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Few teams have been as busy this offseason as the Miami Marlins.

The decision to extend Giancarlo Stanton with a historic 13-year, $325 million contract thrust the Marlins into win-now mode, and it wasn’t long before the club began to aggressively retool its big league roster around the 25-year-old slugger.

However, building a strong supporting cast around Stanton meant blowing up the farm system, and so the Marlins were forced to part with top prospects.

First, they traded left-hander Andrew Heaney, the organization’s first-round draft pick in 2012, along with Enrique Hernandez and two other players to the Dodgers for Dee Gordon. One day later, they shipped right-hander Anthony DeSclafani to the Reds in a deal for Mat Latos.

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The Philadelphia Phillies haven’t launched a full-on rebuilding process, at least not yet, but the organization appears to be headed in that direction based on recent trades.

The Phillies have targeted young, projectable pitchers in trades this offseason, acquiring Zach Eflin and Tom Windle from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Jimmy Rollins deal and then getting right-hander Ben Lively from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Marlon Byrd. Those additions give the Phillies some much-needed pitching depth on the farm behind 2014 first-rounder Aaron Nola and former top prospect Jesse Biddle.

J.P. Crawford, the No. 16 overall pick in the 2013 draft, was lauded for his offensive potential and ability to remain at shortstop, but no one could have predicted how advanced the hit tool would be in his first full professional season. Meanwhile, third baseman Maikel Franco overcame a rough first half at Triple-A to reach the major leagues as a September call-up, setting him up for a potential everyday role in 2015.

Beyond that, the Phillies system also stands out for its collection of young, high-upside talent in the low minors, a group that includes center fielder Roman Quinn, catcher Deivi Grullon, left-hander Yoel Mecias and right-hander Franklyn Kilome.

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The Atlanta Braves system may be weak, but the cupboard is far from bare.

Twenty-year-old second baseman Jose Peraza's exciting tools and advanced feel for the game have him on the fast track to the major leagues, while the team's top prospect from 2014, right-hander Lucas Sims, seems poised for a bounce-back campaign.  

Catcher Christian Bethancourt’s bat didn’t develop in the high minors as hoped, and questions remain about the 23-year-old’s hit-tool potential, but he’s an absolute monster defensively and ready for a near-everyday role in 2015. 

2014 first-round pick Braxton Davidson (No. 32 overall) has big raw power and a short swing to make it play, but the left-handed hitter struggled to drive the ball this summer between two rookie levels. Meanwhile, 18-year-old shortstop Ozhaino Albies got everyone's attention last summer by batting .364 across a pair of rookie levels.

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Lucas Giolito emerged as arguably the top pitching prospect in the minor leagues last year, as the 20-year-old right-hander—in his first full season after Tommy John surgery—dominated hitters in the South Atlantic League with a combination of size and stuff. 

The team’s former top pitching prospect, hard-throwing right-hander A.J. Cole, didn’t miss as many bats as he did in previous seasons, but his mid-90s fastball, improving curveball and overall control should help get him to the major leagues in 2015.

The Nationals, likely encouraged by the success with Giolito, took UNLV right-hander Erick Fedde in the first round (No. 18 overall) of last year’s draft. Fedde, 21, was viewed as a potential top-10 talent in the draft before undergoing Tommy John surgery. Meanwhile, the organization also added the best high school catcher, Jakson Reetz, in the third round.

Toolsy center fielder Michael Taylor turned in a breakout performance this season between Double- and Triple-A, and as a result, he saw time with the Nationals late in the regular season. Things also came together quickly for 22-year-old shortstop Wilmer Difo, as he ranked among the South Atlantic League leaders in most offensive categories and ultimately captured the league’s MVP award.

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The New York Mets graduated Travis d'Arnaud, Wilmer Flores and Jacob deGrom to the major leagues in 2014, but a majority of the club's top prospects from last year are still around.

Besides big-name pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero, left-hander Steven Matz has emerged as one of the more underrated pitching prospects in the minors, while right-hander Marcos Molina is a safe bet to be higher on next year's list after his full-season debut.

The Mets’ offensive prospects also took a step forward this season, individually and collectively. Brandon Nimmo's approach is among the best in the minors, and his play in center field has improved to the point where he might be able to stick at the position. The team also has a pair of promising young middle infielders on the rise in shortstop Amed Rosario and second baseman Dilson Herrera, who was called up to the major leagues in late August after opening the season in High-A.

And don’t sleep on catcher Kevin Plawecki just because d’Arnaud began to realize his potential last season; the 23-year-old doesn’t offer much home power, but he has a knack for making hard contact and collects his share of doubles. Meanwhile, the addition of outfielder Michael Conforto, an advanced college hitter from this year’s draft who can get on base and hit for power, makes the system even more impressive.

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It was an overall quiet year for Tampa Bay Rays prospects, as the team failed to produce impact players at the highest level like it had in previous years. Granted, the Rays received contributions from right-hander Jake Odorizzi and outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, but nothing along the lines of Wil Myers, Chris Archer and Matt Moore. Therefore, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when the Rays, who were already out of the playoff race, began restocking their farm system in late July.

First, the Rays landed 19-year-old shortstop Willy Adames at the trade deadline, receiving him from the Detroit Tigers as part of a three-team deal for David Price. The club then began its offseason by acquiring two more young hitters, shortstop Andrew Velazquez and outfielder Justin Williams, from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Jeremy Hellickson.

More recently, the Rays decided to part with Myers in another three-team trade, this time involving the Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres, which netted them a slew of young talents, including outfielder Steven Souza, first baseman Jake Bauers and right-handers Burch Smith and Jose Dominguez.

Other than that, catcher Justin O’Conner has always been known for his strong defense and cannon arm, but the 22-year-old finally came into his own at the dish last season and put up solid numbers in challenging leagues. On the mound, 22-year-old left-hander Blake Snell continued to miss more than a bat per inning between both A-ball levels.

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Baltimore’s 2013 prep draft picks made a strong impression last season at Low-A Delmarva, as right-hander Hunter Harvey led the way on the mound—before he was shut down for the season with an elbow injury. Meanwhile, his catcher Chance Sisco paced the South Atlantic League with a .340 batting average.

First baseman Christian Walker, a fourth-round pick in 2012, took a huge step forward between the Double- and Triple-A levels behind a career-best 26 home runs, and the Orioles rewarded his progress with a call-up to the major leagues in late September.

Top prospect Dylan Bundy continued to work his way back from 2013 Tommy John surgery and reached High-A Frederick before succumbing to a lat strain. The 21-year-old right-hander’s numbers were encouraging in his highly anticipated return to the mound, although reports suggested his velocity was yet to return to pre-surgery form. The Orioles also had a few pitchability guys take a step forward in 2014, as left-hander Tim Berry and right-hander Zach Davies headlined a strong rotation at Double-A Bowie.

Unfortunately, the Orioles were forced to part with 21-year-old Eduardo Rodriguez, the organization’s top left-handed pitching prospect, at the trade deadline. They sent him to Boston in exchange for reliever Andrew Miller.


Marcus Stroman’s graduation to big league starter last season put a temporary dent in the Toronto Blue Jays' system, but right-hander Aaron Sanchez, lefty Daniel Norris and center fielder Dalton Pompey each picked up the slack in his absence, as all three prospects finished the year in the major leagues.

Sanchez, who spent most of 2014 between the Double- and Triple-A levels, proved to be a force out of the Blue Jays bullpen following a late-July promotion, showcasing an upper-90s fastball and devastating breaking ball while saving three games in late September. Meanwhile, Norris and Pompey ultimately joined Sanchez in Toronto for the final month of the season to complete their respective meteoric rises through the minor leagues.

As for the draft, getting right-hander Jeff Hoffman with the No. 9 overall pick, assuming he makes it all the way back from Tommy John surgery, was like adding a top-five draft talent at a bargain price. Max Pentecost, the No. 11 overall pick, was viewed as the best catcher in the draft class with good potential on both sides of the ball, but he’ll miss a sizable portion of the 2015 season after undergoing labrum surgery.

It’s worth noting that Toronto’s offseason acquisition of third baseman Josh Donaldson from the A’s did cost the team three top-10-caliber prospects in pitchers Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman, both of whom have MLB experience, as well as 18-year-old Franklin Barreto, one of the better shortstop prospects in the minors. However, they did acquire Devon Travis, an all-around solid second-base prospect, in exchange for Anthony Gose.

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Despite graduating a host of players to the big leagues last season, the Boston Red Sox enter 2015 with one of the finest collections of talent in the sport thanks to an aggressive draft strategy and outstanding player development.

The Red Sox’s core of pitching prospects continued their steady climb of the organizational ladder, as right-handers Anthony Ranaudo and Matt Barnes reached the major leagues after strong showings in Triple-A, while 22-year-old left-hander Henry Owens, the team’s top pitching prospect, furthered his impressive professional career with a strong, consistent performance across Double- and Triple-A.

Switch-hitting catcher Blake Swihart also thrived in his first taste of the high minors, as the 22-year-old hit for both average and power while playing phenomenal defense. Meanwhile, third baseman Garin Cecchini made his mark in the major leagues despite an overall disappointing campaign at Triple-A. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see where he fits into the organization’s long-term plans after the offseason signing of Pablo Sandoval.

All that being said, 2014 will be remembered as the year Boston’s next wave of international prospects put themselves on the prospect radar. Eighteen-year-old third baseman Rafael Devers showcased arguably the highest ceiling in the system with his excellent performance between the Dominican Summer and Gulf Coast Leagues, while 19-year-old outfielder Manuel Margot put himself on the map with his power/speed combo across both Class-A levels.


The 2014 season didn’t go as planned for the New York Yankees, who failed to reach the playoffs for a second straight year despite signing high-profile free agents such as Jacoby Ellsbury, Masahiro Tanaka, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran.

Things went much better down on the farm, though, as the organization’s top prospects took a huge step forward individually and collectively.

Outfielder Aaron Judge flashed his offensive upside with an impressive professional debut across both Class-A levels, while 20-year-old right-handed pitcher Luis Severino and his electric arm turned in a breakout performance highlighted by a trip to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

The Bronx Bombers’ up-the-middle prospects also put themselves on the prospect radar, as shortstop Jorge Mateo and catcher Luis Torrens opened eyes in the low minors. Meanwhile, an unexpected offensive outburst by outfielder-turned-second baseman Robert Refsnyder has him in the mix for playing time in 2015.