After months of ranking the top 16 prospects for each team, here’s how the farm systems stack up against one another. Led by — no surprise — the St. Louis Cardinals, which boast four impact players and a lot of depth on both sides of the ball. The Angels, on the other hand, are sporting just one legitimate prospect (Kaleb Cowart) and very little in terms of depth and overall talent. (Click on the team name to see the club’s top 16.)
Easily the top farm system in baseball, it boasts several impact players — Oscar Taveras, Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez, and Trevor Rosenthal — as well as plenty of depth on both sides of the ball throughout the entire organization.
Led by the second best shortstop prospect in the game, Xander Bogaerts, most of Boston’s talent is developing in the lower to middle levels of the minor leagues. Center field Jackie Bradley has elite defensive potential and an above-average offensive game. Third baseman Garin Cecchini could easily be the most underrated prospect in baseball. And there are a trio of young power arms as well (Henry Owens, Matt Barnes, and Allen Webster).
Texas has the top prospect in the game, shortstop Jurickson Profar. Starting pitcher Cody Buckel is highly underrated. And both Mike Olt and Leonys Martin should become major contributors this season at the big league level. Last year’s first round pick, Joey Gallo, has arguably the most power potential as any player in the minors not named Miguel Sano.
Houston went from having one of the worst systems in baseball, if not the worst, to having one of the best thanks to some astute trades and savvy drafting. Slugger Jonathan Singleton, who’s serving a suspension for a drug of choice, is an elite, middle of the order bat. Outfielders Domingo Santana and George Springer should develop into above-average regulars. And speedster Delino Deshields Jr. offers more pop than Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton. One gripe, however, is the lack of arms.
Showcasing the premier power-hitting bat in the minors, Miguel Sano, as well as a plethora of talented outfielders, Minnesota’s lineup should be set for the better part of decade. And deviating from the past, the organization has acquired several power arms as well.
Very, very pitcher heavy – which has the potential to be bust in the coming years, thanks to injuries. The Mariners could piece together a rotation out of their prospects — Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, Brandon Maurer, James Paxton, and Anthony Fernandez – that could rival some big league rotations. Catcher Mike Zunino looks like a stud. And both Nick Franklin and Brad Miller could develop into serviceable big leaguers.
Armed with two high-upside arms in Tyler Skaggs and Archie Bradley, an overachieving — and undervalued — center fielder in Adam Eaton, and a third baseman with 25+ homerun potential (Matt Davidson), the D-Backs’ system has quietly become one of the better ones in baseball — despite the fact that the organization gave away Trevor Bauer for pennies on the dollar.
Wil Myers’ acquisition not only provides another big league cornerstone for what should be a decade or more, but also vaults the Rays’ system into the top 10. Chris Archer has frontline stuff, but it remains to be seen whether he can reel in his below-average walk rates. Right-hander Jake Odorizzi could step in and become a serviceable #3 today. And Taylor Guerrieri could easily rank as #1 in some systems.
Travis D’arnaud is the game’s top backstop prospect. And both Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard have top of the rotation ceilings. A Matt Harvey, Wheeler, Jonathan Niese, Dillon Gee, and Syndergaard rotation should look pretty nice in two or three years.
Yes, they dealt away the second best prospect in the game. But the system is still surprisingly strong, albeit quite young. Kyle Zimmer could be up by year’s end, as well as Yordano Ventura. Bubba Starling has five-tool potential, along with a monstrous K-rate. And youngsters Jorge Bonifacio and Adalberto Mondesi are names to remember.
Chicago’s system could easily be pushed in the top half dozen next year with the return of a healthy Arodys Vizcaino and strong follow up seasons from Daniel Vogelbach and Jorge Soler. Albert Almora’s dreadful walk rate is something to keep an eye on.
Miami owns two of the top five prospects in the game (Christian Yelich and Jose Fernandez) to go along with some interesting arms (Justin Nicolino and Andrew Heaney) and a pair of interesting mid-level outfielders (Marcell Ozuna and Jake Marisnick).
Lost several young arms to injury last season, San Diego’s system is built more on depth and less on impact talent. Infielder Jedd Gyorko should develop into a 3.5- to 4.0-win player. Robbie Erlin, Casey Kelly and Max Fried all have the ceiling as #2/#3-type hurlers. Young catcher Austin Hedges is one to watch.
Impact talent at the top (Trevor Bauer, Francisco Lindor, Dorssys Paulino and Danny Salazar) and some role-player types near the middle. The problem, however, is the Indians’ historically poor showings in the draft the last 15+ years.
The top six prospects could outrank a lot of systems. But it gets weak very quickly after. I’m still a believer in Josh Bell. And there’s some useful bullpen arms buried deep too.
Dan Straily, for whatever reason, doesn’t get nearly the press he deserves, and expect Michael Choice to rebound after a broken hand cost him half of last season. Not a big fan of Sonny Gray — #4 type ceiling.
David Dahl looks like a stud. Nolan Arenado will be a good big leaguer, not a star. Trevor Story could be a useful middle infield bat. And Kyle Parker could follow a Ryan Ludwick-type career. But where’s the pitching?
Dealt away most of the farm this offseason. Managed to keep Aaron Sanchez, though.
Courtney Hawkins. That is all.
The misaligned Julio Teheran is the team’s best prospect. Maybe they could just keep dealing with Arizona?
Love Nick Castellanos’ bat, and the double should start turning into homeruns at some point.
Kaleb Cowart…and I’m not even convinced of his potential yet, either.