Bleacher Report's Updated Farm System Rankings Entering 2016

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2016

Bleacher Report's Updated Farm System Rankings Entering 2016

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    While the hot stove continues to smolder and we wait on a number of key free-agent signings, now seems like a good time to take an updated look at how all 30 MLB farm systems stack up around the league.

    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 future a player has.
    • 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 level are the determining factors, as they are viewed as a more complete product.
    • 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 was the biggest factor 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.

    An updated list of the top 10 prospects for each team has been provided, as well as some general analysis on top prospects, recent draft picks and the outlook of each farm system as a whole.

    A player must not have passed the rookie eligibility limits (130 AB, 50 IP, 45 days on roster) to be eligible for inclusion in these rankings.

30. Los Angeles Angels

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    Victor Alcantara
    Victor AlcantaraBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. RHP Victor Alcantara 22AA2017
    2. RHP Joe Gatto 20A2018
    3. OF Jahmai Jones18A2019
    4. C Taylor Ward22A+2018
    5. LHP Nate Smith24AAA2016
    6. 3B Kyle Kubitza 25AAA2016
    7. IF Roberto Baldoquin 21A+2017
    8. RHP Jake Jewell22A+2018
    9. OF Chad Hinshaw 25AAA2017
    10. SS Julio Garcia18ROK2019

    Overview

    The Los Angeles Angels already had one of the thinnest farm systems in baseball before the offseason, and the move to acquire shortstop Andrelton Simmons has officially bumped them to the bottom of these rankings.

    That trade cost them their consensus top prospect in left-hander Sean Newcomb, as well as another pitcher whom many considered to be their No. 2 prospect in right-hander Christopher Ellis.

    With that, hard-throwing Victor Alcantara assumes the title of the team's top prospect, despite taking a step back in a full season at the High-A level after appearing in the Futures Game in 2014.

    Catcher Taylor Ward hit .348/.457/.438 and reached Single-A after being taken with the No. 26 overall pick in June, while second-round selection Jahmai Jones swiped 16 bases and scored 28 runs in 40 games.

29. Baltimore Orioles

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    Hunter Harvey
    Hunter HarveyBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. RHP Hunter Harvey21A+2017
    2. RHP Dylan Bundy 23MLB2016
    3. 3B Jomar Reyes18A+2019
    4. C Chance Sisco 20AA2017
    5. RHP Mychal Givens25MLB2016
    6. SS Ryan Mountcastle 18A2019
    7. 1B Trey Mancini23AAA2017
    8. OF D.J. Stewart22A+2018
    9. RHP Mike Wright26AAA2016
    10. 1B Christian Walker24AAA2016

    Overview

    The Baltimore Orioles find themselves in a tough position right now, as they do not appear to be clear contenders in the AL East in the short term and their long-term outlook is even worse due to having one of the league's worst farm systems.

    Top prospects Hunter Harvey and Dylan Bundy both dealt with arm issues this past season, and we've arrived at a make-or-break season for Bundy, as the 23-year-old is out of minor league options. He had a 3.68 ERA and a ratio of five walks to 25 strikeouts in 22 innings after returning from Tommy John surgery this past season.

    As far as the standout performer of 2015, that clearly goes to first baseman Trey Mancini, who hit .341/.375/.563 with 43 doubles and 21 home runs between High-A and Double-A and put himself ahead of Christian Walker on the organizational depth chart in the process.

    The team's top pick in June was Florida State outfielder D.J. Stewart at No. 25 overall, and he hit .218/.288/.345 with 16 extra-base hits in 238 at-bats after jumping straight to Low-A ball. He has the advanced game and plus plate discipline to move quickly, despite that subpar debut.

28. Detroit Tigers

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    Beau Burrows
    Beau BurrowsLenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. RHP Michael Fulmer22AAA2016
    2. OF Derek Hill20A+2018
    3. RHP Beau Burrows19A2019
    4. OF Steven Moya 24AAA2016
    5. RHP Spencer Turnbull 23A+2018
    6. OF Christin Stewart22A+2018
    7. LHP Kevin Ziomek 23AA2017
    8. SS JaCoby Jones23A+2017
    9. LHP Jairo Labourt 21A+2017
    10. RHP Austin Kubitza 24AA2017

    Overview

    Despite relatively disappointing seasons from outfielders Steven Moya and Derek Hill at the top of the system, and the fact that their big prospect pickup in Daniel Norris used up his rookie eligibility, the Detroit Tigers farm system is still better than it was a year ago.

    Michael Fulmer, the prize of the Yoenis Cespedes trade, takes over as the team's top prospect after a fantastic season. He went 10-3 with a 2.24 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 124.2 innings while reaching Double-A. He should see the majors at some point in 2016.

    While Moya has seen his stock start to slip after a rough season in Triple-A, the 20-year-old Hill is still ahead of the curve and has the potential to be a future leadoff hitter.

    Right-hander Beau Burrows had a 1.61 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 28 innings in the rookie league after being taken No. 22 overall in June. Fellow first-round pick Christin Stewart hit .285/.372/.508 with 13 doubles and 10 home runs in 71 games while reaching Single-A after the outfielder went No. 34 overall.

27. Miami Marlins

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    Josh Naylor
    Josh NaylorLenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. RHP Tyler Kolek 20A2018
    2. 1B Josh Naylor 18A-2019
    3. LHP Jarlin Garcia23AA2017
    4. RHP Kendry Flores24MLB2016
    5. LHP Brett Lilek 22A2018
    6. 3B Brian Anderson22AA2017
    7. OF Stone Garrett20A2019
    8. OF Isael Soto19A2019
    9. OF Austin Dean22AA2017
    10. 2B Avery Romero22AA2017

    Overview

    After trading away the likes of Anthony DeSclafani and Andrew Heaney and promoting other arms in Justin Nicolino, Jose Urena and Adam Conley, as well as catcher J.T. Realmuto, the Miami Marlins system has taken a hit in terms of overall talent.

    Throw in the fact that last year's No. 2 overall pick, Tyler Kolek, suffered through a disappointing full-season debut with a 4.56 ERA and a ratio of 61 walks to 81 strikeouts in 108.2 innings, and it should not come as a big surprise that the Marlins rank so low here.

    Left-hander Jarlin Garcia was one bright spot in 2015; he represented the team in the Futures Game while again displaying good command and easy mechanics while reaching Double-A for the first time.

    Miami took slugger Josh Naylor as something of a reach at No. 12 overall last June, but he was arguably the top power bat in the draft class. He hit .327/.352/.418 with four doubles and one home run in 25 games after signing.

26. Chicago White Sox

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    Tim Anderson
    Tim AndersonMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. SS Tim Anderson22AAA2016
    2. RHP Carson Fulmer22A+2017
    3. RHP Spencer Adams19A+2018
    4. 3B Trey Michalczewski 20AA2017
    5. OF Micker Adolfo19ROK2019
    6. RHP Tyler Danish21AAA2016
    7. LHP Jordan Guerrero21AA2017
    8. OF Jacob May23AAA2017
    9. OF Adam Engel 24AA2017
    10. RHP Chris Beck25AAA2016

    Overview

    The Chicago White Sox saw their already relatively thin farm system take a hit when they shipped Frankie Montas, Micah Johnson and Trayce Thompson to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the three-team deal that landed them Todd Frazier.

    Shortstop Tim Anderson remains their prized prospect, though, after he hit .312/.350/.429 with 21 doubles, 12 triples, five home runs and 49 stolen bases in a full season at Double-A Birmingham. His glove is still a work in progress, but he's continued to make strides in that area as well.

    Vanderbilt ace Carson Fulmer fell to the White Sox at No. 8 overall in last year's draft, and the team will give him every chance to stick as a starter. However, his violent mechanics lead some to believe his future is at the back of the bullpen. Either way, he's an impact arm.

    Keep an eye on right-hander Spencer Adams as a prospect who could start to move quickly up league-wide rankings. The 19-year-old went 12-5 with a 2.99 ERA, 1.237 WHIP and 96 strikeouts in 126.1 innings while reaching High-A last season, and he still has plenty of projectability in his 6'3", 171-pound frame.

25. Kansas City Royals

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    Raul A. Mondesi
    Raul A. MondesiRobert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. SS Raul A. Mondesi 20AA2016
    2. RHP Ashe Russell19A2019
    3. RHP Kyle Zimmer 24AAA2016
    4. OF Bubba Starling23AA2017
    5. RHP Miguel Almonte 22AAA2016
    6. LHP Foster Griffin20A+2018
    7. C Chase Vallot 19A+2019
    8. RHP Scott Blewett 19A+2018
    9. OF Jorge Bonifacio 22AAA2016
    10. RHP Josh Staumont 22A2018

    Overview

    Shortstop Raul A. Mondesi has moved aggressively through the Kansas City Royals system throughout his pro career, and that continued last October when he made his big league debut in the World Series.

    He's still somewhat raw offensively after hitting .243/.279/.372 with 22 extra-base hits and 19 stolen bases this past season, but he did that as a 19-year-old in Double-A. There is little question his glove is big league-ready.

    Many considered Ashe Russell to be the top high school arm in last year's class, and the Royals happily scooped him up at No. 21 overall. He has the three-pitch arsenal and plus athleticism to be a future front-line starter.

    The big question is what to expect from Kyle Zimmer, who returned strong from a lost season in 2014 to post a 2.39 ERA and 20 walks to 72 strikeouts in 64 innings of work last year. He could see the majors this coming season if he can avoid further arm issues.

24. Seattle Mariners

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    Edwin Diaz
    Edwin DiazJohn Minchillo/Associated Press

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. OF Alex Jackson20A2018
    2. RHP Edwin Diaz 21AAA2017
    3. OF Tyler O'Neill20AA2017
    4. LHP Luiz Gohara 19A2018
    5. OF Boog Powell23AAA2016
    6. 1B D.J. Peterson24AAA2016
    7. LHP Ryan Yarbrough 24AA2017
    8. OF Luis Liberato 20A+2019
    9. RHP Nick Neidert 19A2019
    10. SS Drew Jackson22A2018

    Overview

    The Seattle Mariners farm system has fallen a long way from the days when Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and Danny Hultzen anchored what was arguably the best crop of minor league talent in all of baseball.

    That being said, this group has the potential to climb up these rankings as the 2016 season progresses, thanks to the fact that six of the top 10 prospects are 21 years old or younger.

    Alex Jackson, the No. 6 pick in the 2014 draft, is the top prospect despite a disappointing 2015 season that saw him hit just .207/.318/.365 with middling power numbers. His tremendous all-around potential is still enough to warrant that No. 1 spot, though.

    Given their 2015 production and age relative to their level, right-hander Edwin Diaz (7-10, 3.82 ERA, 145 K, 141.1 IP) and outfielder Tyler O'Neill (.874 OPS, 21 2B, 32 HR, 16 SB) both have a case for being the team's top prospect as well.

23. San Diego Padres

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    Manuel Margot
    Manuel MargotBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. OF Manuel Margot21AA2017
    2. OF Hunter Renfroe 23AAA2016
    3. SS Javier Guerra20A+2018
    4. SS Jose Rondon 21AA2017
    5. RHP Colin Rea25MLB2016
    6. SS Ruddy Giron 19A+2019
    7. OF Travis Jankowski 24AAA2016
    8. RHP Austin Smith19A-2019
    9. LHP Logan Allen18A-2019
    10. OF Michael Gettys 20A2018

     

    Overview

    After gutting the farm system last offseason, the San Diego Padres set to work rebuilding their young talent pool this offseason when they traded Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit.

    The Kimbrel deal netted them a pair of highly regarded position-player prospects in center fielder Manuel Margot and shortstop Javier Guerra, as well as left-hander Logan Allen, who had a 1.11 ERA and threw one walk to 26 strikeouts in 24.1 innings of work after being taken in the eighth round last June.

    Sandwiched between those two new bats in these rankings is outfielder Hunter Renfroe, who posted a .783 OPS with 27 doubles and 20 home runs in the upper minors this past season and could be ready to step into an everyday role at some point in 2016.

    Right-hander Colin Rea and outfielder Travis Jankowski both reached the majors last season after breakout performances in the minors, and both have a realistic chance of breaking camp with the big league club in 2016.

22. San Francisco Giants

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    Tyler Beede
    Tyler BeedeBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. RHP Tyler Beede 22AA2016
    2. SS Christian Arroyo20AA2017
    3. RHP Phil Bickford 20A2018
    4. SS Lucius Fox18A-2019
    5. C Aramis Garcia23A+2018
    6. SS Jalen Miller19ROK2019
    7. 1B Christopher Shaw22A+2018
    8. RHP Samuel Coonrod 23A+2017
    9. RHP Kyle Crick23AAA2016
    10. LHP Andrew Suarez23A+2018

    Overview

    The San Francisco Giants once again received some unexpected contributions from the farm system this past season. Chris Heston emerged as a key member of the rotation, Kelby Tomlinson did a great job of filling in for the injured Joe Panik, and lefty Josh Osich pitched well out of the bullpen.

    That could continue this coming season, but in the form of a more highly touted prospect in Tyler Beede. The former Vanderbilt star and No. 14 pick in the 2014 draft struggled to a 5.23 ERA in 13 starts after being promoted to Double-A, but so long as he can keep his walks under control, he should continue to move quickly.

    Speaking of walks, former top prospect Kyle Crick continues to slide down the organizational rankings after issuing 66 free passes in 63 innings of work last year. He still has electric stuff, as he also struck out 73 batters, but it's looking more and more like his future will be in the bullpen.

    On the other end of the spectrum, shortstop Christian Arroyo's stock is on the rise after he hit .304/.344/.459 with 28 doubles and nine home runs for High-A San Jose. The same goes for catcher Aramis Garcia, who had a .774 OPS with 19 doubles and 15 home runs while also reaching High-A.

21. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Archie Bradley
    Archie BradleyMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. RHP Archie Bradley23AAA2016
    2. RHP Braden Shipley 23AAA2016
    3. IF Isan Diaz 19A2018
    4. IF Brandon Drury 23AAA2016
    5. RHP Yoan Lopez23AA2016
    6. LHP Alex Young22A2018
    7. IF Domingo Leyba 20A+2018
    8. OF Marcus Wilson19A2018
    9. RHP Wei-Chieh Huang22A+2018
    10. OF Socrates Brito 23MLB2018

    Overview

    The Arizona Diamondbacks prospect pool took an obvious hit when they shipped Dansby Swanson and Aaron Blair to the Atlanta Braves along with outfielder Ender Inciarte in exchange for Shelby Miller.

    Archie Bradley still has legitimate top-of-the-rotation potential—it's just a matter of whether or not he can stay healthy enough to realize it. He broke camp with a rotation spot last year and will battle for the No. 5 starter job once again this spring.

    The name to watch in the organization is infielder Isan Diaz, a second-round pick in 2014 out of Puerto Rico who was signed away from a commitment to Vanderbilt. He crushed the Pioneer League in 2015 to the tune of a .360/.436/.640 line that included 25 doubles, six triples and 13 home runs in just 272 at-bats. He could shoot up prospect boards if he continues that production in his full-season debut.

    The other fast-rising prospect to watch is right-hander Wei-Chieh Huang, who was signed out of Taiwan in 2014 and went 7-3 with a 2.00 ERA, 0.965 WHIP and 68 strikeouts in 76.2 innings while beginning his pro career at the Single-A level.

20. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Rowdy Tellez
    Rowdy TellezMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. RHP Sean Reid-Foley20AA2018
    2. OF Anthony Alford21AA2018
    3. RHP Jonathan Harris22A2018
    4. OF Vladimir Guerrero Jr.16ROK2020
    5. C Max Pentecost22A+2019
    6. SS Richard Urena 19A+2018
    7. 1B Rowdy Tellez 20A+2018
    8. RHP Conner Greene20AA2017
    9. 3B Mitch Nay22AA2017
    10. OF D.J. Davis21A+2018

    Overview

    The Toronto Blue Jays have not been shy about trading away their top minor league talent to address the big league roster in recent years, and that continued this past season with the additions of David Price and Troy Tulowitzki in July.

    Despite that fact, they still have some quality talent in the organization, though there is no clear-cut top prospect among them at this point.

    Right-hander Sean-Reid Foley gets the nod here after posting a 4.22 ERA and striking out 125 batters in just 96 innings while reaching Single-A. He'll need to rein in his command to reach his full potential, though, as he also walked 67 batters for a 6.3 BB/9 rate.

    Elite athlete Anthony Alford has also continued to progress as a baseball player after playing football at Southern Mississippi. He hit .298/.398/.421 with 36 extra-base hits and 27 steals while reaching High-A, but his 13.8 percent walk rate was perhaps the most promising statistical takeaway.

19. New York Yankees

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    Aaron Judge
    Aaron JudgeMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. OF Aaron Judge23AAA2016
    2. SS Jorge Mateo20A+2018
    3. RHP James Kaprielian 22A+2018
    4. C Gary Sanchez23AAA2016
    5. RHP Domingo Acevedo21A2019
    6. SS Wilkerman Garcia17A-2019
    7. RHP Drew Finley19A2019
    8. 2B Rob Refsnyder 24AAA2016
    9. OF Dustin Fowler21A+2017
    10. RHP Brady Lail 22AAA2017

    Overview

    After years of gutting the farm system in trades for high-priced veterans, the New York Yankees have committed to developing their own in-house talent in recent years and continue to climb the farm system rankings as a result.

    At 6'7" and 275 pounds, Aaron Judge is an imposing figure when he steps into the batter's box. He had a .777 OPS with 26 doubles and 20 home runs this past season and is capable of even more as he continues to refine his approach.

    Meanwhile, speedy Jorge Mateo is challenging him for the title of top prospect in the organization after hitting .278/.345/.392 and stealing 82 bases. Right-hander James Kaprielian could also find himself atop these rankings by midseason, as the No. 16 pick in last year's draft has legitimate front-line potential.

    A somewhat forgotten name in the system is catcher Gary Sanchez, who has seemingly been around for decades at this point. He hit .274/.330/.485 with 23 doubles, 18 home runs and 62 RBI last season and should push Austin Romine for the backup catcher job this spring.

18. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Orlando Arcia
    Orlando ArciaBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. SS Orlando Arcia 21AAA2016
    2. OF Brett Phillips21AA2017
    3. OF Trent Clark19A2019
    4. RHP Jorge Lopez22AAA2016
    5. RHP Devin Williams21A+2018
    6. SS Gilbert Lara18ROK2019
    7. OF Tyrone Taylor21AA2016
    8. LHP Kodi Medeiros 19A+2018
    9. OF Clint Coulter 22AA2017
    10. LHP Josh Hader 21AAA2016

    Overview

    The Milwaukee Brewers have made some solid additions to the farm system since they began rebuilding at the deadline last season, trading off the likes of Carlos Gomez, Mike Fiers, Francisco Rodriguez and Adam Lind in the process.

    However, their top prospect is still shortstop Orlando Arcia after he hit .307/.347/.453 with 52 extra-base hits and 25 steals in an offensive breakout at Double-A Biloxi this past season. Already an elite defender, his newfound production at the plate has made him one of the top prospects in all of baseball.

    Brett Phillips, the prize of the deal that sent Gomez and Fiers to the Houston Astros at the deadline, also enjoyed a monster season at the plate. He hit .309/.374/.527 with 34 doubles, 14 triples, 16 home runs and 17 stolen bases.

    Jorge Lopez and Devin Williams both have a chance to be key pieces of the rotation in the long term, but keep an eye on left-hander Josh Hader, who has continued to exceed expectations since being taken in the 19th round of the 2012 draft.

17. New York Mets

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    Steven Matz
    Steven MatzBrad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. LHP Steven Matz 24MLB2016
    2. 1B Dominic Smith20AA2018
    3. SS Amed Rosario20AA2017
    4. SS Gavin Cecchini 22AAA2016
    5. OF Brandon Nimmo 22AAA2016
    6. RHP Marcos Molina20AA2018
    7. SS Luis Carpio 18A-2019
    8. SS Milton Ramos20A2019
    9. OF Desmond Lindsey19A2019
    10. RHP Gabriel Ynoa 22AAA2017

    Overview

    The New York farm system has some solid depth, but the Mets get a boost here from the fact that Steven Matz still holds rookie eligibility. The left-hander threw 35.2 innings during the regular season and then added another 14.2 over three postseason starts.

    Once he graduates, the title of top prospect will fall to first baseman Dominic Smith or shortstop Amed Rosario.

    Smith hit .305/.354/.417 with 33 doubles and six home runs while continuing to play Gold Glove-caliber defense at first, while Rosario struggled a bit with the jump to High-A but still hit a respectable .253/.302/.329 with 20 doubles.

    Gavin Cecchini, the No. 12 pick in the 2012 draft, also re-emerged as a top prospect after seeing his stock drop considerably. He hit .317/.377/.442 with 37 extra-base hits in a full season at Double-A Binghamton.

16. Washington Nationals

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    Lucas Giolito
    Lucas GiolitoBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. RHP Lucas Giolito 21AA2016
    2. SS Trea Turner22AAA2016
    3. OF Victor Robles18A2019
    4. RHP Reynaldo Lopez22AA2017
    5. RHP Erick Fedde 22A+2018
    6. RHP A.J. Cole24AAA2016
    7. IF Wilmer Difo 23AA2016
    8. RHP Austin Voth 23AAA2016
    9. SS Osvaldo Abreu21A+2018
    10. OF Andrew Stevenson21A+2018

    Overview

    In Lucas Giolito and Trea Turner, the Washington Nationals have arguably the best pitching prospect in all of baseball and a potential future All-Star at the shortstop position. Both will likely begin the year in the minors, but they could debut at some point in 2016.

    Meanwhile, outfielder Victor Robles has shot up the organizational rankings after hitting .352/.445/.507 with 20 extra-base hits and 24 stolen bases while reaching Low-A in his age-18 season.

    Reynaldo Lopez, Erick Fedde, A.J. Cole and Austin Voth all have the potential to emerge as future big league starters with middle-of-the-rotation upside, and that depth helps the Nationals' ranking here.

    The Nationals didn't have a first-round pick in the 2015 draft, but Andrew Stevenson has a chance to outperform a number of players taken ahead of him after he went No. 58 overall. An elite defensive center fielder, he also has plenty of offensive potential and showed that by hitting .308/.363/.379 while reaching Single-A in his pro debut.

15. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Marco Gonzales
    Marco GonzalesReinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. RHP Alex Reyes21AA2017
    2. RHP Jack Flaherty 20A+2018
    3. OF Nick Plummer 19A-2019
    4. RHP Luke Weaver22AA2017
    5. OF Magneuris Sierra19A2018
    6. SS Edmundo Sosa19A2018
    7. LHP Marco Gonzales23AAA2016
    8. OF Charlie Tilson 23AAA2016
    9. RHP Junior Fernandez18A-2019
    10. RHP Ronnie Williams20A2018

    Overview

    How good was St. Louis Cardinals top prospect Alex Reyes in 2015?

    The 20-year-old climbed three minor league levels to reach Double-A and in the process posted a 2.49 ERA, 1.174 WHIP and .197 opponent batting average while striking out 151 batters in 101.1 innings. However, he was slapped with a 50-game suspension in November after testing positive for marijuana.

    Right behind Reyes is 2014 first-round pick Jack Flaherty, who had a terrific season in his own right with a 2.84 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 95 innings for Single-A Peoria.

    While the Cardinals system has a number of polished prospects in the high minors, it's guys like shortstop Edmundo Sosa and outfielders Magneuris Sierra and Nick Plummer who have a chance to send the team into the top 10 in these rankings.

    Luke Weaver, the No. 27 pick in the 2014 draft, also made a significant jump up the organizational rankings after going 8-5 with a 1.62 ERA and 19 walks to 88 strikeouts in 105.1 innings for High-A Palm Beach.

14. Oakland Athletics

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    Sean Manaea
    Sean ManaeaMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. SS Franklin Barreto 19AA2017
    2. LHP Sean Manaea 23AAA2016
    3. 1B Matt Olson21AAA2016
    4. SS Richie Martin21A2018
    5. 3B Matt Chapman22AA2017
    6. C Jacob Nottingham20AA2017
    7. RHP Dakota Chalmers19A2019
    8. SS Yairo Munoz20A+2018
    9. 3B Renato Nunez21AAA2016
    10. SS Chad Pinder 23AAA2016 

    Overview

    Now that the Oakland Athletics have traded Brett Lawrie, it falls even more on shortstop prospect Franklin Barreto to justify the trade that sent Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays.

    That won't be easy by any means, but Barreto was impressive this past season when he hit .302/.333/.500 with 22 doubles and 13 home runs for High-A Stockton in his age-19 season.

    Barreto is not the only top prospect in the Oakland system who was acquired via trade either, as the team added left-hander Sean Manaea (Ben Zobrist trade) and catcher Jacob Nottingham (Scott Kazmir trade) at the deadline.

    Matt Olson turned in a somewhat disappointing 2015 season after slugging 37 home runs in 2014, but he still tallied 37 doubles and 17 home runs while walking 105 times to post a .388 on-base percentage.

13. Texas Rangers

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    Nomar Mazara
    Nomar MazaraElsa/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. OF Nomar Mazara 20AAA2016
    2. OF Lewis Brinson 21AAA2016
    3. RHP Dillon Tate21A2017
    4. RHP Luis Ortiz20A+2018
    5. 3B/OF Joey Gallo22AAA2016
    6. OF Ryan Cordell23AA2016
    7. LHP Yohander Mendez21A+2018
    8. OF Eric Jenkins18A2019
    9. RHP Michael Matuella 21A-2018
    10. 3B Josh Morgan20A+2018

    Overview

    The Cole Hamels trade cost the Texas Rangers a trio of top prospects in Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams and Jake Thompson, as well as pitchers Jerad Eickhoff and Alec Asher, yet they still have enough talent on the farm to be on the fringe of cracking the top 10 in these rankings.

    The team signed Nomar Mazara to a then-record $4.95 million bonus out of the Dominican Republic back in 2011, and he showed why this past season when he hit .296/.366/.443 with 26 doubles and 14 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A in his age-20 season.

    As good as those numbers were relative to his age, a case can be made for Lewis Brinson deserving that top-prospect spot after he climbed three levels to Triple-A and hit .332/.403/.601 with 31 doubles and 20 home runs in the process.

    Heading the other direction is slugger Joey Gallo, who made his big league debut this past season but also recorded a staggering 57 strikeouts in 123 plate appearances in the majors while whiffing another 139 times in 374 plate appearances in the minors for a 39.4 percent strikeout rate overall.

12. Colorado Rockies

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    Jon Gray
    Jon GrayRichard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. SS Brendan Rodgers19A2019
    2. RHP Jon Gray24MLB2016
    3. RHP Jeff Hoffman23AA2017
    4. 3B Ryan McMahon21AA2017
    5. OF David Dahl 21AAA2017
    6. SS Trevor Story23AAA2016
    7. LHP Kyle Freeland22A+2017
    8. C Tom Murphy24MLB2016
    9. RHP Antonio Senzatela 21AA2017
    10. 2B Forest Wall20A+2017

    Overview

    While Dansby Swanson and Alex Bregman went ahead of him in the 2015 draft and are more polished prospects, Brendan Rodgers has the higher ceiling thanks to his power potential. He may wind up being the best of the bunch.

    Similar to the big league roster, the Colorado Rockies have no shortage of position-player talent at the minor league level right now but are somewhat lacking on impact arms.

    Jon Gray got a taste of big league action last year and posted a 5.53 ERA in 40.2 innings of work over nine starts. Jeff Hoffman, the prize of the Troy Tulowitzki trade, may not be far behind in joining him in the big league rotation.

    Meanwhile, former two-sport star Ryan McMahon has continued to improve since turning his focus to baseball, as he hit .300/.372/.520 with 43 doubles, 18 home runs and 75 RBI for High-A Modesto this past season. With Nolan Arenado entrenched at third base, McMahon could become a valuable trade chip in the search for pitching.

11. Cleveland Indians

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    Bradley Zimmer
    Bradley ZimmerBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. OF Bradley Zimmer 23AA2016
    2. OF Clint Frazier21AA2017
    3. 1B Bobby Bradley19A+2019
    4. LHP Rob Kaminsky 21AA2017
    5. LHP Brady Aiken19ROK2018
    6. LHP Justus Sheffield19A+2018
    7. C Francisco Mejia20A+2018
    8. OF Tyler Naquin 24AAA2016
    9. RHP Triston McKenzie18A2019
    10. LHP Juan Hillman 18A2019

    Overview

    The Cleveland Indians drafted outfielders with their first picks in 2012 (Tyler Naquin, 15th), 2013 (Clint Frazier, fifth) and 2014 (Bradley Zimmer, 21st), and all three have impressed to this point in their pro careers.

    Zimmer and Frazier have the higher ceilings, but Naquin could be the first to reach the majors after hitting .300/.381/.446 with 33 extra-base hits between Double-A and Triple-A this past season.

    Bobby Bradley, a third-round pick in 2014, has also shot up prospect rankings after posting an .875 OPS with 27 home runs and 92 RBI in full-season ball during his age-19 season.

    The left-handed trio of Rob Kaminsky, Brady Aiken and Justus Sheffield gives Cleveland a trio of high-end pitching prospects, while 18-year-olds Triston McKenzie and Juan Hillman have a chance to join that group with strong 2016 performances.

10. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Blake Snell
    Blake SnellBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. LHP Blake Snell23AAA2016
    2. SS Willy Adames 20AA2018
    3. RHP Brent Honeywell20AA2017
    4. RHP Taylor Guerrieri 23AA2017
    5. OF Garrett Whitley18A-2019
    6. 1B Jake Bauers 20AA2017
    7. RHP Jacob Faria 22AAA2017
    8. 1B Casey Gillaspie 22A+2016
    9. SS Daniel Robertson21AAA2016
    10. C Justin O'Conner 23AAA2016

    Overview

    With a fantastic performance over three levels, left-hander Blake Snell became the first pitcher to win Minor League Player of the Year honors since another Tampa Bay Rays farmhand in Jeremy Hellickson earned the distinction back in 2010.

    Snell began the season with a 49-inning scoreless streak and finished 15-4 with a 1.41 ERA, 1.022 WHIP and 163 strikeouts in 134 innings. He'll likely begin the season in Triple-A, but don't be surprised if he's part of the big league rotation by midseason.

    While Snell gets the No. 1 prospect spot based on performance, shortstop Willy Adames still has the higher ceiling. The prize of the David Price trade, Adames posted a respectable .721 OPS with 34 extra-base hits as a 20-year-old in High-A.

    Snell was not the only breakout prospect either, as first baseman Jake Bauers (.272/.342/.418, 32 2B, 11 HR, 74 RBI) and right-hander Jacob Faria (17-4, 1.92 ERA, 159 K, 149.2 IP) both put themselves on the top-prospect map in 2015.

9. Minnesota Twins

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    Jose Berrios
    Jose BerriosJerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. CF Byron Buxton 22MLB2016
    2. SP Jose Berrios 21AAA2016
    3. OF Max Kepler22AAA2016
    4. SS Nick Gordon20A+2018
    5. SS Jorge Polanco 22AAA2016
    6. LHP Tyler Jay21AA2017
    7. RHP Kohl Stewart21AA2017
    8. LHP Stephen Gonsalves 21AA2017
    9. OF Adam Brett Walker24AAA2017
    10. RHP Nick Burdi 23AAA2016

    Overview

    Finally healthy to begin the 2015 season, Byron Buxton hit .305/.367/.500 with 30 extra-base hits and 22 steals in 72 games in the minors before joining the Minnesota Twins in June.

    He hit just .209/.250/.326 in 129 at-bats before a thumb injury landed him on the disabled list, and health is the obvious question mark for the former No. 1 overall prospect, but he still has as high a ceiling as any player in the game.

    Meanwhile, Jose Berrios established himself as an elite pitching prospect after going 14-5 with a 2.87 ERA and 175 strikeouts in 166.1 innings. It's still something of a head-scratcher that the Twins didn't add him to the roster in September.

    While the top-end talent is certainly there with Buxton and Berrios, the overall depth of the Twins system earns the team a spot inside the top 10. Beyond the 10 players listed above, pitchers Alex Meyer, J.T. Chargois and Taylor Rogers would also crack the list for most teams.

8. Cincinnati Reds

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    Jesse Winker
    Jesse WinkerMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. OF Jesse Winker22AAA2016
    2. 2B Jose Peraza 21AAA2016
    3. RHP Robert Stephenson22AAA2016
    4. LHP Amir Garrett23AA2017
    5. LHP Cody Reed22AAA2018
    6. C Tyler Stephenson19A2019
    7. RHP Keury Mella22AA2017
    8. SS Alex Blandino 23AA2017
    9. RHP Nick Travieso 21AA2017
    10. 3B Eric Jagielo 23AAA2017

    Overview

    As the Cincinnati Reds continue to rebuild, their farm system continues to improve, with the latest additions coming in blockbuster deals that sent Todd Frazier to the Chicago White Sox and Aroldis Chapman to the New York Yankees.

    Despite all of those outside additions, Jesse Winker, Robert Stephenson and Amir Garrett, all homegrown players, still rank as three of the team's top four prospects, and 2015 first-round pick Tyler Stephenson is in the mix as well.

    Speedy Jose Peraza, whom the Reds acquired as part of the Frazier deal, looks like the long-term replacement for Brandon Phillips at second base, and pairing him with Billy Hamilton could give the Reds their own version of what the Marlins had in Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo.

    Left-hander Cody Reed, who was part of the package acquired from the Kansas City Royals for Johnny Cueto, is a name to watch as he put himself back on the top prospect map after going 13-9 with a 2.41 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 145.2 innings.

7. Chicago Cubs

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    Jeimer Candelario
    Jeimer CandelarioMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. SS Gleyber Torres19A+2018
    2. C Willson Contreras23AAA2017
    3. RHP Duane Underwood21AA2017
    4. OF Ian Happ 21A+2017
    5. RHP Carl Edwards Jr.24AAA2016
    6. OF Billy McKinney21AA2017
    7. OF Albert Almora 21AAA2017
    8. RHP Dylan Cease20A-2018
    9. 3B Jeimer Candelario 22AA2017
    10. OF Eloy Jimenez19A2018

    Overview

    Even with Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell and Jorge Soler graduating from the Chicago Cubs prospect list, the team still has a top-10 system and some terrific young talent on the verge of making a big league impact.

    Shortstop Gleyber Torres has taken over as the headliner of the system after hitting .287/.346/.376 with 32 extra-base hits and 22 stolen bases while reaching High-A in his age-18 season.

    Willson Contreras also shot up the organizational rankings after winning the Southern League batting title with a .333/.413/.478 line that included 34 doubles and eight home runs. His defensive game behind the plate is still a work in progress, but he has the potential to be a star.

    Duane Underwood was slow to develop after signing for a $1.05 million bonus in 2012, but he took a big step forward in 2015. The same goes for infielder Jeimer Candelario, who had a .770 OPS with 35 doubles and 10 home runs during the regular season and then posted a .329/.371/.610 line with eight doubles and five home runs in the Arizona Fall League.

6. Philadelphia Phillies

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    J.P. Crawford
    J.P. CrawfordBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. SS J.P. Crawford21AAA2016
    2. OF Nick Williams22AAA2016
    3. RHP Mark Appel 24AAA2016
    4. RHP Jake Thompson21AAA2016
    5. OF Cornelius Randolph18A2019
    6. C Andrew Knapp24AA2017
    7. C/1B Jorge Alfaro 22AAA2016
    8. RHP Franklyn Kilome 20A2019
    9. OF Roman Quinn22AAA2016
    10. RHP Ricardo Pinto22A+2018

    Overview

    The Philadelphia Phillies kicked their rebuilding efforts into gear when they acquired a five-player package from the Texas Rangers in exchange for ace Cole Hamels, and they continued to build up the system this winter when they sent closer Ken Giles to the Houston Astros.

    Catcher Jorge Alfaro, shortstop J.P. Crawford, outfielders Nick Williams and Roman Quinn and pitchers Mark Appel and Jake Thompson could all see the majors at some point in 2016, so if nothing else the fanbase will get a serious glimpse of the future.

    Don't sleep on outfielder Cornelius Randolph either, as the No. 10 pick in the 2015 draft hit .302/.425/.442 in 172 at-bats after signing last season and could move quickly thanks to his advanced hit tool.

    Andrew Knapp has also emerged as a top prospect at the catcher position, albeit as an offensive-minded one. He hit .308/.385/.491 with 35 doubles, 13 home runs and 84 RBI between High-A and Double-A last season, and with legitimate question about whether or not Jorge Alfaro will stick behind the plate, Knapp could be the long-term catcher.

5. Houston Astros

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    Alex Bregman
    Alex BregmanDavid J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. SS Alex Bregman 21AA2017
    2. OF Kyle Tucker19A2018
    3. OF Daz Cameron19A-2018
    4. RHP Francis Martes 20AA2017
    5. 1B A.J. Reed22AAA2017
    6. RHP Michael Feliz 22AA2016
    7. OF Derek Fisher22AA2017
    8. RHP Joe Musgrove 23AA2017
    9. 3B J.D. Davis22AA2017
    10. 2B Tony Kemp24AAA2016

    Overview

    Despite graduating Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers and Preston Tucker and trading away the likes of Mark Appel, Brett Phillips, Domingo Santana, Vincent Velasquez, Josh Hader and Thomas Eshelman, the Houston Astros still have one of the deepest farm systems in baseball.

    Adding Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker with the No. 2 and No. 5 picks in last year's draft and then finding a way to sign Daz Cameron to an above-slot deal at No. 37 overall certainly helped restock the minor league ranks.

    The emergence of Francis Martes (8-3, 2.04 ERA, 98 K, 101.2 IP) and Joe Musgrove (12-1, 1.88 ERA, 99 K, 100.2 IP) alongside the already highly regarded Michael Feliz also helped keep Houston's crop of pitching prospect looking strong.

    Meanwhile, A.J. Reed was arguably the most impressive performer in the system in 2015, as he hit .340/.432/.612 with 30 doubles, 34 home runs and 127 RBI between High-A and Double-A. Suffice to say Jon Singleton no longer looks like the first baseman of the future.

4. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Austin Meadows
    Austin MeadowsMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. RHP Tyler Glasnow 22AAA2016
    2. OF Austin Meadows20AA2017
    3. 1B Josh Bell23AAA2016
    4. RHP Jameson Taillon 24AAA2016
    5. OF Harold Ramirez21AA2017
    6. C Reese McGuire20AA2017
    7. 2B Alen Hanson23MLB2016
    8. SS Cole Tucker19A+2019
    9. 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes18A-2019
    10. SS Kevin Newman22A2018

    Overview

    The Pittsburgh Pirates have gone from laughingstock to perennial contender on the strength of their ability to develop in-house talent, with guys like Andrew McCutchen, Gerrit Cole, Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, Neil Walker and Tony Watson all representing homegrown talent.

    That trend appears likely to continue in the years to come, starting with one of the best pitching prospects in the game in Tyler Glasnow. A steal in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, the 6'8" right-hander has gone 28-16 with a 2.07 ERA, 1.059 WHIP and 501 strikeouts in 383.1 innings as a pro.

    Second baseman Alen Hanson looks like the leading candidate to take over for the departed Walker, while Josh Bell could step in as the everyday first baseman in the near future as well.

    As if the system wasn't already talented enough, a healthy Jameson Taillon once again ranks as a potentially elite prospect, and outfielder Harold Ramirez enjoyed a breakout season with a .337/.399/.458 line for High-A Bradenton.

3. Atlanta Braves

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    Dansby Swanson
    Dansby SwansonMark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. SS Dansby Swanson21A2018
    2. LHP Sean Newcomb 22AA2017
    3. SS Ozhaino Albies 19A+2018
    4. RHP Aaron Blair23AAA2016
    5. RHP Tyrell Jenkins23AAA2016
    6. LHP Kolby Allard18ROK2019
    7. RHP Touki Toussaint 19A2018
    8. 3B Austin Riley18ROK2019
    9. OF Mallex Smith22AAA2016
    10. LHP Max Fried22A+2018

    Overview

    Of the 10 top prospects listed above, seven have been acquired by the Atlanta Braves via trade since the end of the 2014 season.

    That includes Dansby Swanson, Aaron Blair and Sean Newcomb, as well as another pitching prospect who would rank inside of most teams' top 10 in Christopher Ellis. The Braves acquired them this offseason in the moves that sent Shelby Miller and Andrelton Simmons packing.

    Ozhaino Albies is the top homegrown talent in the system, and he has a chance to be a good one after hitting .310/.368/.404 with 29 steals as an 18-year-old in Single-A.

    Kolby Allard was the first high school arm off the board in June when the Braves took him with the No. 14 pick, and he's received plenty of attention, but don't sleep on third baseman Austin Riley, whom the team took at No. 41 overall. He hit .304/.389/.544 with 14 doubles and 12 home runs after signing.

2. Boston Red Sox

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    Yoan Moncada
    Yoan MoncadaBrynn Anderson/Associated Press

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. 2B Yoan Moncada 20A+2016
    2. RHP Anderson Espinoza17A2019
    3. 3B Rafael Devers 19A+2018
    4. OF Andrew Benintendi 21A+2017
    5. RHP Michael Kopech 19A+2018
    6. LHP Brian Johnson25AAA2016
    7. OF Luis Alexander Basabe 19A-2018
    8. 1B Sam Travis22AAA2017
    9. 3B Michael Chavis 20A+2018
    10. SS Deven Marrero 25AAA2016

    Overview

    The Boston Red Sox farm system takes a bit of a hit with Henry Owens, Eduardo Rodriguez, Blake Swihart, Rusney Castillo, Travis Shaw and Steven Wright exiting the prospect ranks and both Manuel Margot and Javier Guerra being sent to the San Diego Padres in the Craig Kimbrel deal.

    There is still plenty more high-end young talent on the way, though.

    Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada tops that list, as the 20-year-old hit .278/.380/.438 with 19 doubles, eight home runs and 38 RBI in 81 games for Single-A Greenville. He could take a huge leap forward in his second professional season.

    Anderson Espinoza has also emerged as one of the highest-ceiling pitching prospect in the game. He owned Gulf Coast League hitters with a 0.68 ERA, 0.825 WHIP and a ratio of nine walks to 40 strikeouts in 40 innings at the age of 17.

    Thrown in Rafael Devers (who may well be the heir to David Ortiz in the middle of the lineup), Andrew Benintendi (who continued to rake after tearing up the college ranks) and Michael Kopech (who posted a 2.63 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 65 innings as a 19-year-old in Single-A), and the system is still stacked.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Corey Seager
    Corey SeagerJayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeProjected LevelETA
    1. SS Corey Seager 21MLB2016
    2. LHP Julio Urias 19AAA2016
    3. RHP Jose De Leon23AA2017
    4. RHP Grant Holmes19A+2018
    5. 1B/OF Cody Bellinger 20AA2018
    6. OF Alex Verdugo 19AA2018
    7. RHP Frankie Montas 22AAA2016
    8. RHP Jharel Cotton24AAA2017
    9. RHP Yadier Alvarez19ROK2019
    10. C/2B Austin Barnes26AAA2016

    Overview

    The team's decision to wait on promoting Corey Seager means he'll maintain his rookie eligibility heading into 2016, and that clinches the No. 1 farm system for the Los Angeles Dodgers heading into the season.

    Seager hit .337/.425/.561 with 13 extra-base hits in 98 at-bats after being promoted, as he took over as the team's starting shortstop spot down the stretch and into the postseason. He'll be the NL Rookie of the Year front-runner.

    Not to be outdone, 19-year-old phenom Julio Urias continued his rapid ascent by reaching Triple-A, and he figures to challenge for a rotation spot at some point in the near future.

    Jose De Leon (6-7, 2.99 ERA, 163 K, 114.1 IP) and Grant Holmes (6-4, 3.14 ERA, 117 K, 103.1 IP) are also high-end pitching prospects, and Frankie Montas, whom the team acquired from the Chicago White Sox, should make an impact in some capacity in 2016 whether it's as a starter or a late-inning reliever.

    Add to that Cody Bellinger (.873 OPS, 33 2B, 30 HR, 103 RBI) and Alex Verdugo (.311 BA, 32 2B, 9 HR, 61 RBI), who have both annihilated low-minors pitching, and recent high-profile international signings such as Yadier Alvarez, Yusniel Diaz and Starling Heredia, and the Dodgers farm system is in a league of its own at this point.

    Note: MLB.com's Prospect Watch served as the baseline for each team's list of top 10 prospects and each prospect's ETA, while Roster Resource provided projections for where each prospect would begin the 2016 season. However, changes were made to both along the way to reflect my own opinion.

    It's also worth mentioning that guys like Kenta Maeda, Byung-ho Park, Hyun-soo Kim and Hector Olivera were not considered prospects for the sake of these rankings due to their past experience playing professionally.

    All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com, unless otherwise noted.