Ranking the 30 Minor League Systems

I’ve spent the past five months writing the Top 15 prospects lists for all 30 clubs in Major League Baseball, which resulted in more than 450 minor league prospect reports. With those (finally) put to bed, I present you with a ranking on the minor league systems from worst to first. Rankings are based on both impact talent and overall depth within the systems.

The top scouts for each organization are chosen based on their impact on each organization’s system for 2012 and does not take into consideration players they’ve signed in the past that are no longer in the minors.

The Bottom 10

30. Chicago White Sox
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Keenyn Walker, OF
Top 2012 Prospect: Addison Reed, RHP
Org Strengths: Raw athletes
Org Weaknesses: Pitching depth, high-ceiling hitters
Top Scout: George Kachigian, who was responsible for signing Addison Reed, as well as Trayce Thompson.

29. Milwaukee Brewers
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Taylor Jungmann, RHP
Top 2012 Prospect: Taylor Jungmann, RHP
Org Strengths: Pitching depth
Org Weaknesses: High-ceiling bats
Top Scout(s): Ryan Robinson, who was responsible for Jed Bradley, Tyler Thornburg, Brooks Hall; Fernando Arango and Fausto Sosa Pena, who were responsible for Wily Peralta, Santo Manzanillo, Orlando Arcia.

28. Cleveland Indians
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Francisco Lindor, SS
Top 2012 Prospect: Francisco Lindor, SS
Org Strengths: Pitching depth
Org Weaknesses: Corner infield/outfield
Top Scout: Mike Soper, who is responsible for Francisco Lindor, T.J McFarland, Mike Rayl; special mention: Jason Lee, for his efforts in Taiwan (Chun Chen, Chen Lee).

27. Houston Astros
Top 2011 Draft Pick: George Springer, OF
Top 2012 Prospect: Jonathan Singleton, 1B/OF
Org Strengths: Right-handed pitching
Org Weaknesses: High-ceiling bats
Top Scout: Lincoln Martin, responsible for Delino DeShields and Telvin Nash.

26. Miami Marlins
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Jose Fernandez, RHP
Top 2012 Prospect: Christian Yelich, 1B/OF
Org Strengths: Pitching depth
Org Weaknesses: Infield depth
Top Scout(s): Tim McDonnell, responsible for Christian Yelich, Matt Dominguez, Rob Rasmussen, Ryan Fisher ; special mention: John Hughes for Noah Perio, Scott Cousins, Kyle Jensen, Mark Canha

25. Baltimore Orioles
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Dylan Bundy, RHP
Top 2012 Prospect: Dylan Bundy, RHP
Org Strengths: Athletic outfields
Org Weaknesses: Catching, left-handed pitching
Top Scout: Ernie Jacobs, responsible for Dylan Bundy and Parker Bridwell

24. Detroit Tigers
Top 2011 Draft Pick: James McCann, C
Top 2012 Prospect: Jacob Turner, RHP
Org Strengths: Left-handed pitching
Org Weaknesses: Right-handed starters
Top Scout(s): Marty Miller, responsible for Jacob Turner and Casey Crosby; Chris Wimmer, responsible for Drew Smyly, Andy Oliver, James McCann, and Brian Flynn

23. San Francisco Giants
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Joe Panik, SS
Top 2012 Prospect: Gary Brown, OF
Org Strengths: Outfield depth, catchers
Org Weaknesses: Starting pitching
Top Scout: Ciro Villalobos, responsible for Ehire Adrianza, Hector Sanchez, and Jesus Galindo

22. Chicago Cubs
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Javier Baez, SS
Top 2012 Prospect: Javier Baez, SS
Org Strengths: Right-handed pitching depth
Org Weaknesses: Catching, Left-handed pitching
Top Scout(s): Jose Serra, responsible for Welington Castillo, Rafael Dolis, Junior Lake, Marco Hernandez, Jeimer Candelario, and Jose Rosario; special mention: Lukas McKnight for Dan Vogelbach, Chris Carpenter (now with Boston), and Zeke DeVoss.

21. Colorado Rockies
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Tyler Anderson, LHP
Top 2012 Prospect: Nolan Arenado, 3B
Org Strengths: Left-handed pitching, middle infield
Org Weaknesses: Right-handed pitching depth
Top Scout(s): Jon Lukens, responsible for Nolan Arenado, Tyler Matzek, Peter Tago, Will Swanner and Rolando Fernandez, responsible for Wilin Rosario, Rosell Herrera, Edwar Cabrera, Hector Gomez, Cristhian Adames, and Jayson Aquino

The Middle 10

20. Philadelphia Phillies
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Larry Greene, OF
Top 2012 Prospect: Trevor May, RHP
Org Strengths: Right-handed pitching, raw athletes
Org Weaknesses: Polish hitting prospects
Top Scout: Sal Agostinelli, responsible for Sebastian Valle, Freddy Galvis, Maikel Franco, Cesar Hernandez, Carlos Tocci, Jonathan Villar (now with Houston), Domingo Santana (now with Houston); special mention: Tim Kissner, reponsible for Justin De Fratus, Kyrell Hudson, Travis d’Arnaud (now with Toronto), Anthony Gose (now with Toronto).

19. Los Angeles Angels
Top 2011 Draft Pick: C.J. Cron
Top 2012 Prospect: Mike Trout, OF
Org Strengths: Pitching depth
Org Weaknesses: Outfielders, catchers
Top Scout(s): Leo Perez, responsible for Jean Segura, Luis Jimenez, and Fabio Martinez, ; John Gracio, responsible for C.J. Cron, Taylor Lindsey, Kole Calhoun, Carlos Ramirez, and Andrew Romine.

18. Cincinnati Reds
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Robert Stephenson, RHP
Top 2012 Prospect: Devin Mesoraco, C
Org Strengths: Infield depth
Org Weaknesses: Advanced pitching
Top Scout: Tony Arias, responsible for Yonder Alonso (now with San Diego), J.C. Sulbaran, Neftali Soto, Henry Rodriguez, Yorman Rodriguez, Gabriel Rosa, Juan Duran, and David Vidal.

17. Washington Nationals
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Anthony Rendon, 3B
Top 2012 Prospect: Bryce Harper, OF
Org Strengths: Outfielders
Org Weaknesses: Right-handed pitching
Top Scout(s): Tyler Wilt, responsible for Anthony Rendon, Rick Hague, Jason Martinson, and Paul Demny; Tony Arango, responsible for Brad Peacock (now with Oakland), Chris Marrero, and Michael Taylor.

16. New York Mets
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Brandon Nimmo, OF
Top 2012 Prospect: Zack Wheeler, RHP
Org Strengths: Pitching
Org Weaknesses: Catching, power-hitting prospects
Top Scout(s): Ismael Cruz, responsible for Jeurys Familia, Cesar Puello, Jenrry Mejia, Jordany Valdespin, Juan Urbina, Wilmer Flores, Aderlin Rodriguez, Domingo Tapia, Juan Lagares; special mention: Marlin McPhail for Matt Harvey, Reese Havens, Cory Mazzoni, and Josh Edgin.

15. Minnesota Twins
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Levi Michael, SS
Top 2012 Prospect: Miguel Sano, 3B/SS
Org Strengths: Pitching
Org Weaknesses: Middle infield, catcher
Top Scout(s): John Leavitt, responsible for Aaron Hicks, Chris Parmelee, Travis Harrison, Matt Summers; Fred Guerrero, responsible for Miguel Sano, Adrian Salcedo, Manuel Soliman and Jorge Polanco.

14. Seattle Mariners
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Danny Hultzen, LHP
Top 2012 Prospect: Jesus Montero, C
Org Strengths: Pitching
Org Weaknesses: Up-the-middle depth
Top Scout: Bob Engle, responsible for Phillips Castillo, Guillermo Pimentel, Erasmo Ramirez, Victor Sanchez, and Carlos Triunfel

13. Los Angeles Dodgers
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Chris Reed, LHP
Top 2012 Prospect: Zach Lee, RHP
Org Strengths: Hard-throwing pitchers
Org Weaknesses: Left side infield depth
Top Scout(s): Calvin Jones, responsible for Zach Lee, Chris Withrow, and Ryan O’Sullivan; Lon Joyce, responsible for Allen Webster, James Baldwin, Ethan Martin, and Jake Lemmerman.

12. Kansas City Royals
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Bubba Starling, OF
Top 2012 Prospect: Wil Myers, OF
Org Strengths: Pitching
Org Weaknesses: Polished prosects
Top Scout(s): Steve Connelly, responsible for Wil Myers and Chris Dwyer; Rene Francisco, responsible for Elier Hernandez, and Noel Arguelles.

11. Boston Red Sox
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Matt Barnes, RHP
Top 2012 Prospect: Xander Bogaerts, SS
Org Strengths: Infield depth
Org Weaknesses: Pitching depth
Top Scout(s): Jim Robinson, responsible for Will Middlebrooks, Alex Wilson, Brandon Workman, and Drake Britton; Rich Fagnant, responsible for Matt Barnes and Ryan Lavarnway.

The Top 10

10. New York Yankees
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Dante Bichette Jr., 3B
Top 2012 Prospect: Manny Banuelos, LHP
Org Strengths: Balanced depth among hitters
Org Weaknesses: High-ceiling pitchers
Top Scout(s): Jeff Deardorff, responsible for Mason Williams, Dante Bichette Jr., and J.R. Murphy; Scott Lovekamp, responsible for Adam Warren, D.J. Mitchell, Bryan Mitchell, Jake Cave, Mark Montgomery, and David Adams.

9. Pittsburgh Pirates
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Gerrit Cole, RHP
Top 2012 Prospect: Gerrit Cole, RHP
Org Strengths: Pitching
Org Weaknesses: Left-side infield depth
Top Scout: Mike Leuzinger, responsible for Josh Bell, Robbie Grossman, Colton Cain, Victor Black, and Matt Curry.

8. Arizona Diamondbacks
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Trevor Bauer, RHP
Top 2012 Prospect: Trevor Bauer, RHP
Org Strengths: Pitching
Org Weaknesses: Infield, catching depth
Top Scout: Hal Kurtzman, responsible for Trevor Bauer, Ryan Wheeler, and Charles Brewer.

7. Oakland Athletics
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Sonny Gray, RHP
Top 2012 Prospect: Jarrod Parker, RHP
Org Strengths: Outfielders
Org Weaknesses: Left-handed pitching
Top Scout: Matt Ranson, responsible for Sonny Gray, and Aaron Shipman.

6. St. Louis Cardinals
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Kolten Wong, 2B
Top 2012 Prospect: Shelby Miller, RHP
Org Strengths: Power arms
Org Weaknesses: Outfield/infield depth
Top Scout(s): Juan Mercado, responsible for Carlos Martinez, Oscar Taveras, and Victor DeLeon; Ralph Garr Jr. responsible for Shelby Miller, Tyrell Jenkins, and C.J. McElroy Jr.

5. Texas Rangers
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Kevin Matthews, LHP
Top 2012 Prospect: Jurickson Profar, SS
Org Strengths: Up-the-middle depth
Org Weaknesses: Corner infield, outfield
Top Scout: Mike Daly, responsible for Jurickson Profar, Christian Villanueva, Rougned Odor, Ronald Guzman, Luis Sardinas, and Nomar Mazara.

4. Atlanta Braves
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Sean Gilmartin, LHP
Top 2012 Prospect: Julio Teheran, RHP
Org Strengths: Infield depth
Org Weaknesses: Outfield depth
Top Scout(s): Gerald Turner, responsible for Andrelton Simmons, Matt Lipka, and Evan Gattis; Brian Bridges, responsible for Zeke Spruill, J.J. Hoover, Todd Cunningham, and Adam Milligan.

3. Tampa Bay Rays
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Taylor Guerrieri, RHP
Top 2012 Prospect: Matt Moore, LHP
Org Strengths: Pitching
Org Weaknesses: Power-hitters
Top Scout(s): Jack Powell, responsible for Matt Moore; Eddy Toledo, responsible for Alex Colome, and Enny Romero.

2. Toronto Blue Jays
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Tyler Beede, RHP (did not sign) | Jacob Anderson, OF (signed)
Top 2012 Prospect: Anthony Gose, OF
Org Strengths: Catching
Org Weaknesses: Left-handed pitching
Top Scout(s): Eric McQueen, responsible for Deck McGuire, Dwight Smith Jr., and Chris Hawkins; Marco Paddy, responsible for Adeiny Hechavarria, Adonys Cardona, and Roberto Osuna.

1. San Diego Padres
Top 2011 Draft Pick: Cory Spangenberg, 3B/2B
Top 2012 Prospect: Yonder Alonso, 1B
Org Strengths: Right-handed pitching
Org Weaknesses: Outfield depth
Top Scout: Randy Smith, responsible for Rymer Liriano, Simon Castro (now with White Sox), Edinson Rincon, and Adys Portillo.




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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


119 Responses to “Ranking the 30 Minor League Systems”

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  1. powder says:

    The Phillies lacking a Polish hitting prospect is nothing new – they really haven’t had one since Greg Luzinski

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  2. Frag says:

    “Org Weaknesses: Left-handed pitching”

    I’d actually say that the Jays’ organization weakness is in the middle infield, not LHP.

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    • greenfrog says:

      Jays clearly have very good catching depth (d’Arnuad, Jimenez, Perez, Nessy) but you could argue that the organization’s OF depth (Gose, Marisnick, Anderson, Smith Jr., Hawkins, Sierra, Knecht, Crouse) is just as strong.

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    • siggian says:

      Yeah, I agree with this. In fact, I’d argue that it’s the entire infield that is the weakness, but it only looks that way given the embarrassment of riches that the Jays have in catchers, pitchers, and outfielders.

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    • gabriel says:

      Yeah, Norris and Nicolino are both pretty fine prospects, and there’s a few arms behind them. It’s the infielders that are the weakness.

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  3. Kappy says:

    How is Baez the top Cubs prospect over Jackson and/or Rizzo?

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  4. Ryan says:

    Marco Paddy who you have listed with the Blue Jays is now actually with the White Sox.

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  5. MikeS says:

    For the White Sox you were absolutely right when you said their strength was raw athleaticism. You could have summarized their weakness as “actual baseball players.”

    I’ve said it before. KW catches a lot of flak for Peavy, Dunn and Rios but the real reason he should be gone is right here on this list. Everybody makes mistakes in every phase of talent evaluation. Nobody is right 100% of the time. In geenral he has been right more often than not with major league talent and that has covered up his abyssmal draft record. Now that he has hit a cold streak with major league talent it just shows how bad the state of the minor league system is.

    How many good big league ball players have they produced in the last 10 years? Beckham? Sale? Gio Gonzalez? Daniel Hudson? John Rauch? I can’t think of much more than those and a lot of them spent very little time in the system.

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    • Paulie L. says:

      Before Kenny Williams became GM in 2000, he was Director of Minor League Operations and then VP of Player Development. The White Sox had the top ranked farm system in either 2000 or 2001.

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      • cpebbles says:

        Before the book on him became overpaying for guys like Dunn and Rios, he was mostly known for throwing away prospects on overrated veterans, though in retrospect it doesn’t look so bad since few of his prospects worked out.

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      • baty says:

        Having a top ranked farm system means nothing except that you’ve accrued some significant value that should benefit future decision making. It does not mean that that value automatically sustains itself as it begins to translate to the MLB level. That’s a crucial aspect to actually being able to develop a player.

        I’m not sure if the White Sox had a so called top farm system in the early 2000s, but if they did, might that speak towards the job he’s done as GM to slowly break things apart? He’s the guy assembling staff responsible for operations, development, scouting, etc… It’s Kenny’s system, and they really don’t have a clue. When it comes to “the KW youth development era”, I think you give any past credit that needs to be given to Don Cooper.

        Kenny is the quintessential example of how a consistently poor draft approach will ultimately limit a team’s financial future because of how it deteriorates the depth of your organization.

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    • EarlSweatshirt says:

      You know it’s bad when you have to point to Beckham as a relative success.

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    • JayTeam says:

      Doesn’t help that every year Reinsdorf reaches into his pocket, pulls out the change and says “Here’s your draft budget, Kenny”

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    • Paulie L. says:

      “Beckham? Sale? Gio Gonzalez? Daniel Hudson? John Rauch?”

      Also,
      Chris Young (CF), Ryan Sweeney, Mike Morse, Brandon McCarthy, former elite prospect Jeremy Reed, Clayton Richard, Brent Morel, Brandon Allen and Chris Carter (not the Red Sox player). International players A. Ramirez, Viciedo and Iguchi.

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      • MikeS says:

        I don’t think you agree with me, but I do think that list makes my point. There isn’t a whole lotta WAR there. Put together a 25 man roster of guys who have spent time in the White Sox farm system in the lat 10 years (not counting rehab assignments) and you won’t win many games. The best pitcher they have produced is Buehrle and the last hitter is who? Crede? It’s even worse if you only look at guys they drafted.

        Ramirez and Iguchi are basically free agent signings. They never spent a day at Charlotte or Birmingham. As I said, except for recently, he’s been right more often then wrong hen it comes to MLB talent.

        Since the drafts that brought Thomas, Ventura, McDowell and Fernandez the cupboard has been pretty bare.

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      • baty says:

        So, there are a few guys there that are pretty nice players… But, like 10 of those 17 names are a total stretch. You could easily add Josh Fields, and Aaron Poreda if you’re going to include Jeremy Reed which reinforces the complete lack of depth they’ve been working with for so long. I know there are probably other forgotten players that you could include, but if you start to make comparisons to the rest of the league, for whatever the WS list is, it begins to look pretty awful.

        Beckham is like the first homegrown hitting prospect to play a full season for the WS in maybe a decade. Off the top of my head I’d say since Joe Crede maybe…

        If Sale makes the transition to SP, then that finally breaks another tremendous drought for SPs. The WS were well known for loading their drafts with pitching prospects during this stretch, and if Hudson, Gio, Richard, and McCarthy are all they have to show, then there’s something really wrong. Sale and Gio were maybe the only deemed “high-ceiling” pitching prospects the White Sox have owned during that 12 year time frame. For the most part their drafted pitching depth comes and goes as short lived relief roles, still forcing them to supplement bullpen depth with outside acquisitions.

        A strong point for the WS over a short stretch was sweeping in to nab younger, and at times, underachieving talents like Danks, Floyd, Quentin, etc… But those players became immediate contributors at the MLB level, bypassing the minors… A different kind of player development. Iguchi got his start as a 30 year old in ’05… Alexei as a 26 year old… Hardly young developments…

        At least it looks like they might be recovering from that whole IFA corruption scandal after signing Luis Martinez. Messy stuff all around.

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  6. Everett says:

    Nothing wrong with listing Bundy as the Orioles top prospect but what was the logic behind him over Machado?

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  7. Tim says:

    Tigers weakness is RHP? Jacob Turner? hellooooo

    Tigers weakness is projectable MI prospects….though Suarez may be the real deal…in 2016….

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      One pitcher does not change a lack of depth… look behind him. It’s bleak.

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      • Matt C says:

        I agree with you Marc but I think MI is just as bleak and they don’t have a top 30 prospect there like Turner so I think if you’re going to single out any part of their organization it should be that.

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  8. sc2gg says:

    30. Chicago White Sox
    Org Strengths: Guys that have a chance to become better than they are now
    Org Weaknesses: General Manager

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  9. Michael F says:

    So the Houston Astros’s strategy of waiting to just let the rest of the league have a worse farm system instead of improving their own is starting to pay off…

    Slight quibbles with the Yankees at 10, but not much. They’re pretty much the definition of average farm system.

    Kind of surprised to see the Royals so low. Even after graduating some people, I thought they had a Rays-esque level of depth throughout.

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      The Yankees have a lot of “sleepers” and could really move up next year if things go as hoped.

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      Surprised the Indians are so low too. Not that I know anything about their prospects. But they have a competent front office, and have been in rebuilding mode since mid-2008. What’s gone wrong?

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      • Adam says:

        Look up: “Ubaldo Jiminez trade” on google.

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      • Yirmiyahu says:

        Good point. But Alex White exhausted his rookie eligibility and doesn’t affect the rankings. So would keeping Drew Pomeranz move the Indians up 10+ spots? I doubt it.

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      • Adam says:

        Fair enough, it was also noted many times that Pomeranz was overrated at the beginning of the season. Most scouts and analysts believed he had ace upside. Now it looks like he has more of a #3/2.
        Also, I would point out that Jason Knapp didn’t play at all in 2011 which hurts his stock of course. Main thing was the top parts of the system was lopped off after the trade. Everyone who follows prospects knows the Indians have a “sleeper” system full of raw toolsy guys at the lower levels. But it’s going to be a while before/if the system produces a bunch of impact talent. Although I agree the ranking is a tad low.

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  10. Drakos says:

    Is there a reason why Spangenberg is listed as a 3B instead of a 2B? I also feel better about the Padres outfield depth than their middle infield depth.

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  11. Michael F says:

    Also, I’d like to see some functional element added to these rankings.

    For instance, the Braves have a terrific farm system on aggregate, but they can’t really have an 8-man rotation and may have to sell off some prospects at a slightly below market rate.

    I should probably stop quibbling, though; this is a very good list.

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      Given Tim Hudson’s age, Jair Jurrjen’s inconsistency, and Tommy Hanson’s shoulder problems, I’d say an 8 man rotation isn’t a bad idea.

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      • hk says:

        Right. Having too many arms cannot be a bad thing. Most likely, some of them won’t pan out at all, some will not reach their potential and some will exceed their potential. If they actually end up with 8 stud pitchers, they’ll be able to trade some to bolster other positions, but there’s no need to knock them down a peg because it’s not functional to have so many good starting pitching prospects.

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  12. maestro876 says:

    Huzzah! We’re number 1 at something!

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    • Mike Savino says:

      And it only took giving up a left handed ace pitcher, a top prospect and a future hall of famer (hyperbole).

      And, its not like we can even hope to be the 2011 Royals because the minor league system now isn’t as good as theirs was.

      However, the Padres probably aren’t as bad as the Royals were. There’s that.

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  13. Rehtul says:

    Low on the M’s! Makes me depressed. I will proceed to throw on my flannel shirt and walk down for a Starbucks to cheer me up.

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  14. Baltar says:

    An impressive work.
    A slight quibble: You are not ranking the “minor league systems” as much as you are ranking their current top 15 prospects. To do the former would require a longer-term view, including such factors as how much recent graduates are helping the team and whether some teams may have recently traded prospects to “go for it” now.

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      No, I’m ranking the current system… quality of prospects in it and depth. I follow all 30 systems all year round and have been for many years now. It doesn’t matter how graduated prospects have fared. The Top 15 obviously play a large role because they are the key players in the system but some teams with nice Top 15s are a little lower because of the lack of depth behind them. Toronto, for example, is a little higher than their Top 15 alone would dictate…

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        It is important to point out that this ranking, and any ranking, is a snapshot of the system AT THIS TIME, and may be adversely affected by recent graduations and can quickly improve with breakouts of prospects in the lower minors.

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  15. walt kovacs says:

    you have the giants system in the bottom 10 with the dodgers system near the top 10, despite the last 2 drafts where the dodgers really couldnt spend any money???

    and you have the yanks in the top 10? wtf are you smoking?

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      Rockies’ depth flames out quickly after Arenado, Pomeranz, Bettis… Dodgers’ depth is better… Yankees’ depth is even better than that…

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      • jim says:

        shallow on depth? so did you forget about wheeler, rosario, white, blackmon, parker, and story? how about tyler matzek who, for all his struggles, remains one of the highest-ceiling pitching prospects in the game?

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      • Psst says:

        Who in the Dodgers system is a better hitting prospect than Rosell Herrera? Who I would rank behind Arenado, Wheeler, Rosario, and Story as a hitter in the Rockies system.

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    • Frank says:

      Keith Law also has the Yankees at # 10. I guess you’ll have to get over the fact that the Yanks have a good farm. They’ve had a good farm for a few years now.

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  16. BX says:

    Were guys like Cespedes and Darvish considered?

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  17. theeiffeltower says:

    Are the players these top scouts are responsible for supposed to be feathers in their caps? It’s too soon to make a call one way or the other about most if not all 2011 draftees and signings (though you could make an argument for players like Lindor, Hedges, Ross and Hultzen who have impressed in instructional leagues or the AFL). Further, some of the players listed for certain scouts seem to say something that is ambiguous at best about their scouts’ evaluative abilities. Things could have gone worse for Brandon Workman in 2011, but shouldn’t a bit more be expected from a major-program college pitcher who was taken in the supplemental round? Chris Parmelee is a similar case–is John Leavitt really going to be putting that guy on his resume?

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  18. Psst says:

    Explain what a system like like the Rockies where their weakness is RH pitching despite guys like Bettis, Gardner, Cabrera, Tago, Putnam, Scahill, Jensen and Nelson Gonzalez rates 8 spots behind the Dodgers who have maybe one hitter in MiLB who projects to be above average?

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  19. Goyo says:

    Its amazing how good Texas’ international scouting apparatus is with only one globetrotting scout. Hmm….

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  20. L.UZR says:

    Ranking overload! Let me finish some work so I can get home.

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  21. Expos67 says:

    The Cleveland Indians could be the system with the higest difference in ranking in 2013. The system is packed with talented guy with no experience playing Rookie-level and/or Low-A.

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  22. Matt Mosher says:

    Very happy to see Mets at #16. This is by far the kindest ranking for their farm. I’m biased, but I do feel Fangraphs is most accurate with that ranking. The Mets have a lot of pitching depth. You nailed the weaknesses too – catching and power bats.

    Stryker Trahan on draft day!! (Fingers crossed)

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  23. Dave says:

    My poor Tribe… system was gutted when Chisenhall, Kipnis, Santana called-up and Pomeranz/White traded for Ubaldo… a few more good drafts will have them back in it though… love Dillon Howard, and if Knapp is healthy he has ace upside

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  24. Sam says:

    7. Oakland Athletics

    Org Strengths: Outfielders
    Org Weaknesses: Left-handed pitching

    If you’re going to separate RHP from LHP, then the A’s strength should be RHP (Parker, Peacock, Cole, Gray).

    But, really, their strength should be SP, and their weakness should be infielders.

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      Went back and forth on OF vs RHP and ultimately went with OF, but you’re right… both are strong.

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      • snoochies8 says:

        definitely agree about the LHP weakness, hoping they nab mooneyham and/or heaney in the draft.

        when are the top prospect lists going to be updated? the a’s list still doesn’t include the players in the nats trade, or the bailey trade

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  25. gonfalon says:

    I’m kinda surprised to see the Pirates’ system ranked so high, but not about to complain about it.

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  26. Snowblind says:

    Thanks much for the great work on the series overall.

    It’s striking to me how few orgs have position player depth as a strength. 8, if I counted right, and about half are outfielders and the rest middle infield… only the Yankers seem to have a variety of position player depth.

    I guess I can infer that halfway decent catchers and third basemen are going to be premium trade chits and expensive free agents, for the next few years?

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  27. NPM says:

    Thanks Marc. Cardinals probably haven’t been this high on a Minor League System list since…ever. How worried should us fans be that Luhnow left for Houston?

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  28. Nigel says:

    good stuff with the scout info, though it’s a bit odd that International Scouting Directors like Cruz, Arias, Agostinelli, or Engle are compared to areas scouts or area supervisors in the US. Think they’re apples and oranges and really not comparable – either compare the local DR (or wherever) scout who personally signed any particular international FA with the local scouts who did the same in the Rule 4 draft, or compare the int. directors who supervised all of the former scouts with the team scouting directors who supervised all of the latter in the Rule 4.

    But it’s odd to throw scouting directors who have a less personal role in the same basket as Rule 4 scouts who are further down in the organization. It’d be like comparing the overall Rule 4 achievements of Andrew Tinnish, Tor. scouting director, with some local Toronto DR scout who has a couple of $100 000 signings to his name that are showing up well in the CL.

    but researching some of these guys is fun. Leuzinger with PIT (and formerly with the Dogers) signed Kemp, Victor Diaz, and Andy LaRoche. Robinson with Boston signed Clay Buchholz, David Murphy, and Casey Fossum.

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  29. Nigel says:

    that should be “in the GCL” and “formerly with the Dodgers,” just to avoid the ‘typo-laden screed’ label

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  30. Nigel says:

    I think, as a good example, here’s this article:

    http://www.news-leader.com/article/20080426/SPORTS0301/102260013/A-base-among-best

    Juan Mercado, now high up in the Cards International scouting effort, signed Juan Lagares (and Jose Reyes!) while with the Mets but Ismael Cruz, because Cruz oversees the general scouting effort, gets credit Lagares as well, just as Tinnish would get credit for, say, Syndergaard and Nicolino even though local scouts signed and scouting those guys.

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  31. Bip says:

    How are the Dodgers in the upper half? Their Org Weaknesses could have read “Outfield depth and infield depth and catching depth and LHP depth.”

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  32. Nigel says:

    as a different question, who do you think has the best international scouting system? Texas is an obvious quick answer for the money poured in during the last few years and some of the actualizing results (Odor, Profar, Villanueva, Alfaro), Atlanta is impressive with their efforts in smaller, diverse countries (Teheran, Bethancourt, Feliz, Andrus) and in not spending a tonne of money.

    Philadelphia and Colorado seem to do very good jobs while also not spending a tonne, which seems the ideal strategy considering the risk of multimillion dollar INFA investments. Philly with Valle, Galvis, Carlos Carraso, Bastardo, Santana, Villar, and Cesar Hernandez – filling out their depth and allowing them to have enough good depth to use their prospects as useful trade chips. Colorado with Jiminez and Chacin, mainly, but also Franklin Morales, Wilin Rosario, Herrera, Edwar Cabrera, and Hector Gomez.

    SEA, TOR, and CLE are sleepers here with interesting players in their very lowest minor teams, but we need a few years to figure out if it’s been worthwhile.

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    • Baltar says:

      On a related topic, I am amazed that the Giants have no players nor prospects from the Far East, considering their geographical position and large population from that area.

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      • Nigel says:

        seems like a pretty good question as to if it’s worth it. Didn’t really work with BOS (Baltimore’s new Asian guy is Duquette’s old Asian guy), but Chicago and Cleveland have an interesting mix of Asian prospects, especially for Chicago as trade bait (Lee) or as giving their system more depth. I’d be interested to see if these two teams can make an Asian prospect focus work, but there does seem to be a large consensus that it isn’t worth the effort and time/it’s too hard to get prospects out of the control of national leagues.

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      • Nigel says:

        and it’s interesting to note that Cleveland’s Asia scout (Jason Lee) got fired a couple years ago. Can’t figure out where he is now

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  33. Joe Diorio says:

    Juan Mercado also signed Nelson Cruz when he was with the Mets. Why Minaya gets credit for guys like Cruz, Reyes ,Lagares, etc… is beyond me. It was the work of Mercado and then Ismeal Cruz, not Minaya.

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  34. Nigel says:

    the buck stops at the GM’s desk. either they get no credit and responsibility for their drafting/INFAs because other people were more directly responsible or they’re fully and ultimately responsible, whether for bad scouting/development or good. The GM hires the directors, the local scouts, and ultimately approves and endorses all signings. If you can’t credit Minaya with putting together a pretty good INFA program*, you can’t credit him for bad signings or drafts either. Ismael Cruz did a pretty damn good job but he was working for Minaya.

    forgot to mention the Mets as an international program that’s really interesting, just in filling out their prospect depth with some sleepers and giving them important trade bait – Familia, Puello, Mejia, Valdespin, J. Urbina, Flores, A. Rodriguez, D. Tapia, Juan Lagares, Ruben Tejada, Carlos Gomez, Deolis Guerra, etc. Compared to their drafting, can you imagine what their system would look like without Cruz’s work?

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  35. jim says:

    rockies are too low at 21

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  36. everdiso says:

    No organization whose best prospect is 25 year old 1B Yonder Alonso with his career MILB .837ops can possibly have the best system in baseball, IMO.

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    • mgarner543 says:

      I dont even think he is the best prospect they got in the trade from Cincy. I’d take Grandal everyday of the week if I had to pick between him and Alonso.

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      • hk says:

        Yes, but Marc Hulet ranked Alonso as the Padres’ #1 prospect. Having said that, I think the #1 ranking speaks more to the depth in the Padres’ system than about any one individual player. What also speaks to the depth in their is system is that Keith Law also ranked the Padres as the #1 system, but Law had Alonso ranked as their 5th best.

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    • Psst says:

      Joey Votto 23yo AAA IL .294/.381/.478
      Yonder Alonso 23yo AAA IL .296/.355/.470 and was a much younger than Votto on his first tour of AAA.

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  37. jim says:

    dodgers at 13? yeah, we’re done here

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  38. Adam says:

    The whole scout feature is ultimately very, very meaningless and shows absolutely nothing about how effective that scout is or how a front office actually works. It’s antiquated to give a single scout credit for signing a guy, based on a pre-draft time when scouts actually used to sign guys. It’s not like Ernie Jacobs found Dylan Bundy in a remote cornfield — why should he get credit for his team drafting a sure 1st rounder? If anything, you should be crediting guys when the late round picks they lobby for turn into something. But just because a guy gets to scout Florida or happens to have a stud turn up in his area means very, very little.

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    • Nigel says:

      only the other hand, I think it can still work well in a number of cases – Joe Almaraz with Jaime Garcia in the 22nd round, Jack Powell with Matt Moore in the 8th round, Fred Repke with James Shields in the 16th round, and even Atlanta pulling guys out of smaller, less seen Latin American countries (Teheran from Columbia, Bethancourt from Panama, etc), though I don’t know the specific scouts who did that. It isn’t just a guy finding someone in a remote cornfield, but a local scout can have a direct role (that makes him responsible somewhat for the players success or failure, setting aside variables like the player himself, the team’s development program, etc) in pushing harder for a cross-checker or higher-up to see the guy, to sign the guy in a later round, etc.

      You can even extend that to local scouts pushing for a guy to be taken higher than other teams have him (Yelich?), or for a pick in the 2nd or 3rd round that turns out to be better than a lot of 1st round picks (a la Nolan Arenado or whomever signed Eddie Rosario for the Twins). It’s not all the local scout in isolation, but that scout can have a significant role that makes his reputation.

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      • Nigel says:

        though, in retrospect, you were sortoff agreeing with the gist of my post too – I just think there’s far more good signs in there than obvious signs like Bundy. Special credit should be given to the Latin American scouts on the ground that get good talent for cheap and who can figure out which 16 year old kids have the makeup to succeed in a tough process.

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      • Shane says:

        Even then we have to be careful not to confuse drafting with player development.

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  39. sc2gg says:

    Who’s going to be #1 next year? Or is that a different article? “Projecting Farm Systems”

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  40. YanksFanInBeantown says:

    Obviously I’m biased, but I think that Banuelos, Betances, Campos and Bryan Mitchell qualify as high ceiling arms. One could argue that Marshall and Turley have decent ceilings as well.

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    • justanotherfantoo says:

      I agree with you YanksFan. But as I think about it, there are high ceiling arms and then there are high ceiling arms.

      I think the Yankees have begun to turn out a few very good pitchers. And I suspect they will do more of the same in the future. But when you compare their stats to the stats of, say, the Mariners’ top three pitching prospects, they aren’t even remotely close. The Mariners’ top three pitching prospects’ numbers are otherworldly.

      Again, I expect the Yankees’ prospects to outperform their recent results. For example, I expect Banuelos to turn out to be a very good pitcher. But, of course, his numbers last year were not very impressive at all.

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  41. Lindner says:

    You were dead-nuts accurate on Minnesota’s weakness. We don’t have ANY catchers in our system at all!

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  42. Jack Mecklin says:

    This is why prospect rankings should be left to those who actually watch prospects play and develop. Rays @ 3? Complete and utter joke.

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  43. Alex says:

    As an area scout, I encourage you to consider draft round and signing bonus when determining value. It’s always strange to hear scouts credited for a first rounder or big international signings – the crosscheckers and scouting director usually have much more influence on those decisions than the ‘signing’

    Now if an area scout finds a “top 30″ prospect after the tenth round or (internationally) for $100K, that seems worth mentioning!

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    • baty says:

      For sure… While it’s worth a mention, I don’t really care much about an Oriole scout that gives the ok for someone like Dylan Bundy, when as a 15 year old, he was already well recognized as a potential future top pick.

      I’d like to see more about the scouts that might have a reasonable track record for maximizing value of draft picks.

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  44. Jon says:

    White Sox… worst announcers, worst farm system… fun times on the South Side

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  45. Hot Ish says:

    As a Yankees fan I think we’re a bit too high. We have a decent amount of high ceiling pitching prospects it’s just that they’re all wild cards minus Banuelos.

    Our hitting depth is primarily below AA so I won’t put much stock to them just yet…or until they start mashing or not. This farm is very high ceiling and very high risk. Banuelos is the only prospect with a good ceiling, floor and experience.

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  46. Wayno2424 says:

    Yanks Organizational Weakness: High Ceiling Pitchers…….ha ha ha ha ha ha Betances is the hard throwing beast with one of the best curve balls and Banuelos is the smooth throwing lefty and BOTH are high-ceiling.

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    • Jonathan says:

      Both have questionable ceilings. Betances is being projected as a reliever in most circles due to his massive command issues. He has a number two starter ceiling, but that looks less and less likely every year that goes by.

      Banuelos has a lower ceiling, but a higher floor. His ceiling is considered closer to a number three and while he’s developed some worrisome walk numbers at the higher levels, he’s also younger than Betances and looks more likely to work it out.

      Past those two, most of their guys are considered back of the rotation types.

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  47. John Verburg says:

    I think that Seattle and Kansas City being out of the top 10 is terrible. Kansas City still has tons of depth. Seattle has one of the best hitting prospects, and 3 of the best pitching prospects, along with a ton of high ceiling potential in the lower minors. Dodgers are too high. Yankees are a little too high. Boston is definitely too high.

    You underrated the Rockies system tremendously in my opinion. Take them say vs. Boston. Their top 5 is better than the Red Sox. And their depth is pretty good, especially considering you have guys like Matzek and Tago that could take major leaps forward.

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  48. Adam says:

    Your ranking of the Cubs’ system shows you don’t know what you are talking about. The cubs are EASILY a top-10 system already. Anthony Rizzo, Brett Jackson, Jorge Soler, Gerardo Conception. All of them are top 50 MLB prospects. Plus they just drafted 22 pitchers and a five tool potential high school outfielder.

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  49. Traba says:

    Ranking the White Sox #30 is very laughable right now. Granted, hindsight is 20/20, but this ranking is a joke; no matter how it was concocted.

    One weakness was labled as “Pitching depth”. The White Sox now have 8 rookies on their team, and no one is particularly bothered by it since the team is in first place in the ALC.

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  50. Chicago Joe says:

    20. Philadelphia Phillies
    Weaknesses: Polish hitting prospects.
    Well, they can’t all be Stan Musial.

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