2016 MLB Farm System Rankings
Jordan Gluck (Part Owner/Featured Writer): Follow @jgluck777
Follow The MLB Reports On Twitter Follow @mlbreports
2016 Farm System Rankings
Welcome! Just a reminder that I am biased against your team!
- Los Angeles Dodgers: My #1 farm system of 2016 due to the hard work of Andrew Friedman and Co. This system begins with future superstars Corey Seager and Julio Urias whom should both be in the majors this season. Seager can do it all and may be able to stick at SS for a bit while Urias has a plus plus and 2 plus pitches at his disposal right now. Jose De Leon will slot in eventually behind Urias in that rotation and make for a quality #3 while Walker Buehler has boatloads of talent but will need to recover from TJ surgery he had in August. Yadier Alvarez, Yusnier Diaz and Starling Heredia were all part of the massive Dodgers international spending budget and have high ceilings especially Alvarez who I can see as a dominant closer. As for other bats Cody Bellinger has demonstrated his massive power and can potentially hold a corner OF spot while Alex Verdugo is a personal favorite and profiles as a power bat in a corner OF spot. I am not as high as others on Grant Holmes or Frankie Montas both as whom I see as relievers. Plenty of talent all around.
2. Atlanta Braves: Credit John Hart who has made it a mission to rebuild this system and it is STACKED with not just high level talent but with depth as well especially in pitching.
Dansby Swanson is the top prospect here and an absolute coup for Shelby Miller. With Ozzie Albies right behind him though it is fair to question where Swanson will play as Albies is excellent defensively.
I am not as high on Aaron Blair or especially Sean Newcomb as others but I can see ceilings of a 3 and 4 starter respectively. Mallex Smith is a name to keep your eye on as he can possibly be an impact top of the order guy with some blazing speed.
Braxton Davidson’s poise at the plate can help him accelerate through the system faster than many have thought. They also have a high selection in the upcoming rule IV draft.
3. Colorado Rockies: A strong system build by good high draft picks, strong returns on trades of Tulo Dickerson etc… and a heavy presence in the Latin America international market.
Brendan Rodgers was the top prospect of many evaluators prior to last years draft and should be an impact SS.
The Rox have a trio of high-caliber arms in Rocket Jon Gray, Jeff Hoffman and Kyle Freehand whom I’m very high on as a 4 pitch mix lefty.
Dom Nunez is a very intriguing prospect to watch as a catcher with potential 25+ HR power and is advanced behind the plate.
To complete the future infield will be Ryan McMahon and Forrest Wall both who have high value due to their bat. Keep your eye on 2015 draft picks Mike Nikorak and Peter Lambert a pair of high ceiling arms.
This is a critical year for Trevor Story who will likely see time in the majors.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates: I am truly in awe of the depth of this organization especially when it comes to bats.
As for their tops arms 2 of them had to get TJ surgery over the past 2 seasons and Jameson Taillon is ready to come back and make a big impact while Nick Kingham looks to return around midseason and be possibly ready for a postseason run.
Tyler Glasnow is the team’s top prospect and will likely be up in may or june due to CBA implications but is ready to pitch in the show right now.
I am big on Josh Bell who will be their 1st Baseman at some point this season, Austin Meadows and Harold Ramirez who will be in their outfield in the near future and flash a bevy of tools. I am low on Alec Hanson but see potential in Kevin Newman, Cole Tucker,
5. Texas Rangers: Hard work pays off and if you devote money and resources to producing a pipeline for talent then oil will eventually flow.
6. Philadelphia Phillies: A talented farm system built through mainly trades and the draft. J.P. Crawford is likely their top prospect and will likely be the 2 hitter in the Phillies lineup for a long time.
The club has a trio of high quality of outfielders with Roman Quinn the speed demon and future Center Fielder who must stay healthy, Nick Williams in a corner whose bat should carry him far but needs to develop more power and Cornelius Randolph the 10th overall selection in this past years draft.
Jake Thompson might have the makeup of a low #1 and profiles as a #2 starter and Zach Eflin looks like a mid rotation option. I am not high on Mark Appel and believe he is a bottom end rotation piece at best while Ricardo Pinto and Franklin Kylome have more development to do.
Keep your eye on Malquin Canelo who could be yet another SS to emerge within this system. They need a healthy season from Jorge Alfaro (The Legend.)
7. Houston Astros: This might be the most unbalanced system hitting to pitching proportionally in the entire league.
The bats start with A.J. Reed who should have gone higher in 2014 after what he did at the University of Kentucky. Reed could have 40HR power especially playing in the juice box.
Alex Bregman was a personal favorite of mine in the last draft but is blocked by Carlos Correa at SS and Jose Altuve at 2B even though he has the defensive capabilities to play SS you might wonder if the Astros will have him play 3B. Outfielder Daz Cameron and Kyle Tucker were drafted together and will slowly rise through the system.
Meanwhile Francis Martes must prove to me he can develop a changeup otherwise I believe he will wind up in a bullpen. Joe Mustgrove must stay healthy but keep your eye on Albert Abreu who could be a quick riser.
8. Cleveland Indians: Both a strong and a balanced system.
The duo of outfielders Clint Frazier and Bradley Zimmer should be the offensive face of this organization in the near future which mixes with the current mix of young core positional talent such as Fransisco Lindor and Carlos Santana.
As for arms they took a HUGE gamble on Brady Aiken who had the talent to go #1 overall. I loved the trade to get Rob Kaminsky from the Cardinals and Triston Mckenzie is oozing with talent but needs to fill out a bit.
9. Minnesota Twins: This system was weaker than I initially thought but still is quite strong despite the graduation of Miguel Sano. The top prospect is obviously Byron Buxton who is a 5 tool threat and plays Center Field.
I have a feeling the Twins will make him play in AAA for a little while before being promoted to the big squad. Their top arms are J.O. Berrios and Kohl Stewart both whom I project as #2 or #3 starters.
Keep your eye on Wander Javier who cost 4M for the Twins to sign. They have an intriguing pair of SS prospects in Nick Gordon (Brother of Dee) and Jorge Polanco who are entering the upper levels of the minors.
I am lower on Max Kepler than others are but if he can keep developing a baseball acumen and consistency he might profile nicely into a corner OF spot.
Tyler Jay is a reliever to me but will be an incredibly effective one while Steven Gonsalves looks like a mid to low end starting option.
10. Tampa Bay Rays: An underrated system with a sneaky amount of depth. Their best prospect is Blake Snell who had one of the best minor league seasons across 3 different levels that I’ve ever seen.
I am a fan of Snell but i feel there might be some regression. One thing about this system is they have an abundance of guys who are in the upper levels of the minors and seemed poised to be called up if needed.
11. Milwaukee Brewers: Talent across their farm system with a considerable amount of depth especially in bats. Their top prospect is Orlando Arcia brother of Oswaldo who possesses who key tools and plays SS. If he can develop more power than Orlando – he will be a franchise player.
The Brewers hope Phillips can takeover a corner OF spot in the near future and he profiles as a #2 or #3 bat. Jacob Nottingham was a steal from the A’s and will be their future behind the plate.
Keep your eye on Isan Diaz and Devin Williams both looking to make big jumps to the Brewers top tier of prospects. Expect this system to get better as the Crew will likely be sellers at the deadline and posses a high pick in the draft.
12. New York Mets: The graduations of MichaelConforto and Noah Syndergaard hurt this system in the rankings but there is still decent talent there.
Giving up a first round pick to sign Michael Cuddyer in many ways hurt this system that has one of my favorite prospects in Steven Matz. Dominic Smith must pick up his power numbers which i believe will slowly develop.
Development with Amed Rosarios bat is critical and could boost him into a top 20 prospect in baseball as his glove is fantastic. The player to watch is Milton Ramos as he could give this team an impressive trio of shortstop prospects.
The overall depth of this farm will yield big fruit with many in the upper levels of the minors. Tyler Stephenson is a name to watch on the lower end and could end up being the replacement for Devin Mesoraco.
14. New York Yankees: The Yanks have a quartet of high end prospects before a big drop off. Aaron Judge looks like he is built somewhat like Stanton or Dez Bryant, Jorge Mateo is the Yankees future at SS and needs to focus on his OBP to pair with his speed so he can hit leadoff.
Gary Sanchez is still likely to be the Yankees catcher which will move McCann to full time DH and James Kaprielian drafted in the 1st round last year out of UCLA should be in the majors mid 2017 or 2018.
Domingo Acevedo looks like a potential closer if he can improve on his slider. Fruits will start to bear from their large international spending purge in a couple years.
15. Boston Red Sox: This is a hard system to rank as there really is a lot unknown here.
They have a trio of top prospects and Anderson Espinosa who has flashed crazy ability yet is miles away from the show but can flash 100MPH despite barely being 6 feet tall.
Yoan Moncada is the top prospect here and will likely be the best 2B in baseball during his prime. Andrew Benintendi has shown all 5 tools and will be on an accelerated path to the major leagues.
Rafael Devers I am a little bit lower on than others but his offensive ceiling will lift him even with defensive uncertainty.
Keep your eye on Sam Travis and Marco Hernandez as good seasons will propel them into next years top 100 or the majors this season. Michael Kopech should be challenged at higher levels and if successful he will be a top tier prospect.
16. Chicago Cubs: A very difficult system to rank and an obvious drop off from last year when they had Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell in the system.
Their pitching once again remains lackluster headlines by Duane Underwood who has a limited ceiling. I am also not too big of a fan of Ian Happ who was their first round pick.
Eloy Jimenez is a player with star potential that I’m closely watching but I have this system ranked lower than many.
17. Washington Nationals: A top heavy system with 6 big names at the top them a tremendous valley after that.
Victor Robles I believe is a stud and this season can turn him into a top 20 prospect depending on development. A.J. Cole must make an impact this season.
18. Oakland Athletics: The Athletics system has seen many come and many go by way of trade.
Their best prospect is Franklin Barreto who I can see as a possible 20-20 guy although some say he may need to move off SS and being with an organization which covets defense I would imagine he will be.
I am a big fan of Dakota Chalmers and this season will propel him into a tier of quality prospects. Sean Manaea was quite the coup for half a year of Ben Zobrist and will make the majors within the next 1.5 years.
Matt Olson could be a middle of the order bat if he can take his walks otherwise I’m worried his power might be his only above average tool with not much contact to accompany it.
19. Toronto Blue Jays: This is a system bereft of talent in the upper minors which could hurt them this season.
Anthony Alford is their best prospect and an interesting study this season as he plays baseball full time.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has the highest ceiling on their farm and was signed for almost 4M last July.
The trio of Connor Greene, Jon Harris and Sean Reid Foley will be important as they could be the next wave of pitching for the Jays. Keep your eye on Rowdy Tellez and his power this season.
20. Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles for years have produced lackluster results from the international markets and that clearly shows in this ranking.
They have also given up their first round pick to sign free agents such as Ubaldo Jimenez which has damaged the farm.
Christian Walker could be called up at some point and his power could be a boon for the club.
21. St Louis Cardinals: Oh how the mighty have fallen. Save Charlie Tilson there are no bats in AA or above that i expect will have a big impact on the big league squad.
You have to start to wonder if this is the beginning of the end of the Cardinals reign in this millennium. The Cardinal Way?
22. Kansas City Royals: A system that did not meet my expectations after full evaluation.
\They were obviously hurt by the trades they made at the deadline for Cueto and others which took out Brandon Finnegan and John Lamb but this system still is strong in pitching but lacking tremendously in bats.
Outside of Raul Adalberto Mondesi (whom the Royals are pushing to aggressively) their best bats are extremely volatile prospects Bubba Starling and Martin Gaspirini.
23. Seattle Mariners: A system with abundant depth but very shallow at the top.
Alex Jackson had an incredibly disappointing season and was demoted from the midwest league. He has talent but must make strides this season.He is one of many disappointments and players looking for a rebound season such as D.J. Peterson, Luis Gohara and Austin Wilson.
Keep your eye on Tyler O’Neil and Drew Jackson both with very high ceilings especially O’Neils power. Edwin Diaz seems destined for a big league mound soon despite being only 21 years old.
The Mariners have pushed Edwin hard and he could be a #2 or #3 starter.
24. San Fransisco Giants: The Giants have been a model of front office consistency for 20 years and while this farm system isn’t very strong it follows with their organizational philosophy of strong pitching.
They have a pair of SS prospects in Christian Arroyo who may have to play a different position down the line and Lucius Fox who is a young kid that signed for 6M.
They have a ton of pitching depth through the system which we will see emerge this season. They need to be more persistent in developing bats.
25. San Diego Padres: AJ Preller came to the Padres with a scouting background but has yet to leave his mark on the organizations farm system. Hunter Renfroe seems destined for an OF corner spot and will likely have a nice mix of power and average to hit in the 5 or the 6 hole.
This system desperately lacks pitching with their best pitching prospect probably Colin Rea who profiles as a #4 starter.
26. Chicago White Sox: Another year another bottom 5 White Sox farm system.
They have 2 prospects which i am very high on in Tim Anderson who will likely be up this season at SS and Carson Fulmer who was the 8th overall pick out of Vanderbilt.
The rest of this system contains low ceiling talent. If they are in contention they might not have the ammo to pull off a big trade.
27. Arizona Diamondbacks: This could be a much better system if for example they didn’t SELL Touki Toussaint to the Braves. Keep your eye on Jamie Westbrook this season who could be emerging as their SS of the future.
Their top prospect is Archie Bradley who will be counted on to make an impact in the rotation this season. I am not high on Braden Shipley and never have been but he could be a low end starting option possibly at some point.
The bat of Peter O’Brien could be a middle of the order piece if he can get his contact up and Gabby Guerrero must have a comeback season.
28. Detroit Tigers: They have not had a good system in a very long time but there are signs of improvement. That starts with Michael Fulmer whom they acquired in the Cespedes deal with the Mets.
Fulmers 4 pitch mix makes him a likely mid rotation candidate with a ceiling of a low 2 starter. Beau Burrows was their first round selection last draft and has had a phenomenal start to his professional career.
Christin Stewart might hit his way to the majors real quick and has potential to build on his power.
Unlike others I have never been high on Derek Hill until he can prove to me he can get on base at a higher rate otherwise it will be hard for his speed to play. Tyler Alexander and Jacoby Jomes are 2 names to keep your eye on.
29. Miami Marlins: Not a good system at all fueled by bad drafting and trading away many compensation picks. What happened to Tyler Koleks killer velocity?
Josh Naylor has a huge ceiling and will be an interesting guy to watch this season.
The Fish cannot see this as sustainable towards winning and they better start ramping things up on the international front and stop trading away the CBA lottery picks they get awarded.
30. Los Angeles Angels: The worst farm system I’ve EVER encountered.
This is due to giving up draft picks to sign free agents like Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols and trading for guys like Andrelton Simmons as well as poor drafting and a weak international infrastructure.
New GM Billy Eppler has a lot of work to do. As for the good you have to look at Taylor Ward who the Angels probably see as their catcher of the future but needs to develop more power.
Kaleb Cowart will look to build off of his rebound year last year and Jahmai Jones has flashed some tools. As for pitching Joe Gatto and Victor Alcantara will look for bigger seasons. An embarrassment for the organization.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
A Big thanks goes out to our ‘Part-Owner/featured writer’ Jordan Gluck for preparing today’s feature post. Jordan is a Junior at The University Of Minnesota and hopes to become a Front Office Personnel/GM one day with an MLB club.
To Subscribe and listen daily to ‘Our Lead Personality’ Sully’s 20 Minutes Daily (every day since Oct.24, 2012) Podcast click here. Guaranteed listening to the Sully Baseball Daily Podcast will be the best time you invest in online!
2016 MLB Previews: Team Salaries + SOTUs (MLB Teams State Of The Unions) Links Page here.