2014s Top MLB Farm Systems (11-30)

After posting my top 125 prospects and my top 10 farm systems, it’s time to finish up the list with the bottom two thirds of the league. Whether it’s due to a lack of depth or upside, these twenty teams fell short of making my top 10. However, all 30 teams had at least one player in my top 125, which wasn’t true in either of the past two years.

The scouting grade I reference goes from 0-9, and can be found in either my prospect list or top 10 farm systems article. 

11. Texas Rangers (one 5, two 4′s, five 3′s) 

The Rangers have a really interesting system with a few lower-tier players with huge upside. Rougned Odor took a big step forward last season and gives them another top middle infield prospect to follow Jurickson Profar. Beyond him, Texas has a plethora of hitting across the diamond with Jorge Alfaro behind the place, Joey Gallo’s power at third, and a mix of outfielders. While the pitching in the system lags far behind, there’s enough intrigue to slide them in at #11.

12. Kansas City Royals (two 5′s, two 4′s, two 3′s)

I saw Yordano Ventura in person at the Futures Game last summer and it’s obvious that the guy throws absolute gas. He and Kyle Zimmer give the Royals two great young arms, and Sean Manaea isn’t that far behind. Raul (formerly Adalberto) Mondesi is still just 18 and scouts rave about his breakout potential. This system has a nice mix of depth and top-end talent.

13. Los Angeles Dodgers (one 5, two 4′s, six 3′s) 

As the summer went on, Julio Urias was a prospect legend doing unheard of things for a 16 year old. His ceiling is more of a #2 starter, but his production helped draw a very high grade from me in the top 125. Corey Seager had a great start to the year, but a slow finish (.160 in high A) puts his prospect status in question. The Dodgers have an interesting mix of prospects, however, and are definitely a top 15 system.

14. Cleveland Indians (two 5′s, one 3)

The Indians lack depth, but have two top-tier prospects including one of my favorites in the entire minors, Clint Frazier. The redhead 5th overall pick in the draft is a true 5-tool player and one who could be in the top 10 next season. Francisco Lindor is a young but polished shortstop who is just below Addison Russell and Carlos Correa in my rankings (and I mean that as a huge compliment).

15. San Diego Padres (four 4′s, three 3′s)

The last spot in the top half of the league goes to San Diego’s strong depth, squeezing six players into my top 100. Matt Wisler and Max Fried are both very solid arms, while Rymer Liriano shouldn’t be forgotten after missing all of 2013.

16. Washington Nationals (one 5, two 4′s, one 3) 

Reports on Lucas Giolito are that he has back to his old self, which is great news for Washington and horrible news for hitters everywhere. Giolito has a true #1 ceiling, and A.J. Cole and Brian Goodwin give the Nats a trio of top 50 prospects. With a little more depth, they’d slide into the back of the top 10.

17. Miami Marlins (four 4′s) 

Andrew Heaney is one of the top lefties in the minors, and he leads the Marlins’ mix of mid-tier prospects. Colin Moran brings a steady bat to the system from the draft, and Jake Marisnick and Justin Nicolino could be in the major leagues this year to help out the struggling franchise.

18. Arizona Diamondbacks (one 6, two 3′s) 

This system is basically reliant on Archie Bradley, but Chris Owings and Braden Shipley at the back end of my top 100 add some value behind the #6 overall player on my list, Archie Bradley.

19. Cincinnati Reds (one 6, one 4)

The Reds are a similarly shallow system to Arizona, but Robert Stephenson’s strikeout potential and Phillip Ervin’s bat put them above a lot of other teams by themselves.

20. New York Yankees (one 4, five 3′s) 

“The Yankee Way” is certainly alive, with high level free agents and mediocre prospects to spare. With three first rounders, the Yankees had a weird draft that greatly helped the depth of their system. However, Gary Sanchez is the only player that made my top 100 and as a whole there’s not enough polish to move this system higher in the top 20.

21. Toronto Blue Jays (one 5, one 4, three 3′s)

Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman give the Jays a nice one-two punch, and Daniel Norris and Alberto Tirado give them a well rounded group of arms. That said, their lack of hitting pushes them just outside the top 20.

22. Oakland Athletics (one 6, two 3′s) 

Addison Russell can only carry this system so far, but Michael Ynoa and Bobby Wahl do add some intrigue on the back end.

23. Detroit Tigers (one 5, two 3′s)

The Tigers system has a similar profile to Oakland’s, being led by MLB-ready Nick Castellanos, who should be the Opening Day starter at third base in Detroit with Miggy back at first.

24. Tampa Bay Rays (two 4′s, four 3′s) 

Tommy John and make-up issues hold Taylor Guerrieri back on most lists, but I’m a definite believer in his talent. Jake Odorizzi, Alex Colome, and Enmy Romero present safer, lower-upside options in the system.

25. Philadelphia Phillies (two 4′s, one 3) 

Maikel Franco broke out with 31 homers between high A and double A last season and could hit in the big leagues by the end of this year, and J.P. Crawford, Carl Crawford’s cousin, presents some nice upside out of the first round of the draft.

26. San Francisco Giants (two 4′s, one 3) 

The Giants have a lot of solid arms, but no top talent. Kyle Crick has a live arm but I believe he is probably destined for the bullpen. Edwin Escobar, Clayton Blackburn, and Francisco Mejia all could take steps forward to hit the top 100 next year.

27. Atlanta Braves (one 5, two 3′s) 

Lucas Sims has had a nice two years in the minors so far, but is the only prospect in the system of real substance and isn’t the impact player that Nick Castellanos and Addison Russell are.

28. Milwaukee Brewers (one 4, two 3′s) 

After sitting in the basement last year, the Brewers have chipped up a bit thanks to Jimmy Nelson on the mound and Victor Roache and Tyrone Taylor in the outfield. The latter two players have some nice power upside.

29. Chicago White Sox (two 3′s) 

The White Sox are actually heading in the right direction, but need a couple more years of draft picks to move up the list. Erik Johnson and Tim Anderson give them two decent prospects who can at least save them the honor of being #30.

30. Los Angeles Angels (one 3) 

Last year was a horrible year for the Angels system as Kaleb Cowart tanked and no player took steps forward. Even worse, signing Josh Hamilton took away their first rounder. There are a few lower-end options that have seen positive reports, but for now this is the worst system in the league.

Matt Cott is a co-founder of RotoAnalysis and writer for CBS Philly and The New York Times. Follow him on Twitter @Kidcotti21! 

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