Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (1) | 2011 (14) | 2010 (24) | 2009 (21) | 2008 (10)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [98-64] NL East
AAA: [70-74] International League – Syracuse
AA: [64-78] Eastern League – Harrisburg
A+: [64-75] Carolina League – Potomac
A: [82-55] South Atlantic League – Hagerstown
A(ss): [46-30] New York-Penn League — Auburn

Graduated Prospects
Bryce Harper (OF); Steve Lombardozzi (Util); Tyler Moore (OF)

The Run Down
A little more than a year ago, this Washington Nationals system was regarded as the best in the game. Then a trade with Oakland sent a handful of prospects out west, their top draft pick went down with a broken ankle, and Bryce Harper graduated to the bigs. What’s left, now, is a system that’s filled to the brim with risky, oft-injured prospects. There is almost nothing here that I would consider safe. Top overall prospect Anthony Rendon is an exciting, high-impact guy, but he’s yet to play a full season as a pro. Top pitching prospect Lucas Giolito tossed only two professional innings before being shut down for Tommy John surgery. He won’t pitch again ’til 2014. The rest of the top ten seem to be rehabbing from their third labrum operation, or their twelfth precautionary arthroscopic elbow surgery. This is not among baseball’s top 20 farm systems at the moment, but thankfully for Washington fans, the Nationals have a young and talented collection of talent at the big league level already.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (3) | 2011 (1) | 2010 (16) | 2009 (11) | 2008 (24)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [72-90] AL Central
AAA: [83-61] Pacific Coast League – Omaha
AA: [58-81] Texas League – Northwest Arkansas
A+: [66-74] Carolina League – Wilmington
A: [68-72] Midwest League – Kane County (SAL Lexington beginning 2013)

Graduated Prospects
Will Smith (LHP); Kelvin Herrera (RHP); Everett Teaford (LHP)

The Run Down
The Royals traded away a decent chunk of their upper-levels talent in the James Shields deal with the Rays. Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, and Mike Montgomery are all gone, and what’s left is a very young system. It also happens to be a very good system. But with youth comes risk. There’s as much upside here as there is in any other organization — numbers 1-10 below are all capable of bringing significant value to fantasy owners — and there are some college arms that should move quickly. But for the most part, this farm system is unproven. Unless Yordano Ventura is converted to relief, I don’t see much fantasy value pushing through until 2014. Even so, this group will be a lot of fun to watch in the upcoming season.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (5) | 2011 (23) | 2010 (28) | 2009 (26) | 2008 (20)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [81-81] NL West
AAA: [81-63] Pacific Coast League – Reno
AA: [69-71] Southern League – Mobile
A+: [64-76] California League – Visalia
A: [67-73] Midwest League – South Bend
A(ss): [36-40] Northwest League — Yakima (Hillsboro beginning 2013)

Graduated Prospects
Patrick Corbin (LHP); Bryan Shaw (RHP)

The Run Down
The Diamondbacks entered the off-season with one of the most impressive collections of 25-and-under talent in the game. With the departures of Justin Upton and Trevor Bauer, however, that youthful core took a major hit in the high-impact department. One of Arizona’s motives in those trades was adding low-risk depth, and in that regard, they did quite well — Didi Gregorious and Nick Ahmed are premium defenders up the middle, Zeke Spruill is a safe bet to max out his potential, and Brandon Drury is a 1B with upside. Unfortunately for us, though, these changes make the D’Backs organization a tad less exciting for fantasy purposes. But that doesn’t mean this system is void of fantasy intrigue. There’s actually plenty of immediate-impact potential here with guys like Tyler Skaggs and Adam Eaton. There’s long-term excitement, too, with prospects like Archie Bradley and Stryker Trahan.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (5) | 2011 (4) | 2010 (19) | 2009 (19) | 2008 (25)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [73-89] AL East
AAA: [79-64] Pacific Coast League – Las Vegas (IL Buffalo beginning 2013)
AA: [61-81] Eastern League – New Hampshire
A+: [78-55] Florida State League – Dunedin
A: [82-55] Midwest League – Lansing
A(ss): [46-30] Northwest League — Vancouver

Graduated Prospects
Anthony Gose (OF); Moises Sierra (OF); Drew Hutchison (RHP)

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (6) | 2011 (5) | 2010 (22) | 2009 (15) | 2008 (5)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [95-67] AL East
AAA: [84-60] International League – Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
AA: [79-63] Eastern League – Trenton
A+: [65-70] Florida State League – Tampa
A: [73-63] South Atlantic League – Charleston
A(ss): [30-45] New York-Penn League — Staten Island

Graduated Prospects
Cody Eppley (RHP)

The Run Down
It was an interesting 2012 for this Yankees system, as high-impact bats (see Austin and Williams) took huge steps forward, while a slew of promising pitching prospects (see Campos, Banuelos, Hensley) were held up because of injury, or risk thereof. The Yankees also watched helplessly as the wheels completely fell off of the once highly-touted RHP, Dellin Betances. What’s left is a system that appears out of balance in favor of hitting. But that’s not to suggest there’s no hope for the arms — both Jose Campos and Manny Banuelos bring front-of-the-rotation potential if they’re able to stay on the field. Sure, the health factor makes the pitching depth incredibly uncertain here, but there are plenty of systems who are worse off with regard to starting pitching. And even if all these dudes have their arms fall off this summer, Yankees fans can rest assured that big league acquisitions will keep New York at (or near) the top of the AL East.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (7) | 2011 (6) | 2010 (17) | 2009 (14) | 2008 (3)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [97-65] NL Central
AAA: [51-93] International League – Louisville
AA: [68-70] Southern League – Pensacola
A+: [72-68] California League – Bakersfield
A: [60-78] Midwest League – Dayton

Graduated Prospects
Zack Cozart (SS); Devin Mesoraco (C)

The Run Down
Cincinnati is coming off of a 97-win season, and while it’s tough to expect that kind of success on a year-to-year basis, I really don’t see much regression out of the Reds this season, or for the next few seasons either. The pitching depth that Cincy has accumulated in their farm system is outstanding — there are high-impact arms at every level, and there’s plenty of fantasy intrigue given that most of these young pitchers are of the lots-o-whiffs variety. The bats of this system are a little less appealing, but not completely lacking. Jesse Winker is a young player with a huge ceiling at the plate, and Henry Rodriguez is ready to make an impact in the fantasy game at 2B as soon as there’s an opportunity for him. Oh, and there’s also this Hamilton dude. He’s a big time slugger, or something.

Top Ten Prospects

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (8) | 2011 (8) | 2010 (20) | 2009 (29) | 2008 (13)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [76-86] NL West
AAA: [56-88] Pacific Coast League – Tucson
AA: [60-80] Texas League – San Antonio
A+: [69-71] California League – Lake Elsinore
A: [69-71] Midwest League – Fort Wayne
A(ss): [47-29] Northwest League — Eugene

Graduated Prospects
Yonder Alonso (1B); Yasmani Grandal (C); Anthony Bass (RHP); Brad Brach (RHP); Dale Thayer (RHP)

The Run Down
Pitching depth is the best asset of this San Deigo farm system. From the upper levels down to the complex leagues, the Padres’ farm is flush with quality arms. There are high-ceiling arms, and there are safe, high-floor guys, too. That sort of depth is hugely important — strength in numbers usually prevails in the volatile practice of developing pitchers. This top ten, however, is headlined by hitters. Rymer Liriano, Jedd Gyorko, and Austin Hedges all bring high-impact upside for the fantasy game, and Gyorko could be providing plenty of value this season. It might not be the best system in baseball, but it’s a damn good one. We can look forward to this San Diego organization churning out fantasy-relevant talent in bulk for the next few years.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (9) | 2011 (18) | 2010 (12) | 2009 (24) | 2008 (12)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [75-87] AL West
AAA: [63-81] Pacific Coast League – Tacoma
AA: [79-61] Southern League – Jackson
A+: [83-57] California League – High Desert
A: [71-67] Midwest League – Clinton
A(ss): [46-30] Northwest League — Everett

Graduated Prospects
Kyle Seager (SS); Jesus Montero (C); Alex Liddi (3B/1B/OF); Hisashi Iwakuma (RHP); Erasmo Ramirez (RHP)

The Run Down

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (10) | 2011 (17) | 2010 (5) | 2009 (13) | 2008 (2)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [69-93] AL East
AAA: [79-65] International League – Pawtucket
AA: [68-73] Eastern League – Portland
A+: [68-69] Carolina League – Salem
A: [66-73] South Atlantic League – Greenville
A(ss): [36-40] New York-Penn League — Lowell

Arizona Fall League PlayersSurprise Saguaros
Chris Martin (RHP); Pete Ruiz (RHP); Michael Almanzar (3B); Bryce Brentz (OF)

Graduated Prospects
Will Middlebrooks (3B); Ryan Lavarnway (C); Pedro Ciriaco (INF); Felix Doubront (LHP); Junichi Tazawa (RHP)

The Run Down
With impact talent at nearly every level of the farm, this is a deep system, and a good one. Xander Bogaerts, a top-10 overall prospect, headlines the group and will arrive within the next year-and-a-half as a big time fantasy asset. Behind him, Boston features a great mix of high-ceiling guys and high-floor guys, making this system not only high-impact, but rather safe as well. The Red Sox might be another year or so away from contending again in the crazy-competitive AL East, but the club has done a quality job of trimming some fat, and setting itself up for long-term success in the process.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (11) | 2011 (3) | 2010 (1) | 2009 (4) | 2008 (1)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [90-72] AL East
AAA: [66-78] International League – Durham
AA: [74-63] Southern League – Montgomery
A+: [55-79] Florida State League – Charlotte
A: [80-60] Midwest League – Bowling Green
A(ss): [52-24] New York-Penn League — Hudson Valley

Arizona Fall League PlayersPhoenix Desert Dogs
Lenny Linsky (RHP); Tim Beckham (2B); Hak-Ju Lee (SS); Richie Shaffer (3B); Kevin Kiermaier (OF)

Graduated Prospects
Matt Moore (RHP); Jake McGee (LHP)

The Run Down
The Rays’ player development systems have always been top-notch, and for the past several years, they’ve maintained one of the better farm systems in the game. As a matter of timing more than anything else — some bad luck, too (see Beckham) — the system was a little lighter than usual in the high-impact department near the end of last season. They were growing older, and more expensive at the big league level. It appeared that they were deviating from Andrew Friedman’s operational model — a patient, bottom-up approach that had discovered and nurtured talent better than just about any other organization — that had made them a year-to-year contender in baseball’s toughest division. And then the James Shields deal happened and the natural order was restored to the baseball universe. All of a sudden, Wil Myers became a Ray, and the once-lacking high-impact department was replenished with one of the more high-impacty dudes in the minors. Beyond Myers, Tampa added MLB-ready pitching depth in Jake Odorizzi. They also nabbed Mike Montgomery on the cheap — sure, he pitched like a pile of hot garbage in 2012, but one year does not ruin a prospect. When considering this top ten back in October, I was kinda worried about having to cover a slew high-upside 18-year-olds who hadn’t yet played outside of instructional league. Thank you, Andrew Friedman, for making this post more interesting.

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