Ranking MLB’s Best Minor League Farm Systems, Post-2019 (21-30)

These are my 2019 Post Season Rankings for MLB’s top farm systems. In this series you will see a breakdown of all 30 MLB teams’ farm systems and top 10 prospects. In this article, we will be looking at the systems ranked 21-30. Numbers 11-20 and 1-10 will be released later in October.

30.) Milwaukee Brewers

  1. Brice Turang, SS
  2. Corey Ray, OF
  3. Tristan Lutz, OF
  4. Ethan Small, SP
  5. Aaron Ashby, SP
  6. Carlos Rodriguez, OF
  7. Trent Grisham, OF
  8. Marco Feliciano, C
  9. Joe Gray Jr., OF
  10. Drew Rasmussen, SP

MIL Overview: The only team without a top 100 prospect, the Brewers system really took a hit losing Keston Hiura (promotion) and Mauricio Dubon (trade). The struggles of Corey Ray, Brice Turang, and Joe Gray have certainly done nothing to help the stock of this system. All three of these guys are undoubtedly talented, but none of them have shown the desired results. Both Gray and Turang are only 19 so they have plenty of time to develop, but Corey Ray is already 24, so time could be running out for him. Left-handed starters Ethan Small and Aaron Ashby have been a two of the only bright spots of the group, as they have both shown dominating stuff in 2019.

29.) Washington Nationals

  1. Carter Kieboom, SS (26)
  2. Luis V. Garcia, SS (95)
  3. Jackson Rutledge, SP
  4. Mason Denaburg, SP
  5. Tim Cate, SP
  6. Yasel Antnua, SS
  7. Will Crowe, SP
  8. Sterling Sharpe, SP
  9. Andry Lara, SP
  10. Tyler Dyson, SP

WSH Overview: Although the Nationals have very pitcher heavy system, their only top 100 prospects are both middle infielders. Carter Kieboom is by far the best Nationals prospect and he has already had a taste of the majors. Though he didn’t get off to the best start in his stint with Washington, Kieboom did well at Triple-A after being sent back down. Luis Garcia is the other Washington top 100 prospect, but he doesn’t offer as much certainty as Kieboom. Garcia is only 19, whereas Kieboom is 22, but Garcia is a riskier prospect at this point in his career. Two first Jackson Rutledge and Mason Denaburg slot behind Kieboom and Garcia, but neither is even close to cracking the top 100. Both Rutledge and Denaburg figure to share similar timelines to the big leagues, so I’d expect to see both in Class-A Hagerstown in 2020. The rest of the bunch doesn’t offer too much upside, but Yasel Antuna and pitcher Seth Romero could both raise their stocks if they can stay healthy in 2020.

28.) St. Louis Cardinals

  1. Dylan Carlson, OF (45)
  2. Nolan Gorman, 3B (48)
  3. Andrew Kinzner, C
  4. Zack Thompson, SP
  5. Justin Williams, OF
  6. Junior Fernandez, RP
  7. Genesis Cabrera, SP
  8. Angel Rondon, SP
  9. Mateo Gil, SS
  10. Jhon Torres, OF

STL Overview: Although ranked above two other teams, the St. Louis Cardinals might have my least favorite farm system yet again. If not for Dylan Carlson’s breakout season, St. Louis would likely be dead last. Carlson has been a surprise to me, but it appears as if he is the real deal. He has emerged as a great power/speed threat, and has put himself in the top 50 discussion. Nolan Gorman on the other hand, has not been nearly as impressive in my eyes. Yes, he is only 19, but as a corner infielder without much athleticism, he’s going to have to put up more than 15 HRs in a season, especially with a batting average under .250. I hate having him ranked at 48, but scouts believe in him too much to put him any lower. Pitchers Genesis Cabrera and Junior Fernandez have both posted 5.00-plus ERAs in their time at the MLB level. Though neither have logged many innings, it is not an encouraging sign to say the least. Justin Williams has been one of the few bright spots, albeit with a small sample size (159 ABs). After dealing with an injury most of 2019, Williams returned to hit 8 home runs while hitting just a tad under .300. With the Cardinals right in the middle of the pack in terms of success over the past few years, they have not had any high 1st round picks, but have also not acquired many key prospects in trades. I don’t see all that much to like in this system other than a few names.

27.) Houston Astros

  1. Kyle Tucker, OF (17)
  2. Forrest Whitley, SP (42)
  3. Freudis Nova, SS (99)
  4. Abraham Toro, 3B
  5. Tyler Ivey, SP
  6. Korey Lee, C
  7. Cristian Javier, SP
  8. Jeremy Pena, SS
  9. Bryan Abreu, SP
  10. JJ Matijevic, OF/1B

HOU Overview: Houston lost a ton of depth in their farm system in acquiring Zach Greinke, moving Seth Beer, JB Bukauskas and Corbin Martin to Arizona. Beer is a back-end top 100 prospect and Martin and Bukauskas would have both been in Houston’s top 10. Although they lost 3 big names. Houston still has 3 top 100 prospects of their own. Kyle Tucker struggled in his first short MLB sting back in 2018, but his dominating showings in Triple-A have vaulted him back into the top 20 overall prospects. Forrest Whitley’s stock is falling, but he still has loads of potential if he can manage to turn things around. Freudis Nova just cracked to top 100, but he offers very high potential on offense and has one of the best arms of any shortstop prospect. Unfortunately there is not much excitement outside of their top 3, which is why they are ranked surprisingly low.

26.) Chicago Cubs

  1. Nico Hoerner, SS (54)
  2. Brailyn Marquez, SP
  3. Brennen Davis, OF
  4. Miguel Amaya, C
  5. Ryan Jensen, SP
  6. Cole Roederer, OF
  7. Cory Abbott, SP
  8. Nelson Velazquez, OF
  9. Oscar de la Cruz, SP/RP
  10. Brendon Little, SP

CHI Overview: With only one top 100 prospect, it may be a bit of a surprise to see Chicago ranked above teams such as Houston or St. Louis, but that is largely to to the very impressive debut of Nico Hoerner. Ranked at #54 in my 3rd top 100 update, Hoerner was a September call-up, and really performed well. I really liked what I saw from him and I now view him as a top 40, maybe even top 35 guy. Brailyn Marquez just missed the top 100, but he should be there next year at some point, assuming he stays his usual dominant self. Although Hoerner and Marquez are the only two “big name” guys in this system, the Cubs have plenty of talent, especially at outfield and pitching. Outfielders Brennen Davis and Cole Roederer offer substantial upside, while pitchers such as Ryan Jensen, Cory Abbott and Brendon Little have solid floors. Oscar de la Cruz has missed large portions of his past four seasons, but he’s a bit of a sleeper who I could see surprising many in 2020.

25.) Colorado Rockies

  1. Brendan Rodgers, INF (25)
  2. Colton Welker, 1B/3B (65)
  3. Ryan Vilade, SS
  4. Sam Hilliard, OF
  5. Jonathan Daza, OF
  6. Ryan Rolison, SP
  7. Grant Lavigne, 1B
  8. Terrin Vavra, SS
  9. Michael Toglia, 1B
  10. Adael Amador, SS

COL Overview: Since being drafted 3rd overall back in 2015, Brendan Rodgers has consistently been amount the top 25 prospects in almost all rankings. Consistently showing he is an elite bat, Rodgers’ weak Colorado debut was a bit of a surprise, especially considering the hitter-friendly nature of Coors Field. Though only playing 25 games, Rodgers was held without a home run, and hit just .224 before succumbing to a shoulder injury which required season ending surgery. Colton Welker is another Rockies infielder with a bit of a disappointing 2019. With only 10 HRs on the season, Welker’s lack of power could be a concern, but I expect he will improve there. Ryan Vilade is one of the more exciting guys, who offers potential 5-tool skills with a great speed/power combination. Sam Hilliard had a breakout year, launching himself into Colorado’s top 5. He absolutely stuffed the stat sheet in 2019, with 110+ runs and RBIs, 24 SBs, 42 HRs, and he had 9 triples as well. The one thing Colorado is really lacking is high-to-mid end starting pitching. Ryan Rolison is the only pitcher who made Colorado’s top 10, yet he did struggle a bit after his promotion to A-Advanced. Look for the Rockies to target pitching in the next few MLB Drafts.

24.) Boston Red Sox

Bobby Dalbec, 3B (BOS)
  1. Bobby Dalbec, 3B (76)
  2. Triston Casas, 1B/3B (77)
  3. Jarran Duran, OF
  4. Jay Groome, SP
  5. Gilberto Jiminez, OF
  6. Thad Ward, SP
  7. Bryan Mata, SP
  8. CJ Chatham, SS
  9. Matthew Lugo, SS
  10. Noah Song, SP

BOS Overview: Quite a top-heavy system, the Red Sox farm system is carried by corner infielders, Bobby Dalbec and Triston Casas. Both players share similar skillsets, so I could see either Dalbec and/or Casas hitting 30-40 HRs a year, while maintaining an average around .250. While strikeouts remain a concern for both players, Casas has a higher ceiling, thanks to the 5 year age gap between the two. 7th round pick Jaran Duran has been a pleasant surprise for the Red Sox, as he had an excellent 2019, hitting over .300 and swiping nearly 50 bases. Duran could be a potential Jackie Bradley Jr. type player, and given that Bradley’s contract expires after 2020, Duran’s timeline fits perfectly. Pitching is a bit of a weakness for Boston, but Jay Groome is a high upside guy who has been limited by injuries. Missing most of 2018 and 2019, Groome is a potential breakout candidate for 2020. So far, it seems like Noah Song has been a good find in the 4th round of the 2019 draft, and his stock could be moving up soon. Boston surely must be disappointed by weak seasons from some of their lower level guys such as Antoni Flores and Cameron Cannon, but overall, 2019 was encouraging for Boston, giving them hope that they will have viable replacements for some of their veteran free agents.

23.) New York Mets

  1. Ronny Mauricio, SS (84)
  2. Matthew Allen, SP
  3. Mark Vientos, 3B
  4. Andres Gimenez, SS
  5. Brett Baty, 3B
  6. Shervyen Newton, INF
  7. Josh Wolf, SP
  8. David Peterson, SP
  9. Franciso Alvarez, C
  10. Thomas Szapucki, SP

NYM Overview: A general overview of the Mets top prospects is that they are very young and that they underperformed in 2019. Five of their top seven prospects are under 20, making these struggles understandable. The Mets landing Matthew Allen was one of the biggest surprises of the 2019 Draft. Allen was heavily committed to attend Florida if not given a massive signing bonus. Unsurprisingly, teams were concerned about his sign-ability, so when he fell to the 3rd round, the Mets pounced and took Allen 89th overall. Off to a good start in the minors, Allen offers the best ceiling/floor combination of any Mets pitching prospect. At only 18 years old, Mauricio has the most exciting ceiling of any Mets prospect, since he has so much time to develop. Though his season at Class-A Columbia could have been better, don’t forget Mauricio was one of the youngest players at his level. Mauricio was not the only top prospect with Columbia this year. Both Shervyen Newton and Mark Vientos played all of 2019 with Columbia as well, yet neither excelled with the club. David Peterson (24) and Thomas Szapucki (23) are two older, more experienced pitchers, who round out one of the youngest systems in all of baseball.

22.) Cleveland Indians

  1. Nolan Jones, 3B (46)
  2. Tyler Freeman, SS (74)
  3. Ethan Hankins, SP
  4. Bo Naylor, C
  5. Triston McKenzie, SP
  6. Daniel Johnson, OF
  7. Lenny Torres Jr., SP
  8. Will Benson, OF
  9. Bobby Bradley, 1B
  10. Daniel Espino, SP

CLE Overview: One of the youngest farm systems, there is a lot to like here. Cleveland’s top 100 guys, Nolan Jones and Tyler Freeman are very promising infielders who both had very solid 2019 seasons. I’d expect both to be ready for the MLB by 2021. On another note, Cleveland could have two front end starters in Triston McKenzie and Ethan Hankins. McKenzie has struggled with injuries and missed all of 2019, but the former top 100 prospect still has high potential. Hankins on the other hand is just making a name for himself. The 19 year-old was one of my favorite 2018 draft prospects, but winded up falling to #35. The Indians got a huge steal there, as Hankins has surely not disappointed one bit. Fellow 2018 draftee, Bo Naylor has shown worthy of being a 1st rounder as well. At only age 19 as well, Naylor and Hankins should make for good battery-mates, as they should progress through the minors with similar timeframes. As one of the older prospects, Bobby Bradley is a MLB-ready talent who’s signature talent is hitting the long-ball. Still only 23, Bradley has a couple years left to cut down on his K-rate and turn into a fine 1st baseman. Daniel Johnson is another more developed prospect who could make an impact in 2020. His well-rounded attributes could make him a valuable asset for Cleveland.

21.) Oakland Athletics

AJ Puk, SP (OAK)
  1. Jesus Luzardo, SP (9)
  2. Sean Murphy, C (64)
  3. AJ Puk, SP (66)
  4. Jorge Mateo, SS
  5. James Kaprielian, SP
  6. Lazaro Armentaros, OF
  7. Grant Holmes, SP
  8. Austin Beck, OF
  9. Robert Puason, SS
  10. Daulton Jefferies, SP

OAK Overview: One of the best things about the A’s farm system is that 6 of their top 7 prospects are at the MLB or Triple-A level. Their 3 top 100 prospects, Luzardo, Murphy and Puk, were all September call-ups, and all three have been dominating in their time at the MLB level. Sean Murphy should be a lock to be on the 2020 opening day roster, while Puk and Luzardo should vie for a rotation spot during Spring Training. Robert Puason could soon be one of Oakland’s top five, as they used over 5 million dollars of their international signing pool money to land him. Kaprielian and Mateo were both shipped to Oakland from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray trade, and they look as if they could make a key impact at some point in 2020. Former 1st round picks, Austin Beck and Logan Davidson, have struggled in their time in pro-ball so their stocks will continue to drop if they can’t reach their potential in 2020. Overall, I like Oakland’s system, but their are not too many high-ceiling guys. Most are projectable, yet unlikely to ever develop “superstar” attributes.

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