2014′s Top MLB Farm Systems (1-10)

After coming out with my top 125 prospects earlier this week, I decided to make my first ever rankings of the systems for each MLB team. There’s a huge spread in talent from top to bottom, and a couple teams are definitely setting themselves up for future success.

For reference, in my top 125 I set up a numbered scouting scale based on the ceiling and risk for each prospect. Going through each team, I’ll reference players by the grade they got. It was how I set up the rankings, and is pretty easy to follow.

  • 7 – an elite prospect grade that only four players received – Byron Buxton, Javier Baez, Taijuan Walker, and Miguel Sano.
  • 6 – any player that receives a six is still a star, but may carry more of a risk or not have quite the same ceiling as an elite prospect.
  • 5 – this grade indicates a very solid prospect,and ranged from 14-35 in my rankings.
  • 4 – this would point to a wider variety of prospect types, but are definitely useful trade chips and have potential to develop even more.
  • 3 – while some of these guys could turn out to be solid players, they are far from elite and can be found with relative ease in the draft and international market each year.

1. Minnesota Twins (two 7′s, one 5, four 4′s, one 3)

With two of the top four prospects in the game, it’s hard not to hand the top spot to the Twins right away. But what makes it even easier to is their great depth. Alex Meyer and Kohl Stewart give them a pair of high quality arms and Eddie Rosario and Jose Berrios represent lower-end but quality prospects. Lewis Thorpe is a player to watch with a ton of upside, and Josmil Pinto could be the opening day starter at catcher. All in all, the Twins system represents the best mix of upside, talent, and close to the bigs talent in the league.

2. Chicago Cubs (one 7, one 6, two 5′s, two 4′s, two 3′s) 

Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano are the best combination of hitting prospects in the game, but Javier Baez and Kris Bryant are a very close second. Add in outfielders Albert Almora and Jorge Soler and the Cubs certainly have the best collection of hitters in their minors right now. C.J. Edwards shouldn’t be ignored either – his production last year was off the charts, and his ceiling is higher than what was previously expected.

3. Boston Red Sox (one 6, one 5, five 4′s, three 3′s)

It pains me as a Yankees fan, but the future of the Red Sox is looking awfully bright. Xander Bogaerts, Garin Cecchini, and Jackie Bradley Jr. are three MLB-ready bats who will produce in the bigs this year, and Henry Owens and Matt Barnes are upside arms who will be up soon. Bogaerts is the system’s only stud, but the Sox had the most top 100 prospects with nine.

4. Houston Astros (three 5′s, four 4′s)

Having the top pick in the draft for two years straight is obviously a great place to start for any system, and the Astros have taken advantage. Carlos Correa and Mark Appel are both top prospects at their positions, and George Springer has one of the most explosive bats in the minors. The system also has depth at pitching (including Lance McCullers, who is really coming into his own) and the top first base prospect in my rankings, Jonathan Singleton.

5. Baltimore Orioles (two 6′s, one 4, one 3)

Tommy John claimed Dylan Bundy’s 2013, but the former 4th overall pick is still one of the best arms in the minors. Pairing him with Kevin Gausman gives the Orioles two studs in their position of need – the two ranked third and fourth among all starting pitchers in my rankings. While the rest of the system is relatively shallow, Hunter Harvey had a great first stretch in the minors last year and is a breakout candidate for this year.

6. Pittsburgh Pirates (two 5′s, four 4′s, one 3) 

The Pirates have been very careful with Jameson Taillon’s development, but he has had no issues and looks to be ready for the majors very soon. Austin Meadows was one of my favorite upside players in the draft last year, and Tyler Glasnow had a breakout season to vault up prospect lists. Gregory Polanco shouldn’t be ignored either as he could be up this season – he would give the Pirates an absolutely stacked outfield with McCutchen and Marte.

7. Colorado Rockies (one 6, one 5, three 4′s, three 3′s)

Jonathan Gray and Eddie Butler both throw gas, and could give the Rockies power pitching they’ve been sorely missing over the past few years. Beyond those two, David Dahl and Raimel Tapia represent high upside outfielders who could break out this season. This system has a nice mix of top-tier talent and depth.

8. St. Louis Cardinals (one 6, one 5, two 4′s, one 3)

Even beyond top 5 prospect Oscar Taveras, this system has an interesting mix of talent. The Peter Bourjos trade may prolong Taveras’s stay in the minors, but his bat is loud enough that he could make a Wil Myers-like impact in the second half of this season. Kolten Wong should start at second on opening day, and is a first-division player. Carlos Martinez’s control has improved, but he is still probably destined for a relief role.

9. Seattle Mariners (one 7, two 4′s, three 3′s)

Even though this is a pretty shallow system, when you have the best pitcher in the minors you certainly deserve a top 10 ranking. Taijuan Walker may not have the same kind of success that Jose Fernandez, Julio Teheran, and Shelby Miller had last season, but he has the same sort of upside and should be a guy to watch all season long.

10. New York Mets (one 6, one 5, two 4′s, one 3)

The R.A. Dickey has been fantastic for the Mets, giving them their two top prospects. Noah Syndergaard had an absolutely incredible year and could be a great #2 starter. Travis D’Arnaud is the best hitting catcher in the minors, and first round pick Dominic Smith is their first baseman of the future.

Read on with teams #11-30 here! 

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