Re-Ranking All 30 MLB Farm Systems at the End of 2018 MiLB Season

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2018

Re-Ranking All 30 MLB Farm Systems at the End of 2018 MiLB Season

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    Andy Hayt/Getty Images

    The 2018 MiLB regular season is over, and each league's respective postseason is already underway.

    With that in mind, it 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 sets and tools are often a better indication of what kind of player someone will be.
    • Talent (Player): As for guys in the higher levels of the minors who are close to breaking through to the big leagues, production and talent are the determining factors, as these players are viewed as more complete products.
    • Overall Depth (Team): Having one or two elite prospects is great, but a deep farm system is the way to build a sustainable contender. Depth and talent were the biggest factors 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.

    A tier system is used to help differentiate the varying levels of individual talent.

    • Tier 1: Prospects who have an elite skill set and All-Star potential. This is the cream of the prospect crop.
    • Tier 2: Prospects who have a good chance of becoming impact contributors at the MLB level. These are the prospects who can be found in the second half of leaguewide top-100 lists or just on the periphery.
    • Tier 3: Prospects who profile as fringe MLB contributors or young players who are still too raw to project any higher. This tier represents the bulk of prospects around baseball, though more than a few are still capable of climbing up to the next tier.

    A player must not have passed the rookie-eligibility limits (130 AB, 50 IP, 45 days on an active roster prior to Sept. 1) to be included in these rankings.


    Preseason rankings refer to this article.

30. Seattle Mariners (Preseason Rank: 26)

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    Kyle Lewis
    Kyle LewisPatrick McDermott/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. OF Kyle LewisAA2
    2. OF Julio RodriguezROK2
    3. RHP Logan Gilbert-3
    4. 1B Evan WhiteA+3
    5. OF Braden BishopAA3
    6. OF Josh StowersA-3
    7. RHP Wyatt MillsAA3
    8. RHP Sam CarlsonINJ3
    9. OF Noelvi Marte-3
    10. SS Juan QuerecutoROK3


    Farm System Snapshot

    This is a paper-thin system that is lacking in impact talent.

    Kyle Lewis and Evan White have a chance to be second-tier regulars. Julio Rodriguez has intriguing upside, and Logan Gilbert should move quickly to the middle of the big league rotation.

    There's a steep drop-off after those four players, and the system has been routinely gutted by trades. The Mariners are built to win now, but with that comes a cloudy future.

29. Chicago Cubs (Preseason Rank: 27)

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    Adbert Alzolay
    Adbert AlzolayCarlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. C Miguel AmayaA2
    2. RHP Adbert AlzolayAAA2
    3. RHP Alex LangeA+3
    4. SS Nico HoernerA3
    5. LHP Brailyn MarquezA3
    6. LHP Justin SteeleAA3
    7. SS Aramis AdemanA+3
    8. RHP Keegan ThompsonAA3
    9. OF Cole RoedererROK3
    10. LHP Brendon LittleA3


    Farm System Snapshot

    After trading away top prospects Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, Isaac Paredes and Jeimer Candelario at the trade deadline last season, the Chicago Cubs system is in a rebooting phase.

    Catcher Miguel Amaya is now the headliner thanks to a breakout full-season debut. The 19-year-old hit .256/.349/.403 with 21 doubles, 12 home runs and 52 RBI at Single-A South Bend while also throwing out 34 percent of base stealers.

    Behind him is a deep crop of lower-level arms capable of making the leap to Tier 2, including left-hander Brailyn Marquez, who will be one to watch in 2019.

    They're at No. 29 for now, but there's a lot of upside in this system.

28. Boston Red Sox (Preseason Rank: 21)

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    Bryan Mata
    Bryan MataRob Carr/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. 3B Michael ChavisAAA2
    2. LHP Jay GroomeINJ2
    3. RHP Bryan MataA+2
    4. 3B Bobby DalbecAA3
    5. 1B Triston CasasROK3
    6. LHP Darwinzon HernandezAA3
    7. RHP Mike ShawarynAAA3
    8. SS C.J. ChathamA+3
    9. RHP Tanner HouckA+3
    10. SS Antoni FloresROK3


    Farm System Snapshot

    There's no Mookie Betts or Xander Bogaerts in the Boston Red Sox system right now.

    That said, there are some promising arms, led by Bryan Mata, who has a chance to develop into a No. 2 starter-type if he can refine his command. That will also be the key to success for guys like Darwinzon Hernandez and Tanner Houck if they hope to deliver on their lofty upside.

    Michael Chavis began the season serving an 80-game suspension, and his prospect stock took a hit as a result. However, he's returned strong with a .298/.381/.538 line that included nine home runs and 27 RBI in 46 games. After closing out the season at Triple-A, he looks ready to make an impact in Boston next season.

    Don't sleep on Bobby Dalbec. There's a lot of swing-and-miss to his game, but he's also shown the ability to take a walk with a .361 on-base percentage this year to go along with 32 home runs.

27. Miami Marlins (Preseason Rank: 18)

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    Sandy Alcantara
    Sandy AlcantaraEric Espada/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. RHP Sandy AlcantaraMLB2
    2. RHP Nick NeidertAA2
    3. OF Monte HarrisonAA2
    4. RHP Jorge GuzmanA+3
    5. OF Connor ScottA3
    6. LHP Trevor RogersA3
    7. LHP Braxton GarrettINJ3
    8. OF Brian MillerAA3
    9. 2B Isan DiazAAA3
    10. RHP Edward CabreraA3


    Farm System Snapshot

    The Miami Marlins don't have much to show for an offseason fire sale that saw Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon all shipped out in trades.

    Sandy Alcantara has a chance to be a rotation staple, but he's not a front-line arm and his future may wind up being at the back of the bullpen. Monte Harrison has loud tools and Jorge Guzman has a big fastball, but both players are still extremely raw with a floor that matches their ceiling.

    Nick Neidert has continued to outpitch his stuff since coming over from the Mariners in the Gordon deal, and he could wind up being the best pickup in that transaction. The 21-year-old went 12-7 with a 3.24 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 154 strikeouts in 152.2 innings at Double-A.

    At any rate, the dearth of high-ceiling talent in the system will likely make for a lengthy rebuild.

26. Milwaukee Brewers (Preseason Rank: 14)

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    Corey Ray
    Corey RayJennifer Stewart/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. 2B Keston HiuraAA1
    2. OF Corey RayAA2
    3. 3B Lucas ErcegAA3
    4. SS Brice TurangROK3
    5. RHP Zack BrownAA3
    6. OF Carlos RodriguezROK3
    7. OF Tristen LutzA3
    8. IF Mauricio DubonAAA3
    9. RHP Trey SupakAA3
    10. C Payton HenryA3


    Farm System Snapshot

    Freddy Peralta and Corbin Burnes have graduated since these rankings were last updated—the Nos. 2 and 3 prospects in the Brewers system at the time—and with that comes a steep slide down the rankings.

    Second baseman Keston Hiura gives them at least one elite young talent. The 2017 first-round pick has a 70-grade hit tool, and after holding his own at Double-A to close out the year, he could be in Milwaukee next season.

    There's a lot of mid-level pitching talent in the system and a handful of guys capable of taking the next step. Right-hander Zack Brown is one to watch after he went 9-1 with a 2.40 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 127.2 innings at Double-A.

    If there's a future star in the system, it might be 17-year-old outfielder Carlos Rodriguez. Signed for a $1.355 million bonus last July, he's hitting .325/.363/.414 with 16 extra-base hits and 14 steals in 61 rookie-league games.

25. Cleveland Indians (Preseason Rank: 24)

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    Bobby Bradley
    Bobby BradleyNorm Hall/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. RHP Triston McKenzieAA1
    2. 3B Nolan JonesA+1
    3. C Noah NaylorROK3
    4. LHP Sam HentgesA+3
    5. OF George ValeraROK3
    6. RHP Luis OviedoA3
    7. 1B Bobby BradleyAAA3
    8. RHP Ethan HankinsROK3
    9. SS Yu-Cheng ChangAAA3
    10. RHP Elijah MorganA+3


    Farm System Snapshot

    The Cleveland Indians have two elite prospects in right-hander Triston McKenzie and third baseman Nolan Jones. Both players have the tools to be future stars and the on-field results to match.

    However, beyond that pair, it's a system loaded with boom-or-bust talent.

    Noah Naylor, George Valera, Luis Oviedo and Ethan Hankins are all still shy of their 20th birthdays, while left-hander Sam Hentges has shown flashes but has struggled to stay healthy.

    The Indians have done a fantastic job developing talent in recent seasons, so there's plenty of reason to believe those high-ceiling, lower-level prospects are in good hands.

    But until they prove themselves on the field, it's hard to rank this system any higher.

24. San Francisco Giants (Preseason Rank: 28)

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    Chris Shaw
    Chris ShawThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. C Joey BartA-1
    2. OF Heliot RamosA2
    3. RHP Shaun AndersonAAA2
    4. OF Marco Luciano-3
    5. 1B/OF Chris ShawMLB3
    6. RHP Sean HjelleA-3
    7. RHP Gregory SantosA-3
    8. OF Heath QuinnA+3
    9. OF Alexander CanarioROK3
    10. RHP Logan WebbAA3


    Farm System Snapshot

    Slowly but surely, the San Francisco Giants are restocking their farm system.

    Catcher Joey Bart looks like a star in the making. Heliot Ramos has some loud offensive tools, and Marco Luciano required a $2.6 million bonus as part of this year's international crop for a reason.

    The pitching side of things is still thin, though.

    Shaun Anderson emerged as the top arm in the system this season with a breakout performance between Double-A and Triple-A. The 23-year-old profiles more as a middle-of-the-rotation innings-eater than a future ace, though.

    With an aging core and their current window of contention seemingly closed, it will be interesting to see what direction the Giants go over the next year.

23. Kansas City Royals (Preseason Rank: 30)

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    Nicky Lopez
    Nicky LopezCharlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. RHP Brady Singer-2
    2. C MJ MelendezA2
    3. OF Seuly MatiasA2
    4. OF Khalil LeeAA2
    5. SS Nicky LopezAAA3
    6. RHP Jackson KowarA3
    7. 1B Nick PrattoA3
    8. LHP Daniel LynchA3
    9. RHP Carlos HernandezA3
    10. RHP Josh StaumontAAA3


    Farm System Snapshot

    The Kansas City Royals occupied the No. 30 spot in these rankings at the start of the season, so they've made some solid progress toward rebuilding what was the worst system in baseball.

    Drafting three polished college armsBrady Singer, Jackson Kowar and Daniel Lynch—with their three first-round picks provided a needed influx of quality pitching talent.

    Meanwhile, 2017 second-round pick MJ Melendez has quickly emerged as one of the game's top catching prospects, while toolsy outfielders Seuly Matias and Khalil Lee provide plenty of reason for optimism.

    The system is still top-heavythere's not much in the way of notable prospect talent beyond the 10 guys listed abovebut it's a step in the right direction.

22. St. Louis Cardinals (Preseason Rank: 11)

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    Dakota Hudson
    Dakota HudsonHarry How/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. 3B Nolan GormanA2
    2. RHP Dakota HudsonMLB2
    3. C Andrew KniznerAAA2
    4. RHP Ryan HelsleyAAA2
    5. 3B Elehuris MonteroA+3
    6. OF Randy ArozarenaAAA3
    7. RHP Daniel PoncedeleonMLB3
    8. RHP Griffin RobertsA+3
    9. OF Justin WilliamsAAA3
    10. OF Dylan CarlsonA+3


    Farm System Snapshot

    The St. Louis Cardinals have had Alex Reyes, Carson Kelly, Jack Flaherty, Tyler O'Neill, Jordan Hicks, Harrison Bader—their top six prospects—and Yairo Munoz (No. 8) graduate from their preseason top-10 list, so it's not hard to see why they've fallen 11 spots.

    Nolan Gorman is now the top prospect in the system. The No. 19 overall pick in this year's draft was considered by many to have the best raw power in the class, and he's backed that up by hitting .291/.380/.570 with 17 home runs and 44 RBI in 63 games while reaching Single-A before his 19th birthday.

    Dakota Hudson looks to have a bright future, whether it's in the rotation or at the back of the bullpen, and don't be surprised if Andrew Knizner unseats Kelly as the catcher of the future.

    This still a deep system; it's just somewhat lacking in top-tier talent.

21. New York Mets (Preseason Rank: 29)

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    Peter Alonso
    Peter AlonsoRob Carr/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. SS Andres GimenezAA1
    2. 1B Peter AlonsoAAA2
    3. OF Jarred KelenicROK2
    4. RHP Justin DunnAA2
    5. 3B Mark VientosROK3
    6. SS Ronny MauricioROK3
    7. LHP David PetersonA+3
    8. LHP Anthony KayA+3
    9. RHP Franklyn KilomeAA3
    10. SS Shervyen NewtonROK3


    Farm System Snapshot

    The New York Mets are known more for the pitching talent they've churned out in recent years, but the current crop of minor league talent is led by a trio of hitters.

    Andres Gimenez turned 20 on Sept. 4, but that didn't stop him from hitting .281/.347/.409 with 40 extra-base hits and 38 steals between High-A and Double-A to emerge as a Tier 1 talent. Throw in his plus glovework at the shortstop position, and he has a chance to be a star.

    Slugger Peter Alonso and first-round pick Jarred Kelenic are joined by a resurgent Justin Dunn as the three Tier 2 prospects in the system. The Mets will need some others in the lower levels to step up if they hope to keep pace with the Braves and Phillies in the NL East.

    Ronny Mauricio is one to keep an eye on. The 17-year-old signed for $2.1 million last July and made his stateside debut this year, hitting .273 with 22 extra-base hits in 57 rookie-ball games.

20. Washington Nationals (Preseason Rank: 22)

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    Victor Robles
    Victor RoblesPatrick McDermott/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. OF Victor RoblesMLB1
    2. SS Carter KieboomAA1
    3. SS Luis GarciaA+1
    4. RHP Wil CroweAA3
    5. RHP Mason DenaburgROK3
    6. LHP Seth RomeroA3
    7. OF Daniel JohnsonAA3
    8. SS Yasel AntunaA3
    9. RHP Jefry RodriguezMLB3
    10. RHP Sterling SharpAA3


    Farm System Snapshot

    No system in baseball is more top-heavy than the Washington Nationals.

    Toolsy outfielder Victor Robles, offensive-minded shortstop Carter Kieboom and rising teenager Luis Garcia are all top-tier talents capable of developing into stars at the next level.

    However, beyond that trio, it's tough to find a prospect who even profiles as an everyday player.

    First-round pick Mason Denaburg has significant upside if he can stay healthy. Seth Romero has front-line stuff if he can stay out of trouble, and Wil Crowe is the prototypical high-floor prospect who looks like a safe bet to occupy a spot at the back of the rotation.

    This team is entering an interesting stretch with the free agency of Bryce Harper looming over the entire organization.

19. Arizona Diamondbacks (Preseason Rank: 25)

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    Jon Duplantier
    Jon DuplantierMark Cunningham/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. RHP Jon DuplantierAA1
    2. RHP Taylor WidenerAA2
    3. SS Jasrado ChisholmA+2
    4. C Daulton VarshoA+2
    5. OF Alek ThomasROK3
    6. 1B Pavin SmithA+3
    7. RHP Emilio VargasAA3
    8. RHP Taylor ClarkeAAA3
    9. 3B Drew EllisA+3
    10. OF Marcus WilsonA+3


    Farm System Snapshot

    Breakout seasons from right-hander Taylor Widener and catcher Daulton Varsho, along with the performance of above-slot second-round pick Alek Thomas, have helped the Arizona Diamondbacks climb six spots in these rankings since Opening Day.

    Widener was acquired in the deal that sent Brandon Drury to the New York Yankees, and the former college closer really took off this season, posting a 2.75 ERA and 1.03 WHIP while racking up 176 strikeouts in 137.1 innings.

    He joins Jon Duplantier as someone who could join the big-league rotation in the not-too-distant future, and with some big free-agency decisions looming in the next few years, the D-backs will need at least a few players from the farm to break through to the next level.

    Right-hander Emilio Vargas might be the most overlooked breakout prospect of 2018. The 22-year-old has a projectable 6'3", 200-pound frame and an improving three-pitch mix, and he went 9-8 with a 2.88 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 170 strikeouts in 143.2 innings between High-A and Double-A. 

18. Baltimore Orioles (Preseason Rank: 23)

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    Cedric Mullins
    Cedric MullinsMitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. OF Yusniel DiazAA1
    2. 3B Ryan MountcastleAA2
    3. LHP DL HallA2
    4. OF Austin HaysAA2
    5. RHP Grayson RodriguezROK3
    6. LHP Keegan AkinAA3
    7. RHP Dillon TateAA3
    8. OF Cedric MullinsMLB3
    9. RHP Dean KremerAA3
    10. RHP Luis OrtizMLB3


    Farm System Snapshot

    The deadline trade of Manny Machado kicked into action a long overdue rebuild for the Baltimore Orioles.

    Among their current top prospects, Yusniel Diaz and Dean Kremer (Machado to LAD), Dillon Tate (Zach Britton to NYY) and Luis Ortiz (Jonathan Schoop to MIL) were all acquired in deadline trades, along with a number of other top-30 caliber talents.

    Still, there's a lot of work to do.

    Austin Hays looked like a potential long-term building block heading into the season, but he's regressed considerably, while Hunter Harvey continues to fight the injury bug. 

    On the flip side, DL Hall is looking like an absolute steal as the No. 21 pick in the 2017 draft and flame-thrower Grayson Rodriguez has the highest ceiling in the system among pitchers after going No. 11 overall this June.

17. Pittsburgh Pirates (Preseason Rank: 16)

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    Mitch Keller
    Mitch KellerPatrick McDermott/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. RHP Mitch KellerAAA1
    2. 3B Ke'Bryan HayesAA2
    3. SS Oneil CruzA2
    4. OF Travis SwaggertyA2
    5. IF Kevin KramerMLB3
    6. IF Kevin NewmanMLB3
    7. OF Bryan ReynoldsAA3
    8. OF Calvin MitchellA3
    9. SS Cole TuckerAA3
    10. OF Jason MartinAAA3


    Farm System Snapshot

    The Pittsburgh Pirates lean as heavily on cheap, homegrown talent as any team in baseball, and there are some good-looking prospects making their way through the pipeline.

    Mitch Keller is one of the game's elite pitching prospects and perhaps the safest bet among top 100 pitchers to develop into at least a middle-of-the-rotation staple.

    Infielders Kevin Kramer, Kevin Newman and Cole Tucker will battle to carve out a spot up the middle next season, while third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes and corner outfielder Bryan Reynolds could also debut in 2019.

    The breakout performance of Oneil Cruza 19-year-old shortstop who was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for reliever Tony Watson last year—has also been a boon to the system.

    Despite trading Shane Baz, Taylor Hearn and others at the deadline, this is still a solid system.

16. New York Yankees (Preseason Rank: 3)

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    Jonathan Loaisiga
    Jonathan LoaisigaMike Stobe/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. LHP Justus SheffieldAAA1
    2. OF Estevan FlorialA+1
    3. RHP Jonathan LoaisigaMLB2
    4. RHP Albert AbreuAA2
    5. RHP Domingo AcevedoAA3
    6. RHP Garrett WhitlockAA3
    7. RHP Clarke SchmidtA-3
    8. RHP Trevor StephanAA3
    9. C Anthony SeiglerROK3
    10. RHP Deivi GarciaAA3


    Farm System Snapshot

    The New York Yankees have slid from their Opening Day position of No. 3 in these rankings in large part because Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar graduated to the majors.

    That said, they still have one of the top pitching prospects in baseball in left-hander Justus Sheffield, who should be ready to compete for a rotation spot next spring.

    Toolsy outfielder Estevan Florial has taken a step back after his breakout 2017 performance, but he still has one of the highest ceilings of any prospect, and this system features an abundance of other boom-or-bust talents.

    The emergence of guys like Jonathan Loaisiga, Clarke Schmidt, Garrett Whitlock, Trevor Stephan and Deivi Garcia has made pitching a major strength.

    The system is remarkably thin on position-player talent, though, and their middle-of-the-pack ranking reflects that.

15. Texas Rangers (Preseason Rank: 20)

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    Leody Taveras
    Leody TaverasRob Carr/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. OF Leody TaverasA+1
    2. OF Willie CalhounMLB1
    3. OF Julio Pablo MartinezA-2
    4. LHP Taylor HearnAA2
    5. RHP Cole Winn-2
    6. RHP Jonathan HernandezAA3
    7. IF Anderson TejedaA+3
    8. RHP Hans CrouseA3
    9. OF Bubba ThompsonA3
    10. RHP Tyler PhillipsA+3


    Farm System Snapshot

    The Texas Rangers entered the 2018 season with hopes of contending for a playoff spot.

    Instead, they're headed for a last-place finish in the AL West, with a retooling period forthcoming as a result.

    While pitching is the biggest weakness at the MLB level, it might be the strength of the system. The team's top three prospects are outfielders, but top to bottom, there are far more quality arms than bats on the farm.

    Jonathan Hernandez, Tyler Phillips and Jason Bahr have all turned in breakout seasons to establish themselves as potential long-term rotation pieces, while hard-throwing lefty Taylor Hearn was added in the deal that sent Keone Kela to the Pirates.

    If the Rangers are patient, they could have a wealth of young pitching and one of the game's most dynamic young outfields by 2020.

14. Los Angeles Angels (Preseason Rank: 19)

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    Jo Adell
    Jo AdellPatrick McDermott/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. OF Jo AdellAA1
    2. RHP Griffin CanningAAA2
    3. 2B Jahmai JonesAA2
    4. OF Brandon MarshA+2
    5. 1B Matt ThaissAAA2
    6. 3B Taylor WardMLB2
    7. LHP Jose SuarezAAA3
    8. OF Jordyn AdamsROK3
    9. SS Luis RengifoAAA3
    10. RHP Chris RodriguezINJ3


    Farm System Snapshot

    The Los Angeles Angels checked in at No. 19 in the preseason rankings due in large part to the temporary inclusion of Shohei Ohtani among their top 10 prospects.

    Their rise up to No. 14, even with Ohtani graduating, speaks to a system on the rise.

    Jo Adell looks like a bona fide superstar in the making and he's already reached Double-A after going No. 10 overall in the 2017 draft out of high school.

    Matt Thaiss and Taylor Ward could be manning the corner infield spots for the big league club by next season, Jahmai Jones could join them in the infield as the answer at second base. Pitchers Griffin Canning and Jose Suarez are ready to audition for rotation spots.

    The Angels have Mike Trout under contract for just two more years, and 2018 was another disappointing season at the MLB level, but things are finally looking up down on the farm.

13. Colorado Rockies (Preseason Rank: 17)

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    Garrett Hampson
    Garrett HampsonDustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. SS Brendan RodgersAAA1
    2. 3B Colton WelkerA+1
    3. RHP Peter LambertAAA2
    4. 2B/SS Garrett HampsonMLB2
    5. LHP Ryan RolisonROK2
    6. 1B/3B Tyler NevinA+2
    7. 1B Grant LavigneROK2
    8. 3B Ryan ViladeA3
    9. RHP Riley PintA-3
    10. SS Terrin VavraA-3


    Farm System Snapshot

    The Colorado Rockies made a surprise run to the playoffs in 2017 thanks in large part to the contributions of a number of rookies on the pitching staff.

    While first-year players have not made as much of an impact this season, there's plenty more future MLB talent on the road to Coors Field.

    Brendan Rodgers remains the headliner, and with free agency looming for incumbent second baseman DJ LeMahieu, he may finally get his shot next season. Colton Welker joins him as a Tier 1 prospect, though his long-term role is still unclear, while right-hander Peter Lambert is right on the fringe of Tier 1 status.

    Strong seasons from Tyler Nevin and Grant Lavigne, this year's No. 42 overall pick, have further bolstered the system. Ryan Rolison looked sharp in rookie ball with a 1.86 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 29 innings after going No. 22 overall.

12. Oakland Athletics (Preseason Rank: 10)

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    Sean Murphy
    Sean MurphyJustin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. LHP Jesus LuzardoAAA1
    2. C Sean MurphyAAA1
    3. LHP A.J. PukINJ1
    4. OF Lazaro ArmenterosA2
    5. OF Austin BeckA2
    6. OF Kyler Murray-3
    7. SS/OF Jorge MateoAAA3
    8. OF Jameson HannahA-3
    9. SS Richie MartinAA3
    10. RHP Logan ShoreAA3


    Farm System Snapshot

    Despite the Oakland Athletics' surprise success this season, they are still a team that is built for the future.

    Jesus Luzardo has taken over as the No. 1 prospect in the system thanks to a breakout season, and he has the stuff to be the long-term ace of the staff. Then again, most expected A.J. Puk to fill that role before he underwent Tommy John surgery, so they could have two future front-line starters if everything breaks right.

    Sean Murphy has the two-way skills to be a franchise cornerstone at the catcher position. Outfielders Lazaro Armenteros and Austin Beck both have loud tools, and Kyler Murray could be the best of them all once he finishes quarterbacking the Oklahoma football team and turns his full attention to baseball.

    As for pleasant surprises, 2015 first-round pick Richie Martin has put his name back on the prospect radar after a trying start to his pro career. He's always been a standout defender, and with a .300 average and 43 extra-base hits at Double-A, he's looking more and more like an everyday shortstop.

11. Detroit Tigers (Preseason Rank: 15)

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    Matt Manning
    Matt ManningRob Carr/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. RHP Matt ManningAA1
    2. RHP Casey MizeA+1
    3. RHP Franklin PerezA+2
    4. RHP Alex FaedoAA2
    5. RHP Beau BurrowsAA2
    6. OF Christin StewartMLB2
    7. SS Isaac ParedesAA3
    8. OF Daz CameronAAA3
    9. RHP Kyle FunkhouserAAA3
    10. OF Parker MeadowsA-3


    Farm System Snapshot

    The Detroit Tigers have a collection of top-tier pitching prospects that rivals any team outside of the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres.

    Matt Manning is well on his way to becoming one of the game's truly elite pitching prospects. He's still just 20 years old, has plenty of projection remaining in his 6'6" frame and dominated opposing hitters to the tune of a 3.29 ERA, .211 batting average against and 154 strikeouts in 117.2 innings over three levels.

    Casey Mize went No. 1 overall this year for a reason and should move extremely quickly. Franklin Perez and Alex Faedo both have No. 3 starter upside, while Beau Burrows continues to impress.

    The issue here will be building out a core on the position-player side of things.

    Christin Stewart is getting his first taste of MLB action and should settle in as the left fielder, but beyond him, there's no sure thing to be an everyday player.

10. Los Angeles Dodgers (Preseason Rank: 5)

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    Alex Verdugo
    Alex VerdugoG Fiume/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. OF Alex VerdugoMLB1
    2. C Keibert RuizAA1
    3. C Will SmithAAA1
    4. RHP Dustin MayAA2
    5. SS Gavin LuxAA2
    6. RHP Mitchell WhiteAA2
    7. RHP Yadier AlvarezAA3
    8. OF DJ PetersAA3
    9. RHP Tony GonsolinAA3
    10. OF Jeren KendallA+3


    Farm System Snapshot

    Walker Buehler became the latest elite prospect to graduate from the Los Angeles Dodgers system this year, but they still have a top-10 farm system loaded with high-ceiling talent.

    Outfielder Alex Verdugo would already have a starting spot in the outfield on almost any other team. Catchers Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith are both among the game's top up-and-coming backstops. Shortstop Gavin Lux is enjoying a breakout season with a .913 OPS and 50 extra-base hits between High-A and Double-A.

    Dustin May has overtaken Mitchell White and Yadier Alvarez to replace Buehler as the system's top arm. And don't sleep on Tony Gonsolin, a ninth-round pick in 2016 who posted a 2.60 ERA with 155 strikeouts in 128 innings between High-A and Double-A this year.

    The Dodgers' ability to spend at will on the international market has helped them maintain a steady pipeline of rising talent, and there's no sign of running dry in the years to come.

9. Cincinnati Reds (Preseason Rank: 8)

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    Nick Senzel
    Nick SenzelBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. 3B Nick SenzelAAA1
    2. RHP Hunter GreeneA1
    3. OF Taylor TrammellA+1
    4. 3B Jonathan IndiaA2
    5. RHP Tony SantillanAA2
    6. C Tyler StephensonA+2
    7. SS Jeter DownsA3
    8. RHP Vladimir GutierrezAA3
    9. OF Mike SianiROK3
    10. 2B Shed LongAA3


    Farm System Snapshot

    Nick Senzel, Hunter Greene and Taylor Trammell give the Cincinnati Reds a trio of upper-echelon prospect talent that rivals any in baseball.

    Unfortunately, Senzel and Greene both missed a significant chunk of 2018 to injury, but the future is still incredibly bright for both players.

    Beyond that trio, 2018 No. 5 overall pick Jonathan India is a polished college standout who should move quickly. Hard-throwing Tony Santillan has front-line potential, and Tyler Stephenson has the two-way skills to be the catcher of the future.

    Some of the Tier 3 prospects in the system have the tools to move up a spot in the years to come, although developing pitching talent has been an issue for the organization in recent years. Regardless, there's more than enough quality talent for them to earn a top-10 spot.

8. Philadelphia Phillies (Preseason Rank: 6)

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    Adonis Medina
    Adonis MedinaRob Carr/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. RHP Sixto SanchezA+1
    2. RHP Adonis MedinaA+1
    3. 3B Alec BohmA-2
    4. OF Adam HaseleyAA2
    5. OF Jhailyn OrtizA2
    6. SS Luis GarciaROK2
    7. LHP JoJo RomeroAA2
    8. RHP Enyel De Los SantosMLB2
    9. LHP Cole IrvinAAA3
    10. LHP Ranger SuarezMLB3


    Farm System Snapshot

    The Philadelphia Phillies welcomed middle infielders Scott Kingery and J.P. Crawford to the MLB ranks at the start of the season, but they still hold a spot inside the top 10.

    Sixto Sanchez and Adonis Medina are now the headliners of the system, along with No. 3 overall pick Alec Bohm and his light-tower power.

    Adam Haseley is finally starting to look like the fast-moving college bat that the Phillies thought they were getting when they took him No. 8 overall in 2017. Upper-level pitchers Enyel De Los Santos, Cole Irvin, JoJo Romero and Ranger Suarez are all close to being MLB-ready or already there.

    The X-factor here might be 17-year-old Luis Garcia. After landing a $2.5 million bonus last July, he hit .369/.433/.488 with 15 extra-base hits and 12 stolen bases in 43 rookie-league games. He made his stateside debut a year ahead of schedule and could quickly shoot to the top of the organization rankings.

7. Houston Astros (Preseason Rank: 13)

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    Josh James
    Josh JamesTim Warner/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. RHP Forrest WhitleyAA1
    2. OF Kyle TuckerMLB1
    3. 1B/OF Yordan AlvarezAAA1
    4. RHP J.B. BukauskasAA2
    5. RHP Josh JamesMLB2
    6. RHP Corbin MartinAA2
    7. SS Freudis NovaROK2
    8. LHP Cionel PerezMLB3
    9. 1B/OF Seth BeerA+3
    10. LHP Framber ValdezMLB3


    Farm System Snapshot

    The Houston Astros haven't needed much help from the farm system this season, but that doesn't mean they don't have a wealth of talent waiting in the wings.

    Kyle Tucker struggled in his first taste of MLB action, but there's still every reason to believe he's a future star. The same can be said of Forrest Whitley, who returned strong from a 50-game suspension to cement his place as one of the game's elite up-and-coming arms.

    Yordan Alvarez is now an unquestioned Tier 1 prospect, while pitchers Corbin Martin, Josh James, Cionel Perez and Framber Valdez all have what it takes to make an impact with the big league staff.

    A lack of athleticism hurt Seth Beer's draft stock and he wound up going No. 28 overall. Beer already looks like one of the steals of the 2018 draft after hitting .304/.389/.496 with 12 home runs and 42 RBI in 67 games while reaching High-A.

6. Minnesota Twins (Preseason Rank: 12)

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    Royce Lewis
    Royce LewisBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. SS Royce LewisA+1
    2. OF Alex KirilloffA+1
    3. RHP Brusdar GraterolA+1
    4. SS Nick GordonAAA2
    5. OF Trevor LarnachA2
    6. OF Brent RookerAA2
    7. LHP Stephen GonsalvesMLB2
    8. SS Wander JavierINJ3
    9. RHP Jorge AlcalaAA3
    10. LHP Lewis ThorpeAAA3


    Farm System Snapshot

    Once Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Eloy Jimenez finally get the call to the big leagues early next season, Royce Lewis will have a strong case for taking over as the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball.

    The 19-year-old hit .292/.352/.451 with 29 doubles, 14 home runs, 74 RBI, 83 runs and 28 steals between Single-A and High-A, and he's also shown the defensive acumen to stick at shortstop.

    He's joined by Alex Kirilloff and Brusdar Graterol as Tier 1 prospects and potential future stars. Kirilloff returned from Tommy John surgery with a vengeance, hitting .348/.392/.578 with 44 doubles, 20 home runs and 101 RBI playing alongside Lewis at Single-A and High-A.

    College bats Trevor Larnach and Brent Rooker are both on the fast track, and Rooker could get a look next season.

    The biggest question mark is who will step forward besides Graterol as a future member of the starting rotation. Left-handers Stephen Gonsalves and Lewis Thorpe could both be in the mix for a starting role next spring.

5. Tampa Bay Rays (Preseason Rank: 7)

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    Brandon Lowe
    Brandon LoweJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. RHP Brent HoneywellINJ1
    2. OF Jesus SanchezAA1
    3. 1B/LHP Brendan McKayA+1
    4. SS Wander FrancoROK1
    5. LHP Matthew LiberatoreROK2
    6. C Ronaldo HernandezA2
    7. 2B/OF Brandon LoweMLB2
    8. RHP Shane BazROK3
    9. 2B Nick SolakAAA3
    10. LHP Shane McClanahanROK3


    Farm System Snapshot

    The Tampa Bay Rays have graduated Willy Adames and Jake Bauers to the majors this season, but their system is still overflowing with high-ceiling talent.

    While Brent Honeywell missed the entire 2018 campaign with Tommy John surgery, he could quickly join Blake Snell at the top of the rotation once he returns to full health. It's also looking more and more like Brendan McKay will make a bigger impact on the mound than he does at the plate.

    An already-strong system added Matthew Liberatore and Shane McClanahan in the June draft and Shane Baz as part of the Chris Archer trade, replenishing a system that has a long history of molding pitching talent.

    Ronaldo Hernandez is quickly becoming one of the game's best catching prospects. Brandon Lowe and Nick Solak both crushed high-level pitching this year, and 17-year-old Wander Franco hit an eye-popping .351/.418/.587 with 11 home runs and more walks (27) than strikeouts (19) in the Appalachian League.

    In other words, the future is extremely bright in Tampa.

4. Chicago White Sox (Preseason Rank: 2)

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    Eloy Jimenez
    Eloy JimenezRon Vesely/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. OF Eloy JimenezAAA1
    2. RHP Michael KopechMLB1
    3. RHP Dylan CeaseAA1
    4. OF Luis RobertA+1
    5. SS Nick MadrigalA+2
    6. OF Blake RutherfordA+2
    7. RHP Dane DunningAA2
    8. RHP Alec HansenAA2
    9. OF Micker AdolfoA+3
    10. OF Luis Alexander BasabeAA3


    Farm System Snapshot

    Contrary to what the Chicago White Sox brass might lead you to believe, Eloy Jimenez is MLB-ready.

    In fact, he's probably already better than the vast majority of big leaguers. Look no further than his .337/.384/.577 line that included 28 doubles, 22 home runs and 75 RBI in 108 games between Double-A and Triple-A for proof.

    Then again, the White Sox did give flame-throwing Michael Kopech a promotion, but now he's headed for Tommy John surgery.

    At any rate, the White Sox are well-positioned for a successful rebuild with high-end talent at the plate and on the mound as well as the demonstrated patience to give those players the time they need to develop.

    It feels wrong not including Zack Collins among the team's top 10 prospects, but that just speaks to the quantity of high-end talent in the system.

3. Toronto Blue Jays (Preseason Rank: 9)

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    Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
    Vladimir Guerrero Jr.Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.AAA1
    2. SS Bo BichetteAA1
    3. C Danny JansenMLB2
    4. SS Kevin SmithA+2
    5. RHP Eric PardinhoROK2
    6. RHP Nate PearsonA+2
    7. 2B Cavan BiggioAA2
    8. OF Anthony AlfordAAA2
    9. SS Jordan GroshansROK2
    10. RHP Sean Reid-FoleyMLB3


    Farm System Snapshot

    Even the casual baseball fan is familiar with Vladimir Guerrero Jr.a seemingly generational talent capable of contending for batting titles and home run crowns—but it's the wealth of talent behind him that earns the Toronto Blue Jays the No. 3 spot.

    Bo Bichette remains an elite prospect despite a down season relative to 2017. Danny Jansen already has one foot in the door as the catcher of the future. Middle infielders Cavan Biggio, Kevin Smith and 2018 pick Jordan Groshans all have tremendous offensive upside.

    On the pitching side, precocious right-hander Eric Pardinho and hard-throwing Nate Pearson are the headliners, but there's plenty of second-tier talent capable of making an impact as well.

    It will be interesting to see how all the pieces fit together over the next few years, especially in the infield, but that's a good problem for Toronto to have.

2. Atlanta Braves (Preseason Rank: 1)

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    Mike Soroka
    Mike SorokaScott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. 3B Austin RileyAAA1
    2. RHP Mike SorokaMLB1
    3. RHP Kyle WrightMLB1
    4. RHP Ian AndersonAA1
    5. RHP Touki ToussaintMLB2
    6. LHP Kolby AllardMLB2
    7. OF Cristian PacheAA2
    8. LHP Luiz GoharaMLB2
    9. C William ContrerasA+2
    10. RHP Bryse WilsonMLB2


    Farm System Snapshot

    Assuming Mike Foltynewicz and Kevin Gausman are locked into rotation spots for the foreseeable future, the Atlanta Braves can pick from Mike Soroka, Kyle Wright, Ian Anderson, Touki Toussaint, Kolby Allard, Luiz Gohara, Bryse Wilson, Kyle Muller and Joey Wentz to fill out the rotation.

    Talk about an embarrassment of riches.

    That said, the team's top prospect is third baseman Austin Riley, who figures to give incumbent Johan Camargo a serious run for his money next spring.

    Also worth mentioning among position players is catcher William Contreras—the brother of Cubs catcher Willson Contreras—and slick-fielding outfielder Cristian Pache, whom called "the best defender in the entire Braves system and (maybe) the best defensive center fielder in the minor leagues."

    The fact that this team is already on its way to a division title this season and still has all this talent waiting in the minors makes it easy to get excited about what's happening in Atlanta.

1. San Diego Padres (Preseason Rank: 4)

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    Francisco Mejia
    Francisco MejiaKirk Irwin/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    1. SS Fernando Tatis Jr.AA1
    2. LHP MacKenzie GoreA1
    3. C/OF Francisco MejiaMLB1
    4. 2B/SS Luis UriasMLB1
    5. RHP Chris PaddackAA1
    6. LHP Adrian MorejonA+1
    7. RHP Michel BaezAA2
    8. LHP Logan AllenAAA2
    9. OF Buddy ReedAA2
    10. RHP Luis PatinoA2


    Farm System Snapshot

    Cal Quantrill would be the headlining pitching prospect in several systems and a top-10 prospect for 29 of the 30 MLB teams.

    For the San Diego Padres, he's one of a handful of Tier 2 players who didn't even crack the top 10, along with Josh Naylor and Ryan Weathers.

    An argument can be made that teams like the White Sox and Blue Jays have more high-end talent, but the Padres are far and away the deepest in baseball.

    They added to their talent pool at the trade deadline when Francisco Mejia was acquired from the Cleveland Indians for relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber, and he's just another potential franchise cornerstone ready to step into a major role.

    The one name here you might not recognize is Luis Patino, but he's more than earned his spot. The 18-year-old went 6-3 with a 2.16 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 98 strikeouts in 83.1 innings in Single-A, and he has the makings of an electric four-pitch repertoire.

    The Padres have the No. 1 farm system in baseball, and with a number of their marquee prospects residing in the upper levels of the minors, an influx of dynamic young talent is coming, starting next season.


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and accurate through the end of the MiLB season.


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