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. Jesse Biddle (SP)- The best compliment that I can give to Biddle is that there simply isn’t anything to dislike about him. He competes. He has good stuff across the board for a lefty. Low 90’s fastball, above average curve, and progressing change. Good delivery and good pitchers frame. I think he can be a number two starter.
2. Roman Quinn (SS)- Quinn is still learning to play shortstop, but he has the chance to be leadoff hitter, and has the type of blazing speed that gets noticed. He isn’t going to hit home runs, but should rack up a ton of legged out doubles and triples. Has a strong arm, and the speed and quickness will help range.
3. Jonathan Pettibone (SP)- Classic undervalued starting pitcher. Doesn’t have premium stuff for a right hander, but it’s plenty solid. Low 90’s fastball, with an above average change up. Still could develop his slider/cutter better, but his command has been pretty top notch.
4. Ethan Martin (SP)- I’m a bit higher on Martin than most, and frankly it’s because of his stuff. He sits low to mid 90’s with his fastball, and it has some movement on top of it. He flashes a quality change up, and has a late breaking slider. His curve still needs work, and of course his command, but it’s gotten better. He’s improving.
5. Adam Morgan (SP)- Morgan will probably get rated as high as two or three on a lot of lists, and there is good reason. He sits in the low 90’s with his fastball, has a quality change up, and flashes an above average breaking ball. He repeats his success from 2012, and I will be a believer.
6. Tommy Joseph (C)- Clearly, I’m not nearly as high on Joseph as others. I do like the power projection, but that’s about where it ends for me. I don’t think Joseph will hit for average at the big league level, and I think he will struggle defensively as well. He does have a good arm, but I think quickness and athleticism will be an issue down the road. Still, a guy that can catch and hit 20 bombs has value.
7. Darin Ruf(LF)- Ruf is a hitter. Could hit for average, but the big thing is his power. Thirty homers a season isn’t out of the question. Despite not having a defensive home on a NL club, he will just not have to trip over himself.
8. Shane Watson (SP)- Watson is a projectable right hander that already sits in the low 90’s with his fastball, and shows good feel for a curve ball as well. He is relatively athletic, so many believe he will be able to show the needed command to develop.
9. Carlos Tocci (OF)- Big time upside kid that shows an advanced ability to hit for his age. Just 17 years old, Tocci runs well, and shows the kind of physical ability that scouts drool over. Will have to wait to see if he develops power, but the rest of the game should be above average.
10. Mitch Gueller (SP)- Not sure why Gueller isn’t talked about a bit more. He is a real good athlete, which bodes well for him in the future when it comes to repeating delivery. Sits 92-93 with the fastball, and flashes a good slider and change as well. Hit and pitched in high school, and I think concentrating on pitching will help.
Just Missed The List:
Franco’s future is all in his bat, which looks to be pretty darn good so far. Asche is solid all around. Wright has two good pitches, and needs a third. Dugan is one of many Phillies farmhands that are as athletic as it gets.
Arias is a 23 year old righty that shows quality stuff and gets strikeouts. Might be a quality pen guy soon. Mecias is a projectable lefty just getting started, but is off to a good start.
The Phillies are my kind of system. I’m an upside whore that’s why. Despite my personal love, the reality is that they don’t have a bunch of top notch prospects. They have a bunch of top notch athletes with quite a bit of tools that need to turn those into baseball skills. There are a bunch of guys that I didn’t mention that I could, but I don’t have the space or desire to got 30 deep here. The system is a bit stronger in the pitching department, but given that a couple of the talented tools laden players like Aaron Altherr might hit, it’s one of the more balanced systems I’ve looked at thus far.
There is no doubt in my mind this system could potentially rocket up the list with a good 2013 draft, and some strong performances from the toolsy kids.