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The Astros' system took a hit last season with the graduations of George Springer and Jonathan Singleton to everyday players in the major leagues, and the organization’s failure to sign draft picks Brady Aiken and Jacob Nix cost them two of the class’ premier high school arms. Yet, it’s still a system that’s loaded with potential impact talent, from top to bottom.

Top prospect Carlos Correa once again opened eyes with his bat last season, posting a .926 OPS with 20 stolen bases in 62 High-A games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in late June that required surgery. The 20-year-old has the makings of a future MVP candidate, and I have little doubt as to whether he’ll remain at shortstop.

Mark Appel, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft, endured a rough year at High-A Lancaster, but the right-hander fared considerably better after a late-season promotion to Double-A Corpus Christi, and then ended his season on a positive note with a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League.

Outfielders Brett Phillips and Teoscar Hernandez both showcased a promising blend of power, speed and hitting ability last season at their respective levels, while Domingo Santana received his first taste of the major leagues.


Addison Russell was viewed as the only potential star in Oakland's farm system headed into 2014, but that obviously changed when he was dealt in early July to the Cubs in the Jeff Samardzija-Jason Hammel trade. Outfielder Billy McKinney, the A’s first-round pick in 2013, also was shipped out in the trade.

However, general manager Billy Beane and the A’s have done an admirable job restocking their farm system since the end of the season. In late November, the team traded All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays in return for Brett Lawrie and three prospects: right-hander Kendall Graveman, left-hander Sean Nolin and shortstop Franklin Barreto, who ultimately replaced Daniel Robertson as the team’s top shortstop prospect after he was dealt to the Rays.

The A’s then received another four-player package in early December, this time from the White Sox, as they traded Samardzija for infielder Marcus Semien, catcher Josh Phegley, right-hander Chris Bassitt and first baseman Rangel Ravelo.

Oakland also gained a few other notable prospects in offseason trades, acquiring second baseman Joey Wendle from Cleveland in exchange for Brandon Moss, and then adding late-inning reliever R.J. Alvarez from San Diego as part of the Derek Norris trade.


Any conversation about the Texas Rangers farm system begins with Joey Gallo, the 21-year-old slugger who led all minor league hitters with 40 home runs in 2013 and then broke that mark this past season with 42, ultimately falling one shy of Kris Bryant’s MiLB lead.

Catcher Jorge Alfaro continued to flash his offensive upside and reached Double-A, though his defense is still very much a work in progress. 2013 draftee Alex "Chi Chi" Gonzalez is a high-probability right-hander who pitched better after a midseason promotion to Double-A, and he has the makings of a solid No. 3 starter with his plus fastball movement and deep arsenal. The organization added two impact arms in the Joakim Soria trade, acquiring right-handers Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel from the Detroit Tigers.

Outfielders Lewis Brinson, Nick Williams and Nomar Mazara’s tools began to play in games more consistently last season, resulting in the latter two players finishing the year in Double-A.

In this year’s draft, the Rangers stole right-hander Luis Ortiz with the No. 30 overall pick, and they also got one of the class’ best pure athletes in Ti'Quan Forbes (No. 59), as well as an underrated prep hitter in Josh Morgan (third round).


The Pittsburgh Pirates system took a hit last year with Jameson Taillon’s Tommy John surgery, but fellow right-handers Tyler Glasnow and Nick Kingham picked up the slack in his absence, with the former posting video-game numbers in the Florida State League.

Meanwhile, switch-hitter Josh Bell’s season was very encouraging, to say the least. Bell was a bonus baby as a second-round pick in 2011 but then struggled out of the gate with injuries the following year and was surpassed by other players in the system. Thankfully, the 22-year-old was fully healthy in 2014 and finished the season in Double-A, where he showcased the pure hitting ability that made him so highly sought-after a few years back.

Outfielder Austin Meadows’ season was delayed by a hamstring injury, but the 19-year-old made an immediate impact following his return to action, joining fellow 2013 first-round pick Reese McGuire at Low-A West Virginia in the South Atlantic League.

Beyond that, shortstop Cole Tucker and right-hander Mitch Keller, the Pirates’ first- and second-round picks from 2014, both received positive reviews for their performances in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, and they both will be players to follow closely next season.

Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

The Milwaukee Brewers’ system has been on a steep decline since the team drafted college pitchers Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley with the Nos. 12 and 15 picks, respectively, in 2011. Both pitchers were expected to make quick work of the minor leagues and become fixtures in the big league rotation. Instead, Jungmann reached Triple-A for the first time last season, while Bradley enjoyed an overdue resurgence and reached Double-A after three seasons at High-A Brevard County.

However, as bad as those picks look in hindsight, the system does have upside at a few spots. Tyrone Taylor is a toolsy center fielder with excellent contact skills and power potential, while Orlando Arcia projects as an above-average defensive shortstop with the potential to surprise people with the bat. Both players are likely ticketed for Double-A next season.

Outfielder Monte Harrison received glowing reviews this summer during his professional debut, as the former three-sport standout showcased loud tools as well as surprisingly advanced baseball skills. Meanwhile, there’s a decent chance 17-year-old infielder Gilbert Lara, the recipient of a club-record international signing bonus in July, bypasses the Dominican Summer League and makes his stateside debut.

Devin Williams, the team's top pick in the 2013 draft, is an athletic right-hander with a lightning-quick arm and tons of potential. 2014 first-rounder Kodi Medeiros is probably a reliever in pro ball but is also a lefty who can touch the mid-90s with deception and a plus slider. The Brewers also have a collection of potential midrotation arms between the High- and Double-A levels such as Taylor Williams, Tyler Wagner and Jorge Lopez, and they’re all coming off career-best performances last season.


Unless you haven't been paying attention, it's prospect season for Major League Baseball here at Bleacher Report, where we have ranked all 30 farm systems and are working on rolling out the 10 best prospects for each individual club, too.

Next up? Selecting every team's most untouchable prospect. As in, the one youngster in each organization who is too valuable to go anywhere. In many—but not all—cases, this will be a franchise's No. 1 overall prospect. There are certainly, however, instances where other circumstances come into play and that does not apply.

Then again, in what has been a swap meet of an offseason, it wouldn't be a huge shock if one (or more) of these top players wind up being moved. But we'll make the case for why that shouldn't happen anytime soon.


The Chicago Cubs graduated former top prospects Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara to the major leagues last season, but the organization still houses one of the best collections of young hitters in the game.

Kris Bryant continued to blow past all reasonable expectations with his performance at the Double- and Triple-A levels, as the 23-year-old slugger paced the minor leagues with 43 home runs and ranked among the league leaders in every other important category.

The Cubs added another impressive bat in Kyle Schwarber, whom they selected with the No. 4 overall pick in last year’s draft, and he rewarded the organization by reaching High-A Daytona in his professional debut. Furthermore, drafting Schwarber and signing him to an underslot bonus allowed the team to grab several promising arms in later rounds, including Jake Stinnett, Carson Sands, Justin Steele and Dylan Cease.

The Cubs also received a droolworthy prospect package from the A’s in the Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel trades, getting a top-10 overall prospect in shortstop Addison Russell as well as 2013 first-rounder Billy McKinney. Apparently, the fresh start was what the doctor ordered for Russell, as the 20-year-old put up monster numbers at Double-A Tennessee over the second half of the season. And while none of the team’s pitching prospects truly dominated last year, right-handers C.J. Edwards, Pierce Johnson and Duane Underwood each made strides developmentally and seem poised for big things next season.

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The once-stocked Cardinals system isn’t as strong as previous years, though that was to be expected after the team graduated Kolten Wong and Carlos Martinez to the major leagues last season and tragically lost a future star in Oscar Taveras.

Outfielder Stephen Piscotty didn't come into the system with a lot of hype but has really turned into an excellent player; dude can flat-out hit, and he’s likely to get his first crack at the major leagues in 2015. 2012 second-round pick Carson Kelly made significant strides in his ongoing transition from third baseman to catcher, while outfielder Charlie Tilson staked his claim one of the team’s top position prospects.

As usual, the Cardinals’ system is also loaded with high-ceiling arms in the lower levels of the minors. 

Alex Reyes, a 20-year-old right-hander, has the best arm in the group behind a projectable 6'3", 185-pound frame, but he’s still learning how to harness his outstanding stuff and throw strikes. 2014 first-round pick Jack Flaherty opened eyes in his professional debut after signing, making it clear why the Cardinals seemed designed their draft strategy around landing the prep right-hander.


The Cincinnati Reds' top prospects can be broken down into two groups: outfielders and pitchers.

As you might have guessed, the Reds don’t have a particularly balanced system due to a lack of infield prospects. However, that shouldn’t detract from the fact that they have several players with bright futures in the major leagues.

Outfielder Jesse Winker is the best hitter in the system, boasting a sweet left-handed swing with an excellent approach and above-average raw power, while Yorman Rodriguez got his feet wet with the Reds last September. Meanwhile, shortstop Alex Blandino, the only non-outfield position player on this list, made a strong impression in his professional debut, finishing the season at a full-season level. 

The team’s top draft pick from last year, right-hander Nick Howard (No. 19 overall), will be a project as he transitions from college closer to full-time starter, although that’s also what everyone was saying at this time last year about right-hander Michael Lorenzen.

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The final week of 2014 saw Prospect Pipeline begin to roll out our annual team-specific top-10 prospect lists for the upcoming season, starting with the American League East.

Each list provides an in-depth look at one team's farm system, complete with player rankings, comprehensive scouting reports and projections, and a list of other notable prospects to follow closely next season.

Our ranking process is rooted in scouting, as we evaluate each player’s present tools and skills in order to project his overall future potential (commonly referred to “OFP”) in the major leagues. From there, we come up with a single OFP grade for each prospect—based on the 20 to 80 scouting scale, where 50 is average—and also assign him a specific risk level (low, medium, high, extreme) based on the likelihood of him achieving maximum potential. So, basically, the rankings aren’t based strictly on pure upside. For more information on our evaluation and projection processes, be sure to check out the “How They’re Ranked” slide at the front of each team’s list.

Previously, an index of completed teams was included at the end of each list. However, to make sure fans aren’t missing out on their favorite teams, we’ve decided to put together an organized directory to highlight each team’s prospect rankings for the 2015 season. Please note: All upcoming rankings will be linked to their corresponding teams in the index as soon as they're available.