Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (23) | 2013 (24) | 2012 (27) | 2011 (11) | 2010 (18)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [73-89] NL East
AAA: [66-78] International League – Lehigh Valley
AA: [66-76] Eastern League – Reading
A+: [49-89] Florida State League – Clearwater
A: [53-84] South Atlantic League – Lakewood
A(ss): [33-43] New York-Penn League – Williamsport

Graduated Prospects
Ken Giles, RHP | Cesar Hernandez, 3B

The Gist
The rebuilding process has begun in Philadelphia with an aging core and bloated contracts on their way out between now and 2017. Cole Hamels returned from offseason surgery to have another great season in 2014, and he could either be a part of the next good Phillies team or trade bait for some nice prospects along the way. The younger talent is already starting to arrive. Ken Giles emerged as a major force in the bullpen and could be the next closer once Papelbon is gone. Maikel Franco is on the verge of being an everyday player and should be an asset in fantasy leagues soon. The farm system is relatively thin, but there are some toolsy prospects in there. They are just too far away to be relevant in most leagues at the moment. If the organization is able to move veterans in trade this year and next, the farm could get very healthy very quickly. The Phillies’ first round pick in 2014 was Aaron Nola – a college arm that has a good shot at cracking the rotation in the spring of 2016.

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With the Phillies minor league preview coming up this week and recent trade rumors surrounding the Phillies’ ace, I thought it would be worth checking in on Cole Hamels and where his value stands right now in fantasy – particularly in keeper leagues. In some very early 2015 rankings, Hamels has appeared in the #10-#12 range. I don’t disagree with that ranking, but I’ve also seen him listed as a pitcher to avoid and some scuttlebutt about Amaro being to aggressive in his asking price for Hamels in trades. There is never a shortage of opinions on the internet, and attempts to devalue assets in real life sometimes carries over into our fantasy rosters – leading us to question our players. I’m hoping that’s not the case with Hamels, who remains one of the best pitchers in baseball and is deserving of the #1 slot in fantasy rotations. Anything less is undervaluing him in my mind.

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This index is a compilation of the National League top ten prospect lists publishing this offseason at Razzball. Click on a team name to view the original posts with commentary on each player listed. Clicking on a player’s name will take you to their Razzball player page with stats, projections, etc. The index will be updated as each new top ten is released, but the rankings will not change once they are posted.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (24) | 2013 (13) | 2012 (1) | 2011 (14) | 2010 (24)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [96-66] NL East
AAA: [81-62] International League – Syracuse
AA: [53-89] Eastern League – Harrisburg
A+: [78-58] Carolina League – Potomac
A: [87-53] South Atlantic League – Hagerstown
A(ss): [34-41] New York-Penn League – Auburn

Graduated Prospects
None

The Gist
The Nationals won 96 regular season games in 2014 but were eliminated in the NLDS by the Giants. Along the way, Anthony Rendon emerged as one of the best young players in the National League and Bryce Harper returned from injury to have a solid second half. Harper just turned 22 in October. Tanner Roark took the fifth starter gig and ran with it, rounding out a nasty starting rotation. Unlike some other contenders, the Nationals’ farm is in good shape. In addition to the talented major league rotation, the Nats have some of the best pitching prospects in the minors. They are also loaded with toolsy outfielders that could contribute to the major league roster soon or be used as trade bait to fill other needs. In the 2014 draft Washington used its first round pick to land even more pitching – drafting right-hander Erick Fedde 18th overall.

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Put down the turkey leg and up your bandwidth. This is the part where we all huddle around the warm glow of our computer screens to watch streaming video from countries not buried in seven feet of snow. Dust off your Spanish dictionary – it’s time for the winter leagues. Granted there will be names you’ve never heard of but there are cheerleaders…and prospects. There are also some major leaguers getting in the extra reps before we put a bow on 2014. Several leagues playing now will continue until the end of December, but the majority of the players we follow are concentrated in the Dominican and Venezuelan leagues, so we’ll roll with them for the most part. Just like the AFL, these are small sample sizes and the competition varies, but some performances stand out and are worth mentioning. Plus dynasty players don’t know the meaning of the word offseason. Here, in no particular order, are some of the players that have stood out to me in the winter leagues so far (stats through Friday)…

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (25) | 2013 (2) | 2012 (9) | 2011 (18) | 2010 (12)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [87-75] AL West
AAA: [74-70] Pacific Coast League – Tacoma
AA: [63-76] Southern League – Jackson
A+: [66-74] California League – High Desert (2015: Bakersfield)
A: [61-77] Midwest League – Clinton
A(ss): [28-48] Northwest League – Everett

Graduated Prospects
Taijuan Walker, RHP | James Paxton, LHP | Roenis Elias, RHP | Stefen Romero, OF | James Jones, OF | Dominic Leone, RHP

The Gist
The Mariners just missed the playoffs in 2014 and graduated several quality prospects along the way. Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma will be joined by Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, and Roenis Elias. Elias had a solid rookie season and will look to keep that going, while Walker aims to show why he was the organization’s top pitching prospect. The Mariners took one of the most exciting players in this year’s draft when they selected Alex Jackson sixth overall. The farm is stocked with enough pieces to make moves at the trade deadline if they go into buy mode either in the offseason or in July. On a side note, Seattle moved out of the launching pad of High Desert and now calls Bakersfield their High-A home after this year’s affiliation shuffle.

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The Arizona Fall League is over, but prospect season is in full swing. Razzball is posting fantasy-driven top ten prospect lists every Wednesday this offseason so be sure to check them out. While the AFL isn’t a long season, it features some of the better prospects in baseball and it’s worth looking back at a few of the top performers in the league this year. Moving forward, we’ll focus on the winter leagues. Big leaguers and prospects from many MLB organizations are still playing baseball! There are several leagues like this, but I tend to gravitate toward the Dominican Winter League the most. Players like Maikel Franco, Joc Pederson, and Rymer Liriano are just a few of the names you’ll find on the DWL rosters. Last year’s MVP, Gregory Polanco, created quite the buzz in 2014. The league runs until the end of December and I’ll check in on some of the performances there periodically in this Minor Accomplishments series. To follow along, you can live stream games here, here, and here. Just brush up on some Spanish first! Back to the AFL…here were this year’s top performers with some commentary:

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (26) | 2013 (26) | 2012 (15) | 2011 (2) | 2010 (9)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [79-83] NL East
AAA: [65-77] International League – Gwinnett
AA: [83-56] Southern League – Mississippi
A+: [68-71] Carolina League – Lynchburg (2015: Carolina)
A: [56-84] South Atlantic League – Rome

Graduated Prospects
Tommy La Stella, 2B | David Hale, RHP

The Gist
The Braves have a few interesting fantasy prospects in the pipeline, with Jose Peraza looking like the most relevant for 2015. The farm is on the thin side in general, but that could change if Atlanta decides to part ways with any of their major league stars. Jason Heyward and Justin Upton are both free agents in 2016. Evan Gattis is another trade candidate. Starting pitching is up in the air with both Ervin Santana and Aaron Harang possibly leaving in free agency, while Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen are still recovering from injuries. This could give the younger arms in the system a chance to crack the rotation in 2015. The Braves were part of the affiliation shuffle as High-A Carolina is now affiliated with Atlanta. Change also came in the front office this fall. Interim GM John Hart named Brian Bridges the organization’s new scouting director.

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Atlanta outfielder Jason Heyward is getting some love for his defense this awards season, winning his second Gold Glove award in three years. But his 2014 campaign was a tad disappointing for the more offensively-minded fantasy baseballer. Keeper league owners hoped Heyward would bounce back to his 2012 breakout form (27 homers and 21 steals) after an injury-riddled 2013 season. Instead they were dealt a bad hand in the power department. While Heyward’s 21 steals provided similar value, 11 homers was a far cry from the power numbers he put up as a 22-year-old. The Braves’ right fielder ended up as the 37th ranked outfielder according to the 2014 Razzball player rater (150th overall). One of the glaring weaknesses this season was his inability to hit lefties. Heyward hit just .169 with two homers against southpaws. That was good for a measly 39 wRC+. Compare that to his 2012 season in which he hit .224 with seven dingers against lefties. Nothing incredible, but it was a more palatable 73 wRC+. All this may lead some impatient fantasy owners to give up on Heyward too early – tempting them to throw him back into the draft in some shallower keeper formats. I think that would be a mistake.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (27) | 2013 (5) | 2012 (28) | 2011 (29) | 2010 (8)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [77-85] NL East
AAA: [70-74] Pacific Coast League – New Orleans
AA: [81-59] Southern League – Jacksonville
A+: [50-87] Florida State League – Jupiter
A: [87-53] South Atlantic League – Greensboro
A(ss): [34-42] New York-Penn League – Batavia

Graduated Prospects
None

The Gist
2014 was another step forward for the Marlins. Giancarlo Stanton put up MVP caliber numbers while fellow outfielders Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna both performed well in their sophomore seasons. All three are still under the age of 25. Right-hander Jarred Cosart was acquired from Houston in exchange for prospects Jake Marisnick and Colin Moran – both top ten prospects in the Marlins’ system a year ago. There is more to look forward to in 2015. Left-hander Andrew Heaney should get a crack at the rotation while pitching phenom Jose Fernandez is expected to return at some point this season as well. The farm system is pitching heavy and features multiple arms that could become options for the rotation soon. In this year’s draft the Marlins signed more high school players (11) than any other organization including first-round pick Tyler Kolek, who was selected second overall.

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