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. Tyler Skaggs(SP)- Skaggs is a power lefty with the kind of stuff that would fit well at the top of a rotation, a low to mid 90’s fastball, a plus curve, and a solid change. He throws strikes, but needs to work on quality strikes at the big league level.
2. Archie Bradley (SP)- Bradley probably has a bit more upside than Skaggs, but has further to go before he reaches his potential. His fastball is mid 90’s, he has a chance for a plus curve, and his change is still developing. Needs command and refinement.
3. Skyler Trahan (C)- Trahan has the ability to be an above average catcher by the time he hits the big leagues. His bat projects to have some thunder in it, and defensively, even though he needs work, he has the physical tools to be a good one.
4. David Holmberg (SP)- Holmberg doesn’t have top of the rotation stuff, but his ability to pitch and command makes up for it. His fastball sits upper 80’s to low 90’s, and he couples that with an above average change. His breaker lags behind.
5. Andrew Chafin (SP)- Chafin has an above average fastball and a plus slider. However, he does have injury concern attached to him, and some control issues. I see him in the bullpen.
6. Chris Owings (SS)- Owings has the look of a guy that can handle SS defensively, so that gives him value right away. Beyond that, he does have a bit of pop, and plays the game hard. His swing and miss tendencies worry me about his hit tool though.
7. Adam Eaton (OF)- Eaton I think can best be described as a grinder. None of his tools are particularly loud, but he just performs well. Not sure he has the power to be a corner outfielder, so he is going to have to stick in CF. Something about him reminds me of Cody Ross.
8. Didi Gregorius (SS)- Gregorius’ ultimate ceiling depends on how well he hits. Defensively, he has the skills to be above average from SS, but offensively, he seems limited to me.
9. Matt Davidson (3B)- I’m sure I have Davidson a bit low than others, but I wasn’t impressed with what I saw personally. His stats show there has been some improvements, but I have concerns about his defensive ability, as well as to translate his power at the big league level. Still, there is an every day third baseman ceiling here.
10. Anthony Meo (SP)- Meo is a starter now, but there is some question as to whether he can stay in that role because of a pretty high effort delivery and the lack of a solid third pitch. His fastball and slider are good enough however to be a back end reliever if things don’t work out starting.
Just Missed The List:
Pollock is a hard nosed max effort guy that will play in the bigs for a while, most likely on a bench. Spruill is a sinker ball pitcher with back of the rotation potential. Perez is a young catcher who showed strong in rookie ball last year.
Eckels is somewhat of undersized righty with good stuff in a low 90’s fastball and good curve. Brito has an awesome first name, as well as some power projection and athleticism. Just 20 years old in 2012.
Arizona is known for it’s impressive arms, and there are a few. But beyond Skaggs, Bradley, and Holmberg, question marks litter those guys. But that is often the case with prospects outside of the very top few. This system lacks high end position prospects, the most athletic of which is probably Keon Broxton, who would’ve been in the 15 range for me. There is a good amount of relief arms, and if Chafin or Meo stick in the rotation, there is better rotation depth though I have my doubts. Guys like Charles Brewer add to the starting depth, but he is a fringe guy.
I did these rankings a couple weeks ago, and going through the names and scouting reports, I wish I had dropped them a few spots. To me, this system is probably more like 16th or 17th. Despite my affections for guys like Eaton and Pollock, I have to say in general it’s a bit overrated, and I probably let industry consensus sway my personal view a tiny bit.