In his first plate appearance of spring training, a big league camp AB versus David Phelps, Gregory Polanco turned on a breaking pitch, sending it over the right field wall. Such things happen to 22-year-olds during spring training, and most of the time, they’re anomalies. In Polanco’s case, however, that moment, in retrospect, seems profound — a statement as to his readiness to produce at the highest level from the instant he stepped on a diamond this spring. Reassigned to Triple-A to begin the season, Polanco’s statements have only grown louder. Through 92 PA, he’s hitting .417/.467/.679 with 4 HR and 4 SB, making him the best mixed league stash in the minors. The Bucs have been fortunate thus far to squeeze some production out of their Travis Snyder/Jose Tabata platoon, but the upside with Polanco is unquestionably higher and it’s only a matter of time before Pittsburgh slots him into their lineup as the everyday RF. His incredible start at Indianapolis should allow him to segue into big league ball with a shizzload of confidence.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America

2012 (3) | 2011 (1) | 2010 (16) | 2009 (11) | 2008 (24) | 2007 (11)

2011 Affiliate Records

MLB: [71-91] AL Central

AAA: [79-63] Pacific Coast League – Omaha

AA: [73-64] Texas League – Northwest Arkansas

A+: [66-72] Carolina League –Wilmington

A: [65-74] Midwest League – Kane County

R: [33-43] Pioneer League – Idaho Falls

The Run Down

Even after graduating guys like Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Danny Duffy, the Royals system is still flush with future stars.  Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I spend most of my time here focusing on prospects who’re nearing their big league debuts.  Today, though, I’m gonna be discussing some guys a little further out.  In these rankings, talent trumps all – although, I broke that rule a few times based on lack of experience (see Bundy, Sano, Starling).   Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Grey spent a few humorous lines on Friday’s Buy/Sell article recommending outfielder Justin Ruggiano of Tampa Bay. The only thing in the way of Desmond Jennings, is not Sam Fuld or Ruggiano, it’s the Rays avoidance having him acquire Super-Two status; such status is acquired if a player receives more than 128 to 140 days of service time in first year of service acquisition; essentially while they are a rookie. Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In an alternate universe, one in which the Cuban Missile Crisis was more than a crisis, the local family big-box appliance store would be Montgomery Castro. Launching the next holiday sale, Montgomery Castro introduces the exceeding expectations oven, the humidor microwave and the “Honey, I can’t find my [ground] balls,” fake grass-carpeting for the “dry” seasons down south. Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?