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. Nolan Arenado (3B)- I’ve been rewarded before for sticking with guys who have seem to have taken a tumble in prospect status. Arenado still has all the tools and skills necessary to become an above average performer at third base. And it’s not like he didn’t perform well in AA for being young for the league.
2. David Dahl (OF)- Dahl has a chance to be a star. He can hit for average, and projects to hit for solid, if not above average power. He play CF and can defend that at an above average level as well. Not sure if he will be more than just an average runner, but he is a pretty good athlete now.
3. Trevor Story (SS)- I see Story as having potential to be an above average performer, but do have some concern about the strikeouts. Defensively, there isn’t any worry, and that gives him quite a bit of value. His potential to hit for some power as well is intriguing.
4. Kyle Parker (OF)- Parker has the chance to be a very good regular at the big league level. There is some swing and miss in his game, however, he has good pop and is willing to take a walk. He isn’t the most athletic of guys, despite playing college football, but the arm is plenty good for right field.
5. Tyler Matzek (SP)- So Matzek has a little problem with control? He reeled that in a little bit at times in 2012, and the result is his stuff is plenty good enough to get hitters out. If Matzek could improve his command to acceptable levels, he has a #2 type ceiling.
6. Chad Bettis (SP)- Word is that Bettis was back in instructs hitting the mid 90’s with his fastball, so the shoulder problems seem to be resolved. He is also the owner of a plus slider. If he can throw an even usable change up, Bettis has mid rotation ability.
7. Eddie Butler (SP)- Butler is much like Bettis in that he has a good fastball that can sit around the 93-94 area, and shows an above average slider, though not as good as Bettis’. If Butler can strengthen up his change up, there is no reason he can’t be a mid rotation starter.
8. Edwar Cabrera(SP)- I haven’t given up on Cabrera yet either. I think the stuff is good enough to be in a major league rotation despite getting knocked around in a short stint. The fastball is average, but the change is plus, and his breaking ball is solid enough.
9. Tyler Anderson (SP)- Anderson also relies on an above average change up to get hitters out. His fastball is average and is going to sit 87-89 most of the time, which is good enough for a LHP. His breaking ball isn’t as sharp, but he commands his arsenal well.
10. Wilfredo Rodriguez (C)- Rodriguez is a young catcher who showed off some skills as an 18 year old last year. Defensively, Rodriguez is built for the position. He has a good arm and quick feet. Offensively, he has a good idea of the strike zone and shows ability to square up baseballs for at least gap power.
Just Missed The List:
Aquino, if all comes together could be a mid rotation starter. Dickerson looks to be at least an useful 4th outfielder because of the power. Swanner is another guy with power potential, but he missed the list because there are questions as to whether he sticks behind the dish. Ortega is a fast, top of the order type hitter, who can play a good defensive center field.
Warner is a mammoth kid that with some strengthening and mechanical work could start pushing the mid 90’s relatively soon. Lezama has a little less projection, however, even though it was just the Dominican Summer League, his BB/K ratio is way too good to ignore. It was 9/69.
Really, the Rockies and the rest of these systems in the middle, are rather interchangeable depending on personal preference. I believe enough in the top four hitters in the Rockies system, and believe that a couple of their pitchers are going to emerge. If guys like Bettis and Butler don’t make it as starters, they could be high end bullpen guys, so there is some saving grace there if they don’t make it. The strength is in the positional talent mostly, but there is enough pitching to feel good about.
What I am really interested in is seeing some of the Rockies Dominican kids come stateside. Especially their pitchers to see if some of their impressive numbers can hold up. Also, the Grand Junction squad had more than just David Dahl, Julian Yan is an interesting power prospect, while Ryan Garvey can hit much like his dad Steve did years ago.