Re-Ranking All 30 MLB Farm Systems at the End of 2016's MiLB Season

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 15, 2016

Re-Ranking All 30 MLB Farm Systems at the End of 2016's MiLB Season

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    Red Sox phenom Yoan Moncada looks like the front-runner to be the No. 1 prospect in baseball heading into 2017.
    Red Sox phenom Yoan Moncada looks like the front-runner to be the No. 1 prospect in baseball heading into 2017.Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    The 2016 MiLB regular season is over, and each league's respective postseason is already underway.

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

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

    • Potential (Player): Potential trumps production a lot of the time, especially in the lower levels of the minors and with recent draft picks. Skill set and overall tools are often a better indication of what kind of player a guy will be in the future.
    • 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 these players 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.

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

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

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

    These nominations are based solely on who put together the best statistical season at the minor league level, not taking into account things such as prospect upside, age relative to level and other league factors.

    Just something to keep in mind as you're perusing.

    Let's get started.


    Note: Kansas City Royals second baseman Raul A. Mondesi (119 AB) and Texas Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo (125 AB) are both technically still prospects, but since both are in line to exceed the rookie-eligibility limit of 130 at-bats before the season is over, they were excluded from these rankings.

30. Los Angeles Angels (Previous: 30)

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    RHP Victor Alcantara
    RHP Victor AlcantaraKyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeBornCurrent LevelETATier
    1. C Matt Thaiss21imgA20202
    2. CF Jahmai Jones19imgA20212
    3. OF Brandon Marsh18img-20212
    4. C Taylor Ward22imgA+20192
    5. LHP Nate Smith25imgAAA20162
    6. RHP Jaime Barria20imgA20203
    7. SS Nonie Williams18imgROK20213
    8. RHP Victor Alcantara23imgAA20173
    9. RHP Grayson Long22imgA+20193
    10. RHP Jesus Castillo21imgA20203


    Farm System Update

    It's telling that five of the top seven prospects in the Los Angeles Angels farm system have been early-round draft picks in 2015 and 2016.

    That speaks more to the fact that someone needs to fill those top spots than anything else, as those players are ranked on upside as opposed to anything they've done since joining the organization.

    A nice season from Jaime Barria in his jump to full-season ball and a healthy campaign from projectable but injury-plagued right-hander Jesus Castillo give the organization a pair of intriguing pitching prospects, and Nate Smith should be ready to challenge for a spot in the rotation this coming spring.

    A pair of infielders selected as part of the 2015 draft class—David Fletcher (sixth round) and Hutton Moyer (seventh round)—were close to pushing their way into the top 10, so keep an eye on them as they get ready to make the jump to the upper levels of the minors.


    MiLB Player of the Year: IF Hutton Moyer, A/A+ (Age: 23)



    MiLB Pitcher of the Year: RHP Alex Blackford, AA (Age: 25)


29. Baltimore Orioles (Previous: 29)

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    C Chance Sisco
    C Chance SiscoHarry How/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeBornCurrent LevelETATier
    1. C Chance Sisco 21imgAAA20172
    2. RHP Cody Sedlock 21imgA-20192
    3. RHP Hunter Harvey21imgA-20172
    4. SS Ryan Mountcastle 19imgA20192
    5. 3B Jomar Reyes19imgA+20192
    6. 1B Trey Mancini24imgAAA20172
    7. LHP Chris Lee24imgAA20172
    8. RHP Matthias Dietz 20imgA-20203
    9. OF D.J. Stewart22imgA+20183
    10. LHP Keegan Akin21imgA-20193


    Farm System Update

    A breakout season from catcher Chance Sisco gives the Baltimore Orioles a new top prospect and their backstop of the future with Matt Wieters once again staring down free agency.

    The team went pitching heavy at the top of this year's draft class, selecting a pair of polished college arms in Cody Sedlock and Keegan Akin, as well as projectable JUCO righty Matthias Dietz.

    Those three join the perpetually sidelined Hunter Harvey and high-floor lefty Chris Lee as the team's top pitching prospects, while left-hander Brian Gonzalez put his name on the prospect map with a breakout season in Single-A.

    On potential alone, 19-year-old third baseman Jomar Reyes may be the most intriguing prospect in the system. He's been promoted aggressively to this point but will likely repeat the High-A level after posting a .228/.271/.336 line this season.


    MiLB Player of the Year: C Yermin Mercedes, A/A+ (Age: 23)



    MiLB Pitcher of the Year: RHP Cristian Alvarado, A (Age: 21)


28. Arizona Diamondbacks (Previous: 24)

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    OF Socrates Brito
    OF Socrates BritoMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeBornCurrent LevelETATier
    1. LHP Anthony Banda23imgAAA20172
    2. LHP Alex Young23imgA+20182
    3. OF Socrates Brito24imgMLB20162
    4. OF Anfernee Grier20imgA-20202
    5. RHP Vicente Campos24imgAAA20172
    6. IF Dawel Lugo21imgAA20182
    7. RHP Taylor Clarke23imgAA20182
    8. IF Domingo Leyba21imgAA20183
    9. RHP Tyler Wagner25imgAAA20163
    10. C/OF Peter O'Brien26imgMLB20163


    Farm System Update

    At the conclusion of last season, the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system was headlined by the likes of Dansby Swanson, Archie Bradley, Braden Shipley, Yoan Lopez and Brandon Drury.

    Since then, Arizona traded Swanson and Blair in the ill-fated Shelby Miller deal, and Lopez has considered quitting baseball altogether. In addition, Bradley, Shipley and Drury have all exhausted their prospect eligibility.

    Left-hander Anthony Banda has stepped up with a breakout season to take over as the team's top prospect, but the system as a whole has grown considerably weaker over the past calendar year.

    Young infielders Dawel Lugo (.831 OPS, 23 2B, 17 HR) and Domingo Leyba (.784 OPS, 32 2B, 10 HR) both turned in impressive offensive performances this season and could take over as the team's top position-player prospects by next season.


    MiLB Player of the Year: OF Mitch Haniger, AA/AAA (Age: 25)



    MiLB Pitcher of the Year: LHP Anthony Banda, AA/AAA (Age: 23)


27. Miami Marlins (Previous: 28)

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    RHP Austin Brice
    RHP Austin BriceRob Foldy/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeBornCurrent LevelETATier
    1. LHP Braxton Garrett19imgROK20201
    2. RHP Luis Castillo23imgAA20182
    3. RHP Tyler Kolek 20imgA20202
    4. LHP Jarlin Garcia23imgAA20172
    5. OF Thomas Jones18imgROK20213
    6. 3B Brian Anderson23imgAA20173
    7. OF Austin Dean22imgAA20173
    8. OF Stone Garrett20imgA20193
    9. RHP Austin Brice24imgMLB20173
    10. SS J.T. Riddle24imgAAA20173


    Farm System Update

    The selection of left-hander Braxton Garrett at No. 7 overall in the June draft and a breakout season from right-hander Luis Castillo give the Miami Marlins a pair of quality pitching prospects to headline the system.

    Garrett is one of the most polished prep arms to come along in years and should move quickly, while Castillo has taken off since moving from the bullpen to a starting role. He could be in Miami by next season.

    However, after those two intriguing arms and the injured duo of Tyler Kolek and Jarlin Garcia, there's a precipitous drop-off in the organization's level of prospect talent.

    Toolsy outfielders Thomas Jones, Austin Dean and Stone Garrett all have legitimate upside, but the fact that Brian Anderson was arguably the system's best offensive performer with a .737 OPS and 11 home runs should tell you all you need to know about where Miami's position-player talent is at right now.


    MiLB Player of the Year: 3B Brian Anderson, A+/AA (Age: 23)



    MiLB Pitcher of the Year: RHP Luis Castillo, A+/AA (Age: 23)


26. Kansas City Royals (Previous: 25)

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    LHP Matt Strahm
    LHP Matt StrahmSteve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeBornCurrent LevelETATier
    1. 3B Hunter Dozier25imgMLB20162
    2. LHP Matt Strahm 24imgMLB20162
    3. OF Jorge Bonifacio 23imgAAA20172
    4. C Chase Vallot 20imgA20192
    5. 1B/OF Ryan O'Hearn 23imgAA20172
    6. RHP Kyle Zimmer 24imgAA20172
    7. RHP Josh Staumont 22imgAA20183
    8. RHP Scott Blewett 20imgA20193
    9. RHP Jake Junis 23imgAAA20173
    10. LHP Eric Skoglund 23imgAA20171


    Farm System Update

    With Raul A. Mondesi set to exit the prospect ranks, two other players who are suiting up with the MLB team in third baseman Hunter Dozier and left-hander Matt Strahm will take over as the headliners in the system next season.

    Dozier finally lived up to his status as the former No. 8 overall pick with a breakout season between Double-A and Triple-A. Meanwhile, Strahm has posted a 1.06 ERA and 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings in 15 appearances as a much-needed lefty out of the MLB bullpen.

    Chase Vallot made a big jump offensively this season, posting an .810 OPS with 21 doubles and 15 home runs. There's no reason to rush the 20-year-old with Salvador Perez entrenched in Kansas City, so Vallot could develop into the catcher of the future.

    Josh Staumont, Scott Blewett, Jake Junis and Eric Skoglund edged out Alec Mills, Nolan Watson, Ashe Russell, Foster Griffin and A.J. Puckett in a system loaded with mid-level arms with varying levels of upside who have yet to separate themselves from the pack.


    MiLB Player of the Year: 3B Hunter Dozier, AA/AAA (Age: 25)



    MiLB Pitcher of the Year: LHP Eric Skoglund, AA (Age: 23)


25. Detroit Tigers (Previous: 27)

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    IF JaCoby Jones
    IF JaCoby JonesRick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeBornCurrent LevelETATier
    1. RHP Matt Manning18imgROK20211
    2. OF Christin Stewart22imgAA20182
    3. RHP Beau Burrows19imgA20202
    4. RHP Joe Jimenez21imgAAA20162
    5. OF Derek Hill20imgA20192
    6. RHP Kyle Funkhouser 22imgA-20192
    7. SS JaCoby Jones24imgMLB20163
    8. LHP Tyler Alexander22imgAA20193
    9. OF Jose Azocar 20imgA20203
    10. OF Michael Gerber24imgAA20173


    Farm System Update

    There's an awful lot to like about Matt Manning.

    This year's No. 8 overall pick has a projectable 6'6", 190-pound frame and elite athleticism as a standout prep basketball player. He already possesses head-turning stuff with a fastball that touches 97 mph and a plus curveball.

    He struck out 46 in 29.1 innings in the Gulf Coast League after signing and could be pushed to Single-A to start next year.

    Right-hander Beau Burrows and outfielder Christin Stewart were both first-round picks in 2015 and turned in impressive first full seasons in the organization to cement their places atop the farm system totem pole alongside Manning.

    Outfielder Jose Azocar is one to watch after hitting .281 in his full-season debut, while Joe Jimenez should be ready to step into a key role in the MLB bullpen next season.


    MiLB Player of the Year: OF Christin Stewart, A+/AA (Age: 22)



    MiLB Pitcher of the Year: RHP Joe Jimenez, AAA (Age: 21)


24. San Francisco Giants (Previous: 26)

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    SS Christian Arroyo
    SS Christian ArroyoMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeBornCurrent LevelETATier
    1. SS Christian Arroyo21imgAA20171
    2. RHP Tyler Beede 23imgAA20172
    3. 1B Chris Shaw22imgAA20182
    4. OF Bryan Reynolds21imgA20192
    5. C Aramis Garcia23imgA+20182
    6. RHP Sam Coonrod 23imgAA20182
    7. LHP Andrew Suarez24imgAA20183
    8. OF Heath Quinn21imgA+20193
    9. RHP Joan Gregorio24imgAAA20173
    10. OF Steven Duggar 22imgAA20183


    Farm System Update

    Trading right-hander Phil Bickford, shortstop Lucius Fox and left-hander Adalberto Mejia cost the San Francisco Giants two of their top prospects at the trade deadline.

    However, they did well in the draft to add college outfielders Bryan Reynolds (.313 BA, .847 OPS, 17 2B, 6 HR) and Heath Quinn (.344 BA, .998 OPS, 21 2B, 9 HR), who both raked in their pro debuts.

    Tyler Beede and Andrew Suarez were both selected as polished college arms and should be ready to make an impact at the MLB level soon. The same goes for slugger Chris Shaw, who has already reached Double-A after going No. 31 overall in 2015.

    Steven Duggar was a third-round pick in 2015 who possessed first-round tools but put together a frustratingly inconsistent collegiate career at Clemson. If his full-season debut is any indication, the pieces are falling into place, as he hit .302 with an .836 OPS, 28 doubles and 10 home runs between High-A and Double-A. 


    MiLB Player of the Year: OF Dylan Davis, A/A+ (Age: 23)



    MiLB Pitcher of the Year: RHP Sam Coonrod, A+/AA (Age: 23)


23. Chicago White Sox (Previous: 23)

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    RHP Carson Fulmer
    RHP Carson FulmerBruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeBornCurrent LevelETATier
    1. RHP Carson Fulmer22imgAAA20161
    2. C Zack Collins21imgA+20181
    3. RHP Spencer Adams20imgAA20182
    4. RHP Zack Burdi 21imgAAA20172
    5. RHP Alec Hansen21imgA20192
    6. RHP Jordan Stephens24imgA+20183
    7. OF Charlie Tilson 23imgMLB20163
    8. OF Jameson Fisher22imgROK20183
    9. 3B Trey Michalczewski 21imgAA20173
    10. OF Adam Engel 24imgAAA20173


    Farm System Update

    The Chicago White Sox have done a terrific job of bolstering the farm system through the draft in recent years.

    Carlos Rodon and Carson Fulmer both moved quickly through the minors to crack the MLB roster, and the team expects the same out of 2016 top pick Zack Collins. His tools behind the plate are still a work in progress, but he was one of the most polished bats in the class.

    Chicago also added flame-throwing Zack Burdi and buy-low selection Alec Hansen in this year's draft, and both have turned heads in their respective debuts.

    Hansenwho was viewed as a potential No. 1 overall pick before a shaky junior season at Oklahomaposted a 1.32 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 54.2 innings between rookie ball and Single-A. Burdi has been clocked at 104 mph with his fastball while shooting up the ranks to Triple-A.

    Fourth-round pick Jameson Fisher also impressed with a .342/.436/.487 line that included 13 doubles, four home runs and 25 RBI in 50 rookie league games.


    MiLB Player of the Year: 1B/3B Nick Delmonico, AA/AAA (Age: 24)



    MiLB Pitcher of the Year: RHP Jordan Stephens, A+ (Age: 24)


22. Texas Rangers (Previous: 17)

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    1B Ronald Guzman
    1B Ronald GuzmanRay Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeBornCurrent LevelETATier
    1. LHP Yohander Mendez21imgMLB20161
    2. 1B Ronald Guzman21imgAAA20172
    3. OF Leody Taveras 18imgA-20202
    4. RHP Ariel Jurado 20imgAA20182
    5. 2B Andy Ibanez23imgAA20172
    6. LHP Cole Ragans 18imgROK20202
    7. OF Jairo Beras 21imgA+20182
    8. LHP Brett Martin21imgA+20182
    9. OF Eric Jenkins19imgA+20192
    10. RHP Connor Sadzeck 24imgAA20172


    Farm System Update

    With Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, Dillon Tate, Travis Demeritte and Ryan Cordell all traded, Nomar Mazara using up his prospect eligibility and Joey Gallo being just five at-bats from doing the same, the Texas Rangers farm system is a shell of what it was at the start of the season.

    A pair of breakout prospects in left-hander Yohander Mendez and first baseman Ronald Guzman now earn top billing in a system that will count on some high-ceiling international talent to move it back up these rankings.

    The Rangers gave Jairo Beras ($4.5 million), Leody Taveras ($2.1 million) and Andy Ibanez ($1.6 million) huge bonus money, but it's right-hander Ariel Jurado, who was signed for $50,000 out of Panama in 2012, who could wind up being the best of the bunch.

    This is a system with a lot of raw talent that should slowly climb up these rankings over the course of next season, but with so many high-level prospects exiting this season, it's tough to rank Texas any higher at this point.


    MiLB Player of the Year: OF Luke Tendler, A+ (Age: 24)



    MiLB Pitcher of the Year: LHP Yohander Mendez, A+/AA/AAA (Age: 21)


21. Seattle Mariners (Previous: 21)

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    1B D.J. Peterson
    1B D.J. PetersonMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeBornCurrent LevelETATier
    1. OF Tyler O'Neill21imgAA20171
    2. OF Kyle Lewis21imgA-20191
    3. LHP Luiz Gohara 20imgA20182
    4. RHP Nick Neidert 19