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. Addison Russell (SS)- Russell appears to be able to do it all. Some wonder if he is going to stick at SS, but I think there is enough athleticism for him to do so. Projects to be an above average offensive player whether it be at short or 3B.
2. Sonny Gray (SP)- I think Gray made some nice strides at the end of 2012, and I fully believe that he can be a starter, and a good one in Oakland. The fastball/slider combination is top notch, and the change is coming along. I see a #2 upside, with a for #3 very likely.
3. Dan Straily(SP)- Straily of course almost came out of nowhere in 2012, and has convinced almost all of the prospect populace at this point that he can be a quality big league pitcher. He mixes his pitches well, and it’s not like his stuff is below average or something.
September 24, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Dan Straily (67) pitches to the Texas Rangers in the first inning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
4. Michael Choice (OF)- Choice certainly has some potential to be a plus power hitter at the big league level. I do worry about his contact rate, so hitting above .250 might be difficult for him. I also see him more as a LF, so I think his value takes a hit there, but he can be adequate in CF if needed.
5. Nolan Sanburn (SP)- I am going to be aggressive here with Sanburn. I like his arm slightly better than the guy that is following, and his rotation success will depend entirely on his change up. If not a starter, he will be a high end reliever when all is said and done.
6. Brad Peacock (SP)- Peacock has shown the ability to start before, so he is a little less of a wild card than Sanburn, but ultimately, I wonder if he is going to iron out his mechanics enough to be consistent with his command. He also is a relief candidate, and could be in the back of the bullpen.
7. Miles Head (3B)- I think Head will hit for average, and he looks like he will have average pop. I don’t see him as an above average power guy, so I think there is more value in him sticking at third, rather than first. Head isn’t a real good athlete, so maybe a DH spot could be in his future.
8. Daniel Robertson (3B)- Robertson has just gotten his career started, but it was a strong start for the 2012 draftee. He projects to hit for average, and I believe there is average to slightly above in his future. His patience is advanced for his age, and while he isn’t a great athlete, he has the arm to stick at 3rd.
9. Matt Olson (1B)- Olson is the prototypical first base prospect. He has plenty of power, using a short, compact swing, that generates plenty of bat speed. Given his type of swing, I do believe he will be able to hit for average as he gains better pitch recognition.
10. Renato Nunez (3B)- Nunez is a guy that you have to dream a little bit on, but if he can tighten up the strike zone, he has above average power potential, and could be a plus offensive third baseman. The defense needs work.
Just Missed The List:
Green looks like he has a shot to win the 2B job in Oakland in 2013. Stassi has the tools to be a productive big league catcher. Boyd is an athletic outfielder that showed more polish than expected in 2012. Bostick is an athletic 2B with a potentially quality bat.
Crocker is a personal favorite of mine. I like his approach to the game, and while the tools aren’t high end, he is solid across the board. Ynoa was hitting mid 90’s with his fastball in 2012, and after being injured so often, he now fits into the “sleeper” category.
I originally would’ve put Oakland a bit higher, but losing A.J. Cole did count against them a little. This system is solid, but still needs some work on quality depth, even though that has gotten better in the last couple of years. Plus, there are some real question marks with their top guys. I do like Oakland’s 2012 draft quite a bit, and I do like some of their younger Latin talent as well, so there could be a jump for this system by the end of the year.
This is the point in the rankings where the next five or six systems are pretty interchangeable.