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March 12, 2012

Future Shock

2012 Organizational Rankings

by Kevin Goldstein

1. San Diego Padres
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
They might lack that one marquee name, but no system in baseball can boast of having as many players at the upper levels who project as average or better big leaguers.

2. Toronto Blue Jays
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
A ridiculous number of high-ceiling teenage arms to go with some elite up-the-middle talent.

3. St. Louis Cardinals
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
They've suddenly become a drafting and development beast, with plenty of help coming beginning in 2013.

4. Oakland Athletics
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
The rebuilding has begun with a greatly enriched farm system set up for a window that doesn't exist until MLB gets off their hands in terms of a potential move.

5. Kansas City Royals
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Down a bit due mostly to big league promotions, but some rebounds from the lefties that disappointed in 2011 would be nice.

6. Texas Rangers
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
An  impressive ranking considering the team has used their system to bolster the big league squad for the last two years. As always, the system is loaded with young, high-ceiling talent.

7. Seattle Mariners
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Pitchers at the top made dealing Michael Pineda a little easier to swallow, and Jesus Montero will be the big league club's best hitter as a rookie.

8. Pittsburgh Pirates
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
While progress at the big league level has been slow, the system continues to provide optimism, especially in terms of pitching, the Pirates' biggest need.

9. Arizona Diamondbacks
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
It's hard to find a more talented collection of starting pitchers, but that is the overwhelming strength of the system, as offensive talent is woefully thin.

10. Atlanta Braves
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Here for the pitching and shortstop, but things could be moving in the wrong direction in a couple of years, as the team is suddenly thin at the lower levels due to some ugly drafts.

11. Washington Nationals
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
A tribute to their strength as they still rank in the upper half even after the Gio Gonzalez deal. Still star-studded, but the depth is gone.

12. Boston Red Sox
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Far from loaded when it comes to future stars, but still one of the deepest systems around with prospects at every level that bear watching.

13. Tampa Bay Rays
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
In danger of losing their status as the poster child for scouting and player development. With Matt Moore in the big leagues, this is a mediocre collection of talent headlined by a player they traded for; recent drafts have been ugly.

14. Colorado Rockies
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
A good mix of pitchers and hitters, as well as some young players who could take steps forward in 2012.

15. New York Yankees
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
There is plenty to dream about in terms of young talent, but other than Banuelos and Betances, the upper levels are bereft of quick help.

16. Baltimore Orioles
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
It's hard to rank a system with Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado any lower than this, but overall, the system is still wading-pool shallow.

17. New York Mets
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Made slow and steady improvements thanks to some returns on the international side of the ledger and a trio of power arms in Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jeurys Familia.

18. Cincinnati Reds
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
A big downturn, but that's because of the Mat Latos trade; using prospect to acquire talent is one of the primary reasons for having prospects in the first place.

19. Los Angeles Dodgers
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
There's certainly pitching here, but it's more quantity than quality, and the organization is wafer-thin when it comes to positional prospects at the upper level.

20. Chicago Cubs
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
The rebuild his begun, but there is still much work to be done. When your team's fans are obsessed with Matt Szczur and Junior Lake, that doesn't speak well of the system.

21. Florida Marlins
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Better than it looks at first glance, especially in terms of upside, as the majority of their top players have yet to reach the upper levels.

22. Minnesota Twins
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Boring drafts have led to a boring system, but the prospects at Low-A this year, including slugger Miguel Sano, gives them some upside.

23. Los Angeles Angels
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Without Mike Trout, this would be a nightmare, and he won't qualify anymore after his first big league game of the season.

24. Cleveland Indians
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Maybe the most fascinating system in the game as they are loaded with toolsy Latin American kids who have yet to play a full-season. Explosive potential, but also the risk of it all turning into nothing.

25. San Francisco Giants
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Gary Brown is awfully good, but it's a snooze fest after that.

26. Houston Astros
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Things are looking up thanks to the Hunter Pence trade and 2011 first-round pick George Springer, but it's still the same ol' mess after that.

27. Detroit Tigers
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Among the shallowest systems in the game, the back-end of their Top 11 wouldn't make some Top 20s.

28. Milwaukee Brewers
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Nowhere to go but up from last year, and they finally slide a player into the Top 101 with Wily Peralta at No. 92.

29. Philadelphia Phillies
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Picking at the end of the first round and being constant buyers at the trade deadline has taken its toll. There are some arms here, but very little offense, and even less depth.

30. Chicago White Sox
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
It really is that bad.

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

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