Elsewhere today we're analyzing the Opening Day minor league rosters for all 30 organizations. From all 120 of those teams, however, which ones rank as the most talented at the start of the season? This is in no way a prediction of which teams will win minor league titles this year. Instead, it's a look at which teams feature the most prospect star power, with particular weight being given to elite Top 100 Prospects. All rankings listed are a player's ranking on our Top 100 Prospects list. So if you're planning a minor league trip, here are some good teams to put on your itinerary:
1. Double-A Jackson Generals (Southern League/Mariners)
No other team in the minors can boast four Top 100 Prospects. With RHP Taijuan Walker (No. 20) and LHPs Danny Hultzen (No. 21) and James Paxton (No. 52)—along with SS Nick Franklin (No. 77)—Jackson fans are sure to get an elite prospect on the mound three out of every five days.
2. Double-A Mobile BayBears (Southern League/Diamondbacks)
Mobile won the Southern League title last year and was our Minor League Team of the Year. Now they've brought back much of that club to start the 2012 season. RHP Trevor Bauer (No. 9) and LHP Tyler Skaggs (No. 13) lead off maybe the best rotation in the minors, followed by LHP Patrick Corbin and RHP Charles Brewer. Center fielder A.J. Pollock and 1B Matt Davidson are also among the best prospects in the Diamondbacks system.
3. Double-A Frisco RoughRiders (Texas League/Rangers)
Seeing SS Jurickson Profar (No. 7) play night in and night out would be enough to make Frisco a worthy pilgrimage for prospect watchers, but when you add in 3B Mike Olt (No. 43) and defensive wiz 2B Leury Garcia the RoughRiders are stacked in the infield. The rotation should be stout as well with RHPs Justin Grimm and Barret Loux and LHP Miguel de los Santos.
4. Low Class A Charleston RiverDogs (South Atlantic League/Yankees)
The RiverDogs have two Top 100 Prospects in C Gary Sanchez (No. 81), who is repeating this level, and OF Mason Williams (No. 85). If we ranked the top 200 prospects in the game, they'd have several more additions as 3B Dante Bichette Jr. and RHP Jose Campos both have the potential to make the 2013 Top 100. Charleston also features the Yankees' first two picks from the 2010 draft, SS Cito Culver and 2B Angelo Gumbs.
5. High Class A Bradenton Marauders (Florida State League/Pirates)
With RHPs Gerrit Cole (No. 12) and Jameson Taillon (No. 15) headlining, Bradenton will boast the most star-packed rotation in the Florida State League. LHP Colton Cain, who signed for $1.125 million out of the 2009 draft, adds to the millionaire rotation. In the field, 1B Alex Dickerson and OFs Evan Chambers and Mel Rojas Jr. have potential.
6. Triple-A Sacramento River Cats (Pacific Coast League/Athletics)
The failure of RHPs Jarrod Parker (No. 26) and Brad Peacock (No. 36) to crack the Athletics rotation gives River Cats fans their chance to see two of Oakland's newest acquisitions and biggest hopes for the future. They'll get plenty of help from a lineup that features OFs Grant Green, Michael Taylor and Jermaine Mitchell, as well as 1B/DH Chris Carter.
7. Triple-A Tucson Padres (Pacific Coast League/Padres)
San Diego's recent trades will pay dividends for Tucson fans. They will get to see one of the best catching prospects in the minors in Yasmani Grandal (No. 53) and righthander Casey Kelly (No. 76). Kelly will be joined in the rotation by RHP Joe Wieland, while the outfield will feature James Darnell and Blake Tekotte.
8. Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks (Texas League/Astros)
It has been a long time since the Astros could assemble enough talent to fill a roster like this, but last year's trades have helped make up for the organization's minor league talent deficiency. 1B Jonathan Singleton (No. 34) and RHP Jarred Cosart (No. 50) both came over in last summer's Hunter Pence trade. Fellow Phillies' pickups SS Jonathan Villar ahd RHP Josh Zeid are joined by ex-Brave LHP Brett Oberholtzer on what may be the Astros' most talented minor league club in a decade.
9. Triple-A Memphis Redbirds (Pacific Coast League/Cardinals)
RHP Shelby Miller (No. 8) will bring one of the best arms in the minors to Memphis, but he might not be the hardest thrower on this club, as Maikel Cleto, Eduardo Sanchez, Joe Kelly and Adam Reifer, all part of the Cardinals' Top 30 Prospects list, all can come close to hitting triple digits on the radar gun. Third baseman Zack Cox (No. 88) leads a prospect-laden infield that includes first baseman Matt Adams and shortstop Ryan Jackson.
10. Double-A Tulsa Drillers (Texas League/Rockies)
The Drillers have a pair of Top 100 Prospects in third baseman Nolan Arenado (No. 42) and RHP Chad Bettis (No. 86), who is hurt to open the season. After that there are several statistical standouts with something to prove. OF Kent Matthes hit .334 with a .642 slugging percentage last year at high Class A Modesto, but he has to prove he's not just a product of the California League and experience (he'll play this season as a 25-year-old). LHP Edwar Cabrera led the minors last year with 217 strikeouts, but scouts aren't yet convinced because his best pitch is a changeup. SS Josh Rutledge, RHPs Parker Frazier, Joe Gardner, Michael Mabry and Coty Woods, and 1B Ben Paulsen give Tulsa 10 of the Rockies' 30 best prospects.
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