Deep Leagues Farm System Rankings Part I: Teams 26-30

Deep Leagues Farm System Rankings Part I: Teams 26-30

The following are the first five teams in our 2010 rankings of the best farm systems in baseball.  I figured now was a decent time to rank the systems considering the signing deadline has passed, and many of the best international players have signed.  The players listed are my best prediction of players who will be “prospect-eligible” in 2011, and I undoubtedly overrated/underrated (or perhaps completely omitted) certain players.  I also apologize in advance for any typos.  Hopefully, this will provide a decent idea of how people more knowledgeable than myself will rank the systems coming into next season. We will update these rankings in groups of five teams in reverse order over the next two weeks.

30.  Chicago White Sox—This ranking does not mean the White Sox are a bad organization.  However, the strategy they follow does not lead them to score well in farm system rankings.  The team’s best prospect is OF Jared Mitchell, who despite missing all of 2010, offers great upside.  OF Jordan Danks is a very good defensive player who probably will not hit sufficiently well to start in the major leagues.  C Tyler Flowers is a decent prospect, but it’s hard to be overly-optimistic about him when he’s only hitting .226 in AAA.  3B Brent Morel—despite offering little power—is posting decent offensive numbers in the upper-levels of the minor leagues.  In addition to Chris Sale, who is already paying dividends in the major leagues, I like several of the White Sox’s other selections from the 2010 draft.  Jacob Petricka is a small-college pitcher with a great fastball.  I also liked the team’s selection of Andy Wilkins—a power hitting first baseman from Arkansas—in the 5th round.  However, after the trade of Daniel Hudson and the immediate promotion of Sale, when ranking farm systems, the White Sox rank very low.     

Top 10 Prospects

  1. Jared Mitchell  (OF, A)
  2. Andy Wilkins (1B, Rk)
  3. Tyler Flowers (C, AAA)
  4. Brent Morel (3B, AAA)
  5. Jordan Danks (OF, AAA)
  6. Eduardo Escobar (SS, AA)
  7. Trayce Thompson (OF, A)
  8. Jon Gilmore (3B, A+)
  9. Tyler Saladino (SS, A)
  10. Jacob Petricka (P, Rk)

Update (8/30/2010): Andy Wilkins at #2 is the highest you’ll ever see him ranked.  I am a fan of Wilkins, but it’s worth noting many would not have him in the Top 10.  But this list is pretty subjective considering it’s a tough system to rank. 

29.  Florida Marlins— Only in a farm system ranking does a player earning a major league promotion signify a reduction in your organization’s level of young talent.  In other words, this low ranking, primarily caused by the graduation of Stanton, Morrison, and Sanchez, epitomizes why farm system rankings don’t speak to an organization’s young talent.  However, based solely on non-graduated players currently in the minor leagues, this system is not good.  They don’t have a clear #1 prospect, but my argument would give the honor to Matt Dominguez.  Dominguez is hitting only .248 in AA, and his ranking as top prospect by default shows the depth in the minor leagues is not great.  Other prospects in the system include last year’s first rounder P Chad James, C Kyle Skipworth, and INF Scott Cousins.  The team took a moderate gamble in this year’s draft taking California High Schooler Christian Yelich, but I got the chance to read some about Yelich before the draft, and I really like the selection despite it being a slight reach in the first round.   

Top 10 Prospects

  1. Matt Dominguez (3B, AA)
  2. Kyle Skipworth (C, A)
  3. Chad James (P, A)
  4. Christian Yelich (OF, N/A)
  5. Jose Ceda (P, AA)
  6. Osvaldo Martinez (SS, AA)
  7. JT Realmuto (SS, N/A)
  8. Scott Cousins (OF, AAA)
  9. Evan Reed (P, AAA)
  10. Brad Hand (P, A+)

28.  Arizona Diamondbacks—Arizona’s best prospect remains P Jarrod Parker, who missed the entire 2010 season with an arm injury.  Parker, who had established himself as an exceptional prospect before the injury, should return healthy next season.  The team spent heavily on last year’s draft, but the returns they received (while not terrible) seem questionable at this point based on the amount spent.  The team drafted two third baseman—Bobby Borchering and Matt Davidson—both formers high schoolers with excellent potential.  Surprisingly, Davidson has been the better player in the lower levels of the minor leagues. First rounder A.J. Pollock should return next spring after missing 2010 with a shoulder injury.  1B Paul Goldschmidt is a player worth watching, as he is posting excellent numbers this season.  The team also added Wagner Mateo, a former elite international signing, at a decent price after a failed physical with Cardinals voided his contract.  While Barret Loux is probably much healthier than the Diamondbacks’ current farm system, this organization should improve over the next few years under new management and once several of their lower-level players begin to develop.  Update: when I typed this, I forgot the Diamondbacks had picked up Tyler Skaggs from the Angels in the Danny Haren trade.  Skaggs would rank somewhere in the Diamondbacks’ Top 5 prospects, possibly between Davidson and Borchering

Top 10 Prospects

  1. Jarrod Parker (P, AA)
  2. Bobby Borchering (3B, A)
  3. Matt Davidson (3B, A+)
  4. Paul Goldschmidt (1B, A+)
  5. A.J. Pollock (OF, A)
  6. Chris Owings (SS, A)
  7. Marc Krauss (OF, A+)
  8. Brandon Allen (1B, 24)
  9. Wagner Mateo (OF, DOSL)
  10. Tyler Linton (OF, N/A).

27.  San Francisco Giants—this is not the Giants’ strongest system, especially following the graduations of Posey and Bumgarner.  A strong argument can be made the team’s best prospect is OF Brandon Belt.  Belt, who came into the season not particularly touted, had an excellent season.  It is especially encouraging Belt’s power numbers remained solid following his promotion.  Last year’s first rounder, P Zach Wheeler, had a decent debut season in A-ball, posting a 3.89 ERA in 17 appearances.  OF Thomas Neal had a quietly solid performance in the Eastern League, batting around .300 while showing decent power.  OF Francisco Peguero posted excellent numbers in the California League, hitting above .300 while stealing 37 bases with decent power.  In the 2010 draft, the Giants again focused on athletic outfielders by taking Gary Brown, who was arguably the best defensive player in the draft, in the first round.  The Giants then selected Jarrett Parker, a talented multi-tool outfielder from the University of Virginia who offers a great deal of talent for a player available in the second round.   

Top 10 Prospects

  1. Brandon Belt (OF, AA)
  2. Zach Wheeler (P, A)
  3. Thomas Neal (OF, AA)
  4. Gary Brown (OF, N/A)
  5. Francisco Peguero (OF, A+)
  6. Tommy Joseph (C, A)
  7. Jarrett Parker (OF, N/A)
  8. Erik Surkamp (P, A+)
  9. Waldis Joaquin (P, AAA)
  10. Charles Jones (OF, Rk)

26.  Detroit Tigers—the Tigers’ system is not great.   The organization is led by two pitching prospects—Jacob Turner and Casey Crosby.  Turner had a decent debut season in the Tigers’ organization, posting a 3.87 ERA across two levels.  But Crosby’s 2010 season was a disaster, as injuries prevented him from pitching for a large portion of the season.  Offensively, the organization offers little upside.  None of the teams three best offensive minor league prospects coming into the season—Wilkin Rodriguez, Ryan Strieby, and Daniel Fields—performed well this season in the minor leagues.  All three, however, could easily bounce back and help the organization.  The team did not have a high draft pick this season, but they spend a record sum on their supplemental pick, signing HS INF Nick Castellanos to a $3.45 million bonus.  The team also made a good selection taking Texas reliever Chance Ruffin, who should quickly advance through the organization and could perhaps help the team’s bullpen by the middle of next year. 

Top 10 Prospects

  1. Jacob Turner (P, A)
  2. Nick Castellanos (3B, N/A)
  3. Casey Crosby (P, A)
  4. Chance Ruffin (P, N/A)
  5. Daniel Fields (SS, A+)
  6. Bryan Holaday (C, A+)
  7. Charlie Furbush (P, AAA)
  8. Danny Vazquez (OF, N/A)
  9. Drew Smyly (P, N/A)
  10. Ryan Strieby (1B, AAA)

Update (8/30/2010): Bryan Holaday at #6 is the highest you’ll ever see him ranked.  I am a fan, but it’s worth noting.