It’s that time of year again. Time to give this prospect junkie his fix. Last year, I did farm system rankings for all of baseball, and so I wanted to do so again. As I explain with any farm system rankings, this is a completely subjective business. I do watch minor league baseball, I do a lot of research on the players, and I do talk to people who do talent evaluation in baseball. I certainly don’t have the clout in the prospect world that the guys at Baseball America have, nor do I care to. This is meant to be fun for me, and hopefully fun and informative for the reader. At the very least it should allow for some debate from other teams’ fans, as well as allow Tigers fans a glimpse into other organizations farm systems, so when the Tigers make a trade, there may be some knowledge of who they are getting. Last year, the Texas Rangers took the top spot. Who will it be this year?
1. Wily Peralta(SP)- I’ve like Peralta for several years now. His stuff is good, generates ground balls. Should have a body that holds up. His command is a bit worrisome, and it probably holds him to being a mid rotation starter at best. And there is nothing wrong with that.
2. Clint Coulter (C)- I keep hearing that Coulter isn’t likely to stick at the catching position. I will give him the benefit of the doubt on that one until the Brewers give up on him there. How can you not like the plate discipline and power potential though?
3. Johnny Hellweg (P)- Hellweg has a big time fastball that can work into the upper 90′s. That’s great, but he is 24 and hasn’t shown he can really even control his repertoire, let alone command it. Think he ends up in the pen as a late inning guy.
4. Tyler Thornburg (P)- Nice three pitch mix with slightly less stuff than Peralta and Hellweg. Some think Thornburg ends up in the pen as well, but the size thing is tiring. Let him prove he can’t start. He is going to have to watch the long ball.
5. Mitch Haniger (OF)- Haniger didn’t play a ton after signing this past summer, but he does look to have solid tools across the board with power being his greatest asset. Should be able to stick in right field, though I don’t see him as much more than an average player at the big league level.
6. Victor Roache (OF)- Roache is from the Detroit area, so we are a bit familiar with him here at Motor City Bengals. In fact, he turned down the Tigers coming out of high school. I would have him higher on this list, if not for a wrist injury. Those tend to have a habit of lingering, and could potentially sap some power from Roache, which was his greatest asset. Could easily rank #1 on this list in a year.
7. Taylor Jungmann (SP)- Jungmann is pretty solid with his low 90′s fastball, and solid breaking ball and change. However, he looks like a back of the rotation guy all the way to me. Teams need those though, and Jungmann would fit in that lower ceiling, higher floor category.
8. Mark Rogers (SP)- Rogers has always had above average stuff, and if he can keep his walk rate around where he did in his major league trial last year, he will be just fine. Im skeptical of that, as well as being skeptical his health won’t be an issue again.
9. Tyrone Taylor (OF)- Taylor is a real good athlete, and Milwaukee doesn’t have a ton of those in it’s system. Tayler though showed in a small sample that he can play a little baseball as well last season. This guy could see a tremendous jump in the rankings with a strong season.
10. Ariel Pena (P)- Pena is a guy that is a bit perplexing. I’ve only seen him twice, and I like his fastball and slider. Yet, he seems entirely too hittable for the type of stuff he has. Might be better in the bullpen than as a starter.
Just Missed The List:
Rivera is a big bodied SS that can defend with some pop, but must learn to be more patient at the dish. Nelson is another college guy with a solid repertoire, but doesn’t have a standout pitch. Gagnon has a good arm and could move into the top 10 this year. Morris can hit and might be a bit underrated by me and others.
Couple of young Latin guys who have ability with the bat. Will have to see if it continues as they move up the ladder.
Milwaukee is a tough system to rank, and I could easily make the argument to have them up about four or five spots higher. Despite having a decent amount of guys that will eventually don a Brewers uniform, I can’t get over the fact that this system lacks some higher end talent. I do like guys like Arcia, Taylor, and Roache, but this system could use a few more of those types of players. The back of the rotation options are plentiful here, and the Brewers have gotten solid big league performances out of these types, so they do a good job of developing. Pure ceiling wise though, the group lacks a little. I didn’t even mention guys like Hiram Burgos and Jed Bradley because the stuff is ordinary even if they do good things with it. The larger number of those guys struggle to make it despite the Mike Fiers success stories.