Author Archives: joshs0515
Braxton Garrett and Tyler Kolek stand 1-2 at the top of the Marlins’ prospect rankings as potential starting arms in a few years. Unfortunately for the team, the search for a new ace would have been facilitated by the fact that they had both Josh Naylor and Chris Paddack within the system last year. However, the two pitchers were traded away in separate deals with the Padres. The organization is now left with one of the thinnest farm systems in all of baseball.
The upper half of these rankings is luckily filled with arms that may be able to contribute. Garrett and Kolek are the clear favorites, but both are a minimum three seasons away from breaking into the Major League rotation. Players like Dillon Peters, Jarlin Garcia, and Drew Steckenrider will all pitch at the top level this season, but they lack the talent to be long term solutions. Further down in the charts are limited pitching prospects, many of whom have already begun the transition to relief.
Miami’s strength comes in the position players they are currently able to field. However, a number of those players may see their way out of the organization in the next couple of years and the Marlins lack the replacements within their system. Brian Anderson and Isael Soto lead the positional rankings, but there remains a glaring hole in each of their games. Fans looking forward to this season will certainly see Tomas Telis and Yefri Perez work at the Major League level this season. Telis sees a limited ceiling behind J.T. Realmuto, but Giancarlo Stanton’s seasonal injury will likely result in Perez seeing greater opportunity in comparison to previous years.
The San Diego Padres’ farm system has improved in talent over the past year via trades and international signings. The Padres have spent a lot of money internationally to restock their farm system and the dividends will soon be seen in the Major Leagues. San Diego has also managed to flip some of the veterans they got in the offseason a few years ago for quality prospects, such as Anderson Espinoza, and this has really improved the overall quality of the system. Some of these investments are going to make an impact very soon and the Padres’ will hope to be competitive once again within the next couple of years.
Dansby Swanson made his way to the Major Leagues last season and was the leading name for farm system loaded with overall talent. Atlanta fans have a reason to be excited about the future with the likes of Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna, Max Fried, and Sean Newcomb all offering potential that may change the outlook of the franchise for years to come. The system is loaded with high upside younger prospects such as Derian Cruz and Christian Pache and developing assets that could have major league impact such as Lucas Sims, Austin Riley, Patrick Weigel, and Luis Gohara. Then there are the prospects with massive upsides with known weaknesses such as Travis Demeritte, Kolby Allard, Joey Wentz and Touki Toussaint. Through and through this is likely the deepest farm in baseball and has the upside to contend with the best.
The Angels commitment to winning a World Series while Mike Trout is still affordable has led to a lot of money and prospects being spent, in most cases, unwisely. Among those lost included future starter and future bullpen piece Sean Newcomb and Victor Alcantara. Furthermore, the team’s hesitancy to draft high upside players in favor of high floor athletes has kept the team as the worst system in Major League Baseball. However, the team does have some promising players acquired via the draft. 2015 second rounder Jahmai Jones may have a ways to go, but the team has put a solid value on his toolsy approach. 2016 first rounder Matt Thaiss may be blocked by Albert Pujols and CJ Cron, but his bat has shown why he was taken with the 15th overall pick. And should 2016 picks Brandon Marsh, Nonie Williams and Chris Rodriguez show the upside that had the team sold on them, the system could start climbing out of the cellar.
Los Angeles Angels Top Prospects
There are some very exciting players to be found within the Reds organization. Last year’s first-round pick Nick Senzel appears to be the real deal. Amir Garrett has the ability to lead a rotation. Jesse Winker, Luis Castillo, and Sal Romano provide a very solid foundation upon which the Reds can raise their floor, and the system contains a great deal of upside with players like Aristides Aquino, Taylor Trammell, and Alex Blandino.
There are few sure things in their Minor League ranks, but the farm is headed in the right direction. With a few breakout seasons from key prospects, the talent is present for this to be the group that leads the Reds back into the postseason for the first time since 2013.
Right now the thing that jumps out at you about this system is the number of big arms that populate the various levels. I will rank Alex Reyes on this list, but he is far from the only guy who will light up a radar gun in this system. Sandy Alcantara, Dakota Hudson, Junior Fernandez, Rowan Wick, Ryan Helsley, and Ronnie Williams all are radar gun delights who can push triple digits in short spurts. The Cardinals philosophy in regards to pitching has always been to teach fastball command to all four quadrants first and foremost, so even if a pitcher is showing high strikeout rates and posting quality ERA’s, they may not move quickly if they cannot demonstrate fastball command first and foremost. They tend to favor athleticism in their pitchers first and foremost, believing they can teach consistent mechanics if they have the requisite athleticism. The Cardinals look for loose, fast arms, as they believe this is an indicator of an ability to create spin on a baseball- needed for great breaking balls. Finally, they look to the changeup as their secondary offering of choice. Pitchers who can locate a changeup and keep their deception are less prone to platoon splits against either right-handed or left-handed hitters.
Coming into the 2016 season, the Boston Red Sox were positioned as well as any team in baseball to be a consistent force in the coming years. With a great team filled with young stars like Mookie Betts, and veterans who would be in the clubhouse to help guide the up-and-comers, like Dustin Pedroia, things were looking up. Bolstering this argument was a farm system that was a consensus top-10 in league with top-to-bottom talent, including the number one prospect in baseball, Yoan Moncada. It’s amazing what Dealin’ Dave Dombrowski can do to a farm system over the course of 12 months. The Sox are still a force to be reckoned with in the MLB, but their farm system has been changed dramatically, after trading away Moncada, and Michael Kopech to land Chris Sale. Boston still has a decent, albeit top-heavy farm system, headlined by budding star Andrew Benintendi and slugging third base Rafael Devers.
The Phillies farm system has some outstanding talent at the top of the list highlighted by top baseball prospect J.P. Crawford and the #1 overall draft pick from last season in Mickey Moniak. The farm is pretty deep as we go down the top 25 and the Phillies have a lot of pitching prospects that are very near Major League ready and have a sort of logjam at Triple-A as far as the rotation goes. The Phillies have invested a lot of money in the international free agents in the last few years, and they are starting to see the results of those investments. The Phillies may not have the best farm system in the Major Leagues, but they have young enough, solid pieces in the farm that will help them become a good team in the Majors again.
This farm system has been built on the backs of Elite position players and the ability of the minor league staff to help them reach their potential. The Major League lineup is one of the most potent in baseball, and there are still prospects who could add more firepower to the order. The up and coming prospects cover a wide range of ages so that the team can be primed to defend their championship this season while also having insurance policies as arbitration years approach shortly.
The top of the list is again loaded with positional talent as Chicago looks to have options in the infield (Happ, Jeimer Candelario) and the outfield (Jimenez, Mark Zagunis, Eddy Martinez). Though there is limited star power, the Cubs starting lineup has enough to hold over the city. More important for the short-term, players such as Victor Caratini and Wladimir Galindo should see extended time on the 25-man roster.
The state of the Chicago White Sox minor league system has likely never been brighter. With a huge influx of talent like Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning the White Sox have the top prospects to truly build one of the elite pitching staffs in baseball. They also brought in young raw bats such as Luis Alexander Basabe and Yoan Moncada to potentially create franchise caliber talent in the field.
The White Sox also have done a good job of cultivating and developing talent through the draft and foreign signing classes. Alec Hansen looks to offer more promise than people him credit for while the ceiling for Zack Collins has many looking at this organization in awe. There is also an increasing amount of talent in the back end of the farm that offers some of the better upside seen in the league outside of the team’s top ten prospects.
Look out for other talents still yet that could emerge on the list in the future. Tyler Ramirez has a strong hitting pedigree and multiple potentially exciting tools just drafted out of UNC. Sandber Pimentel has the brute strength right now that makes his upside relevant. Skye Bolt has worn out his stay on many scouts minds but still has a lot of pure talent to counter that initiative. All in all the Athletics top prospects are in a questionable state with many question marks moving forward. That doesn’t mean that they will not have a significant impact, as the organization is built to support that notion.
Players headline the farm that they acquired through the Chapman and Miller trades. The likes of Clint Frazier, Gleyber Torres, and other top tier prospects have the Yankees looking set for the near future. The prospects at the top of the farm are superb, but the farm is not thin. The Yankees have some depth in multiple positions. The outfield is not a concern for them anytime soon players like Mason Williams, and Ben Gamel who are never going to make a huge impact in the majors are good players to fill in for an injury here and there.
What started off as one of the weakest systems in baseball was bolstered by the additions by the trade of Zack Wheeler in 2011, then Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud in 2012-13. Furthermore, the team opted to draft high ceiling project players like Brandon Nimmo, Michael Fulmer, Gavin Cecchini, and Dominic Smith.
In 2014, Alderson changed his draft approach again with the selection of college outfielder Michael Conforto, then after losing the Mets 2015 first rounder in the Michael Cuddyer signing, selected his first set of college pitchers in Justin Dunn and Anthony Kay.
Graduation and trades have lowered the ranking of the farm system to the bottom third of the league. What was once a system flush with ace level arms and high ceiling batters have since become a more balanced system that features both potential offensive contributors and future rotation contributors.
Still, the 2016 season saw many prospects make their first impressions in the majors, including Sandy Alderson’s first ever Mets draft pick in Brandon Nimmo. For the first time since 2011, the Mets find themselves looking up at their counterparts as opposed to the other way around. What can a full season from the 2016 draft class do? Which prospects will graduate from this list?
The major selling point of this system is the success of the pitching coaches in recent years. The Major League rotation is one of the best in baseball, and there are many top prospects who may challenge for those spots. The age range for both pitchers and fielders offers a look for continued success with players breaking through to the top level both now and three years into the future. A team coming off of a World Series run will not need a complete roster overhaul, allowing the lower level clubs to develop their players at the right pace.
Drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft, Honeywell didn’t come with the eye-catching fastball-curve or fastball-slider combo of other top pitching prospects. Instead, he comes with a well-rounded game; a four pitch mix, of which three project above average to plus, and quality command in an athletic delivery. And, of course, a screwball. Who doesn’t like screwballs?
This year’s class is notable for the dearth of college pitching, which serves as a direct contrast to the relative scarcity of college position players. As far as the high school talent goes, there seem to be more position players than there are pitchers. However, this particular class is notable for its dearth of two-way players.
The Minnesota Twins “earned” the first overall selection after a miserable 2016 season, one that saw their pitching staff and offense underperform under renewed expectations. Minnesota hadn’t occupied the top spot in the draft since 2001 when they took an in-state product and current first baseman Joe Mauer out of Cretin-Durham Hall High School. In a year that has no consensus top prospect, much like 2016, anything is possible. The Twins could go after a prep product, like San Diego prepster Hunter Greene or they could go for a major league ready collegian, like Jeren Kendall or Kyle Wright.
The Blue Jays system is mostly made up of high upside hitters but, like always, the Jays have been stockpiling pitching in the draft to compensate. With these new draftees, the organization is trending up compared to how barren it was after the Jays first postseason run. There is tremendous upside in picks like T.J. Zeuch, J.B. Woodman, and Joshua Palacios just in the 2016 MLB Draft. Vlad Jr. and Bo Bichette are two young talents that look like they could shine in the spotlight as stars. They also have bloodlines of former greats, which has proven to be a characteristic the Jays tend to take a chance on. The pitching doesn’t have the same talent as it did when “The Lansing Three” were storming their way up the system, but pitchers like Justin Maese and Angel Perdomo could develop into a top of the rotation starters. Overall, the system has enough upside talent to use as trade bait and still have an upper half ranking system.
The system offers a handful of true prospects that could make a difference at the Major League level this season, but also hold higher potential down the road. The list is headed by Brent Honeywell who could find his way into the middle of the rotation in the next couple of years. The young bats that follow Honeywell all offer a strong foundation. Willy Adames, Jake Bauers, Garrett Whitley, and Joshua Lowe all have their flaws but have shown enough promise real improvement in the next couple of years.
The first notable piece of the system is the success of its younger prospects. The Astros are not an organization whose top prospects are 23-25 years old and knocking on the door of the MLB. Instead, this system has found talented players and cultured them to success much earlier in their development cycle. Many of the athletes in the system look like players that can make an MLB impact by the age of 22, with many having a chance to contribute even earlier than that.
The system boasts many pitching prospects that I see as should be future big league starters, with a select five pitchers that be frontline starters when it’s all said and done: Francis Martes, David Paulino, Forrest Whitley, Franklin Perez, and Hector Perez. Far from top-heavy, they also have several other arms that profile as potential MLB rotation, though perhaps not frontline starters.
From a position player development point of view, the Astro’s system looks about the same as it always has. Houston’s system of position players looks to develop in the same way it always has. In the most challenging defensive positions, the Astros have developed and drafted quick and agile players with a good sense of the strike zone. Though they have some power scattered throughout them, the outfield, second base, and shortstop prospects are all hit-tool oriented, contact first prospects with top tier speed potential. In the corner infield, it is quite the opposite. Many 1B/3B prospects in the system (with the exception of Colin Moran) find their struggles primarily with the glove rather than with the bat. It is evident that the Astro’s have a clear, fully formed plan for their scouting, drafting, and development process that has come to fruition to provide in providing some of the best talent in baseball. This isn’t something commonplace across all clubs at the professional level. The majority of other organizations’ processes appear more sporadic and case-by-case, valuing athleticism or signability rather than targeting specific make-ups. The Houston’s specific, targeted process is what will likely keep the Astros them as one of the league’s best premiere organizations when it comes to developing top prospects.
That none of this is any different going into 2017, as their farm system is plenty deep and features enough youth to see a very productive future for many years to come.
Thee Chicago White Sox sent a very clear message on Tuesday when they traded longtime ace pitcher Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox. After failing to end the fourth longest current postseason drought despite lofty expectations, it was time to rebuild, and nobody was safe. Sale, the team’s dominant pitching ace had worn management’s patience thin this season, first by taking potshots at team president Kenny Williams in light of the Adam LaRoche fiasco, then by taking a knife to some admittedly ugly throwback uniforms that were scheduled to be worn on one of his starts. By dangling Sale this offseason, the White Sox were given carte blanche, able to make as high of a demand as they wanted for their talented, yet still an affordable superstar.
In return for the mercurial All-Star, the Sox received a package of baseball’s top prospect in Yoan Moncada, an electric arm in Michael Kopech, center field prospect Luis Alexander Basabe, and pitching prospect Victor Diaz.
The words “electric”, “exciting” and “high-upside” will never be used to describe Ariel Jurado or any of his offerings, but neither will the words “risky”, “wild”, or “bullpen-bound”. With plus command, a solid changeup and a pair of fastballs that work off of each other well, the 6’1” Panama native has a high likelihood of eventually making a big league rotation, perhaps as soon as late-2017. Once he’s there, expect few strikeouts, few walks and lots of groundballs.
After failing to sign with Houston in 2014, Jacob Nix was drafted by San Diego in the third round in 2015. The right-hander brings a solid fastball-curve duo to the table, and, perhaps most importantly, has advanced command, especially considering his age (20). His changeup is a work in progress, but he has the potential to be a solid #4-5 starter as soon as 2018. Article by @BaseballRanks
Back in 2011, MLB Draft experts had their eyes set on the magnificent haul of draft picks that the Tampa Bay Rays had at their disposal, all of which had been acquired by dismantling their bullpen. A record ten first round picks out of 60, including highly touted prep arms Taylor Guerrieri and Blake Snell, as well as top college outfielder Mikie Mahtook highlighted the long list of high-profile future Rays. Tampa Bay was considered set for the long term because of this sudden influx of talent.
Yadier Alvarez is a 6’3″, 175 lb, 20-year-old out of Matanzas, Cuba. He was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as an international free agent on July 2, 2015. His fastball sits around 93-98 and tops out at 99-100. His slider is plus, but his curveball and changeup are well below average. Alvarez’s mechanics need to be cleaned up and he has some red flags regarding injury potential. When fully matured he could be a number 2 starter, with a fall back option of a high leverage bullpen arm.
is weekend was started off with Greg Allen’s rare power surge with a two-homer game on Friday. Allen said last time he did that was probably in little leagues. The speedster has only hit 14 home runs since his debut which shows how rare Friday was. Also, it was his first four-RBI performance as a pro.
The Mexican League is well known for their creative fans who show great passion for the game. Often you get to see them dressed up as superheroes or a symbolic figure in their culture. The league is made of 2 divisions of 4 teams each. Tomateros de Culiacan were the champions last year and represented Mexico in the Caribbean Series and ended up winning it all. Mexico will be hosting “La Serie Del Caribe” which is the Caribbean Series which features the four leagues champs. Each club gets to represent their country and usually is more like a national team series since each team takes the best players in the league no matter which club they belong to.
Ian Anderson is 6’3″ 170′ 18-year-old out of Shenendehowa High School in Rexford, New York. He was selected third overall by the Braves in the 2016 MLB Draft. He has a hard fastball with growing offspeed pitches. He currently can throw 90-94 with a potential to add more velocity. He has a big gap between the speed in his off-speed pitches and has room to create two pitches out of his curveball. He has some red flags regarding injury potential and needs to clean up his mechanics and generate more energy up the chain in his lower half. He has lightning quick arm speed that helps compensate at the moment. When fully matured and refined he could be a real ace.
The Winter League helps players work on their weaknesses, their game plan and do so facing more advanced levels of competition. It also has the obvious benefit of helping stay in shape. For many these factors assist them to get to spring training with a more distinct advantage over those that stick to the gym and home based development work. The competitive level in these league don’t allow managers to treat this tournament as development leagues since they are there to win, we have seen times with four different managers in a season including switching managers in Playoffs, even in Finals!