Ranking MLB’s Best Minor League Farm Systems, Early-2019 (1-10)

These are my 2019 Early Season Rankings for MLB’s top farm systems. In this article, we will be looking at the systems ranked 1-10. Numbers 11-20 and 21-30 were released earlier in May.

10.) Los Angeles Angles

  1. Jo Adell, OF (18)
  2. Griffin Canning, SP (48)
  3. Jeremiah Jackson, SS (98)
  4. Jordyn Adams, OF (100)
  5. D’Shawn Knowles, OF
  6. Brandon Marsh, OF
  7. Jose Suarez, SP
  8. Kevin Maitan, OF
  9. Jahmai Jones, 2B
  10. Jose Soriano, SP

LAA Overview: In their past few drafts, the Angels have been targeting athletic prep players with their early picks. Jo Adell, Jeremiah Jackson, Jordyn Adams, Brandon Marsh, and Jahmai Jones were all selected within the first two rounds of recent drafts, and all five of them show 5-tool abilities, exactly what the Angels were hoping for. Getting Kevin Maitan must have been a pleasant surprise for LA, as they were able to land him thanks to international scandals involving the Atlanta Braves. Though his numbers aren’t the best, he is still very young and was compared to some of the greats before his struggles. Griffin Canning has done okay in his first few MLB starts and the hope is that he’ll stick in the weak Angels rotation for years to come. With Adell, Adams, Knowles, Marsh, and Maitan all being quality outfield prospects, the hope is at least two will live up to their potential, giving the Angels two outfielders to surround Mike Trout.

9.) Texas Rangers

  1. Hans Crouse, SP (60)
  2. Julio Pablo Martinez, OF (61)
  3. Leody Taveras, OF (93)
  4. Anderson Tejeda, 2B (94)
  5. Bubba Thompson, OF
  6. Cole Winn, SP
  7. Cole Ragans, SP
  8. Osleivis Basabe, SS/2B
  9. Jonathan Ornelas, UTIL
  10. Christopher Siese, SS

TEX Overview: The top five prospects of the Rangers are very underrated in my opinion. Hans Crouse has been dynamic for Class-A Hickory, and word is that he will be moved up a level within a week. With his promotion, 2018 1st rounder Cole Winn will fill his spot in Hickory, where he will make his first ever professional stats. Bubba Thompson, JP Martinez, and Leody Taveras make up a stacked Down East (A-Advanced) outfield. While Martinez is ranked higher, that is mostly due to his three year age difference with Thompson and Taveras. Martinez should move up the ranks quicker, but Taveras and Thompson have better long term potential in my opinion, as both possess the size Martinez does not. Tejeda is a great middle infielder and his bat isn’t too shabby either. His power/speed combo could fit well at the top the Rangers order come 2021/2022. Both Chris Siese and Owen White will miss all of 2019 due to injury, but both recent draftees could climb in the rankings when they return.

8.) Detroit Tigers

  1. Casey Mize, SP (19)
  2. Matt Manning, SP (34)
  3. Alex Faedo, SP
  4. Beau Burrows, SP
  5. Franklin Perez, SP
  6. Christin Stewart, OF
  7. Dawel Lugo, INF
  8. Parker Meadows, OF
  9. Willie Castro, SS
  10. Jose Azocar, OF

DET Overview: By far the most pitcher heavy farm system, all of the Tigers top five prospects are starters. Casey Mize was absolutely unhittable in his four starts in A-Advanced and has been just as good since his promotion to Double-A. Not only is he holding opposing hitters to a batting average in the low .100s., but Mize has also only given up three walks in 45 innings this year. His excellent command will put him on the fast-track to the majors and I’d expect to see him in Detroit around this time next year. Former 9th overall pick Matt Manning has been stellar as well, posting a sub-2.50 ERA through his first seven starts of the season. Add in two more former 1st round picks, Alex Faedo and Beau Burrows, along with high-ceiling prospect Franklin Perez, and the Tigers have 5 of the best starting pitcher prospects in all of baseball. Using these five guys, Detroit could field an entire rotation of quality starters with just their prospects. Outside of their pitchers, Christian Stewart, Dawel Lugo, and Daz Cameron are all MLB ready prospects primed to make an impact in 2019.

7.) Toronto Blue Jays

  1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B (1)
  2. Bo Bichette, SS (6)
  3. Nate Pearson, SP (71)
  4. Cavan Biggio, 2B (89)
  5. Jordan Groshans, SS/3B (90)
  6. Eric Pardinho, SP
  7. Orelvis Martinez, SS
  8. Adam Kloffenstein, SP
  9. Kevin Smith, SS/3B
  10. Anthony Alford, OF

TOR Overview: Having the best, most hyped prospect of the decade would automatically vault any farm system to the upper tier of the rankings, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is not the only talented prospect in the Blue Jays organization. Shortstop Bo Bichette does not have nearly as much power as Guerrero but could be just as good of a hitter while surpassing him in areas such as base-running and defense. Nate Pearson has been just as dominant as Casey Mize of the Detroit Tigers this season. Like Mize, Pearson started the season in A-Advanced but received a well-deserved promotion to Double-A. The third Blue Jays’ prospect with strong baseball bloodlines, Cavan Biggio, has been outstanding this season at Triple-A Buffalo. At 24 years old, Biggio might be the next high profile call-up for Toronto.

6.) Minnesota Twins

Nick Gordon, SS (MIN)
  1. Royce Lewis, SS (4)
  2. Alex Kirilloff, OF (11)
  3. Brusdar Graterol, SP (77)
  4. Wander Javier, SS (96)
  5. Nick Gordon, SS/2B
  6. Griffin Jax, SP
  7. Ryan Jeffers, C
  8. Brent Rooker, OF
  9. Trevor Larnach, OF
  10. Luis Arraez, 2B/OF

MIN Overview: 2017 1st overall pick Royce Lewis has the most potential out of the bunch, but Alex Kirilloff might be the safer player as of now. Either way, both of these guys are above average in nearly every aspect of the game and they should both have a place on the Twins’ roster come 2021. Starter Griffin Jax has been a pleasant surprise this season. After having issues with his military status holding him out of much of his career, Jax was allowed to continue baseball full-time thanks to new rules this season. It seems like he has not lost a step, and he has been superb through his first seven starts in Double-A. 77th overall prospect Brusdar Graterol has also been lights-out in Double-A, posting number even better than those of Jax. One of the most advanced Twins prospects is Nick Gordon (brother of Dee Gordon). While Nick does not have the same top-line speed as his brother, Nick shows more power and he has a great all around feel for the game. Wander Javier is a bit of a wild card after missing all of 2018 and the first chunk of 2019 due to injuries, but if he comes back strong, Javier has the abilities to compete to be the Twins future shortstop.

5.) Houston Astros

  1. Forrest Whitley, SP (10)
  2. Yordan Alvarez, OF (28)
  3. Kyle Tucker, OF (37)
  4. Corbin Martin, SP (57)
  5. Freudis Nova, SS
  6. Seth Beer, OF
  7. Bryan Abreu, SP
  8. Peter Soloman, SP
  9. J.B. Bukauskas, SP
  10. Ronnie Dawson, OF

HOU Overview: All four of Houston’s top 4 prospects are currently either in Triple-A or at the MLB level. This is a great sign for Houston, as they should have quality players able to join their roster when needed. Forrest Whitley has had a rough stretch the past two years including a long suspension in 2018 and struggles in 2019. He is still one of the best pitching prospects and could join fellow top prospect, Corbin Martin, in Houston soon. Kyle Tucker did not perform well during his time in Houston last season and has been as good as hoped for in 2019. Like Whitley, these struggles are likely a fluke as he is too talented to put up weak numbers for an extended period of time. Quite the opposite of Tucker, Yordan Alvarez has been absolutely outstanding in 2019. In his first 130 ABs, Alvarez has already hit 15 HRs and hit over .400. After this amazing start to 2019, Alvarez leapfrogged Tucker as the Astros’ best outfield prospect. Freudis Nova has yet to make his debut with a full-season club, but he excelled during his two seasons in the DSL and GCL, making 2019 an exciting year for the 19 year-old shortstop. 2018 first rounder, Seth Beer, possesses tantalizing power and has been flying through Houston’s system. Beer could reach Triple-A in his 2nd professional season, and a September call-up is not out of the question.

4.) Atlanta Braves

  1. Cristian Pache, OF (21)
  2. Mike Soroka, SP (26)
  3. Austin Riley, 3B (35)
  4. Ian Anderson, SP (40)
  5. Kyle Wright, SP (50)
  6. Touki Toussaint, SP (52)
  7. Drew Waters, OF (62)
  8. Williams Contreras, C
  9. Kyle Muller, SP
  10. Joey Wentz, SP

ATL Overview: The top four farm systems are in a tier of their own in my opinion. Each of these four teams has at least ten high-quality prospects that make up well-rounded systems with talent at almost every position. In the Braves system Cristian Pache has been a name on the rise. Drawing exciting comparisons to Ronald Acuna Jr., Pache fits the same mold as the former Rookie of the Year, but these comparisons might be coming a bit too early. Even if Pache isn’t quite as talented as Acuna, his all-around talent is hard to ignore. Switch-hitting outfielder prospect, Drew Waters, has 5-tool abilities as well, and an outfield of Waters, Pache, and Acuna could be a possibility come 2020/2021. Austin Riley had been tearing it up in Triple-A before his promotion in mid-May. In the race for most HRs in all of minor league baseball, Riley should be able to continue his home run barrage in Atlanta. The best aspect of the Braves farm system is its wealth in young starting pitching. Mike Soroka, Kyle Wright, Touki Toussaint, Luiz Gohara, Kolby Allard, and Bryse Wilson all are guys who have had a taste of the majors, albeit with varying results. Ian Anderson, Kyle Muller, and Joey Wentz are also a big part of the Braves future, with the only question being which of these prospects will make the rotation. With well over ten candidates for the rotation, some of these pitchers could be moved to the bullpen or used as trade chips.

Wander Franco, SS (TB)

3.) Tampa Bay Rays:

  1. Wander Franco, SS (5)
  2. Brendan McKay, SP/DH (20)
  3. Brent Honeywell, SP (27)
  4. Jesus Sanchez, OF (30)
  5. Matthew Liberatore, SP (32)
  6. Vidal Brujan, 2B (78)
  7. Ronaldo Hernandez, C (87)
  8. Shane McClanahan, SP
  9. Lucius Fox, SS
  10. Shane Baz, SP

TB Overview: The Rays’ system is one of my personal favorite in terms of individual talent and the Rays’ group of pitching prospects might be my favorite out there. Brendan McKay is the most interesting guy on this list as he is one of the only two-way players around. Having been much better as a pitcher than a hitter, McKay is in his third season of playing both ways. Brent Honeywell should be beginning his rehab assignment pretty soon and might make the Rays’ rotation later in the summer. 2018 first rounders Matthew Liberatore and Shane McClanahan are currently in Class-A and both did excellent in their Rookie League debuts in 2018. I fully expect both to excel as they climb the ladder to the MLB. I was very surprised to hear Shane Baz was the PTBNL (player to be named later) in the Chris Archer trade with the Pirates. Austin Meadow and Tyler Glasnow were already quite a bundle, so adding the 19 year-old first round pick really made the deal lopsided for Tampa. Wander Samuel Franco may very well be the #1 overall prospect in my Late-2019 rankings, and it appears as if this would be very well deserved. Franco’s superb play these past couple years have vaulted him in the top ten of almost all prospect lists. Infielders Vidal Brujan and Lucius Fox possess similar skill sets to each other. Both are speedy middle infielders who can hit from both sides of the plate. Tampa also has a good bit of talent outside their top ten with guys like Nick Solak, Taylor Walls and the Lowe brothers (Nate and Josh). Jose de Leon is about to return from Tommy John surgery and could be an intriguing option for the Rays rotation.

2.) Chicago White Sox:

Luis Robert, OF (CHW)
  1. Eloy Jimenez, OF (3)
  2. Luis Robert, OF (13)
  3. Michael Kopech, SP (15)
  4. Dylan Cease, SP (24)
  5. Nick Madrigal, 2B (31)
  6. Dane Dunning, SP (84)
  7. Micker Adolfo, OF
  8. Luis Alexander Basabe, OF
  9. Steele Walker, OF
  10. Alec Hansen, SP/RP

CHW Overview: The White Sox are at the final stages of a massive rebuild, and their wealth of prospects is what will make them contenders once again. After signing a six-year deal with the White Sox, Eloy Jimenez made his much-hyped MLB debut. Michael Kopech also has made his MLB debut (2018), but succumbed to Tommy John surgery, keeping him out all of 2019. Dane Dunning and Micker Adolfo also will be missing all of 2019 with arm injuries which required surgery too. Although the injuries have been bad for the White Sox prospects, there is still a lot to like in the system. Luis Robert has been on a tear in 2019 and earned a promotion to Double-A early this season. Steele Walker also was promoted and took Robert’s spot in Winston-Salem (A-Advanced). Outfielders are plentiful in the White Sox organization with Jimenez, Robert, Adolfo and Walker being joined by Luis Basabe, Blake Rutherford, Luis Gonzalez and Joel Booker as possibilities for Chicago’s future lineup. The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A) boast one of the best catching tandems in all of minor league baseball. Both Zack Collins and Seby Zavala narrowly missed the White Sox top ten list and would have made the top ten on almost any other team. With all the talent in Chicago’s system, it is hard to argue against what the White Sox have been building for their future.

1.) San Diego Padres:

  1. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS (2)
  2. Chris Paddack, SP (9)
  3. MacKenzie Gore, SP (23)
  4. Francisco Mejia, C (41)
  5. Luis Urias, SS/2B (42)
  6. Ryan Weathers, SP (63)
  7. Luis Patino, SP (76)
  8. Adrian Morejon, SP (97)
  9. Michel Baez, SP
  10. Luis Campusano, C

SD Overview: The number one farm system rightfully has the most prospects on my top 100 list. Fernando Tatis Jr. made his debut around the same time as Chicago’s Eloy Jimenez and experienced the same amount of hype. Tatis made a great impression in San Diego before suffering an injury in his 27th game. He should be returning soon and will be welcomed back enthusiastically. Chris Paddack is another guy who has been killing it in his first MLB games. Already in the conversation for Rookie of the Year and even the Cy Young, Paddack has been nothing short of excellent. The most surprising thing about Paddack and Tatis is that neither were rated very highly before being traded to San Diego, therefore the Padres got both at bargain prices. Both the White Sox (Tatis Jr.) and the Marlins (Paddack) already must regret dealing these youngsters, and the regret will only increase as Tatis and Paddack continue to dominate. MacKenzie Gore is the best left-handed starter of the Padres, but he is not alone in that field. Ryan Weathers, Adrian Morejon, and Logan Allen are all quality lefties as well, showing the depth of the Padres pitching prospects. Luis Urias struggled in his time with the Padres, but has been performing very well after being optioned back to Triple-A and should be recalled within a few weeks. Having guys like Josh Naylor, Cal Quantrill, and Xavier Edwards being left off the Padres’ top ten list shows how deep this system truly is.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s