Ranking the Minors: The Middle 10

Yesterday, we took a look at the bottom 10 organizations in Major League Baseball, in terms of minor-league talent. Naturally, that means today’s post will look at the middle-of-the-road minor league systems.

(BA = Baseball America, BP = Baseball Prospectus, FAN = FanGraphs)

The Middle 10:
NO.  BA    BP    FAN  
11.   KC   COL   BOS 
12.  PHI   CLE   CIN
13.  BOS   NYY   MIL
14.  CIN   PHI   COL
15.  NYY   MIL   TOR
16.  CWS    KC   PHI
17.  NYM   SEA   NYY
18.  PIT   NYM   NYM
19.  TOR   CIN   PIT
20.  COL   MIN   MIN

The biggest discrepancies in the rankings, when comparing the three publications, definitely appears to be with the Colorado Rockies (20th, 11th, 14th) and the Kansas City Royals (11th, 16th, 10th). Personally, I really like the top seven prospects in the Colorado system, which include pitchers Jhoulys Chacin, Christian Friedrich, catcher Wilin Rosario, and outfielder Dexter Fowler. I also probably like catcher Mike McKenry and utility player Eric Young Jr. more than most.

As for Kansas City whom I rated higher than anyone else, I think the top three prospects have the potential to be excellent Major League players: Eric Hosmer (1B), Mike Moustakas (3B), and Tim Melville (SP). The club had the best amateur draft in 2008, which is impressive considering that the organization did it with just one supplemental pick – and they cannot compete money-for-money with clubs like New York and Boston when it comes to free agents – and even international talent. Other players I really like in the KC system include pitchers Danny Duffy, Mike Montgomery, Daniel Gutierrez, Kelvin Herrera, catcher Jose Bonilla and outfielder Mitch Maier, who deserves the opportunity to go to an organization that will let him earn a MLB bench role.

Based on the FanGraphs’ Middle 10 Organizations:

  • Biggest Surprise to be in the Middle 10: Boston and New York (AL)
  • Best Chance to Improve Significantly in 2009: Cincinnati or Boston
  • Best Chance to Remain Middle-Class Long Term: Milwaukee
  • Most Likely to Produce a Rookie of the Year in 1-3 Years: Toronto
  • Club With the Best Pitching Depth: Minnesota
  • With the money that Boston and New York both have, you’d think that it would show up more in the talent filtered throughout their systems. In Boston’s case, the club has improved in that area in the last couple of seasons and could really take a step forward in 2009 if players like Ryan Westmoreland, Pete Hissey, Anthony Rizzo, Will Middlebrooks, and Junichi Tazawa perform like their scouting reports suggest they will. I will never, ever bet against Boston as an organization as long as the current upper management is in place. They’re just smart – and this would likely be a winning organization even if they were in the bottom half of the Majors in salary potential.

    New York, not unlike Boston, has been hurt in terms of minor-league talent by trades for established Major Leaguers. With that said, the club has paid a lot of money to prospects like Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes, only to have them under-perform. Other prospects like Andrew Brackman and Alfredo Aceves – and now possibly Ramiro Pena – get overrated by the media in and around New York. Whereas Boston builds bridges over the organization’s holes, New York seems to try and cover its holes with mat created by taping dollar bills together.

    Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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    14 years ago

    The giants A ball team, the San Jose Giants, might be better than half the teams on this list. Madison Bumbgarner, Buster Posey, Tim Alderson, Angel Villalona, Connor Gillepsie and Roger Kieshnick all play for the SJ Giants.