Ranking Baseball’s Youngest Farm Systems

Rays' Minor League Rosters Skew Young

The Rays draft many high school players and sign many international amateurs, and they tend to trade for players from those backgrounds, so it makes sense that the organization’s minor league affiliates would be the youngest in the game.

While technically the youngest, the Rays’ four full-season affiliates narrowly edged those belonging to the Phillies, Astros, Braves, Royals and Padres. Results are determined by taking the average age for all players who opened on a full-season minor league roster or inactive list for each organization.

The complete results are presented below. Note that the Overall column is not a strict average of the age for the four affiliates because not all organizations had the same number of players on Opening Day rosters and inactive lists. Those totals ranged from 102 to 122.

Average Age Of Minor League Affiliates
No Organization
Triple-A Double-A
High A Low A Overall
1 Rays 26.5 23.9 22.8 21.8 23.72
2 Phillies 26.7 23.8 22.9 21.6 23.78
3 Astros 26.4 24.3 22.7 22.0 23.88
4 Braves 27.1 24.1 22.2 21.4 23.91
5 Royals 26.6 24.6 22.8 21.5 23.93
6 Padres 27.5 24.6 22.5 21.5 23.94
7 Rockies 26.5 24.4 23.3 21.9 23.99
Yankees 26.3 24.1 23.7 21.6 23.99
9 Cubs 26.6 24.0 23.2 22.1 24.01
10 Pirates 26.0 24.4 23.1 22.7 24.04
11 Dodgers 27.0 25.5 22.7 21.7 24.11
12 Brewers 27.2 24.9 22.3 22.3 24.15
13 Cardinals 26.6 24.8 22.8 22.4 24.22
14 Angels 27.5 24.7 23.3 22.6 24.42
15 Rangers 28.0 24.6 23.5 21.6 24.43
16 White Sox 27.0 24.5 23.6 22.6 24.47
Reds 26.6 25.0 23.6 22.2 24.47
18 Red Sox 28.1 24.4 23.3 22.2 24.48
19 Diamondbacks 26.8 25.1 23.8 22.2 24.50
20 Mets 27.1 25.5 23.3 22.6 24.54
Indians 27.7 24.5 23.2 22.0 24.54
22 Mariners 27.5 25.3 23.5 22.2 24.59
23 Athletics 27.5 24.9 23.4 22.7 24.62
24 Blue Jays 28.0 24.8 23.6 22.4 24.68
25 Orioles 28.1 24.9 23.4 22.6 24.76
26 Giants 27.2 25.4 24.0 22.3 24.78
27 Twins 27.6 25.2 24.0 22.4 24.84
28 Marlins 28.0 26.1 23.7 22.8 25.13
29 Nationals 28.8 26.1 23.9 22.3 25.45
30 Tigers 29.8 26.3 24.2 23.1 25.68

Taking a closer look at the Rays’ four full-season rosters:

At Triple-A Durham, Tampa Bay has prospects Jake Bauers, Willy Adames, Kean Wong, Chih-Wei Hu and Jacob Faria.

At Double-A Montgomery, they have Justin Williams, Riley Unroe, Jose Alvarado, Brent Honeywell and Nick Ciuffo.

At high Class A Charlotte, one can find Genesis Cabrera, Angel Moreno, Kevin Padlo, Jose Mujica and David Rodriguez.

At low Class A Bowling Green are Adrian Rondon, Josh Lowe, Jesus Sanchez, Lucius Fox and Garrett Whitley.

The collections of young players listed above account for 15 of the system’s Top 30 Prospects, including nine of the top 10.


A natural question to ask is: How strong is the correlation between farm system youth and overall talent level? Quite strong, as it turns out. The correlation score between system youth and our preseason talent rankings is 0.66. That correlation is too strong to be random.


A closer look at the youngest roster in each minor league:

International League (AAA)

• Indianapolis (Pirates): Outfielder Austin Meadows, the system’s No. 1 prospect, is flanked by lefthander Steven Brault, catcher Elias Diaz and righthander Nick Kingham.

Pacific Coast League (AAA)

• Fresno (Astros): Righthander Francis Martes, Houston’s top prospect, heads a group that includes first baseman A.J. Reed and outfielders Teoscar Hernandez and Derek Fisher.

Eastern League (AA)

• Reading (Phillies): Most of the system’s finest prospects are concentrated at Triple-A, leaving the youngest team at Double-A with second baseman Scott Kingery as its top prospect.

Southern League (AA)

• Montgomery (Rays): Righthander Brent Honeywell is the top arm in a system top-heavy with position prospects. The Rays quickly promoted him to Triple-A.

Texas League (AA)

• Corpus Christi (Astros): Overachievers like catcher Garrett Stubbs, third baseman J.D. Davis and outfielder Ramon Laureano headline this group.

California League (Hi A)

• Lake Elsinore (Padres): This roster features a blend of pro acquisitions, such as No. 1 prospect righthander Anderson Espinoza and first baseman Josh Naylor, and premium draft picks like righthander Cal Quantrill, outfielder Michael Gettys and lefthander Eric Lauer.

Carolina League (Hi A)

• Carolina (Brewers): Shortstop Isan Diaz, outfielder Trent Clark and third baseman Lucas Erceg pair well with righthanders Phil Bickford and Marcos Diplan at this new Brewers affiliate.

Florida State League (Hi A)

• Florida (Braves): The youngest roster in the minors relative to level features top Braves prospects such as outfielder Ronald Acuna, lefthander Luiz Gohara, third baseman Austin Riley and righthander Touki Toussaint.

Midwest League (Lo A)

• Fort Wayne (Padres): Outfielder Jorge Ona, third baseman Hudson Potts and shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. are the big-ticket prospects. Fort Wayne also is home to 17-year-old second baseman Eguy Rosario, the youngest player in full-season ball.

South Atlantic League (Lo A)

• Rome (Braves): This affiliate is home to Atlanta’s top two draft picks in 2016—righthander Ian Anderson and lefthander Joey Wentz—and its top two international signings from 2015—shortstop Derian Cruz and outfielder Cristian Pache.

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