Top 10 farm systems: Where do Tigers rank?

Detroit Tigers

Individual prospect successes sell jerseys. System-wide prospect successes sell World Series tickets.

Look at last year’s Fall Classic. The Braves claimed a title with the help of homegrown talents Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson and Max Fried among others — to say nothing of the club’s best prospect of the last decade, Ronald Acuña Jr., who missed the postseason due to injury. On the other side, the Astros not long ago underwent one of the biggest farm-based rebuilds in recent memory, an effort that brought them key 2021 contributors Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Kyle Tucker, to name a few.

The Rays, who until last year were on a run of being in the No. 1 spot for three straight editions of these rankings, are coming off their first 100-win season in the history of the franchise. The Dodgers — big spenders but also high-quality developers in the Minor Leagues — finished in the top three of the 2019 midseason and 2020 preseason lists before capturing their World Series crown two years ago.

And on and on and on. Deep, well-rounded farm systems help Major League clubs win ballgames.

Keep that in mind as we roll out MLB Pipeline’s 2022 preseason edition of the Farm System Rankings. The top five clubs will be revealed Friday.

6. Miami Marlins
2021 midseason rank: 3
2021 preseason rank:
2020 midseason rank:
2020 preseason rank:
Top 100 Prospects: Kahlil Watson (No. 25), Edward Cabrera (No. 34), Max Meyer (No. 35), Eury Perez (No. 41), Sixto Sánchez (No. 58), JJ Bleday (No. 69

Despite graduating a slew of young talent to the Majors the past couple of seasons, the Marlins still are tied for the most Top 100 Prospects (six) with the Mariners and Pirates. While top prospect Kahlil Watson will need a few years to develop at shortstop after Miami stole him with the 16th overall pick last July, right-handers Edward Cabrera and Max Meyer could join the big league rotation in 2022 — with wunderkind Eury Perez not far behind. More »

7. Pittsburgh Pirates
2021 midseason rank:
2021 preseason rank: 8
2020 midseason rank: 16
2020 preseason rank: 15
Top 100 Prospects: Nick Gonzales (No. 20), Henry Davis (No. 24), Oneil Cruz (No. 26), Quinn Priester (No. 54), Roansy Contreras (No. 71), Liover Peguero (No. 79)

The Pirates have been waiting for difference-making help from the farm for long enough that Pittsburgh fans can be forgiven for greeting sunny forecasts with skepticism, but the bottom line is the organization has both depth and elite-level talent in development. With recent first-rounders Henry Davis, Nick Gonzales and Quinn Priester playing in the same system as trade acquisitions such as Oneil Cruz, Roansy Contreras, Liover Peguero and Endy Rodriguez, there’s reason to have faith that the Jolly Roger is rising. More »

8. Kansas City Royals
2021 midseason rank: 5
2021 preseason rank: 10
2020 midseason rank: 10
2020 preseason rank: 17
Top 100 Prospects: Bobby Witt Jr. (No. 1), MJ Melendez (No. 51), Nick Pratto (No. 62), Asa Lacy (No. 72)

MLB Pipeline has been ranking prospects since 2004, and this marks the first time a Royals prospect has claimed the No. 1 overall spot. The closest before Bobby Witt Jr. assumed the throne this spring was when Alex Gordon was No. 2 in 2007. Witt is Kansas City’s only Top 50 overall prospect, hurting the system slightly in this set of rankings. The Royals showed a real propensity to develop bats in 2021 – Witt, Pratto, Melendez and Vinnie Pasquantino each finished among the Minors’ top six in extra-base hits last year – but they lack the same punch in the arms race. Lacy struggled with control and health in his first full season, and 2021 Draft picks Frank Mozzicato and Ben Kudrna are years away from Kauffman Stadium, though they do have solid ceilings. More »

9. Texas Rangers 
2021 midseason rank: 11 
2021 preseason rank: 21 
2020 midseason rank: 24 
2020 preseason rank: 21 
Top 100 Prospects: Jack Leiter (No. 17), Josh Jung (No. 29), Cole Winn (No. 48), Ezequiel Duran (No. 83), Justin Foscue (No. 89) 

The Rangers signed Corey Seager and Marcus Semien to bolster their lineup, and their farm system should give the club a huge boost in the next couple of years. Right-handers Jack Leiter, Cole Winn and Owen White headline what might be Texas’ best group of pitching prospects ever. There’s no shortage of talented hitters either, led by third baseman Josh Jung, infielders Ezequiel Duran, Justin Foscue and Josh Smith and first baseman/outfielder Dustin Harris. More »

10. Detroit Tigers
2021 midseason rank: 7
2021 preseason rank: 2
2020 midseason rank: 2
2020 preseason rank: 5
Top 100 Prospects: Spencer Torkelson (No. 4), Riley Greene (No. 5), Jackson Jobe (No. 40)

No other system has two prospects in the Top 5. Only five have three or more in the Top 40. Those facts alone would buy the Tigers a spot in the Top 10 of these rankings, but only by a whisker do they get there because of the group’s top-heaviness. Still, it’s a credit to the scouting and development groups that Detroit has been able to make quality picks with each of its past three first-rounders – Greene (2019), Torkelson (’20) and Jobe (’21) – and develop the first two into Major League-ready contributors. Jobe will have a longer road as a high-school pitcher, but the arsenal is there for him to become an ace. There is some promise of future contribution from Dillon Dingler, Cristian Santana, Ty Madden and others, but a lack of top-tier depth holds Detroit back here. More »

11. San Francisco Giants 
2021 midseason rank:
2021 preseason rank: 11 
2020 midseason rank: 13 
2020 preseason rank: 10 
Top 100 Prospects: Marco Luciano (No. 13), Joey Bart (No. 31), Luis Matos (No. 63), Kyle Harrison (No. 75)

The Giants not only won a franchise-record 107 games last year, but they’re also positioned for long-term success thanks to a system that’s deeper than it has been in decades. San Francisco also has some high-end talent as well, with catcher Joey Bart preparing to take over for Buster Posey and a huge wave led by shortstop Marco Luciano, outfielder Luis Matos, left-hander Kyle Harrison and right-hander Will Bednar perhaps arriving in 2023. More »

12. Cleveland Guardians 
2021 midseason rank: 13 
2021 preseason rank: 13 
2020 midseason rank: 14 
2020 preseason rank: 12 
Top 100 Prospects: George Valera (No. 47), Daniel Espino (No. 53), Gabriel Arias (No. 73), Brayan Rocchio (No. 84), Tyler Freeman (No. 88

As the Guardians continue to slash payroll in the Majors, they’re going to have to rely on inexpensive in-house talent to remain relevant. Their system may be up to task, as it’s loaded with promising pitchers and sweet-swinging infielders. Most of their best young talents are still another year from being ready for the big leagues, including right-hander Daniel Espino, their best mound prospect since CC Sabathia. More »

13. New York Yankees
2021 midseason rank: 19
2021 preseason rank: 18
2020 midseason rank: 19
2020 preseason rank: 22
Top 100 Prospects: Anthony Volpe (No. 8), Oswald Peraza (No. 60), Jasson Dominguez (No. 61), Austin Wells (No. 96)

Shortstops are this system’s strength, led by Top 100 prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza and with future Top 100 candidates Trey Sweeney and Roderick Arias behind them. Despite sacrificing 14 prospects — including Top 100 guys Roansy Contreras and Ezequiel Duran — in trades for Joey Gallo, Andrew Heaney, Clay Holmes, Anthony Rizzo and Jameson Taillon last year, the Yankees still have plenty of Minor League depth. More »

14. Boston Red Sox 
2021 midseason rank: 12 
2021 preseason rank: 24 
2020 midseason rank: 25 
2020 preseason rank: 25 
Top 100 Prospects: Marcelo Mayer (No. 14), Triston Casas (No. 16), Nick Yorke (No. 55), Jarren Duran (No. 85

The Red Sox system got a huge boost in 2021 with the arrival of shortstop Marcelo Mayer, the No. 4 overall Draft pick (their earliest choice since 1967), and the emergence of Nick Yorke, their first-rounder from the year before. Most of their top prospects are position players, and first baseman Triston Casas and outfielder Jarren Duran could play key roles in Boston this summer. More »

15. Cincinnati Reds
2021 midseason rank: 10
2021 preseason rank: 20
2020 midseason rank: 22
2020 preseason rank: 24
Top 100 Prospects: Hunter Greene (No. 22), Nick Lodolo (No. 42), Elly De La Cruz (No. 76), Matt McClain (No. 87)

With Hunter Greene poised to spend considerable time in the Majors this year, Nick Lodolo just about ready to do the same, Cincinnati’s rotation should feature two of the most exciting rookie pitchers for a good chunk of the season. The big league club may also get substantial contributions from the newly acquired Brandon Williamson, while the likes of Elly De La Cruz, Matt McClain and Chase Petty (the get in the Sonny Gray trade) will intrigue in the Minors. Not bad shape for a system that just graduated the NL Rookie of the Year. More »

16. St. Louis Cardinals
2021 midseason rank: 21
2021 preseason rank: 17
2020 midseason rank: 18
2020 preseason rank: 18
Top 100 Prospects: Jordan Walker (No. 30), Nolan Gorman (No. 33), Matthew Liberatore (No. 43)

Walker’s ascent to become St. Louis’ top prospect gives the club yet another slugging-first third-base option behind Nolan Arenado. Gorman already moved to second base to get out of the All-Star’s shadow, and depending on how that transition goes, he could assume that role in the Majors quickly in 2022. Liberatore and No. 4 prospect Ivan Herrera aren’t far from forming a Major League battery themselves. Breakout performances from Juan Yepez, Brendan Donovan and Andre Pallante provide the system with some extra oomph. More »

17. San Diego Padres
2021 midseason rank: 17
2021 preseason rank: 6
2020 midseason rank: 3
2020 preseason rank: 2
Top 100 Prospects: CJ Abrams (No. 9), Robert Hassell III (No. 37), Luis Campusano (No. 44), MacKenzie Gore (No. 86)

Trades have thinned the Padres farm system over the past couple seasons, but there still are exciting prospects worth keeping an eye on. CJ Abrams is one of the more electric youngsters in the game and appears to be on a fast track to San Diego. Recent first-round Draft picks Robert Hassell (2020) and Jackson Merrill (2021) have impressed in the early stages of their careers. MacKenzie Gore has struggled, but has begun to show flashes of returning to form. The Padres have been aggressive on the international market and have several toolsy prospects in the system. More »

18. Chicago Cubs
2021 midseason rank: 18
2021 preseason rank: 22
2020 midseason rank: 26
2020 preseason rank: 23
Top 100 Prospects: Brennen Davis (No. 15), Cristian Hernandez (No. 92)

After building up a formidable farm system and parlaying it into the 2016 World Series championship, the Cubs are trying to travel that same route again. Six of their seven best prospects have arrived since the start of 2021: shortstop Cristian Hernandez from the international market, infielder James Triantos and left-hander Jordan Wicks from the Draft and right-hander Caleb Kilian and outfielders Pete Crow-Armstrong and Kevin Alcantara via trades. More »

19. Minnesota Twins
2021 midseason rank: 18
2021 preseason rank: 22
2020 midseason rank: 12
2020 preseason rank: 7
Top 100 Prospects: Royce Lewis (No. 46), Austin Martin (No. 52), Jose Miranda (No. 95), Joe Ryan (No. 97)

Even after dealing 2021 first-rounder Chase Petty to the Reds for Sonny Gray, the Twins’ depth is in pitchers. Four of the top prospects in the system (No. 4 Joe Ryan, No. 5 Jordan Balazovic, No. 6 Jhoan Duran, No. 7 Josh Winder) stand to open the season on the 40-man roster. The Carlos Correa signing complicated Royce Lewis’ plans to break camp in the bigs, but doesn’t make him any less intriguing. Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson bolstered the farm via the José Berríos deal and Jose Miranda appears ready to hit in the big leagues. More »

20. New York Mets
2021 midseason rank: 22
2021 preseason rank: 19
2020 midseason rank: 20
2020 preseason rank: 20
Top 100 Prospects: Francisco Álvarez (No. 10), Brett Baty (No. 27), Ronny Mauricio (No. 78)

The Big Three of Álvarez, Baty and Mauricio — who spent much of 2021 together in High-A and could open 2022 together at Double-A — remains the cream of the crop among those on their way to Queens. Those are three high-ceiling bats who could easily form the middle of a New York lineup by the end of 2023. Baty and Mauricio face some questions about their future defensive homes, in part due to the organizational depth chart, and that goes double for impressive slugger Mark Vientos, the club’s No. 4 prospect. Matt Allan remains the group’s best pitching prospect. More »

21. Toronto Blue Jays
2021 midseason rank: 14
2021 preseason rank: 7
2020 midseason rank: 7
2020 preseason rank: 16
Top 100 Prospects: Gabriel Moreno (No. 7), Orelvis Martinez (No. 38), Jordan Groshans (No. 80)

The Jays are gearing up for a potential title run in 2022, and their system’s drop over the years due to graduations and trades reflects the moves of a win-now organization. Moreno is the club’s catcher of the future and that could come early in 2022, based on the readiness of his bat and his athleticism behind the plate. Martinez and Groshans lead a charge of multi-positional infielders — a group that includes eight of the club’s top 14 prospects. The arms are behind the bats, but 2021 picks Ricky Tiedemann and Irv Carter show promise heading into their first full seasons. More »

22. Oakland Athletics
2021 midseason rank: 28
2021 preseason rank: 26
2020 midseason rank: 17
2020 preseason rank: 14
Top 100 Prospects: Tyler Soderstrom (No. 56), Shea Langeliers (No. 59)

There’s still room for improvement, but the Oakland system is much more robust than it was a year ago. This progress is due largely to trades that brought in 10 players — seven among the A’s Top 30 Prospects — while dealing away Chris Bassett, Matt Chapman and Matt Olson. If rankings were based on catching prospects alone, the A’s would be in fine fettle with two of MLB’s Top 10 backstop prospects in the system. Infielder Nick Allen and pitchers Daulton Jefferies and A.J. Puk are poised to make an impact in the bigs soon, and outfielder Cristian Pache could, too. More »

23. Washington Nationals
2021 midseason rank: 20
2021 preseason rank: 30
2020 midseason rank: 30
2020 preseason rank: 29
Top 100 Prospects: Cade Cavalli (No. 39), Brady House (No. 49)

Last year’s Trade Deadline blockbusters bolstered a struggling Nats system. The organization slips slightly from the midseason rankings, in part because its two Top 100 pickups — Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray — have graduated from prospect status, a positive outcome in the grand scheme of things. Cavalli and House — the club’s two most recent first-round picks — top the system these days, providing the group with a top-of the-rotation type and a potential middle-of-the-lineup masher who could stick at short. More »

24. Colorado Rockies
2021 midseason rank: 26
2021 preseason rank: 27
2020 midseason rank: 28
2020 preseason rank: 27
Top 100 Prospects: Zac Veen (No. 36)

The Rockies’ group of prospects is making its way up our rankings thanks to an influx of talent from recent Draft classes. Thirteen of the club’s Top 30 prospects were selected in the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Drafts, including Veen, catcher Drew Romo, outfielder Benny Montgomery and righty Jaden Hill. The Rockies boast nine international signings on the list, topped by shortstop Ezequiel Tovar, who has impressed this spring and could rise with a strong season. The recent additions will take time to develop, but are supported by long-tenured members of the system. More »

25. Milwaukee Brewers
2021 midseason rank: 25
2021 preseason rank: 28
2020 midseason rank: 29
2020 preseason rank: 30
Top 100 Prospects: Sal Frelick (No. 70), Joey Wiemer (No. 100)

Like speedy outfielders who can hit? Milwaukee might just be the system for you. Frelick, Wiemer (more of a slugging type) and Garrett Mitchell sit as three of the top four talents in the Brewers pipeline, and with all three headed for the middle levels in 2022, it isn’t difficult to envision them occupying the three outfield spots of American Family Field in the years to come. Left-handers Aaron Ashby and Ethan Small are knocking on the door. International signees such as Jeferson Quero, Hedbert Perez and Jackson Chourio could jump into Top 100 consideration with impressive showings. More »

26. Philadelphia Phillies
2021 midseason rank: 27
2021 preseason rank: 23
2020 midseason rank: 23
2020 preseason rank: 19
Top 100 Prospects: Bryson Stott (No. 45), Mick Abel (No. 81)

The Phillies’ farm system has slid down our rankings in recent years, but that’s not to say it’s a system devoid of high-end talent — infielder Stott looks like a future star at the plate who could crack the Opening Day roster, and Philadelphia has invested its top pick in the past two Drafts in a pair of talented right-handers — Abel and Andrew Painter. The system is skewed toward the offensive side, featuring players who rose up the rankings after breakout 2021 seasons by catcher Logan O’Hoppe and outfielders Johan Rojas and Jhailyn Ortiz. More »

27. Atlanta Braves
2021 midseason rank: 23
2021 preseason rank: 15
2020 midseason rank: 15
2020 preseason rank: 8
Top 100 Prospects: Michael Harris II (No. 65)

Atlanta’s current rank can be attributed to the graduations of talented players making up the core of its 2021 World Series-winning roster and the acquisition of Matt Olson this offseason, which cost the team Shea Langeliers, Cristian Pache, Ryan Cusick and Joey Estes. The current state of the system features a top half of players ready to make debuts this season or next season. Harris and right-hander Spencer Strider earned the top two spots with breakout seasons in 2021. Outfielder Drew Waters, shortstops Braden Shewmake and Vaughn Grissom and pitchers Kyle Muller, Bryce Elder, Tucker Davidson and Freddy Tarnok provide young talent that could help support a championship-caliber roster. More »

28. Los Angeles Angels
2021 midseason rank: 24
2021 preseason rank: 25
2020 midseason rank: 21
2020 preseason rank: 26
Top 100 Prospects: Reid Detmers (No. 21)

The Angels have seemingly had fleeting Minor League depth for years but have produced high-ceiling players in Jared Walsh, Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh and Shohei Ohtani, the 2021 AL MVP. Detmers is set to build off a season in which he dominated the Minors and made his Major League debut, but the majority of the system features prospects years away from reaching Los Angeles. Right-hander Sam Bachman, lefty Ky Bush, outfielder Jordyn Adams, catcher Edgar Quero and middle infielders Arol Vera, Kyren Paris, Denzer Guzman and Jeremiah Jackson could help the Angels rise back up the rankings with strong 2022 campaigns. More »

29. Houston Astros
2021 midseason rank: 29
2021 preseason rank: 29
2020 midseason rank: 27
2020 preseason rank: 28
Top 100 Prospects: none

The Astros place in the bottom three for the fifth straight time, yet that hasn’t kept them from appearing in five consecutive American League Championship Series. In the past two years, unheralded prospects Cristian Javier, Luis Garcia, Chas McCormick and Jake Meyers have made significant contributions. This year, Houston could get a boost from its top three prospects, all of whom narrowly missed the Top 100: shortstop Jeremy Peña, catcher Korey Lee and right-hander Hunter Brown. More »

30. Chicago White Sox
2021 midseason rank: 30
2021 preseason rank: 16
2020 midseason rank: 6
2020 preseason rank: 11
Top 100 Prospects: none

Though the White Sox rank last again, their system was a mainstay in the top 10 from 2017-20 and cranked out a lot of talent en route to the first back-to-back playoff appearances in franchise history. As with the big league club, many of the organization’s top prospects hail from Cuba: slugging outfielders Oscar Colas and Yoelqui Céspedes, right-hander Norge Vera, infielders Bryan Ramos and Yolbert Sanchez. More »

Articles You May Like

GameThread: Tigers vs. Nationals, 6:40 p.m.
TMLR podcast with Sam Lebowitz of the Erie SeaWolves
Pennsylvania Lottery Online Plays
Jace Jung homers twice as Hens crush the Storm Chasers
Nationals 5, Tigers 4 (F/10 innings): You gotta catch that third strike

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *