MLB Farm System Rankings: Pre-2019 Spring Training Edition

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2019

MLB Farm System Rankings: Pre-2019 Spring Training Edition

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    Andy Hayt/Getty Images

    With spring training officially underway, it's time for an updated look at the MLB prospect landscape.

    A handful of trades have taken place since we last updated our farm system rankings shortly after the new year—most notably the J.T. Realmuto blockbuster.

    We'll likely update and tweak these rankings again before Opening Day, but the following will serve as a baseline as spring training begins.

    The factors below 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 better indications 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/Top 100 Prospects: Prospects who have elite skill sets and All-Star potential. This is the cream of the prospect crop. These players are identified by where they will fall in our first top 100 prospect list of the year, which will be released later this spring.
    • Tier 2: Prospects who have a good chance of becoming impact contributors at the MLB level. These are the guys who were in consideration for spots on the leaguewide top-100 list and could eventually end up there.
    • 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 capable of climbing to the next tier.

    Teams were initially ranked based on the number of Tier 1 and Tier 2 prospects in their systems, and then the rankings were subjectively tweaked from there.

            

    Note: 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.

30. Boston Red Sox

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    Darwinzon Hernandez
    Darwinzon HernandezJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. 3B Michael Chavis232
    2. LHP Darwinzon Hernandez223
    3. 3B Bobby Dalbec233
    4. 1B Triston Casas193
    5. RHP Bryan Mata193
    6. SS Antoni Flores183
    7. LHP Jay Groome203
    8. RHP Mike Shawaryn243
    9. RHP Tanner Houck223
    10. SS C.J. Chatham243

    Just Missed: OF Nick Decker, 3B Danny Diaz, RHP Durbin Feltman

         

    2019 Outlook

    The Red Sox's ability to climb in these rankings will depend on the continued development of pitching prospects Darwinzon Hernandez, Bryan Mata, Jay Groome and Tanner Houck. All four have high ceilings with equally low floors, and that volatility makes it hard to rank them any higher.

    Michael Chavis is the one top prospect who could make a legitimate impact at the MLB level in 2019, provided he finds a path to playing time. Reliever Durbin Feltman also appears to be on the fast track and is a name worth watching.

    Teenagers Antoni Flores ($1.4 million) and Danny Diaz ($1.6 million) signed big bonuses during the 2017 international window, and both have the potential to be pop-up prospects in their full-season debuts.

29. Chicago Cubs

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    Nico Hoerner
    Nico HoernerJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. SS Nico Hoerner21Top 100
    2. C Miguel Amaya192
    3. OF Cole Roederer193
    4. LHP Brailyn Marquez203
    5. RHP Adbert Alzolay233
    6. LHP Justin Steele233
    7. SS Aramis Ademan203
    8. OF Brennen Davis193
    9. RHP Cory Abbott233
    10. RHP Paul Richan213

    Just Missed: RHP Richard Gallardo, RHP Alex Lange, LHP Brendon Little, RHP Keegan Thompson

                      

    2019 Outlook

    The Cubs have worked hard to restock the farm system via the draft and the international market in recent seasons after welcoming a wave of top prospects to the MLB level.

    While the pitching side of the system remains thin, there are some promising arms on the cusp. Left-hander Justin Steele and a healthy Adbert Alzolay could both debut in 2019, while the same is true of 2018 first-round pick Nico Hoerner if he keeps raking.

    Outfielders Cole Roederer ($1.2 million) and Brennen Davis ($1.1 million) both received above-slot bonuses as second-round picks last year, and both are capable of making the jump to Tier 2 status with strong full-season debuts.

28. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Keston Hiura
    Keston HiuraDylan Buell/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. 2B Keston Hiura22Top 25
    2. OF Corey Ray242
    3. SS Brice Turang193
    4. RHP Zack Brown243
    5. OF Tristen Lutz203
    6. IF Mauricio Dubon243
    7. OF Carlos Rodriguez183
    8. 3B Lucas Erceg233
    9. OF Joe Gray183
    10. RHP Trey Supak223

    Just Missed: OF Micah Bello, C/1B Jacob Nottingham, OF Je'Von Ward

          

    2019 Outlook

    After trading several top prospects in the Christian Yelich deal before welcoming Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes to the MLB level, the Brewers farm system has been considerably thinned.

    That said, they still have one elite young talent in second baseman Keston Hiura, who has a 70-grade hit tool and 60-grade power. Cory Spangenberg was signed as a stopgap option at second base, but it won't be long before Hiura is in the everyday lineup.

    Outfielder Je'Von Ward was signed away from a commitment to USC with a $475,000 bonus as a 12th-round pick in 2017. The 19-year-old hit .307/.391/.403 with 17 extra-base hits and 13 steals in 64 games at the rookie league level, and he could join the organizational top 10 in short order.

27. San Francisco Giants

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    Shaun Anderson
    Shaun AndersonRob Carr/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. C Joey Bart22Top 25
    2. OF Heliot Ramos19Top 100
    3. OF Marco Luciano173
    4. RHP Shaun Anderson243
    5. OF Alexander Canario183
    6. RHP Sean Hjelle213
    7. OF Heath Quinn233
    8. RHP Gregory Santos193
    9. RHP Melvin Adon243
    10. OF Diego Rincones193

    Just Missed: C/1B Aramis Garcia, 3B Jacob Gonzalez, 1B/OF Chris Shaw, RHP Logan Webb

                 

    2019 Outlook

    Between first-round picks Joey Bart (No. 2, 2018) and Heliot Ramos (No. 19, 2017) and marquee international signing Marco Luciano ($2.6 million, 2018), the Giants have added some promising young pieces to a farm system that was once paper thin.

    Slugger Chris Shaw should have a chance to win the everyday left field job this spring and Aramis Garcia is in the mix for the backup catcher job. The top prospect to watch at the MLB level is hard-throwing Melvin Adon. He can touch 102 mph with his fastball and he thrived in the AFL after moving to the bullpen.

    Outfielder Alexander Canario signed for just $60,000 in 2016 and he's been rocketing up the organizational rankings since winning Dominican Summer League MVP in 2017. His Single-A debut will be among the most anticipated leaguewide.

26. Cleveland Indians

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    Yu Chang
    Yu ChangJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. RHP Triston McKenzie21Top 50
    2. 3B Nolan Jones20Top 50
    3. OF George Valera183
    4. C Bo Naylor183
    5. SS Tyler Freeman193
    6. RHP Luis Oviedo193
    7. SS Brayan Rocchio183
    8. RHP Ethan Hankins183
    9. LHP Sam Hentges223
    10. SS/3B Yu Chang233

    Just Missed: RHP Elijah Morgan, RHP Lenny Torres

                 

    2019 Outlook

    While the Indians farm system is propped up by two elite prospects, it's the progression of the six teenagers ranked behind them that could ultimately lead them to climb up the rankings. Outfielder George Valera, in particular, has top-100 upside.

    Shortstop Francisco Lindor is nursing a calf strain that could land him on the disabled list to start the season. That might open the door for Yu Chang to break camp with the team after he hit .337/.396/.523 with four doubles and four home runs in the Arizona Fall League.

    The 6'4", 170-pound Luis Oviedo is one of the most projectable pitching prospects in baseball with a big fastball and three offspeed pitches. The 19-year-old posted a 2.05 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 10.6 K/9 while holding opponents to a .190 batting average last season.

25. Miami Marlins

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    Victor Victor Mesa
    Victor Victor MesaMark Brown/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. RHP Sixto Sanchez20Top 50
    2. OF Victor Victor Mesa22Top 100
    3. RHP Nick Neidert222
    4. RHP Sandy Alcantara233
    5. OF Monte Harrison233
    6. OF Connor Scott193
    7. RHP Jorge Guzman233
    8. 2B Isan Diaz223
    9. RHP Jordan Yamamoto223
    10. C Will Banfield193

    Just Missed: RHP Edward Cabrera, SS Jose Devers, RHP Zac Gallen, LHP Braxton Garrett, OF Tristan Pompey

                 

    2019 Outlook

    There's a new No. 1 prospect in the Marlins system after right-hander Sixto Sanchez was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in the J.T. Realmuto blockbuster. He joins Cuban outfielder Victor Victor Mesa as a high-profile new addition to the rebuilding club's minor league ranks.

    Right-handers Nick Neidert, Sandy Alcantara and Jordan Yamamoto could all see time in the MLB rotation this season. Yamamoto—an underrated addition in the Christian Yelich trade—posted a 2.06 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with 27 strikeouts in 26 innings in the AFL.

    Projectable 6'4", 175-pound right-hander Edward Cabrera struck out 93 batters in 100.1 innings at Single-A Clinton last season. The 20-year-old might have the highest ceiling of any pitching prospect in the system.

24. Kansas City Royals

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    Khalil Lee
    Khalil LeeJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. RHP Brady Singer22Top 100
    2. C MJ Melendez20Top 100
    3. OF Khalil Lee20Top 100
    4. LHP Daniel Lynch223
    5. RHP Jackson Kowar223
    6. SS Nicky Lopez233
    7. 1B Nick Pratto203
    8. OF Seuly Matias203
    9. OF Kyle Isbel213
    10. RHP Carlos Hernandez213

    Just Missed: LHP Kris Bubic, RHP Yefri Del Rosario, RHP Josh Staumont

                

    2019 Outlook

    The Royals gave their system a serious shot in the arm with the selections of Brady Singer (No. 18), Jackson Kowar (No. 33) and Daniel Lynch (No. 34) last June. This is still a top-heavy system, but they've added some quality talent the past few years.

    Middle infielder Nicky Lopez is the team's one MLB-ready top prospect after hitting .308/.382/.417 with 30 extra-base hits and 15 steals between Double-A and Triple-A. Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi are blocking his path, though, so he may need to move elsewhere defensively.

    Right-hander Yefri Del Rosario was scooped up last offseason for $650,000 after he was removed from the Atlanta Braves system as a result of their international violations. The 19-year-old posted a 3.19 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 79 innings in his Single-A debut, and he has a ton of physical projection remaining.

23. New York Mets

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    Peter Alonso
    Peter AlonsoJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. SS Andres Gimenez20Top 50
    2. 1B Peter Alonso24Top 100
    3. 3B Mark Vientos19Top 100
    4. SS Ronny Mauricio173
    5. LHP David Peterson233
    6. SS Shervyen Newton193
    7. LHP Anthony Kay233
    8. RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson183
    9. RHP Franklyn Kilome233
    10. LHP Thomas Szapucki223

    Just Missed: C Francisco Alvarez, OF Adrian Hernandez, OF Freddy Valdez

              

    2019 Outlook

    The Mets have a clear-cut top eight prospects in their system, and there's some potentially elite talent in that group, but the drop-off behind them is steep.

    Slugger Peter Alonso will compete with veteran Todd Frazier for the starting first base job this spring. Even if he doesn't win outright, expect to see Alonso in the majors before midseason after he posted a .975 OPS with 36 home runs and 119 RBI last year.

    The most likely prospects to jump up into the team's top 10 are last year's big-ticket international free-agent signings. Catcher Francisco Alvarez ($2.7 million) and outfielder Freddy Valdez ($1.45 million) both have tremendous long-term upside.

22. Los Angeles Angels

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    Jo Adell
    Jo AdellPatrick McDermott/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. OF Jo Adell19Top 25
    2. RHP Griffin Canning22Top 100
    3. OF Brandon Marsh21Top 100
    4. IF Luis Rengifo213
    5. OF Jordyn Adams193
    6. 2B Jahmai Jones213
    7. LHP Jose Suarez213
    8. 1B Matt Thaiss233
    9. OF D'Shawn Knowles183
    10. LHP Patrick Sandoval223

    Just Missed: RHP Ty Buttrey, OF Michael Hermosillo, RHP Chris Rodriguez, RHP Jose Soriano

                  

    2019 Outlook

    Not long ago, the Angels had the consensus worst farm system in baseball. They've consistently hit on their early draft picks in recent seasons, though, including the uber-talented Jo Adell. This could be a top-15 system by midseason if their top guys continue to develop as hoped.

    Matt Thaiss will never have prototypical first baseman power, but he's one Albert Pujols injury away from the starting first base job after a strong season in the upper minors. Reliever Ty Buttrey is also one to watch at the MLB level after he posted a 3.31 ERA and 11.0 K/9 with four saves in 16 games following a mid-August promotion—he has closer upside.

    D'Shawn Knowles could be latest Bahamian prospect to make a name for himself, following in the footsteps of Lucius Fox, Jazz Chisholm and Kristian Robinson. The 18-year-old hit .311/.391/.464 with 21 extra-base hits in 58 rookie ball games.

21. Washington Nationals

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    Victor Robles
    Victor RoblesDustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. OF Victor Robles21Top 25
    2. SS Carter Kieboom21Top 50
    3. SS Luis Garcia18Top 100
    4. RHP Mason Denaburg193
    5. RHP Wil Crowe243
    6. SS Yasel Antuna193
    7. LHP Seth Romero223
    8. RHP Sterling Sharp233
    9. OF Gage Canning213
    10. C Israel Pineda183

    Just Missed: RHP James Bourque, OF Telmito Agustin, RHP Jake Irvin, RHP Jackson Tetreault

                 

    2019 Outlook

    There's not a more top-heavy system in baseball than the Nationals. Victor Robles and Carter Kieboom are both elite, and shortstop Luis Garcia is not far behind. A healthy Mason Denaburg would make a fourth quality prospect, but there's a chasm between that group and the rest of the system.

    Assuming Bryce Harper signs elsewhere, Victor Robles will have a clear path to a starting job in the outfield, and he might be the NL Rookie of the Year front-runner. Otherwise, reliever James Bourque is the most likely farmhand to make an impact. The 25-year-old used an excellent fastball/curveball pairing to post a 1.70 ERA and 12.9 K/9 in 41 games between High-A and Double-A.

    Catcher Israel Pineda could quickly emerge as the top backstop prospect in the system in his full-season debut. Signed for $450,000 in 2016, he hit .273/.341/.388 with seven doubles and four home runs in 46 games at Low-A Auburn, and he has the receiving skills to develop into a plus defender.

20. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Adonis Medina
    Adonis MedinaRob Carr/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. 3B Alec Bohm22Top 100
    2. SS Luis Garcia182
    3. RHP Adonis Medina222
    4. OF Adam Haseley222
    5. RHP Spencer Howard223
    6. LHP JoJo Romero223
    7. RHP Enyel De Los Santos233
    8. LHP Cole Irvin253
    9. LHP Ranger Suarez233
    10. RHP Francisco Morales193

    Just Missed: 2B Daniel Brito, OF Mickey Moniak

                  

    2019 Outlook

    Trading No. 1 prospect Sixto Sanchez to the Marlins in the J.T. Realmuto cost the Phillies several spots in these rankings, and the system as a whole is in a bit of a downturn. It's a pitching-heavy group, and if a few of their more well-regarded arms can take a step forward, the arrow would again be pointing up.

    MLB-ready arms like Enyel De Los Santos, Ranger Suarez and Cole Irvin could ultimately wind up being used as trade fodder, given the quality starting pitching depth the team already possesses. With that in mind, outfielder Adam Haseley could impact arrival in the majors, especially if Bryce Harper signs elsewhere.

    Former No. 1 overall pick Mickey Moniak quietly hit .297/.347/.470 with 24 extra-base hits in 53 games from July 1 on, and he could regain his top prospect status with more of the same in 2019.

19. Baltimore Orioles

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    Ryan Mountcastle
    Ryan MountcastleJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. OF Yusniel Diaz22Top 100
    2. LHP DL Hall20Top 100
    3. 3B Ryan Mountcastle212
    4. RHP Grayson Rodriguez192
    5. OF Austin Hays233
    6. OF Ryan McKenna223
    7. RHP Dean Kremer233
    8. LHP Zac Lowther233
    9. SS Jean Carmona193
    10. LHP Keegan Akin233

    Just Missed: 3B JC Encarnacion, RHP Hunter Harvey, RHP Blaine Knight, SS Richie Martin, RHP Luis Ortiz

           

    2019 Outlook

    The Orioles added a wealth of prospect talent to the farm system during last summer's fire sale, headlined by outfielder Yusniel Diazthe centerpiece of the Manny Machado trade. The system is still thin on impact prospects, but the talent pool is deeper than it's been in years.

    Third baseman Ryan Mountcastle and outfielder Ryan McKenna could both be part of the everyday lineup by midseason. McKenna, a fourth-round pick in 2015, hit .315/.410/.457 between High-A and Double-A and then posted a .344/.474/.590 line in the AFL.

    Unless a late move is made to sign Jose Iglesias, it looks like Rule 5 picks Richie Martin and Drew Jackson will be entrusted with the shortstop job. With a plus glove and a first-round pedigree and fresh off a breakout offensive season at Double-A, Martin could surprise some people.

18. Colorado Rockies

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    Garrett Hampson
    Garrett HampsonRalph Freso/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. SS Brendan Rodgers22Top 25
    2. 3B Colton Welker21Top 100
    3. 1B/3B Tyler Nevin21Top 100
    4. 2B/SS Garrett Hampson242
    5. LHP Ryan Rolison213
    6. 1B Grant Lavigne193
    7. RHP Peter Lambert213
    8. 3B Ryan Vilade193
    9. SS Terrin Vavra213
    10. RHP Justin Lawrence243

    Just Missed: OF Yonathan Daza, SS Eddy Diaz, OF Daniel Montano, RHP Reid Humphreys, RHP Riley Pint

                   

    2019 Outlook

    The Colorado Rockies farm slants heavily in the position-player direction after it churned out some quality pitching talent in recent years. They can't afford to have the pitching pipeline run dry, especially considering how hard it is to convince free-agent hurlers to sign. Still, there's a lot of talent here.

    Garrett Hampson should get the first crack at the vacant second base job this spring, and at the very least he looks ticketed for a utility role with the MLB squad. Sidewinder Justin Lawrence is also capable of pitching his way into a late-inning relief role after a dominant showing in the Arizona Fall League.

    Shortstop Eddy Diaz has hit .310/.411/.431 with 84 steals in 87 games the past two seasons in the Dominican Summer League. His stateside debut will be one to watch.

17. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Jon Duplantier
    Jon DuplantierChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. RHP Jon Duplantier24Top 50
    2. OF Kristian Robinson18Top 50
    3. SS Jazz Chisholm21Top 100
    4. C Daulton Varsho222
    5. RHP Taylor Widener243
    6. OF Alek Thomas183
    7. SS Geraldo Perdomo193
    8. OF Jake McCarthy213
    9. SS Blaze Alexander193
    10. RHP Emilio Vargas223

    Just Missed: RHP Taylor Clarke, 1B Kevin Cron, 3B Drew Ellis, 1B Pavin Smith, C Andy Yerzy, IF Andy Young

                   

    2019 Outlook

    The Arizona Diamondbacks opted to target MLB-ready talent when they acquired Luke Weaver and Carson Kelly from the St. Louis Cardinals in the Paul Goldschmidt deal in December. That was a missed opportunity to bolster a mediocre farm system, but it could mean a more competitive team in 2019.

    Jon Duplantier and Taylor Widener are both knocking on the door after dominant seasons at Double-A, and an eventual trade of Zack Greinke and/or Robbie Ray would open the door. Slugger Kevin Cron, who posted a .921 OPS with 51 extra-base hits at Triple-A, has also earned a shot.

    Outfielder Kristian Robinson has a chance to be the breakout prospect of 2019. He hit .279/.363/.428 with 12 doubles, seven home runs and 12 steals in 57 games in his stateside debut, and he didn't turn 18 until Dec. 11. Remember that name, folks.

16. Oakland Athletics

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    Sean Murphy
    Sean MurphyJustin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. LHP Jesus Luzardo21Top 25
    2. C Sean Murphy24Top 50
    3. LHP A.J. Puk23Top 100
    4. OF Austin Beck202
    5. OF Lazaro Armenteros193
    6. OF Jameson Hannah213
    7. SS/OF Jorge Mateo233
    8. RHP Daulton Jefferies233
    9. 3B Sheldon Neuse243
    10. OF Skye Bolt253

    Just Missed: OF Luis Barrera, RHP Brian Howard, RHP James Kaprielian

                            

    2019 Outlook

    The stalled developments of Jorge Mateo, James Kaprielian, Grant Holmes, Sheldon Neuse and others have hurt the outlook of the Oakland A's system, and losing Kyler Murray to the NFL is another major blow. Still, two of the game's elite left-handed pitching prospects and a potential franchise catcher is enough to prop them up for now.

    Expect to see Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk not only pitching in the majors but also leading the staff by midseason. Who else is going to do it? Mike Fiers and Marco Estrada are useful veteran inning-eaters, not staff aces. The same goes for catcher Sean Murphy. Once he's deemed ready, Nick Hundley and Josh Phegley won't stand in his way.

    Despite middling stuff, Brian Howard could soon sneak into the top 10. The 6'9" right-hander has plus command of an advanced four-pitch repertoire and uses his height well. The 23-year-old went 11-7 with a 2.91 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 140 strikeouts in 139.1 innings between High-A and Double-A, and he's close to his ceiling as a back-end starter.

15. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Cole Tucker
    Cole TuckerJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. RHP Mitch Keller22Top 25
    2. 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes22Top 50
    3. SS Oneil Cruz20Top 100
    4. OF Travis Swaggerty21Top 100
    5. OF Calvin Mitchell193
    6. SS Cole Tucker223
    7. 2B Kevin Kramer253
    8. OF Bryan Reynolds243
    9. IF Kevin Newman253
    10. RHP Steven Jennings203

    Just Missed: RHP Luis Escobar, OF Jason Martin, OF Lolo Sanchez

                                   

    2019 Outlook

    The Pittsburgh Pirates have done a solid job of developing pitching in recent years, so it's a bit surprising that so many of their top prospects are hitters. And with so many of its top guys likely to debut in 2019, this system could be headed for a slide.

    Mitch Keller is as MLB-ready as any top-tier pitching prospect, and Ke'Bryan Hayes could push Colin Moran for the third base job by the second half of 2019. That said, it's the brewing battle between Cole Tucker, Kevin Kramer and Kevin Newman for two middle infield spots that could produce the team's first impact prospects of the new season.

    The door will be wide open for Steven Jennings to claim the title of top pitching prospect in the system once Keller is promoted. A two-sport star in high school, he could make significant strides in a hurry now that he's turned his full attention to baseball.

14. Texas Rangers

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    Julio Pablo Martinez
    Julio Pablo MartinezJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. LHP Taylor Hearn24Top 100
    2. RHP Hans Crouse202
    3. OF Leody Taveras202
    4. OF Julio Pablo Martinez222
    5. RHP Cole Winn192
    6. OF Bubba Thompson203
    7. IF Anderson Tejeda203
    8. RHP Jonathan Hernandez223
    9. LHP Brock Burke223
    10. RHP Tyler Phillips213

    Just Missed: RHP A.J. Alexy, 3B Sherten Apostel, SS Jonathan Ornelas, LHP Joe Palumbo, LHP Cole Ragans, IF Eli White, RHP Owen White

                        

    2019 Outlook

    The Texas Rangers have had a tough time developing pitching talent since Derek Holland, C.J. Wilson, Scott Feldman and Tommy Hunter helped lead the team to back-to-back World Series appearances at the start of the decade. That could soon change thanks to a farm system that's loaded with high-ceiling arms and toolsy outfielders.

    Left-hander Taylor Hearn was acquired from the Pirates in the Keone Kela trade last summer, and he's the most MLB-ready arm in the system. The development of his slider as a viable third pitch will determine whether he finds his way into the rotation, but his high-octane fastball and plus changeup would already be a weapon out of the bullpen.

    Infielder Jonathan Ornelas is one of a number of low-level prospects who could help propel this system even higher in the rankings. A third-round pick last June, he hit .302/.389/.459 with 17 extra-base hits and 15 steals in rookie ball.

13. New York Yankees

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    Estevan Florial
    Estevan FlorialChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. OF Estevan Florial21Top 100
    2. RHP Deivi Garcia19Top 100
    3. RHP Jonathan Loaisiga242
    4. OF Everson Pereira172
    5. RHP Michael King232
    6. RHP Roansy Contreras193
    7. RHP Clarke Schmidt223
    8. C Anthony Seigler193
    9. RHP Garrett Whitlock223
    10. OF Antonio Cabello183

    Just Missed: RHP Domingo Acevedo, RHP Luis Gil, RHP Luis Medina, RHP Matt Sauer, RHP Trevor Stephan

                     

    2019 Outlook

    The New York Yankees have more high-ceiling pitching talent than any organization outside the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres. Most of it still resides in the lower levels of the minors, though, which adds some obvious risk to their projection. The system is also extremely thin on position-player talent. Still, this could be a top-10 group by midseason.

    Jonathan Loaisiga looks like the next man up for a rotation spot. Given James Paxton's injury history and CC Sabathia's age (38), that figures to be an important role. Michael King is also ready for a look after he went 11-5 with a 1.79 ERA and 152 strikeouts in 161.1 innings on his way to Triple-A.

    Outfielder Antonio Cabello was one of the prospects the Yankees signed with the money they set aside for Shohei Ohtani. He made his stateside debut as a 17-year-old and hit .321/.426/.555 with 18 extra-base hits in 40 rookie league games. Keep a close eye on this one.

12. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Andrew Knizner
    Andrew KniznerJennifer Stewart/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. 3B Nolan Gorman18Top 100
    2. RHP Alex Reyes24Top 100
    3. RHP Dakota Hudson24Top 100
    4. C Andrew Knizner242
    5. 3B Elehuris Montero202
    6. RHP Ryan Helsley243
    7. OF Dylan Carlson203
    8. RHP Griffin Roberts223
    9. OF Jhon Torres183
    10. 3B Malcom Nunez173

    Just Missed: OF Randy Arozarena, LHP Genesis Cabrera, OF Justin Williams

              

    2019 Outlook

    The St. Louis Cardinals' ranking is a bit of a mirage. Alex Reyes will lose his prospect status with the next major league out he records, while Dakota Hudson is 22.2 innings from doing the same. In other words, two top-100-caliber prospects could be removed from the equation before the All-Star break. There are plenty of promising low-level prospects capable of easing that loss, though.

    While Hudson will likely break camp with a spot in the bullpen unless they intend to stretch him back out as a starter, Reyes could be left behind at extended spring training in an effort to limit his workload. If Yadier Molina misses any time, catcher Andrew Knizner could wind up having the biggest impact of any prospect.

    Still, few, if any, professional baseball players put up better numbers than Malcom Nunez in 2018. The 17-year-old hit .415/.497/.774 with 16 doubles, 13 home runs and 59 RBI in 44 games in the Dominican Summer League. How will he handle a tougher test in his U.S. debut?

11. Detroit Tigers

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    Casey Mize
    Casey MizeCarlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. RHP Casey Mize21Top 25
    2. RHP Matt Manning21Top 50
    3. SS Isaac Paredes192
    4. OF Daz Cameron222
    5. RHP Franklin Perez212
    6. RHP Alex Faedo232
    7. RHP Beau Burrows223
    8. OF Parker Meadows193
    9. OF Christin Stewart253
    10. OF Brock Deatherage233

    Just Missed: SS Willi Castro, RHP Kyle Funkhouser, SS Wenceel Perez, C Jake Rogers

                 

    2019 Outlook

    The Detroit Tigers have assembled an impressive collection of high-end talent since they kicked off a rebuild with the trade of Justin Verlander at the 2017 August waiver deadline. It's easy to dream on a future rotation of Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Franklin Perez, Alex Faedo and Beau Burrows.

    While the system is pitching-heavy at the top, outfielder Christin Stewart could be the first to establish himself as a long-term piece at the MLB level. The 25-year-old hit .267/.375/.417 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 17 games following a September call-up, and he should be part of the Opening Day lineupeither in left field or as the DH.

    Brock Deatherage hit .307/.397/.548 with 14 home runs and 18 steals during a breakout senior season at NC State, and he just kept hitting after going in the 10th round last June. He reached High-A in his pro debut and hit a combined .326/.385/.504 with eight doubles, six triples, seven home runs and 19 steals. Some guys can just flat-out hit.

10. Seattle Mariners

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    Yusei Kikuchi
    Yusei KikuchiElaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. LHP Justus Sheffield22Top 50
    2. LHP Yusei Kikuchi27Top 100
    3. OF Julio Rodriguez18Top 100
    4. OF Jarred Kelenic19Top 100
    5. 1B Evan White222
    6. RHP Justin Dunn232
    7. RHP Logan Gilbert213
    8. OF Kyle Lewis233
    9. 2B Shed Long233
    10. C Cal Raleigh223

    Just Missed: OF Braden Bishop, SS Noelvi Marte, RHP Erik Swanson, OF Dom Thompson-Williams

                 

    2019 Outlook

    The Seattle Mariners won't hold this spot in the rankings for long. Yusei Kikuchi could be the Opening Day starter, and Justus Sheffield will arrive in short order if he doesn't win a rotation spot. Graduating them will be an obvious hit. Still, this is a system on the rise thanks to a busy offseason.

    Aside from the aforementioned Kikuchi and Sheffield, outfielder Braden Bishop is the system's most MLB-ready prospect. With top-of-the-order speed and a good glove in center field, he could serve as an oft-used fourth outfielder.

    Catcher Cal Raleigh hit .288/.367/.534 with 10 doubles and eight home runs at Low-A after being selected in the third round last June. He's already the best catching prospect on a team without a long-term answer at the position, and if he can smooth the rough edges defensively, he could arrive soon.

9. Minnesota Twins

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    Alex Kirilloff
    Alex KirilloffBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. SS Royce Lewis19Top 25
    2. OF Alex Kirilloff21Top 25
    3. RHP Brusdar Graterol20Top 50
    4. OF Trevor Larnach212
    5. OF Brent Rooker242
    6. LHP Stephen Gonsalves242
    7. SS Wander Javier193
    8. RHP Jhoan Duran213
    9. LHP Lewis Thorpe233
    10. C Ryan Jeffers213

    Just Missed: RHP Jorge Alcala, OF Akil Baddoo, RHP Blayne Enlow, 2B/SS Nick Gordon, 2B/SS Yunior Severino

                        

    2019 Outlook

    The Minnesota Twins have as much homegrown talent as any team at the MLB level, and the pipeline is still going strong, as two of the best offensive prospects in baseball headline the system.

    Lefty Stephen Gonsalves has nothing left to prove in the minors after he went 12-3 with a 2.76 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 120 strikeouts in 120.2 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. He was shelled to the tune of a 6.57 ERA in 24.2 innings in the majors, but the potential is still there for him to be a staple in the middle of the rotation.

    Catcher Ryan Jeffers looks like one of the early steals from the 2018 draft class. He was taken in the second round after a standout junior season at UNC-Wilmington, and he torched rookie ball pitching to the tune of a .422/.543/.578 line in 28 games to earn an early promotion to Single-A. Could he be the catcher of the future?

8. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Keibert Ruiz
    Keibert RuizJamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. OF Alex Verdugo22Top 25
    2. SS Gavin Lux21Top 50
    3. C Keibert Ruiz20Top 100
    4. RHP Dustin May21Top 100
    5. C/3B Will Smith232
    6. SS Jeter Downs202
    7. RHP Tony Gonsolin243
    9. OF DJ Peters233
    10. RHP Josiah Gray213
    8. RHP Dennis Santana223

    Just Missed: RHP Yadier Alvarez, C Diego Cartaya, OF Jeren Kendall, RHP Mitchell White, C Connor Wong

                    

    2019 Outlook

    Even with Alex Verdugo likely to exhaust his prospect status early in the 2019 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers still have a stocked system and a number of other top-tier talents thanks to the emergence of Gavin Lux and Dustin May, among others.

    The trade of Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp cleared some of the outfield clutter, and even after A.J. Pollock signed with L.A., Verdugo will still have a chance to claim his piece of the pie. The 22-year-old will never be a 30-homer threat, but he didn't post a .321/.389/.452 line in 208 games at Triple-A by accident.

    The Dodgers already have two elite catching prospects in Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith, and another intriguing up-and-comer in Connor Wong. Diego Cartaya could quickly join that group with a strong pro debut after he signed for $2.5 million out of Venezuela last July.

7. Houston Astros

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    Forrest Whitley
    Forrest WhitleyJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. RHP Forrest Whitley21Top 25
    2. OF Kyle Tucker22Top 25
    3. 1B/OF Yordan Alvarez21Top 50
    4. RHP Josh James25Top 100
    5. RHP Corbin Martin232
    6. RHP J.B. Bukauskas222
    7. 1B/OF Seth Beer223
    8. SS Freudis Nova193
    9. RHP Bryan Abreu213
    10. RHP Cristian Javier213

    Just Missed: LHP Cionel Perez, OF Myles Straw, LHP Framber Valdez

                     

    2019 Outlook

    Even after dipping into the farm system to acquire Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, the Houston Astros still have one of the best systems in the sport. That includes the best pitching prospect in baseball and a wealth of low-level international signings that could emerge as top prospects.

    While Forrest Whitley has ace upside and should debut at some point in 2019, flame-thrower Josh James will make the most immediate impact. He's the front-runner for the No. 5 starter job after an impressive late-season showing.

    The under-the-radar name to know is Bryan Abreu. He struck out an absurd 90 batters in 54.1 innings last season, and his ceiling is as high as any pitcher's in the system outside Whitley. A step forward with his command (3.8 BB/9) could vault him onto leaguewide top 100 lists.

6. Cincinnati Reds

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    Taylor Trammell
    Taylor TrammellChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. IF/OF Nick Senzel23Top 25
    2. OF Taylor Trammell21Top 25
    3. RHP Hunter Greene19Top 50
    4. 3B Jonathan India22Top 100
    5. RHP Tony Santillan212
    6. C Tyler Stephenson222
    7. OF Mike Siani193
    8. RHP Vladimir Gutierrez233
    9. OF Mariel Bautista213
    10. OF Stuart Fairchild223

    Just Missed: OF Michael Beltre, RHP Keury Mella, OF Jose Siri

                  

    2019 Outlook

    The Cincinnati Reds have had a tough time turning top pitching prospects into members of the big league rotation in recent years, and those struggles could continue with a thin group of arms behind the trio listed above. Few teams have a better collection of elite position-player talent, though.

    After playing shortstop in college and lining up at both second and third base as a pro, Nick Senzel could ultimately settle in as a center fielder in the majors. His bat will play anywhere, and he should join a Reds team on the rise well before the All-Star break.

    Michael Beltre hit .278/.397/.402 with a 16.1 percent walk rate between Single-A and High-A, and there's still untapped raw power in his 6'3", 225-pound frame. However, he's also 23 years old and behind the developmental curve. This will be a make-or-break season for his top-prospect status.

5. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Nate Lowe
    Nate LoweRob Carr/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. SS Wander Franco17Top 25
    2. RHP Brent Honeywell23Top 50
    3. 1B/LHP Brendan McKay23Top 50
    4. OF Jesus Sanchez21Top 50
    5. C Ronaldo Hernandez21Top 100
    6. LHP Matthew Liberatore19Top 100
    7. 2B/OF Brandon Lowe242
    8. 1B Nate Lowe233
    9. 2B Vidal Brujan213
    10. RHP Shane Baz193

    Just Missed: SS Lucius Fox, OF Moises Gomez, LHP Shane McClanahan, 2B/OF Nick Solak

                       

    2019 Outlook

    The emergence of Wander Franco as one of baseball's top prospects has elevated an already deep Tampa Bay Rays system to elite status. A case can be made that Nate Lowe and Vidal Brujan should also receive a Tier 2 grade, which would bump them up to the No. 3 spot in these rankings. Don't be surprised if that's exactly what happens by midseason.

    Lowe hit .330/.416/.568 with 32 doubles, 27 home runs and 102 RBI last season, closing out the year at Triple-A. It's hard to see Ji-Man Choi and Yandy Diaz standing in his way if he keeps hitting like that. Meanwhile, Brandon Lowe, Brent Honeywell and Nick Solak could also see significant time in the majors in 2019.

    A 5.7 BB/9 rate last spring at South Florida was the reason Shane McClanahan slipped to No. 31 in the 2018 draft. With a 100 mph fastball, plus changeup and decent slider, his pure stuff stacked up to any college arm in the class. It was a small sample size, but his 13-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in seven innings after he signed was a promising first taste of pro ball, and it could serve as a springboard.

4. Chicago White Sox

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    Eloy Jimenez
    Eloy JimenezRon Vesely/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. OF Eloy Jimenez22Top 25
    2. RHP Dylan Cease23Top 25
    3. RHP Michael Kopech22Top 25
    4. OF Luis Robert21Top 50
    5. SS Nick Madrigal21Top 100
    6. RHP Dane Dunning24Top 100
    7. OF Micker Adolfo222
    8. OF Luis Gonzalez233
    9. OF Blake Rutherford213
    10. OF Luis Alexander Basabe223

    Just Missed: C Zack Collins, RHP Ian Hamilton, RHP Alec Hansen

                     

    2019 Outlook

    The Chicago White Sox have as much elite young talent as any team, but they don't have the same prospect depth of the three clubs ranked ahead of them. In fact, outside the top 10 prospects in their system and Zack Collins, it's an underwhelming group.

    Those top seven guys have a chance to be really good, though, starting with Eloy Jimenez and his 70-grade power. He's more than just a masher, as he posted a .337/.384/.577 line between Double-A and Triple-A last season. He should be the everyday left fielder before the beginning of May. Right-hander Dane Dunning is also close to MLB-ready, and he could get a long look for a rotation spot this spring.

    With a 99 mph fastball and a hard-biting slider, Ian Hamilton has late-inning stuff. He posted a pristine 1.74 ERA with 22 saves and 10.8 K/9 in the minors last season before he made 10 appearances out of the MLB bullpen. Relief-pitching prospects rarely receive top prospect billing, but he's as good as any around and has legitimate closer upside.

3. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
    Vladimir Guerrero Jr.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.19Top 25
    2. SS Bo Bichette20Top 25
    3. C Danny Jansen23Top 100
    4. RHP Eric Pardinho18Top 100
    5. RHP Nate Pearson22Top 100
    6. SS Jordan Groshans192
    7. SS Kevin Smith222
    8. 2B Cavan Biggio232
    9. RHP Sean Reid-Foley233
    10. OF Anthony Alford243

    Just Missed: 3B Miguel Hiraldo, SS Orelvis Martinez, 1B Rowdy Tellez, RHP T.J. Zeuch

                       

    2019 Outlook

    Led by the top prospect in baseball, another top-25 talent and three more guys who will appear on our leaguewide top 100 list, the Toronto Blue Jays claim the No. 3 spot in these rankings.

    Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the overwhelming favorite for AL Rookie of the Year, and he'll be the team's everyday third baseman once the service-time rigamarole is over. Danny Jansen also has a clear path to the starting catcher job since the Jays traded Russell Martin to the Dodgers. Look for Sean Reid-Foley to crack the big league rotation at some point.

    Orelvis Martinez was given a $3.5 million bonus last July—the highest of any player in the 2018 international class. MLB.com gave all five of his tools a 50 grade or better, including 60-grade power, while noting he's drawn comparisons to a young Adrian Beltre.

2. Atlanta Braves

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    Cristian Pache
    Cristian PacheChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. RHP Ian Anderson20Top 25
    2. 3B Austin Riley21Top 25
    3. RHP Kyle Wright23Top 50
    4. RHP Touki Toussaint22Top 50
    5. OF Cristian Pache20Top 50
    6. RHP Mike Soroka21Top 100
    7. RHP Bryse Wilson21Top 100
    8. OF Drew Waters20Top 100
    9. C William Contreras21Top 100
    10. LHP Luiz Gohara22Top 100

    Just Missed: LHP Kolby Allard, LHP Kyle Muller, LHP Joey Wentz

                         

    2019 Outlook

    No team in recent memory has had a deeper stable of talented pitching prospects than the Atlanta Braves. Kyle Wright, Touki Toussaint, Mike Soroka, Bryse Wilson and Luiz Gohara all saw MLB time last season, and Austin Riley is MLB-ready as well, so it could be a different-looking top prospect list by midseason.

    For now, there's no question they are squarely in the conversation for the best system in baseball.

    One of the team's pitching prospects will break camp with the No. 5 starter job, and Toussaint is the early favorite after he turned heads late last season. Josh Donaldson's signing is blocking Riley at third base, but he could hit his way into the lineup as a corner outfielder.

    Who will fill the vacancies on the top prospect list as guys start to exhaust their eligibility? Freddy Tarnok is one to watch. The projectable 6'3", 185-pound righty was given a $1.445 million bonus as a third-round pick in 2017, and he posted a 3.96 ERA with 83 strikeouts in 77.1 innings at Single-A last year.

1. San Diego Padres

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    Fernando Tatis Jr.
    Fernando Tatis Jr.Andy Hayt/Getty Images

    Top 10 Prospects

    NameAgeTier
    1. SS Fernando Tatis Jr.20Top 25
    2. LHP MacKenzie Gore19Top 25
    3. RHP Chris Paddack23Top 50
    4. 2B/SS Luis Urias21Top 50
    5. C/OF Francisco Mejia23Top 50
    6. LHP Adrian Morejon19Top 100
    7. LHP Logan Allen21Top 100
    8. RHP Luis Patino19Top 100
    9. RHP Michel Baez23Top 100
    10. SS Xavier Edwards19Top 100

    Just Missed: 1B/OF Josh Naylor, 3B Hudson Potts, RHP Cal Quantrill, OF Buddy Reed, 2B Esteury Ruiz, LHP Ryan Weathers

              

    2019 Outlook

    The San Diego Padres have used a combination of trades (Fernando Tatis Jr., Chris Paddack, Francisco Mejia, Logan Allen, Josh Naylor and Esteury Ruiz), international signings (Luis Urias, Adrian Morejon, Michel Baez and Luis Patino) and the amateur draft (MacKenzie Gore, Xavier Edwards, Cal Quantrill, Hudson Potts, Buddy Reed and Ryan Weathers) to build baseball's best farm system.

    Urias and Tatis Jr. figure to be manning the middle infield together for the next decade, and that era should begin sometime before the All-Star break in July. Paddack, Allen and Quantrill are the most MLB-ready starters in the group, and there's little standing in their way. Mejia is ready offensively, and the team could opt to have him refine his defensive game while he platoons with Austin Hedges in the majors.

    In other words, get ready for a wave of prospect talent to descend on the Padres roster.

    Ruiz, 19, sometimes gets lost in the shuffle in such a stacked system. He was acquired from Kansas City in the deal that also sent Travis Wood and Matt Strahm to San Diego in exchange for Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter. After he hit .253/.324/.403 with 20 doubles, 12 home runs and 49 steals at Single-A, an even bigger breakout could be coming in 2019.

                       

    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted.