It seems like we can never get enough of rankings and lists. However, when I conceived of a power ranking for MLB farm systems, I wanted it to be both different as well as actually useful. How can we wrap our arms around an entire organization’s worth of prospects and gain some perspective?
In an effort to be more creative, I decided to track the statistical performance of 30 top prospects on a regular basis rather than the traditional end-of-year summary. Instead of waiting for the dust to settle, I wanted to zoom in to see how different decisions and results impact the strength of individual systems. Ultimately, I want each week to be a snapshot of how an MLB team’s pipeline is (or is not) progressing.
But this isn’t your ordinary 1-30 rankings, we’ll also be breaking down the systems into tiers:
A Full Cupboard – Top prospects at every level producing good to great results, prospects in the upper minors could make an impact in the next 2-3 yrs.
Top Heavy – Top prospects in the upper minors producing good to great results but rest of the system not performing.
Young Guns – The upper minors may be lackluster but prospects in the lower minors are performing well. However, ETAs range from 2025-27.
More Floor Than Ceiling – Not a system of potential all-stars but has prospects with limited upside. Mostly players that are better IRL than fantasy.
Prospect Desert – No prospects of any potential at any level. The eighth circle of hell for farm systems. Hopefully this tier remains a mere hypothetical…
Let’s lay out the ground rules for the column (h/t to The Athletic’s Zach Harper for inspiring these rules):
- This list is made at my discretion. So yes, this is completely subjective.
- This is a weekly rankings list. If the #1 overall prospect gets called up, that team’s farm system will likely be negatively impacted in the rankings. If a pitcher suffers a blowup or a hitter slumps during the week, it’s going to impact the rankings. This is not just based on general Future Value or else I’d make an end-of-year list like everyone else.
- Why is Team X above Team Y? See bullet point #1.
- Yes, I do actually watch minor league games during the week including reviewing specific ABs or innings that I may have missed.
- No I do not hate __________. I keep an open mind about whatever results come in and whoever may be producing them
- This is supposed to be fun, so let’s have fun with it!
A Full Cupboard
1) Arizona Diamondbacks – The Diamondbacks start the year anchored by strong performances from their pitching prospects in Ryne Nelson, Blake Walston, & Slade Cecconi.
2) Texas Rangers – Similarly, Texas’ #1 pitching prospect Jack Leiter’s first AA outing helps place the Rangers as #2 overall with hitters like Evan Carter & Bubba Thompson providing some support.
3) Colorado Rockies – Ezequiel Tovar, Drew Romo, Warming Bernabel, and Elehuris Montero are all red hot. While unsurprisingly thin on pitching prospects, prodigal son Riley Point returned to the mind to deliver an encouraging 2 innings in his first appearance since returning from retirement.
4) Tampa Bay Rays
5) New York Yankees
6) Baltimore Orioles
7) Los Angeles Dodgers
8) Seattle Mariners
9) Detroit Tigers
10) New York Mets
11) Cleveland Guardians
12) Oakland Athletics
13) Pittsburgh Pirates
14) Houston Astros
15) St. Louis Cardinals
16) San Francisco Giants
17) Milwaukee Brewers
18) Minnesota Twins
19) Los Angeles Angels
20) Kansas City Royals – Vinnie Pasquantino, MJ Melendez, Nick Pratto…we know these names like the back of our hands. But right now for Kansas City, the bulk of their pitching is graduated and there’s not much other hitting talent propping up this “Big 3” right now.
21) Boston Red Sox – The Sox farm is having almost the exact opposite start to the MiLB season as the Royals. Marcelo Mayer, Gilberto Jimenez, and Alex Binelas are all hitting .400 or better with multiple extra-base hits and at least one SB each.
22) Cincinnati Reds
23) San Diego Padres
24) Atlanta Braves
25) Chicago White Sox
26) Chicago Cubs
27) Miami Marlins
28) Washington Nationals
More Floor Than Ceiling
29) Philadelphia Phillies – Logan O’Hoppe made a splash in the Arizona Fall League and had carried some of that momentum into 2022. Sadly, a backup catcher being the prospect with the best week of production isn’t ideal for a system that’s a bit thin on value to start.
30) Toronto Blue Jays – Orelvis Martinez and Samad Taylor are ice cold while Ricky Tiedemann has been the lone bright spot on the mound for the first six games of 2022.
Featured image by Shawn Palmer (@Palmerdesigns_ on Twitter)