MLB Power Rankings: Farm Systems for Every MLB Team
As the hot stove season begins to cool down and teams finalize their spring training rosters, it's time to take a look at the state of your team's farm system.
Sure you may be a contender in 2011, but will your franchise have sustained success? What top prospects are poised to have breakout seasons like Jason Heyward or Buster Posey?
Here are the power rankings for each team's farm system heading into the new season.
30. Florida Marlins
The top prospect is third baseman Matt Dominguez, a guy that has the potential to hit 30 home runs a year for the Marlins.
Scott Cousins was the 2006 first-round pick. He has a great glove and projects to be an above-average hitter. Look for him to be in a Marlins uniform at some point this season.
Last year’s first round pick was first baseman Christian Yelich. He has an awful arm, but not a big deal at that position. He has the ability to be the starter in the next year or two.
Other than that, the pool of talent is very thin. Of course, Mike Stanton making the jump to the big leagues last year didn’t help their farm ranking.
29. Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers' farm system took a huge hit after the trades for Zach Greinke and Shawn Marcum. The Brewers are in win-now mode and are solely focused on 2011.
Maybe Kentrail Davis exceeds expectations. There is a chance D'Vontrey Richardson finally puts it all together. But that might be hard to do while playing football for Florida State in the fall.
The reality is the Brewers are going to struggle if they fall victim to numerous injuries in this upcoming season and the future is pretty bleak for 2012 and beyond.
28. Arizona Diamondbacks
The best prospect is pitcher Jarrod Parker, who missed the entire 2010 season with an arm injury. Parker had huge expectations attached to his name and it remains to be seen if he can regain form.
What's odd with the D-Back's farm system is that the two best prospects after Parker are both third basemen—Bobby Borchering and Matt Davidson.
So far Davidson has the edge, but you figure one of them will be traded sooner or later. They don't have enough pitching prospects to help their horrid major league staff.
27. Chicago White Sox
The general philosophy of the White Sox organization leads them to a weaker farm system. It’s not a knock on the organization: the White Sox simply tend to make more trades and free agent signings than most teams.
Jared Mitchell is another highly-touted prospect who was injured for the entire year. When healthy, Mitchell has the chance to play the majority of the season in the White Sox outfield.
Catcher Tyler Flowers is an intriguing prospect, but it’s hard to be fired up about a guy that hit .226 in AAA last season.
Third baseman Brent Morel has had above average success at the AA and AAA level and could earn another promotion with a solid start to ’11.
Not much to get excited about here.
26. San Francisco Giants
The champs don’t have the strongest system, especially since Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner made it to the big’s last season.
Outfielder Brandon Belt’s power numbers remained solid following his promotion to AAA. The Giants brass will bring him up at some point this season.
The 2010 first round pick, Zach Wheeler, had a respectable debut season in A-ball, posting a 3.89 ERA in 17 appearances. He will work his way up the ladder for a 2012 debut.
Outfielder Thomas Neal is also someone to keep an eye on—especially with the lack of depth at that position for the Giants.
25. Detroit Tigers
The talent level is pretty average for the Tigers. Nobody really stands out.
Jacob Turner and Casey Crosby are the top two prospects, both of which are pitchers. Turner held an ERA under four last season but Crosby was hampered by injuries for the majority of the season.
None of the top offensive prospects had a great year. Wilkin Rodriguez, Ryan Strieby and Daniel Fields could easily bounce back and help the team in the future, but odds are all three of them wont.
24. Houston Astros
The farm system has improved, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
Jordan Lyles is a solid pitching prospect and Delino DeShields Jr. has a ton of potential and the pedigree of a professional baseball player.
Other than that there isn’t much to get excited about. Ariel Ovando and Jonathan Villar have potential, but haven’t blown away scouts to this point. Both players don’t expect to make an impact for the ‘Stros until at least 2012.
(Picture is Delino DeShields Jr.'s dad)
23. St. Louis Cardinals
No team had a better winning percentage than the Cardinals’ affiliates, finishing with a collective .549 mark.
Daniel Descalso is one of the top prospects, earning a September call up. But he was inconsistent last season and certainly hasn’t earned can’t-miss status.
Lance Lynn is the top pitching prospect, but he had an ERA just under 10 in the month of June. Matthew Adams is a 23rd round pick that has caused scouts to pay attention.
22. Colorado Rockies
It wasn't a great year for the Rockies in the farm system development front, mostly because of how many players ended up being hurt.
Catcher Wilin Rosario hit 19 homers in only half a season before tearing his ACL. Juan Nicasio pitched well in the California League, leading the league in Ks, tied for the lead in wins and finished seventh in ERA.
Matt Miller seems to be close to making the big league club. He's now hit .313 in his minor league career with a .379 OBP (.404 in 2010).
21. Baltimore Orioles
Manny Machado was their top pick in 2010. He is a stud who will be playing in the Orioles infield within the next year. Machado is currently one of the top prospects in all of baseball.
Pitcher Zach Britton doesn’t have the stuff of an ace, but he's pretty close to forcing ground-balls in the middle of Baltimore's rotation. He excels in keeping the ball on the ground and that's a good thing for a pitcher at Camden Yards.
Their third-best prospect is pitcher Matt Hobgood. He had a bad season in 2010 and is a work in progress—not good when that’s your third-best prospect.
20. Boston Red Sox
Some how the Red Sox still have a few big prospects after the Adrian Gonzalez trade.
Anthony Ranaudo has battled injuries but could easily develop into a solid pro starter.
Jose Iglesias doesn’t have a great bat, but he is rated as one of the best defensive shortstops in any teams' farm system.
Drake Britton is another solid prospect that has the potential to be a middle-of-the-rotation starter in the majors.
19. New York Mets
is only 19, but Met fans can expect him to replace Jose Reyes in the next two seasons. He has improved his hitting mightily over the past year. Flores has a lot of upside and will be a face of the franchise in the future.
The Mets have a great power arm prospect in Matt Harvey, but his command is pretty awful. It's going to keep him stuck in the minors if he can't straighten it out. But any pitcher with as strong an arm as Harvey has will be given plenty of opportunity.
The work ethic of Aderlin Rodriguez has been questioned and that is never a good thing with young players. He has the ability to be a solid offensive contributor but his defense leaves a lot to be desired.
18. Pittsburgh Pirates
The good news is that the club feels that Jameson Taillon has potential ace written all over him. The bad news is the ace bar isn't too high in Pittsburgh. Regardless, Taillon looks to have a bright future.
has the tools to be a starting catcher in this league—assuming his past history of injuries is behind him.
The Pirates still aren't sure what to do with Stetson Allie. Is he a starter or closer? The club needs to figure it out soon.
17. Washington Nationals
The can't-miss Bryce Harper is going to be very exciting to watch. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft is the top prospect in the game. His brute strength and superior quickness with the stick makes him a potential Hall of Famer.
But he is straight out of high school and will take a few years to develop. He won't have an impact in 2011.
Danny Espinosa played very well in the month of September and is the odds-on favorite to win the starting second base job for the 'Nats.
Drew Storen is another intriguing name who will be a piece of the near future.
The problem is the lack of depth in the farm system if any of the above players don't pan out.
16. Oakland Athletics
Their top prospect had an awful start to his big league career.
Chris Carter, the supposed power source the A's need so dearly, went hit-less in his first 35 plate appearances in the major leagues. But he still projects to be a successful major leaguer and Carter should supply some power in 2011.
Michael Taylor has gotten off to a red hot start in the Arizona Fall League. He was hitting in the .400's for awhile and he looks poised to help the A's pretty soon.
Not a whole lot to get excited about after that, but they have lots of depth and tradeable assets down the line.
15. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs have a lot of depth in their system, but nobody that really jumps off the page.
The 2009 first-round pick, Brett Jackson, looks poised to play in the Cubs outfield at some point this upcoming season. He may strikeout a bit much, but his speed and power combination is very intriguing.
The Cubs used to be very excited about Josh Vitters. But after posting a .223 average in AA, the excitement has subsided.
Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee and pitcher Jay Jackson are two of the other top prospects for the Cubbies. Chris Archer had a great 2010 and was the Cubs' Minor League Pitcher of the Year. He finished the season with a 15-3 record and ERA of 2.34.
14. Seattle Mariners
After an extremely disappointing season, the future isn't so bright either aside from one hot prospect.
Michael Pineda has a great shot to be a stud in the majors. His career numbers in the minor leagues are quite eye-popping: 31-14, 2.49 ERA, 404.1 innings pitched, 396 Ks, 1.08 WHIP.
Right-handed pitcher Daniel Cortes, one of the best prospects in the system when acquired from the Royals in the Yuniesky Betancourt trade, posted a 5.00-plus ERA as a starter. His mechanics are wildly inconsistent and the Mariners coaching staff has a lot of work to do with him.
The lack of other decent prospects is troubling for a franchise that needs a lot of help.
13. San Diego Padres
After a surprisingly successful season, the Padres are back in rebuilding mode after losing a few key veterans from last year's squad. The farm system isn't awful, but it's not filled with can't-miss studs either.
Yet again it seems that the best prospect is a pitcher. Cory Luebke can hit 98 on the radar gun and had an outstanding season in 2010. He recorded a 10-1 record with a 2.68 ERA, and 0.982 WHIP.
Simon Castro had a great 2010. He lead the Texas League in WHIP (1.10) and batting average against (.223) while finishing second with a 2.92 ERA. Another year of AAA will prepare him for a long and successful MLB career.
Outfielder Jaff Decker has a very dangerous bat that the Padres could desperately use. Plus his name is Jaff.
12. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have a lot of young speed within their farm system.
Outfielder Trayvon Robinson underachieved in 2010 after having a great '09 season. But he has the potential to be a very pesky leadoff hitter and the Dodgers need to be patient with him.
Dee Gordon is another good runner who is not a great defensive shortstop. He will need to put in a lot of work on his defense to make his way to the big leagues. Jerry Sands carries a big stick. Rubby De La Rosa is going to be in the bigs sooner or later.
Overall the franchise has about 10 prospects that all could be impact players for the Dodgers. They need to sit back and let the talent develop.
11. Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies were able to get a sneak peek of the future when they gave Domonic Brown about 70 at bats this past season (.210, two HR, 13 RBI). The 6'5" outfielder has the potential to be a great player, hitting .327 in the minors last season. This is a big season for Brown. Can he contribute on a potential World Series team?
J.C. Ramirez, who was acquired in the Cliff Lee trade in '09, has a strong arm that can reach up to 96 miles per hour. His long-term future is a starter but with the Phillies rotation at legendary status, Ramirez is going to have to come out of the bullpen.
Johnathan Singleton had an incredible year for an 18-year-old. Singleton hit .290 last season with 14 home runs and 77 RBI. Too bad he plays first base. Singleton could be great trade bait for a veteran bat later in the '11 season.
10. Cleveland Indians
Cleveland will be relying heavily on rookies in 2011 and the Indians are crossing their fingers that a few of their top prospects will be ready to hit the ground running this season.
The Indians need pitching in the worst way and are hoping Alex White will be able to come in and help the Tribe right away in 2011. The 22-year-old was named Pitcher of the Year in the organization and there is a lot to be excited about with White. He has great control and could be a big-time contributor to next year's rotation.
Cord Phelps and converted outfielder Jason Kipnis will be battling for the second baseman spot of the future. Phelps will likely get the first crack with his good plate discipline and ability to find the gaps.
9. Los Angeles Angels
Outfielderis a five-tool talent who is poised to be a star in the majors. He is one of the top prospects in the game right now.
The Angels should be very excited about the state of their bullpen.
Jordan Walden was converted to relief after injury and mechanical issues. The 6'5" pitcher has responded hitting 99-100 miles per hour on the radar gun while striking out 18 over his first 11.2 innings with the Angels.
Pitcher Tyler Chatwood is extremely steady and always in control. The Angels are looking at a future middle-of-the-pack starter for the next 10 years.
The depth is great and the Angels should feel comfortable with their farm system.
8. Minnesota Twins
The depth that the Twins have built up is very impressive.
Position players Lars Anderson, Brett Lawrie, Wilson Ramos, and Conor Gillaspie are all potential MLB starters.
Anthony Slama has continued to prove that he can pitch very well with a minor league career rate of 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings. He projects to the Twins bullpen at some point this upcoming season.
Another pitcher, Kyle Gibson, has been able to shake off a few injuries to become another candidate for the '11 Twins rotation. He has solid command and enough experience to contribute soon.
7. Cincinnati Reds
The Reds get an extra boost in the rankings because they lost so many great prospects over the past year to the big leagues, yet still have one of the best farm systems in the game.
Yonder Alonso is an impressive first base prospect that got a taste of the majors in the last month of the season. The problem is that the reigning National League MVP Joey Votto plays ahead of him. He isn't expected to switch positions, so Alonso becomes great trade bait.
A huge surprise last season was the emergence of '07 first-round pick Devin Mesoraco. The catcher hit .302 with 26 home runs as he jumped from High-A ball all the way to AAA. He is now the can't-miss catcher of the future for the Reds after being considered a bust the past two seasons.
Despite Todd Frazier’s struggles at times this season, he will eventually provide help to the Reds infield.
The team’s international focus brought in a few great long-term options. The standouts are outfielder Yorman Rodriguez and infielder Junior Arias.
6. Texas Rangers
The Rangers had arguably the best farm system in 2009. They had a few prospects play in the majors last season and had to trade a couple to obtain Cliff Lee.
Tanner Scheppers has climbed the rankings and is quite possibly the best pitching prospect for the Rangers. He had a 3.32 ERA in AA last season and averaged 10 strikeouts per nine innings.
Shortstop Jurickson Profar has a boatload of potential while outfielder Engel Beltre’s prospect status has increased dramatically over the last calender season.
The Rangers have enough players that can contribute in the majors to be a successful franchise for the next three to four years.
5. New York Yankees
The Yanks have gone from one of the worst farm systems to one of the best in the span of year.
Players like Jesus Montero, Austin Romine and Manny Banuelos are all considered to be top prospects.
Andrew Brackman and Dellin Betances played much better in 2010 than they did in 2009.
They are a bit light in position player depth, but overall the Yankees are in great shape. The Yankees are going to have plenty of trade bait to score big name players over the next three to five years.
4. Atlanta Braves
Mike Minor has pitched for two seasons in the Braves' organization with a lot of success. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is very good and he only allowed 93 hits in 120.1 innings. His command will allow him to be successful at the next level if he trusts it. That is always an issue with young pitchers.
The Braves should be very excited about the 20-year-old Freddie Freeman. He started the year slow, as the second-youngest player in the International League. But boy did he come on strong, as he finished in the top five in doubles, runs batted in, bating average, on-base percentage and on-base plus slugging percentage before making his major league debut.
Julio Teheran has a ton of potential and could easily be a future All Star. His combination of dominant stuff and command make him one of the top pitching prospects in MLB, and one of the top pitching prospects in Braves history. That's saying a lot.
3. Toronto Blue Jays
Kyle Drabek played extremely well in AA last year and there are rumors that he will skip AAA entirely. Either way he will be in the majors soon.
Over the past two seasons, the durable Drabek has thrown 320 innings. He has issues with his command at times, but allowing a mere 126 hits in 162 innings makes up for it.
Pitcher Deck McGuire is another great prospect that can help the Blue Jays very soon. He has great location, but the lack of upside in his three-pitch repertoire hurts him.
J.P. Arencibia is one of the top catching prospects in the game. Zach Stewart could be a solid set-up man for the foreseeable future at some point starting in 2011.
Great depth for the Jays. Can they finally do some damage in the vicious A.L. East?
2. Tampa Bay Rays
Solid drafts and a focused commitment to developing talent in Latin America have the Rays loaded with young talent. This is great news for a team that lost a few key players to free agency this offseason.
Jeremy Hellickson would probably be in the starting rotation on almost anytime in 2011. Baseball America's 2010 Minor League Player of the Year is currently listed sixth on the Rays' depth chart at starting pitcher.
Hellickson got a taste of the big time last season and Triple-A is not a suitable destination for him any longer.
Between outfielder Desmond Jennings and Hellickson, we're looking at two top-notch prospects. Jennings gets the slight nod due to his bigger upside. He still has untapped superstar skills, most notably his potential to hit 30-to-40 homers every year.
Jake McGee is still teetering between being a starter or coming out of the bullpen from here on out. One thing is for sure, McGee can toss mid-90s heat.
Matthew Moore's superior control came together during the second half of the season, making him a top breakout candidate for 2011.
1. Kansas City Royals
The Royals are a long way from being a contender but they win the farm system battle.
Check out these powerful words from fangraphs.com:
"Even before trading away Zack Greinke, the Royals were widely considered to have the best farm system in baseball. With Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress now in the fold, some prospect analysts believe the the Royals’ farm system may be historically good."
Mike Moustakas is destined to be a .300 hitter at the top of the Royals lineup. Eric Hosmer is one of the more complete hitting prospects in baseball. His home run power even managed to surface over the final third of the season.
Mike Montgomery has a mid-90s fastball and a devastating curveball, meaning his upside is huge. While the elbow soreness he suffered midway through the season cannot be ignored, it appears to be a non-issue at this point.
Will Myers, Daniel Duffy, John Lamb and Christian Colon are all capable of hitting it big in the majors as well.
The Royals have the deepest farm system and maybe they will finally get over the hump in the next two to three years.