The prospect ETA game is a tough one to gauge.  With injuries, uncertain Super Two dates, and varying front office opinions with regard to “readiness”, there are simply too many variables involved that are impossible to predict for.  When commenters task me with an ETA question, my answer is a guess, and I’m almost always way off.  Yet, people keep asking.  So, in an effort to put your impatient minds at ease, today we’ll be running though some notable ETA’s, and I’m going to get specific with my guesses.  If my usual vague “mid-season-ish” response is crap anyway, then why not pin these down to the day and spice things up?  Here we go:

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Our offseason prospect series is through — all 30 minor league previews with fantasy-specific top 10’s are in the books.  For years we’ve written this same series, finished it, and then just sort of rolled into the regular season stuff without any fanfare.  This year, though, we’re wrapping up the minor league previews, and adding a nice little bow on top.  This post will serve as the bow.  The purpose is twofold: (1) For the first time we have links to each of our MiLB previews all in one place, and (2) we’ve ranked each farm system from a fantasy perspective, giving you a simple guideline as to which orgs are stacked with fantasy impact, and which orgs are virtually void of it.  Let’s cut to it:

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (1) | 2012 (12) | 2011 (24) | 2010 (29) | 2009 (8)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [97-65] NL Central
AAA: [69-75] Pacific Coast League – Memphis
AA: [64-74] Texas League – Springfield
A+: [64-71] Florida State League – Palm Beach
A: [68-69] Midwest League – Peoria
A(ss):  [48-27] New York-Penn League — State College

Graduated Prospects
Matt Adams (1B); Shelby Miller (RHP); Trevor Rosenthal (RHP); Michael Wacha (RHP); Kevin Siegrist (LHP); Tyler Lyons (LHP); Seth Maness (RHP)

The Run Down
In the business of talent procurement and development, the Cardinals are the best.  That’s the only way to explain how an organization can graduate prospects like Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, Trevor Rosenthal, and Matt Adams, and still come back the following year with a top 5 farm.  The Cardinals churning out homegrown fantasy-relevance is something you should be conditioned to expect by now, and it’ll continue this year with Oscar Taveras, Carlos Martinez, and Kolten Wong… and next year with Stephen Piscotty, and Marco Gonzalez… and the following year with [insert awesome prospects].  You get the idea.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (2) | 2012 (9) | 2011 (18) | 2010 (12) | 2009 (24)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [71-91] AL West
AAA: [76-68] Pacific Coast League – Tacoma
AA: [62-73] Southern League – Jackson
A+: [64-76] California League – High Desert
A: [67-72] Midwest League – Clinton
A(ss):  [44-32] Northwest League — Everett

Graduated Prospects
Nick Franklin (2B); Brad Miller (SS/2B); Mike Zunino (C); Danny Farquhar (RHP)

The Run Down
When considering the Mariners farm for fantasy purposes, it’s impossible to ignore the Safeco effect.  Every pitcher on this list should carry inflated fantasy value thanks to the ballpark at which they’ll be spending most of their time.  On the flip side of that statement, however, the M’s offensive prospects aren’t necessarily as exciting as they could be.  We apply the same principle when evaluating the Padres or Giants farm systems — never shy away from a pitching prospect pushing through the Seattle org.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (3) | 2012 (2) | 2011 (15) | 2010 (2) | 2009 (1)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [91-72] AL West
AAA: [73-71] Pacific Coast League – Round Rock
AA: [70-70] Texas League – Frisco
A+: [77-62] Carolina League – Myrtle Beach
A: [76-63] South Atlantic League – Hickory
A(ss):  [38-38] Northwest League — Spokane

Graduated Prospects
Leonys Martin (OF); Jurickson Profar (INF); Martin Perez (LHP); Nick Tepesch (RHP); Tanner Scheppers (RHP)

The Run Down
The fact that the Rangers can graduate Jurickson Profar, Leonys Martin, and Martin Perez all in the same summer, and return the next spring with a farm system that continues to rank among the best in baseball should speak volumes about the savvy of the organization’s procurement and development systems.  Texas is heavily involved of all aspects of baseball development, and the top ten I’ve listed here features prospects who were drafted, signed out of Latin America, or acquired via trade.  The mix of talent as a whole is oozing with high-impact potential, and while this group brings perhaps a smidge more risk than other orgs near the top of the league, it still needs to be considered among the top tier of fantasy farms.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (4) | 2012 (11) | 2011 (3) | 2010 (1) | 2009 (4)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [92-71] AL East
AAA: [87-57] International League – Durham
AA: [71-69] Southern League – Montgomery
A+: [67-65] Florida State League – Charlotte
A: [82-56] Midwest League – Bowling Green
A(ss):  [38-37] New York-Penn League — Hudson Valley

Graduated Prospects
Wil Myers (OF); Chris Archer (RHP); Alex Torres (LHP); Josh Lueke (RHP)

The Run Down
The Tampa farm took a big hit in the high-impact department with the graduation of Wil Myers and Chris Archer, and furthermore when Taylor Guerrieri went down to Tommy John surgery in July.  What’s left is an organization that’s seemingly void of top shelf fantasy prospects.  Even so, it’s probably unwise to sleep on this group — the Rays have a superb player development system that take its time with prospects, often churning out fantasy relevance from the places we’d least expect.  There is plenty of potential in this organization, and even though it’s not the most exciting brand of potential, you can sure as shizz count on Tampa to get the most out of it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (5) | 2012 (28) | 2011 (29) | 2010 (8) | 2009 (2)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB:  [62-100] NL East
AAA:  [72-72] Pacific Coast League — New Orleans
AA:  [73-63] Southern League — Jacksonville
A+:  [68-69] Florida State League — Jupiter
A:  [65-72] South Atlantic League — Greensboro
A(ss):  [39-36] New York-Penn League — Batavia

Graduated Prospects
Ed Lucas (INF); Marcell Ozuna (OF); Christian Yelich (OF); Derek Dietrich (2B); Jose Fernandez (RHP); Tom Koehler (RHP); A.J. Ramos (RHP); Dan Jennings (LHP)

The Run Down
The Marlins graduated a slew of high-impact prospects in 2013, including Jose Fernandez, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna.  That sort of talent exodus will drag any system down the organizational ranks, but fortunately for Miami, this farm still features exciting fantasy potential in the form of Andrew Heaney, Colin Moran, and Jake Marisnick.  It’s probably safe to say that this system experienced the biggest drop-off from 2013 to 2014, but there’s still plenty of intrigue here.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (6) | 2012 (10) | 2011 (17) | 2010 (5) | 2009 (13)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [97-65] AL East
AAA: [80-63] International League – Pawtucket
AA: [68-73] Eastern League – Portland
A+: [76-64] Carolina League – Salem
A: [51-87] South Atlantic League – Greenville
A(ss):  [40-33] New York-Penn League — Lowell

Graduated Prospects
None

The Run Down
This Boston farm is exceptionally strong from a fantasy perspective, but it’s a different brand of strength from the top-of-the-league systems that we’ve recently discussed.  Orgs like the Cubs, Twins, Astros, and Pirates all feature a grouping of extreme high-impact prospects at the top of their ranks, whereas Boston’s main attraction is in its fantasy-relevant depth.  Excluding Xander Bogaerts from the conversation, there aren’t any sure-fire top 50 prospects in this group (although Garin Cecchini is certainly in the T50 conversation), but even so, it’d be difficult to find another farm as strong as Boston is from prospects #5 through #10.  Everyone here can be owned comfortably in dynasty formats, and that’s a rarity among these preseason top 10’s.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (7) | 2012 (13) | 2011 (19) | 2010 (15) | 2009 (18)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [94-68] NL Central
AAA: [80-64] International League – Indianapolis
AA: [63-79] Eastern League – Altoona
A+: [57-77] Florida State League – Bradenton
A: [82-58] South Atlantic League – West Virginia
A(ss):  [43-52] New York-Penn League — Jamestown

Graduated Prospects
Gerrit Cole (RHP); Justin Wilson (LHP); Bryan Morris (RHP)

The Run Down
This Pittsburgh farm is a definite top tier system for fantasy, loaded with impact potential on both sides of the game.  After watching homegrown talents like Starling Marte and Gerrit Cole graduate into the big leagues over the past two seasons, we’re already accustomed to looking toward the Pirates for youthful fantasy help, and that trend should continue in 2014 as Gregory Polanco and Jameson Taillon appear ready for big league arrival.  Looking deeper, though, there’s impact talent at every level of this org, and even after Polanco and Taillon push through to the majors, prospects like Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows figure to fill those voids nicely.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (8) | 2012 (5) | 2011 (23) | 2010 (28) | 2009 (26)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [81-81] NL West
AAA: [60-84] Pacific Coast League – Reno
AA: [79-60] Southern League – Mobile
A+: [77-63] California League – Visalia
A: [81-58] Midwest League – South Bend
A(ss):  [34-42] Northwest League — Hillsboro

Graduated Prospects
A.J. Pollock (OF); Didi Gregorius (SS); Adam Eaton (OF); Will Harris (RHP); Tyler Skaggs (LHP)

The Run Down
The Arizona farm has been one of great interest to fantasy players over the past few years, and that trend holds true for 2014.  The D’backs have done a fine job in acquiring impact talent through recent drafts, and the trade market has been friendly to their system too.  I’ll admit, though, that this 2014 crop of prospects is a little more top-heavy than what we’ve grown used to seeing from Arizona — once Archie Bradley, Chris Owings, and Braden Shipley surface in the bigs,  this will be a system in need of high-end talent to emerge.  Fortunate for them, lower-levels prospects like Stryker Trahan, Justin Blair, and Jose Martinez seem poised for breakouts in the year ahead.

Please, blog, may I have some more?