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. Dylan Bundy(SP)- Bundy is the best pitching prospect in the game. He is a good athlete, knows how to pitch, and carries three potential plus pitches to the mound every time out. Could make an impact in the Orioles rotation as soon as this year.
2. Kevin Gausman (SP)- Gausman is potentially a number one type in his own right, but with Bundy on the team will slot in as a strong number two. Gausman sits 92-94 with his fastball, has an above average change. His breaking ball is still a work in progress but he flashes a good slider from time to time.
3. Jonathan Schoop (SS)- I think people forget about Schoop, but they shouldn’t. He played in AA last season at the age of 20 and held his own. Schoop has good pop, and defensively it looks like as of now he can still play shortstop. He needs work on plate discipline, but that could come in time. Probably a third baseman down the road, because he isn’t an above average athlete.
4. Eduardo Rodriguez (SP)- Rodriguez is a talented lefty that pitched in low A ball at 19 years old last season. He pitches in the low 90’s with his fastball, and also has a slider and change that are still works in progress. At 6’2″ and 175, there might be more gas on the fastball to come, and part of that is because he is learning to repeat mechanics consistently.
5. Branden Kline (SP)- I think people are missing out a bit on Kline. Has the potential for two plus pitches in his fastball and slider, and just needs to develop a change. I do believe he could at least possess an average one, and I see mid rotation upside here. Big strong righty that hasn’t tapped into his talent completely yet.
6. Nick Delmonico (1B)- Delmonico looks like a guy that is going to have to make it on his bat. He has a strong frame and projects to hit for power, but doesn’t run well, and a defensive home hasn’t been found for him at this point. Athletically it looks like first or third base for him, which puts pressure on his power output. Not sure he hits for average at this point.
7. L.J. Hoes (OF)- Hoes is a solid athlete who should be a top of the order hitter. He doesn’t fit well in center field, so he is likely going to have to play a corner where he doesn’t really have the type of power that teams look for. Still, he is line drive hitter gets on base a ton, and should find his way into the lineup often enough.
8. Adrian Marin (SS)- Marin is a shortstop that looks like he has the goods with the glove to stay there. Offensively, he has a good idea at the plate and could hit for average, but doesn’t project to hit for much power.
9. Glynn Davis (OF)- He is making the list mainly because Davis is a premium athlete. His main attribute being his speed. Davis does have patience at the dish but has trouble with breaking balls. His frame suggests power could come that we haven’t seen yet.
10. Mike Wright (SP)- Wright has a solid repertoire with a low 90’s fastball, a decent slider and a change that he is working on getting better. There is some back of the rotation potential here, but he could be a two pitch reliever as well.
Just Missed The List:
Xavier Avery (OF)
Avery’s speed and athleticism is likely to get him looks, but he doesn’t hit enough to be an every day guy. Still, he will spend time in the big leagues.
Henry Urrutia (OF) and Josh Hader (P)
Urrutia is a Cuban defector that hasn’t played in a couple years. Hader is a tall, projectable, lefty who in a short sample showed off some strikeout capability.
The strength is clearly at the top of this organization with Bundy and Gausman. I think Rodriguez and Kline could develop nicely as well, and Schoop has every day potential. After that it’s a steep drop off and the system lacks quality depth. Basically the top guys forced me to put this system at 23, but that will happen when you have the best pitching prospect in the game.
Baltimore lacks impact bats, partly due to Machado’s unexpected graduation to the bigs already.