Widgets Magazine

2013 Farm System Rankings

Written By on 6th April, 2013

Bullpen Banter's 2013 Farm System Rankings

1Seattle Mariners
2Texas Rangers
3Pittsburgh Pirates
4Houston Astros
5Minnesota Twins
6St. Louis Cardinals
7New York Mets
8Boston Red Sox
9Tampa Bay Rays
10Baltimore Orioles
11San Diego Padres
12New York Yankees
13Chicago Cubs
14Kansas City Royals
15Miami Marlins
16Arizona Diamondbacks
17Toronto Blue Jays
18Cleveland Indians
19Cincinnati Reds
20Colorado Rockies
21Washington Nationals
22Los Angeles Dodgers
23Oakland Athletics
24Atlanta Braves
25San Francisco Giants
26Milwaukee Brewers
27Detroit Tigers
28Philadelphia Phillies
29Los Angeles Angels
30Chicago White Sox

Jeff Reese: As the final piece to our 2012 prospect coverage, we turn our gaze towards ranking the organizations that house the prospects we’ve spent so much time debating. One of the difficulties is deciding how to properly weigh the divide between top heavy systems with elite prospects (Baltimore) and those that lack the elite prospect(s), relying on quality depth as their foundation (Toronto, San Diego). In most cases I favored systems with the elite prospects as they are most likely to develop into irreplaceable major league players. Among the top eight organizations, there is a confluence of both qualities; the elite prospects are still weighed more heavily, but the quality depth played a factor in moving some organizations ahead of the colossi of Baltimore (Bundy and Gausman).

A few teams have a pair, but no farm system could match the elite triumvirate in Seattle. With quality depth beyond Walker, Zunino, and Hultzen, Seattle was the easy choice for the primary spot. The order becomes murkier after that point; Texas is a system built on depth (lots and lots of it!), but Jurickson Profar is the second best prospect in baseball and propelled them to the second spot on my list. Pittsburgh saw a big jump up my list from last year as they added some depth to a top heavy system and saw Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco emerge into top fifty prospects; those two (along with Heredia to a lesser extent) bridge the gap between the two big right handers and the more speculative plays that reside in the lower regions of their farm system.

Toronto has seen perhaps the biggest tumble, but it happened for the right reasons. The number one system a year ago used their prospects to acquire legitimate major league talent; they’re now primed to make a run at the AL East title. Given how aggressively they have pursued amateur talent, along with the excellent depth that they still house, it would not be a surprise to see them move back up this list. Washington has seen a similarly big fall with the graduation of Bryce Harper. When putting their top 15 together, I was surprised by just how top heavy that system is; Anthony Rendon remains elite, but the quality declines rapidly after their top four. As you descend further, you start to encounter systems with one or two good prospects that just lack depth to rank highly: the Angels with Kaleb Cowart; the Reds with Robert Stephenson and Billy Hamilton; the White Sox with Courtney Hawkins; the Tigers with Nick Castellanos. The 2013 season will bring change as elite prospects graduate, the toolsy start to turn their talents into productive skills, and fruit emerges from the replenished soil of the June draft.

Al Skorupa: I was kind of surprised I ended up placing Seattle first, too, Jeff. I do love their top guys and their depth, but it didn’t feel like the top ranked systems of previous years. Same goes for Pittsburgh, who I had second. I don’t really love their depth but they have a lot of quality guys and some absolute stars at the top and it’s enough this year. Texas has Profar, Olt and has added a lot of high ceiling talent over the last couple years from the draft and international free agency.  I do feel like it’s a make or break year for a lot of guys in that system. Minnesota should be applauded for the job they’ve done rebuilding that system. I was shocked how much I liked that org. St. Louis always does a fantastic job, but I’m a little lower on some of their prospects than many. Boston has a tremendous top 4 and the system is stocked with interesting names beyond them. The R.A. Dickey trade brought in two elite talents to the Mets and some of their live arms are poised for a big breakout. The depth in the Houston system is impressive, but I don’t have a lot of confidence in the prospects past the top couple tiers there. They have a great chance to breakout and be the top farm system next year but they aren’t there yet. San Diego went sideways in the last year but I do still love what they’re doing.

It’s strange this year… I had little trouble breaking up the farms into tiers of “great” “average” and “poor,” but separating teams within those tiers was more difficult than usual. The difference between the “haves” who invested in their farms and the “have nots” who haven’t focused on their farm recently. This has potentially massive implications as we see more and more teams locking up their top players before they reach free agency. I was not expecting to rank the Orioles, Cubs, Reds, Rockies, A’s or Giants as low as they ended up, but they all suffered in terms of depth. I put great emphasis on whether a system projects to have a couple above average major leaguers, but depth is very important as well and I’m inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to teams with lots of raw tools and live arms. It’s going to be a very interesting year around the minors and expect to see a lot of turnover on this list for 2014.

Jeff and Al's 2013 Farm System Rankings

Jeff Reese
Al Skorupa
1Seattle MarinersSeattle Mariners
2Texas RangersPittsburgh Pirates
3Houston AstrosTexas Rangers
4Pittsburgh PiratesMinnesota Twins
5New York MetsSt. Louis Cardinals
6Minnesota TwinsBoston Red Sox
7St. Louis CardinalsNew York Mets
8Tampa Bay RaysHouston Astros
9Baltimore OriolesSan Diego Padres
10Boston Red SoxKansas City Royals
11Chicago CubsNew York Yankees
12New York YankeesTampa Bay Rays
13Miami MarlinsBaltimore Orioles
14San Diego PadresArizona Diamondbacks
15Toronto Blue JaysChicago Cubs
16Cleveland IndiansMiami Marlins
17Kansas City RoyalsCincinnati Reds
18Arizona DiamondbacksToronto Blue Jays
19Atlanta BravesCleveland Indians
20Washington NationalsLos Angeles Dodgers
21Colorado RockiesColorado Rockies
22Oakland AthleticsWashington Nationals
23Los Angeles DodgersOakland Athletics
24Cincinnati RedsAtlanta Braves
25Milwaukee BrewersPhiladelphia Phillies
26San Francisco GiantsDetroit Tigers
27Detroit TigersSan Francisco Giants
28Los Angeles AngelsMilwaukee Brewers
29Chicago White SoxChicago White Sox
30Philadelphia PhilliesLos Angeles Angels
Jeff Reese
Jeff Reese
About Jeff Reese

Jeff Reese is a writer & administrator for Bullpen Banter. He can be reached via email at JReese@BullpenBanter.com and via twitter @ioffridus. An index of his college notes can be found here and his youtube channel can be found here.

Articles, Features, Rankings

3 Comments on "2013 Farm System Rankings"

  1. Profile Photo
    Cool Lester Smooth April 7, 2013 at 9:24 pm -

    The Cardinals seem really low to me.  Taveras, Miller, Martinez, Rosenthal and Wacha are the best top 5 in baseball, IMO.  Not to mention that, since these are the Cardinals, at least a few of the lower ranked players will somehow magically transform into the next of the Cards’ long line of 3-4 win players in the vein of Freese and Craig.
    Of course, it’s pretty much splitting hairs through the top 10.

    • Profile Photo
      Jeff Reese April 8, 2013 at 8:27 am -

      Splitting hairs is the right term; 2-7 were all pretty damn close to one another for me. Taveras and Miller are a formidable top two, but I’m not completely sold on Martinez and Rosenthal as SPs so that pushed them down a little bit. As for Wacha, I’ve been a big fan since he was a Sophomore, but he’s still more of a mid rotation starter. 

      It’s a really good system though with quality and depth. If you’re looking for a sleeper, I’d point you to Lee Stoppelman. Nasty movement on all of his pitches and has reportedly seen his stuff uptick this spring.


  2. Profile Photo
    Andy New June 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm -

    After the Astros just drafted Mark Appel, as well as other good drafts in early June, they should at least be in the top five, no doubt.