Ranking MLB’s Best Minor League Farm Systems, Early-2019 (11-20)

These are my 2019 Early Season Rankings for MLB’s top farm systems. In this article, we will be looking at the systems ranked 11-20. Numbers 11-20 were released earlier this week and 1-10 will be released later in May.

20.) Oakland Athletics

  1. Jesus Luzardo, SP (16)
  2. A.J. Puk, SP (65)
  3. Sean Murphy, C (67)
  4. Jorge Mateo, SS
  5. James Kaprielian
  6. Lazaro Armentaros, OF
  7. Austin Beck, OF
  8. Sheldon Neuse, 3B
  9. Skye Bolt, OF
  10. Grant Holmes, SP

OAK Overview: There is not much excitement in Oakland’s system except for Jesus Luzardo. The 21 year-old southpaw is in the running with San Diego’s MacKenzie Gore for the best young left-handed starter. Though he has missed a good chunk of the 2019 season, Luzardo has a chance to debut with the Athletics late-summer. AJ Puk missed well over a year with TJ surgery, but could also make Oakland’s rotation along with Luzardo. Adding both these young lefties would greatly improve a weak A’s rotation. One of the good things about Oakland’s farm system is that most of the talent is at (or nearing) Triple-A. Assuming Puk and Luzardo both return to Triple-A, six out of their top nine prospects would be at that level in 2019. Injuries have been a huge problem for the A’s pitching prospects as Luzardo, Puk, Kaprielian, and Holmes have all missed significant time in 2019. The hope is when all four of these guys are healthy that at least two or three turn out to be mid-rotation starters.

19.) Arizona Diamondbacks

  1. Jazz Chisholm, SS (45)
  2. Jon Duplantier, SP/RP (55)
  3. Dalton Varsho, C
  4. Alek Thomas, OF
  5. Blaze Alexander, SS
  6. Yoan Lopez, RP
  7. Kristan Robinson, OF
  8. Matt Tabor, SP
  9. Pavin Smith, 1B
  10. Geraldo Perdomo, SS

ARI Overview: Aside from Jazz Chisholm and Jon Duplantier who were already part of my Early-Season top 100 rankings, Arizona has a few young guys who I expect to skyrocket up the standings. The 19 year old Alek Thomas is the first candidate. The left-handed outfielder is not necessarily a power hitter, but he does have 15-20 HR ability and will only get stronger as he matures physically. The next guy, Blaze Alexander, another 19 year-old, might be the future shortstop of the Diamondbacks (competing with Chisholm). He profiles similarly to Thomas, as both are around the same size and should progress through Arizona’s system with similar timeframes. Outfielder Kristian Robinson will be only 18 for the 2019 season and may be one of the breakout prospects of the year. He has raw power similar to fellow Bahamian, Jazz Chisholm, yet he is a superior all-around player and is 3 years younger. These guys, coupled with Andy Yerzy/Dalton Varsho, two promising catcher prospects, are the main reason for the D-Backs being in the top 20. Outside these few guys there is not a whole bunch of top-end talent.

18.) Seattle Mariners

  1. Jarred Kelenic, OF (44)
  2. Justus Sheffield, SP (66)
  3. Julio Rodriguez, OF (83)
  4. Justin Dunn, SP
  5. Logan Gilbert, SP
  6. Evan White, 1B
  7. Noelvi Marte, SS
  8. Shed Long, 2B
  9. Kyle Lewis, OF
  10. Dom Thompson-Williams, OF

SEA Overview: Through many different trades, the Mariners drastically improved their wealth of prospects. Their top two prospects, Kelenic and Sheffield, were both acquired via recent trades and five of their top ten were as well. Julio Rodriguez is one of my favorite prospects in all of baseball and he is only 18 years old. Rodriguez is one of the most exciting outfield prospects and I believe he will be nearing my top 20 by the time I release my Late-Season top 100 rankings. Had he had more at-bats in professional games, he would have been much higher than 83. With a very well rounded system in terms of positional needs, the Mariners have one of the deeper systems in this grouping. As young players like Rodriguez, Marte, Kelenic and Gilbert develop, expect to see the Mariners rise in the Farm System Rankings.

17.) Baltimore Orioles

  1. Ryan Mountcastle, 3B (39)
  2. Grayson Rodriguez, SP (59)
  3. DL Hall, SP (82)
  4. Austin Hays, OF
  5. Zac Lowther, SP
  6. Yusniel Diaz, OF
  7. Blane Knight, SP
  8. Adam Hall, SS
  9. Jean Carlos Encarnación, 3B
  10. Keegan Akin, SP

BAL Overview: The Orioles have a solid farm system, but the biggest issue is that Baltimore’s system has not improved as much as would be expected for a rebuilding team. With one of the worst rosters in all of MLB, it is hard to gain good prospects via trades, so players must be acquired through the Draft or via international signing periods. Both Ryan Mouncastle and Austin Hays are chomping at the bit to join the Orioles in Baltimore sometime soon. Grayson Rodriguez has been lights out in Class-A at only 19 years old. It is looking like he may be a future ace for the O’s, but it is obviously too early to know for sure. After receiving a whopping 30+ million dollar signing bonus from the Dodgers, Yusniel Diaz has not done too well since being acquired for Manny Machado. Starters Luis Ortiz and Dillon Tate are two former 1st round picks who have done poorly, but are looking to reach their lofty expectations originally placed on them when drafted. Shortstops Cadyn Grenier and Adam Hall have done well for Class-A Delmarva and are vying for promotions.

16.) Pittsburgh Pirates

Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B (PIT)
  1. Mitch Keller, SP (36)
  2. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B (38)
  3. Oneil Cruz, SS (73)
  4. Travis Swaggerty, OF (91)
  5. Calvin Mitchell, OF
  6. Bryan Reynolds, OF
  7. Cole Tucker, SS
  8. Lolo Sanchez, OF
  9. Kevin Kramer, 2B
  10. Braxton Ashcraft, SP

PIT Overview: Pittsburgh is the first team to have four prospects in my top 100. Keller, Hayes, Cruz, and Swaggerty make up the top of their system, but there is quite a bit of talent beyond them. Calvin Mitchell is one of the next to make the leap into the top 100, as he was very close to making it this time around. Outfielder Lolo Sanchez has been having a very nice 2019 season and should see a promotion sometime soon. Both Cole Tucker and Bryan Reynolds have recently been promoted to Pittsburgh, making their MLB respective MLB debuts. Although Tucker has struggled a bit, Reynolds has been on fire and is looking like a reliable player. Hayes and Keller should be able to contribute sometime soon as both have been doing well at Triple-A Indianapolis.

15.) Colorado Rockies

  1. Brendan Rodgers, SS (7)
  2. Colton Welker, 3B (64)
  3. Ryan Rolison, SP
  4. Ryan Vilade, SS
  5. Grant Lavigne, 1B
  6. Peter Lambert, SP
  7. Sam Hilliard, OF
  8. Daniel Montano, OF
  9. Terrin Vavra, SS
  10. Riley Pint, SP

COL Overview: Brendan Rodgers is one of the best hitters in all of the minor leagues, and is the main reason for Colorado’s top 15 ranking. Since being drafted 3rd overall in 2015, Rodgers has done nothing but hit. He has posted a career .294 batting average and is doing even better this year. Already with 7 HRs and a .336 AVG in 2019, Rodgers should get the call within the next month or so. Colton Welker, the Rockies only other top 100 prospect, has been excellent as well and has shown signs of improvement as well. Pitchers Peter Lambert and Riley Pint have struggled the past couple seasons, but a lot of that can be attributed to pitching at hitter-friendly parks the majority of their starts. Ryan Rolison, another starter, has shown that it doesn’t matter what stadium he is pitching in. Posting a 1.17 ERA across Class-A and A-Advanced, Rolison is looking like the best pitcher in the Rockies system.

14.) Los Angeles Dodgers

  1. Gavin Lux, SS/2B (47)
  2. Keibert Ruiz, C (49)
  3. Dustin May, SP (54)
  4. Diego Cartaya, C
  5. Jeter Downs, SS
  6. Mitchell White, SP
  7. Josiah Gray, SP
  8. Jeren Kendall, OF
  9. Will Smith, C
  10. Tony Gonsolin, SP

LAD Overview: A unique system, the Dodgers have three quality catcher prospects, an extremely rare commodity to possess. Keibert Ruiz, Diego Cartaya, and Will Smith all ranked in the Dodgers top ten prospects and are solid catchers behind the plate. At only 17 years old, Cartaya is a bit of a wild-card after signing for 2.5 million dollars in 2018. Gavin Lux and Jeter Downs could be the futures shortstop/2nd base combo for the Dodgers and they both have similar skill sets. With 20/20 potential, both could also hit close to .300, Lux being the more likely to do so. Mitchell White and Josiah Gray have impressed on the mound this year, making them two of the Dodgers best pitching prospects. Pitcher Yadier Alvarez showed so much potential early on after signing in 2015, but he has deteriorated enough to keep him off the Dodgers’ top ten. The hope is that he can regain his control and return to form.

13.) Kansas City Royals

Seuly Matias, OF (KC)
  1. Brady Singer, SP (33)
  2. Khalil Lee, OF (99)
  3. Jackson Kowar, SP
  4. Seuly Matias, OF
  5. MJ Melendez, C
  6. Nicky Lopez, SS/2B
  7. Daniel Lynch, SP
  8. Nick Pratto, 1B
  9. Kris Bubic, SP
  10. Kyle Isbel, OF

KC Overview: Kansas City has one of the more underrated farm systems in my opinion. While only two out of their top ten prospects are at Double-A or above, that means they have youth and a lot of potential to improve. 2018 1st rounders Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar have been dominating for Class A-Advanced Wilmington Blue Rocks, and have posted nearly identical stat lines. Matias, Melendez, and Pratto have all struggled mightily with the Blue Rocks, but are all only 20 years old. Lynch and Isbel are also part of a stacked Blue Rocks roster, making for one of the most talented teams in all of MiLB. Khalil Lee just made my top 100 rankings and he should be joined by other Royals prospects come the end of 2019.

12.) Miami Marlins

  1. Sixto Sanchez, SP (29)
  2. Victor Victor Mesa, OF (74)
  3. Monte Harrison, OF (85)
  4. Zac Gallen, SP
  5. Jordan Yamamoto, SP
  6. Edward Cabrera, SP
  7. Jorge Guzman, SP
  8. Trevor Rogers, SP
  9. Braxton Garrett, SP
  10. Jordan Holloway, SP

MIA Overview: The Marlins might have one of the deepest systems out of this grouping of teams. After dealing stars such as Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Dee Gordon, JT Realmuto, and Marcell Ozuna, the Marlins system was rejuvenated with much needed talent. Zac Gallen has been one of the best starters in all of MiLB, taking many by surprise. Other starters Sixto Sanchez (extended Spring Training), Braxton Garrett (TJ surgery), and Jordan Holloway (TJ surgery) all had late starts to their 2019 seasons, but are looking like quality pitchers at A-Advanced Jupiter. Other starters Yamamoto, Rogers, Cabrera, and Guzman have all performed very well at their respective levels. While the Marlins top ten is predominately pitchers, outfielders Victor Victor Mesa and Monte Harrison both made the back end of my top 100 rankings and have done well so far in 2019. One of the first teams that I had a hard time picking guys to leave out of the top ten, the Marlins have depth well beyond ten. Osiris Johnson, Jose Devers, Tristan Pompey, Isan Diaz, Nick Neidert and Connor Scott are all very talented players who could be among the top ten in my end of season rankings.

11.) Cincinatti Reds

  1. Nick Senzel, 3B, (8)
  2. Taylor Trammell, OF (17)
  3. Hunter Greene, SP (43)
  4. Jonathan India, 3B (68)
  5. Mike Siani, OF
  6. Jose Siri, OF
  7. Mariel Bautista, OF
  8. Tyler Stephenson, C
  9. Tony Santillian, SP
  10. Ibandel Isabel, OF

CIN Overview: Right on the cusp of the top ten, the Reds’ farm system falls in at #11 overall. Top prospect Nick Senzel has recently made his MLB debut and is a key player in the Reds organization. Unfortunately flamethrower Hunter Greene will miss all of 2019 due to Tommy John surgery, but he is still the best pitcher in the Reds system by a wide margin. Outfielder Taylor Trammell and Jose Siri are both doing well in Double-A and have been flashing 5-tool potential. Though Trammell is much higher rated than Siri, I expect both will get a promotion around the same time, possibly this June. Ibandel Isabel is one of the best power hitters in all of the minors, but he has struggled with his all-around game. If he can step up his defense and/or reduce his strikeout percentage, then he could be a very valuable asset as well. Bautista might be the most underrated Reds prospect as he possesses the very sought after combination of power and speed.

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