Deep Leagues Farm System Rankings Part III: Teams 16-20

Deep Leagues Farm System Rankings Part III: Teams 16-20

Here is Part III of our farm system rankings.   As a preliminary note, here are a few sidenotes regarding the organizational top 10s.  First, we discount the value of younger prospects to some degree because our site generally ranks prospects on their abilities in fantasy baseball.  Second, because I am not spending significant time creating the top 10 rankings, occasional omissions and  misrankings are a definite possibility.  Three of the best “expert” sources available online are Kevin Goldstein (an awesome daily update), John SickelsBaseball America (who have been following prospects since before I was born), and Keith Law.  For fantasy leaguers, before you make any big decisions based on these rankings, I would recommend double-checking just in case.

20.   Baltimore Orioles—it’s amazing how much the projection of an organization’s young talent changes over the course of a season.  The performances of the young players projected to lead Baltimore this season was disappointing, and to make matters worse, there isn’t a great deal remaining in the farm system.  The system is not totally barren, however. Most importantly, the system offers an excellent pitching prospect in Zach Britton.  Britton was overshadowed by Matusz, Arrieta, and Tillman, but he has consistently improved throughout his minor league career and should enter next season a top 50 prospect.  Last year’s first-rounder Matt Hobgood posted another rough season, increasing the questioning of the decision to select him over Tyler Matzek or Matthew Purke.  Nevertheless, I think it’s too early to discount Hobgood.  The team’s best offensive prospect is SS Manny Machado, who Baltimore selected with the 3rd pick in this year’s draft.  Machado has drawn some A-Rod comparisons (which are questionable at best), but nevertheless, any system would like having a high upside SS in their system.  In addition to Machado, the team offers several other decent offensive prospects such as OF Xavier Avery and 1B Brandon Snyder.  The team went overslot on several later round high school selections, most notably Connor Narron.  There is still reason for optimism in the Orioles’ organization as a whole, but the improvement will need to come from improved performances from the players remaining in Baltimore (Matusz, Wieters, & Co.) moreso than the farm system.

Top 10 Prospects

  1. Zach Britton (P, AAA)
  2. Manny Machado (SS, N/A)
  3. Xavier Avery (OF, AA)
  4. LJ Hoes (2B, AA)
  5. Wynn Pelzer (P, AA)
  6. Matt Hobgood (P, A)
  7. Ryan Berry (P, A+)
  8. Daniel Klein (P, A-)
  9. Mychal Givens (SS, A)
  10.  Brandon Snyder (1B, AAA)

19.  Los Angeles Dodgers—I expected my rankings of the Dodgers’ farm system to rise this season, but due to mediocre performances from several top prospects the organization remains in the bottom half of my rankings.  The organization’s top prospect is still SS Dee Gordon.  Gordon, a speedy SS, had a decent season but failed to breakout on the level anticipated by some.  The team’s top pitching prospects, Chris Withrow and Ethan Martin, also both struggled this season.  The Dodgers’ surprise prospect is Jerry Sands, a small college player who established himself as an excellent power hitting prospect.  Kyle Russell, a University of Texas prospect, started off posting dominated numbers in the California League but has struggled after his promotion to AA.  Scouting director Logan White took a great deal of talent out of Baton Rouge in this season’s draft.  Most notably, the team surprised everyone by spending $5.5 million to convince Zach Lee to give up football.  The Dodgers also grabbed Leon Landry in the third round, who has performed well in the short-season league since being drafted in June.  LSU will keep Colorado prep pitcher Kevin Gausman, a very good pitcher who the Dodgers were unable to sign. 

Top 10 Prospects

  1. Dee Gordon (SS, AA)
  2. Zach Lee (P, N/A)
  3. Jerry Sands (OF, AA)
  4. Chris Withrow (P, AA)
  5. Allen Webster (P, A)
  6. Trayvon Robinson (OF, AA)
  7. Aaron Miller (P, AA)
  8. Rubby De La Rosa (P, AA)
  9. Ethan Martin (P, A+)
  10.  Leon Landry (OF, Rk)

18.  New York Yankees—this organization loves catchers, as about 20% of the game’s top catching prospects play in the Yankees’ farm system.  The most notable prospect is Jesus Montero, an elite hitter who is likely to move to first base so the team can take advantage of his bat. Austin Romine is probably the Yankees true catcher of the future, but Romine could be challenged by coveted international signing Gary Sanchez, who has been extremely impressive this year.  Also in the mix is J.R. Murphy, who provides a solid option along with Sanchez and Romine.  The hitting talent drops significantly after the catchers, however.  OF Slade Heathcott is a high-upside player the Yankees drafted in the first round last season.  The Yankees offer many other intriguing pitching prospects, such as Dellin Betances and Hector Noesi.  Moreover, P Manny Banuelos is one of my favorite prospects in their system.  Andrew Brackman showed occasional signs of what prompted the Yankees to sign him to a massive contract after the 2007 draft, but on the whole, he is still far to inconsistent to consider a top prospect.  In the draft this year, the Yankees selected Cito Culver in the first round.  Culver is a semi-local product who their scouts really liked, but since he was somewhat unknown to other teams, the selection was a little surprising.  The largest bonus went to Mason Williams, an athletic OF Yankees scouts apparently really liked who received a larger-than-expected bonus.

Top 10 Prospects

  1. Jesus Montero (C/1B, AAA)
  2. Austin Romine (C, AA)
  3. Dellin Betances (P, AA)
  4. Gary Sanchez (C, A-)
  5. David Phelps (P, AAA)
  6. Slade Heathcott (OF, A)
  7. Manny Banuelos  (P, AA)
  8. Adam Warren (P, AA)
  9. Corban Joseph (2B, AA)
  10. Andrew Brackman (P, AA)

17.  San Diego Padres—the Padres expected this season to be focused on rebuilding, but surprisingly, the team found themselves in a pennant race which prevented them from trading Adrian Gonzalez, Heath Bell, etc.  The system remains decent, however.  The team’s highest-upside prospect is arguably OF Donavan Tate, an outstanding athlete who is still yet to really show what he can do in the minors.   P Simon Castro has continued establishing himself as an excellent prospect after another good season.  The team’s breakout prospect is SS Drew Cumberland, who is having a terrific season. OF Jaff Decker and 3B James Darnell started the season terribly, but both have showed moderate improvement as the season progressed and should not be forgotten.   The team tried to add pitching depth by drafting Florida HS standout Karsten Whitson in the first round this year, but unfortunately, they were unable to reach an agreement with Whitson.  However, 3B Jedd Gyorko, who was drafted out of West Virginia, has showed promise in his first minor league season.    

Top 10 Prospects

  1. Simon Castro (P, AA)
  2. Donavan Tate (OF, Rk)
  3. Drew Cumberland (SS, AA)
  4. Jaff Decker (OF, A+)
  5. Cory Luebke (P, AAA)
  6. James Darnell (3B, AA)
  7. Jedd Gyorko (3B, A)
  8. Keyvius Sampson  (P, A-)
  9. Logan Forsythe (2B, AA)
  10. Everett Williams (OF, A)

16.  Toronto Blue Jays—the Toronto Blue Jays are working hard to rapidly improve their farm system.  The team’s best addition has been P Kyle Drabek, who was acquired in the trade for Roy Halladay.  Drabek is a potential #1starter reasonably close to the major leagues.  Beyond Drabek, the team recently acquired OF Anthony Gose from the Astros (via Philadelphia) for 1B Brett Wallace.  In terms of upside, few match Gose’s raw tools, so perhaps the move will end up working.  The team invested heavily in the draft this season, picking Georgia Tech P Deck McGuire in the first round and going overslot on multiple later-round players, such as Kellen Sweeney, Dickie Thon and Griffin Murphy.  The Blue Jays were also active on the international market this season, spending heavily on Venezuelan Pitcher Adonis Cardona and 3B Gabriel Cenas.  Last season, the team made a substantial investment in Cuban SS Adeiny Hechavarria, whose first season started slowly. As the ranking below reflects, I still like Hechavarria because of his stellar defense and improvements in his hitting over the course of the season.  With this amount of spending, Toronto has the potential to build an incredible system but Blue Jays fans and fantasy players alike will have to be patient because the system is heavy on long-term prospects.

Top 10 Prospects

  1. Kyle Drabek (P, AA)
  2. Adeiny Hechavarria (SS, AA)
  3. Deck McGuire (P, N/A)
  4. Zach Stewart (P, AA)
  5. Anthony Gose (OF, A+)
  6. Travis D’Arnaud (C, A+)
  7. Adonis Cardona (P, N/A)
  8. Henderson Alvarez (P, A+)
  9. Asher Wojciechowski (P, A-)
  10.  Aaron Sanchez (P, Rk)

Update (8/31): we likely had a significant miss here by failing to include C Carlos Perez.  He is by far the most commented absence on this list, and to be honest, his exclusion was caused by the combination of the other catching prospects in the Jays’ system (Arencebia, D’Arnoud) and not really following him much.  It definitely makes me want to learn more about him.