9 MLB Farm Systems That Could Move Significantly In Our 2022 Talent Rankings
Our new organization talent rankings are just one day old, but it’s never too early to look ahead. Here are our picks for the teams that could rise or fall in the 2022 rankings.
Six Orgs That Should Move Up Significantly For 2021
It’s a reasonable assumption Adley Rutschman, Grayson Rodriguez, D.L. Hall and Heston Kjerstad, all current Top 100 Prospects, will not graduate this year, which gives the Orioles a very strong base of prospects for a 2022 farm system ranking. Baltimore will pick fifth in the 2021 draft, which gives them a potential addition Top 100 Prospect. And then there’s the chance for young prospects like SS Gunnar Henderson to develop.
Pittsburgh has shifted philosophies and is now aiming for high-ceiling, but far-away, prospects in trades. The previous regime often emphasized closer-to-the-majors prospects. That by itself won’t send them up the rankings much in the short-term, but it adds to the organization’s number of potential regulars. Quinn Priester’s emergence in a season where the minor leagues return could make up for the expected graduation of Ke'Bryan Hayes. Having the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft will help even more.
The Rangers’ 2020 draft can be described as idiosyncratic. In 2021, we will begin to learn if the club’s decision to go against consensus in a very unusual draft will pay off or not. A 2021 minor league season will also provide opportunities for a number of further away prospects (Maximo Acosta, Luisangel Acuna, Bayron Lora, Ronny Henriquez) and recently-injured ones (Chris Seise and Owen White) to improve their stock. But probably most importantly, the Rangers will pick No. 2 in 2021, meaning they should add another Top 100 Prospect to their system.
Boston Red Sox
A year after Mookie Betts was traded to the Dodgers, the trade of Andrew Benintendi seems to further indicate that the Red Sox are in rebuilding mode. That likely means the team will be adding further prospects in moves through the season—it already has three players to be named later coming back from the Benintendi swap. Bobby Dalbec likely will graduate in 2021, but the majority of Boston’s top prospects are unlikely to lose prospect eligibility this year. Prospects like LHP Jay Groome and OF Gilberto Jimenez could rise our rankings with full seasons in 2021. And like the Pirates and Rangers, Boston should benefit from picking very high in the 2021 draft—Boston’s fourth overall pick is the highest it has drafted since 1967, when it selected RHP Mike Garman with the third overall pick. This is only the sixth time ever that the Red Sox have had a top-10 pick. Most recently was 2015, when the club selected Benintendi seventh overall.
The Reds only had two players who cracked the Top 100 Prospects list, but they had another five who were not far away from making it onto the back of the list. That gives Cincinnati an array of possibilities for prospects who could surge onto the Top 100 with strong performances when minor league games resume. Cincinnati’s emphasis of picking higher-variance players in the draft (higher upsides and higher risk) also means they have players further down their rankings who could burst into the Top 100 with breakout seasons. Slugging 3B Rece Hinds leads that group, but 2B Ivan Johnson is another name to watch.
Kansas City Royals
After not picking in the top 10 from 2014-2018, the Royals will have their third consecutive top-10 pick when they select at pick No. 7 in 2021. That gives Kansas City a solid opportunity to add another Top 100-type talent as well as depth with two more picks in the top 70. But more than that, this is a bet on Bobby Witt Jr. The reports on Witt out of spring training, summer camp and the alternate training site are very promising. A big 2021 season for Witt could see him climb into the top five on next year’s list—nine of the 15 prospects ahead of him can reasonably be expected to graduate before the 2021 Top 100.
Youngest Minor League Players By League In 2021
After a canceled season, Baseball America resumes its annual look at the youngest players in each of the 11 full-season leagues.
Three Orgs That Will Likely Move Down Significantly For 2022
This has been coming for a while. The Braves had the No. 1 farm system in the game in 2017-2018 and have remained in the top five for the past three seasons. But OF Cristian Pache and RHPs Ian Anderson and Bryse Wilson will likely graduate in 2021 and OF Drew Waters and C William Contreras aren’t far behind them. Pache and Anderson’s Top 10 status play a significant role in Atlanta’s high ranking. Once they move on, the Braves lack of depth will send them sliding down the rankings.
San Diego Padres
If you trade away an entire roster of prospects like Padres GM A.J. Preller has done in the past year, that will leave a significant impact on the system’s depth. Preller and the Padres have managed to hold onto most of the team’s top tier of talent. Top 100 Prospects C Luis Campusano, LHP Adrian Morejon and INF Ha-Seong Kim are all likely to graduate. LHPs MacKenzie Gore and Ryan Weathers have outside shots of graduating as well. With San Diego not picking until 27th in the 2021 draft, impending graduations and thinner depth, the Padres are getting ready to plummet down these rankings. Padres fans, enjoy the swap as San Diego has traded an elite farm system for a World Series contender.
The Twins Top 10 is fronted by very close-to-the-majors prospects. That’s a very good thing and is one of the reasons they are currently the eighth-ranked farm system. But it also means that graduations will soon take a toll. OF Alex Kirilloff and C Ryan Jeffers are likely to spend plenty of time in the majors in 2021 while OF Trevor Larnach and SS Royce Lewis could also step into MLB roles if injuries arise. After picking in the top-six five times in six years from 2012-2017, 2021 will be the second straight year where the Twins won’t have a top 25 pick—they pick 26th.