of 30

    The Chicago Cubs have some good young prospects on the verge of making a big league impact.

    Young outfielder Brett Jackson leads this class with his solid contact bat and good speed.

    Though third baseman Josh Vitters is off to a slow start this year, he’s already put together back-to-back double digit home run years.

    First baseman Bryan LaHair is off to a torrid start with nine HR and a .391 BA already. He could be the Cubs best option at first base next season if Chicago falls shorts on its pursuit of Albert Pujols.

    Former Baltimore Orioles outfielder Lou Montanez has been hitting .369 in the early going and could be a candidate to see time in the Cubs outfield.

    Though Starlin Castro seems firmly entrenched at shortstop, prospect Hak-Ju Lee and his .385 BA can’t be ignored down in Rookie ball.

7. New York Yankees

24 of 30

    Though the New York Yankees may be known for their three great pitching prospects—Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman—the team has the young hitting prospects to keep the tradition of the Bronx Bombers alive.

    The two catching prospects—Jesus Montero and Austin Romine—have both hit the ball well. If Russell Martin continues to mash at the big league level, one of these prospects might be included in a trade for a starting pitcher.

    The Yankees picked up infielder Jorge Vazquez out of the Mexican League in 2009. Vazquez has done nothing but hit in the minors. He already has 14 HR in just 36 games at Triple-A.

    The problem for Vazquez is that he’s 29 and he’s an infielder. The Yankees infield is set with Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

    Former Washington National Justin Maxwell has shown a good power stroke, with 13 HR at Triple-A. His problem has been translating his talents to the big league level.

6. San Diego Padres

25 of 30

    The San Diego Padres have a trio of young hitting prospects that could be impact Major League players.

    Outfielder Jaff Decker has serious power that not even Petco Park can contain. He’s hit 43 HR the past three seasons, including 10 already this year.

    First baseman Anthony Rizzo was acquired in the Adrian Gonzalez trade. Rizzo has put up Gonzalez-like numbers in 34 games at Triple-A. He’s batting .373 with 10 HR and 45 RBI.

    Shortstop Drew Cumberland hit .350 last year, but has yet to appear in a game this season due to injury.

    Everett Williams and Donovan Tate can both handle the stick well, too.

5. Oakland Athletics

26 of 30

    The Oakland Athletics are patiently waiting for first base prospect Chris Carter to come into his own and show the power that he has.

    Carter is coming off a terrible year in the minors, and will look for a bounce back season.

    However, Carter is not the only major offensive prospect in Oakland’s system.

    Outfielder Michael Taylor has good power and good speed. Michael Choice also has a good power bat. The A’s already have a crowded outfield, so these players can either be used as solid depth option or trade bait

    Infielders Grant Green and Jemile Weeks may soon form the double-play combination in Oakland—not necessarily because of their defensive abilities, but because they can rake with the stick.

4. Arizona Diamondbacks

27 of 30

    The Arizona Diamondbacks could use some of their hitting prospects in their current lineup.

    Third baseman Bobby Borchering already had five HR this year. Another third base prospect, Matt Davidson, also has five HR and is hitting .292.

    Outfielder Marc Krauss has some pop, as shown by his 25 HR from last year.

    Former Major Leaguer Wily Mo Pena is tearing up Triple-A right now. He’s hitting .383 with 14 HR and 39 RBI in just 31 games so far. If he keeps this pace up, he’ll get the call back to the majors in no time.

    Double-A first base prospect Paul Goldschmidt has matched Pena with 14 HR, which leads the entire minor leagues.

3. Cincinnati Reds

28 of 30

    The Cincinnati Reds are stocked with good young hitters.

    Most notable, first baseman/outfielder Yonder Alonso is once again tearing up the minor leagues. He’s hitting .331 through 33 games.

    The problem in that Alonso is blocked by last year’s NL MVP Joey Votto. The Reds may explore trade possibilities with Alonso, since he’ll likely land the team some value.

    Todd Frazier has shown he can play just about anywhere on the diamond, which is a valuable skill for a guy who can hit like he can. Frazier has already clubbed nine HR.

    Catching prospect Devin Mesoraco is viewed as the successor to Ramon Hernandez behind the dish. He’s hitting .303 with five HR already.

    In the lower minors, third baseman Eric Campbell is turning High-A ball into little league. He’s hitting .415 with nine HR and 39 RBI. He’ll shoot through the Reds farm system if he keeps this up.

    Speedster Billy Hamilton had a good offensive year last year, but is off to a slow start. He already has 24 steals, despite a .189 BA. His stolen bases totals will skyrocket if he can get on base consistently.

2. Coloarado Rockies

29 of 30

    Catcher Wilin Rosario appears to be on the fast track to the Major Leagues. All teams covet an offensive catcher, and the Colorado Rockies may have struck gold. He has a great power bat, especially in the gaps.

    Nolan Arenado is coming off back-to-back seasons of hitting over .300. The third baseman has some pop, but excels at hitting doubles, as evidenced by his 41 two-baggers last year.

    First base/outfield combo Mike Zuanich is on the rise as the Rockies major hitting prospect in the lower levels. He already has clubbed nine home runs and is hitting .370 through 32 games.

    The Rockies already have a strong offense, but these prospects give the team something more to look forward to.

1. Kansas City Royals

30 of 30

    The Kansas City Royals will rely on their young talented hitters to get them back to relevance in the AL Central.

    First baseman Eric Hosmer had been hitting .415 before being called up to the big team, where he has promptly hit two HR in just eight games.

    Third baseman Mike Moustakas might be the highest-touted of all Kansas City’s prospects. He’s in Triple-A this year, and has hit seven HR through 33 games.

    Two Double-A prospects—William Myers and Christian Colon—are said to be can’t miss talents.

    Myers has shown good pop, especially by lacing doubles into the gaps. Colon is still a work in progress, as this will only be his second season in the minors.

    Things are looking up for the Royals, especially if these prospects turn into quality ballplayers.