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. Kyle Zimmer (SP)- Zimmer has everything you need for a top of the rotation pitcher. Which happens to be what Kansas City needs as well. Anyway, Zimmer has an impressive three pitch mix, and has the ability to command his arsenal as well.
2. Yordano Ventura (SP)- I could care less about the size of Ventura. His fastball and curve ball are nasty enough for me to overlook he doesn’t have an ideal frame. He could use better command, and he could use a better change up, but if he does those things, he is a top of the rotation guy himself.
3. Adalberto Mondesi (SS)- Mondesi has a chance to be the complete package at shortstop. Offensively, he could hit for average and power, while being a good runner as well. Defensively, he has the quickness and the arm strength to be good there as well. Needs to learn the strike zone, but I am going to give a 17 year old a bit of slack on that one.
4. Bubba Starling (OF)- If you follow prospects and are reading this, I probably don’t have to tell you that Starling is a premium athlete. Some opinions vary on whether or not he will be a good baseball players. His tools are loud enough to put up this high though. Was looking forward to seeing him in the Midwest League, but it looks like the Royals move to the Sally.
5. Cheslor Cuthbert (3B)- Didn’t we learn from Wil Myers not to write a guy off too fast? Cuthbert was 19 years old in high A last season. He still has middle of the order potential with his bat, and if anything, it sounds like his defense has gotten a bit better at the hot corner.
6. Sam Selman (SP)- I am a big believer that Selman is one of those guys that has a chance to take off. His fastball is premium from the left hand side, his slider is a potential plus pitch, and he just needs to develop his change further to be a mid rotation guy at least.
7. Jorge Bonifacio (OF)- Bonifacio isn’t a premium athlete, but the reports I got from his play in the Midwest League were very positive about the bat. He makes solid contact on all types of pitches, and projects to have solid power to all fields. He also carries a strong arm with him to the outfield.
8. Kyle Smith (SP)- Smith has a chance to become a mid rotation starter, and almost everything I heard about him has been positive. Good fastball that sits in the low 90’s, flashing an above average curve, and showing some feel for a change as well.
9. Orlando Calixte (SS)- Plate discipline issues might limit Calixte’s offensive upside, which includes some power, however, he is likely to stick at shortstop and be a good defender. That alone can get you on some lists, but the offensive potential adds to it. Just 20 years old in high A last season.
10. Miguel Almonte (SP)- Highly projectable with good stuff already, Almonte has the chance if everything goes right to be a top of the rotation stud.
Just Missed The List:
Lamb is coming off Tommy John, so I want to see how he bounces back. Gallagher has offensive potential, as well as a chance to stick as a catcher. Adam doesn’t look to have the same kind of potential as many thought when drafted, but I still see an inning eating #4 type. Hernandez is very tooled up, but after his performance in 2012, it’s apparent he has a long way to go.
Binford is a big kid who of course will have some velocity projection because of it. Baez already has a ton of velocity and just needs a sharper breaking ball and better change to be a real force.
I can’t believe how down people are on the Royals system simply because they traded away Myers, Jake Odorizzi, and Patrick Leonard. Yes, that is some talent, but the Royals are still extremely deep though the talent is tied up in a lot of boom or bust prospects. It’s hard not to like guys like Bryan Brickhouse (SP), Alexis Rivera (OF), and Colin Rodgers (SP) as well. The Royals also have guys like Chris Dwyer (SP) and Christian Colon(2B) who have plenty of talent as well.
Obviously depth is the strength of this system. There is also a pretty good balance between position guys and pitching as well. Again though, while the ceilings may be high on a lot of these guys, the floor is low as well.
Wil Myers might be gone but I like this system quite a bit still.