Deep Leagues Farm System Rankings Part II: Teams 21-25

Deep Leagues Farm System Rankings Part II: Teams 21-25

25.  Milwaukee Brewers—the Brewers’ system has dropped significantly since the early-2000’s.  The team’s best prospect is 2B Brett Lawrie, who is having a fine season and seems on track to possibly reach the majors late next year.  The team has several decent—but not great—pitching prospects in Cody Scarpetta, Jake Ordizzi, Jeremy Jeffress, Wily Peralta and Eric Artnett (whose current numbers are not encouraging).  A great sleeper prospect is Kentrail Davis, who the Brewers selected in the second round of the ’09 draft.  Davis has a Kirby Puckett-like build and he’s exceptionally fun to watch.  Unfortunately, the Brewers failed to come to terms with this year’s first-rounder Dylan Covey, which did not help the organization’s rankings.  However, the Brewers made a good fifth round selection in Auburn 1B Hunter Morris, a solid all-around first baseman who was a great pick in that position despite offering unremarkable upside. 

Top 10 Prospects

  1. Brett Lawrie (2B, AA)
  2. Cody Scarpetta (P, A+)
  3. Kentrail Davis (OF, A+)
  4. Mat Gamel (3B, AAA)
  5. Jake Orodizzi (P, A)
  6. Wily Peralta (P, AA)
  7. Jeremy Jeffress (P, AA)
  8. Hunter Morris (1B, N/A)
  9. Matt Miller (P, Rk)
  10. Kyle  Heckathorn (P, A+)

24.  St. Louis Cardinals—the Cardinals’ system is currently pretty thin as several of the team’s older prospects graduated to help the organization to varying degrees this season.  The system does offer an elite pitching prospect in Shelby Miller.  Miller, the team’s first rounder last season from Brownwood, TX, looks like an excellent selection as he has pitched reasonably well in his debut.  Daniel Descalo looks like a decent future option in the Cardinals infield.  Robert Stock, a former high school star who was one of my sleepers coming into the season, has been a disappointment this year…but I am still giving him another year to see whether he improves.  The good news is the Cardinals—perhaps realizing their organization needed a boost—were extremely aggressive in the 2010 draft.  The teams signed IF Zack Cox, who could provide an excellent offensive-minded prospect in the infield, to a huge overslot bonus.  Pitcher Tyrell Jenkins is an excellent athlete who received $1.3 million to forgo a scholarship to Baylor to join the organization.  Despite the influx of talent, it’s still a farm system in need of improvement.

Top 10 Prospects

  1. Shelby Miller (P, A)
  2. Zach Cox (3B, N/A)
  3. Matt Carpenter (3B, AAA)
  4. Oscar Tavares (OF, Rk)
  5. Daniel Descalo (2B, AAA)
  6. Tyrell Jenkins (P, N/A)
  7. Adron Chambers (OF, AAA)
  8. Nick Longmire (OF, Rk)
  9. Daryl Jones (OF, AA)
  10. Robert Stock (C, A) (this selection is probably stubborness…but oh well)

23.  Houston Astros— the Astros’ system is still not great, but the efforts of assistant GM Bobby Heck are starting to pay dividends, and it’s an awesome feeling not putting my hometown team at the bottom of the list.  Jordan Lyles’ excellent performance in Corpus gives the organization their first elite prospect in recent memory.  The organization also took advantage of three first round picks by selecting Delino DeShields, Mike Foltycwicz, and Mike Kvansicka.  DeShileds and “Folty” are both high-upside prep players while Kvansicka is a solid-hitting collegiate player the Astros plan to use at third-base.  OF J.D. Martinez is posting unbelievable numbers in AA. Outfielder Jay Austin has also shown some potential this season while Koby Clemens’ offensive numbers prove the California League performance was no fluke.  Third-rounder Austin Wates also has potential assuming he can find a position defensively.  The Astros made an extremely interesting signing in the Dominican this season, investing $2.6 million in an offensive-minded outfielder named Ariel Ovando.  I offer no predictions regarding whether the Ovando investment will work, but the signing was encouraging because it signals a change in philosophy needed to get the organization back on track.   There was some bad news in the organization, most notably the struggles of SS Giovanni Mier.  I still think Mier’s talent far exceeds those numbers, but next season will be critical. 

Top 10 Prospects

  1. Jordan Lyles (P, AAA)
  2. Delino DeShields (2B, Rk)
  3. J.D. Martinez (OF, AA)
  4. Mike Foltywicz (P, Rk)
  5. Jay Austin (OF, A+)
  6. Ariel Ovando (OF, N/A)
  7. Jiovanni Mier (SS, A)
  8. Austin Wates (2B, N/A)
  9. Koby Clemens (1B, AA)
  10. Mike Kvansicka (C/3B, A-)

Update (8/30/2010): a possible snub here is Tanner Bushue, who was the Astros’ 2nd rounder last year.  He is an athletic pitcher w/ a repeatable delivery.  The downside is he lacks tremendous velocity, but the majority of prospect-watchers would have placed Bushue in the top 10.

22.  Pittsburgh Pirates—The Pirates have plenty of young talent, but many of these prospects were promoted to the major leagues in June/July.  However, despite the graduations, the current system offers some decent prospects.  Tony Sanchez, a BC product, appears to be a more than adaquete catcher of the future in Pittsburgh.  Behind Sanchez, the organization offers pitchers Colton Cain and Zach Von Rosenberg, both of whom are decent mid-rotation candidates.  The team has also received good performances this season from P’s Bryan Morris and Rudy Owens, and OF Alex Presley’s numbers are difficult to ignore. The Pirates look to be getting an influx of talent from the ’10 draft.  Most notably, Pitcher Jameson Taillon, an elite high school pitcher from Texas, immediately becomes the Pirates’ top prospect.  Taillon offers sky is the limit potential with his high-90’s fastball and well-developed secondary stuff.  P Stetson Allie, while less polished than Taillon, is another high-upside arm with the potential to become a top starter.  OF Mel Rojas, Jr., selected from Junior College, is worth watching.  Furthermore, Andrew Lambo, acquired from the Dodgers in the trade for Octavio Dotel, has been great since arriving in Pittsburgh’s system. 

Top 10 Prospects

  1. Jameson Taillon (P, N/A)
  2. Tony Sanchez (C, A+)
  3. Stetson Allie (P, N/A)
  4. Starling Marte (OF, A+)
  5. Alex Presley (OF, AAA)
  6. Chase D’Arnoud (SS, AA)
  7. Andrew Lambo (OF, AA)
  8. Colton Cain (P, Rk)
  9. Zach Von Rosenberg (P, A-)
  10. Mel Rojas, Jr. (OF, A-)

Update (8/30/10): there is some stuff in here worth noting: (1) there’s a huge omission here as the Pirates signed Mexican pitcher Luis Heredia, who immediately becomes one of the top 5 prospects in this system; (2) as noted below, this will be the highest you will see OF Alex Presley ranked, as many see zero upside there; and (3)  Also from the comment below, Bryan Morris, the key acquisition in the Jason Bay trade, is someone frequently mentioned as one of the highest-upside pitching prospects in the Pirates’ system.  Personally, while I don’t have really strong opinions, I am not a huge Morris fan (health issues, suspension, stats, etc), but it says something that some people who follow the Pirates’ system like him (ex: good post from Anup Sinah at bucs prospectsa great blog run by an actual scout w/ more knowledge than myself).

21.  New York Mets—I came into this season claiming the Mets’ farm system was not very good, and yet they showed I was underrating several of their prospects (Niese, Ike Davis, etc) who provided substantial help to the major league team.  Perhaps the same thing will happen in 2011.  The team’s best prospect is Wilmer Flores.  Flores, who the Mets signed out of Venezuela, has consistently produced good numbers despite being one of the youngest players at every level.  The system gets a little shakier after Flores.  Assuming Jennry Mejia still qualifies as a prospect at season’s end, he offers top-of-the-rotation material.  Furthermore, hope remains that OF Fernando Martinez—who is becoming the David Wooderson of prospect lists—will realize the potential that once made him the organization’s best prospect.  2B Reese Havens could challenge for a starting spot next season.  Despite a rough debut season in the Gulf Coast League, P Juan Urbina is a definite player to watch. The team also has a number of intriguing players in the lower levels of their system.  In the 2010 draft, first rounder Matt Harvey, an elite high school recruit whose collegiate career at UNC was a moderate disappointment, has the talent to establish himself as an excellent pitching prospect. 

Top 10 Prospects

  1. Wilmer Flores (SS, A+)
  2. Matt Harvey (P, N/A)
  3. Reese Havens (2B, AA)
  4. Darren Ceciliani (OF, A-)
  5. Kirk Nieuwenhuis (OF, AAA)
  6. Aderlin Rodriguez (3B, Rk)
  7. Fernando Martinez (OF, AAA)
  8. Lucas Duda (OF, AAA)
  9. Juan Urbina (P, Rk)
  10. Jeurys Familia (P, A+)