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March 2, 2017 6:00 am

2017 Prospects: Organizational Rankings


Jeffrey Paternostro and BP Prospect Staff

Golden Globes aren't the only thing Atlanta won this year.

N.B. These will vary a bit from the rankings in the 2017 Annual. Some of that is due to trades that happened after we went to press, but some of it is also due to my just not liking those rankings anymore. I guess I am taking the whole “snapshot in time” thing very literally. As with last year’s, we have organized them into tiers, described—unsurprisingly—with lyrics from noted singer-songwriter, author, and Cubs fan, John Darnielle.

“But you cannot run / And you cannot hide / From the wreck we've made of our house / From the mess inside”

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Every farm system in baseball, ordered from best to worst.

1. Chicago Cubs
Farm System Ranking in 2014: 2
2015 Top Ten Prospects: Link
Top Prospect: Addison Russell (2)
Prospects on the BP 101: 7
State of the System: Despite graduating infielders Arismendy Alcantara and Javier Baez, and mildly uninspiring years from former Top 10 prospects like C.J. Edwards and Christian Villanueva, the Cubs are the proud owner of the game’s top system. With the 2014 arrival of shortstop Addison Russell via trade, the explosive emergence of third baseman Kris Bryant, and the selection of a hit-first prospect like Kyle Schwarber, the Cubs remain absolutely loaded with impact talent. The arrival and emergence of those players doesn’t even begin to touch on the continued presence of outfielders Jorge Soler and Albert Almora, as well as quality depth of high ceiling players like Gleyber Torres, Eloy Jimenez, Carson Sands, and Mark Zagunis. The Cubs’ system is loaded to the gills with talent that could help their roster continue to improve internally, or via trade.
Must-See Affiliate: Triple-A Iowa
Prospects to See There: Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Pierce Johnson

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Every farm system in baseball, ordered from best to worst.

1. Minnesota Twins
Farm System Ranking in 2013: 4
2014 Top Ten Prospects: Link
State of the System: No team in baseball can boast the same level of top tier talent on both sides of the ball and impressive depth at every level.
Top Prospect: Byron Buxton (1)
Breakout Candidates for 2014: Lewis Thorpe and Jorge Polanco
Prospects on the BP 101: 8
Must-See Affiliate: Low-A Cedar Rapids
Prospects to See There: Kohl Stewart, Felix Jorge, Stephen Gonsalves, Ryan Eades, Lewis Thorpe
Farm System Trajectory for 2015: Down. It’s hard to stay on top, especially with some of the top talent in the system likely to graduate to the highest level (Sano, Meyer, Pinto)

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In a few weeks, we'll deem one organization's minor-league talent the best in baseball. What will that portend for the team?

In three weeks or so, Jason Parks is going to publish his organizational rankings. Rankings like these, prospect writers will remind you, are a snapshot. They capture reality at a particular moment, the publication upon which that reality immediately shifts into something slightly different or significantly different. There’s no permanent truth for prospects.

But there is the snapshot, and snapshots can be powerful. We weren't ranking organizations yet in 2004, but just before that season Baseball America ranked the Brewers the best farm system in baseball. The Brewers were otherwise in a lousy place: They hadn’t had a winning record in 11 seasons, tied for the longest streak in baseball at the time. The team president predicted Milwaukee would snap that streak in 2004, but when ownership instead chose to cut payroll to $28 million—lowest in baseball, and $35 million below the league median—the Brewers fired the team president (and traded Richie Sexson). But at least the Brewers had the snapshot of that farm system. When GM Doug Melvin wrote a letter to Brewers fans that offseason and had it published in Milwaukee newspapers, the farm system was something to feel good about:

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After taking each team to 11, Kevin ranks the individual systems.

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.

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May 19, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Preview: Monday's Games to Watch


Caleb Peiffer

A resumption of infighting in the NL Central, the Rays and A's put old-timers in the shade, and answering why everyone likes going home again.

Today's Full Slate of Games

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Nate comes to the end of his prospect review by naming his Top 100 and combining his valuations with those of our own Kevin Goldstein.

This is my favorite column of the year to write, perhaps because there's relatively little actual writing involved. Let's bring the PECOTA Takes on Prospects series to its long overdue conclusion.

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