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|
||High A||Low A||Overall
Taking a closer look at the Rays' four full-season rosters:
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)
Pacific Coast League (AAA)
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)
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)
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.