The Top MLB Farm Systems That Produced The Most Future All-Stars
The goal of every team is to amass as many future stars in its farm system as possible. Whether they’ll graduate to become standout major leaguers or be used in trades to acquire star players who can put a contending team over the top, the more future stars a team has in its farm system, the better.
While an all-star selection is not a perfect measure of stardom, it is a testament to a player’s ability. And in many cases, the more all-stars you have, the more wins you’ll amass.
Here are the farm systems from 1998-2012 that had the most future all-stars, as defined by one all-star selection. As you can see, in almost every case, team success followed.
1. 2011 Royals
All-Stars: C Salvador Perez, 3B Mike Moustakas, 1B Eric Hosmer, OF Wil Myers, 2B/OF Whit Merrifield, RHP Jake Odorizzi, RHP Greg Holland, RHP Kelvin Herrera, RHP Jeremy Jeffress, LHP Will Smith, RHP Aaron Crow.
The Royals 2011 system is the standard-bearer when it comes to impact farm systems. Whether through direct contributions in Kansas City (Perez, Moustakas, Hosmer, Holland, Herrera) or trades for impact veterans (Myers, Odorizzi, Jeffress, Smith), this system laid the foundation for the Royals back-to-back World Series appearances in 2014-15. All told, their 11 all-stars have made a combined 21 All-Star Games, with that total likely to grow with many players still active and performing at high levels.
2. 2006 Dodgers
The Dodgers built a star-studded system through a variety of methods. They drafted Martin, Kemp, Broxton, Billingsley and Hanrahan, signed Santana, Jansen and Kuo as international amateurs, acquired Ethier as a minor leaguer in a trade and signed Saito as a foreign professional from Japan. The result was the only team aside from the 2011 Royals to have at least 10 all-stars in a single farm system, and a strong talent base that helped it reach back-to-back NLCS’s in 2008-09.
T-3. 1998 Twins
The Twins churned out all-stars more frequently than any other team from 1998-2012, with an average of more than five future all-stars in their farm system each year. It began right away with their loaded 1998 system. Ortiz, Hunter, Pierzynski, Cuddyer and Guzman were all multiple-time all-star selections. Others in the system like OF Jacque Jones, 3B Corey Koskie and 1B Doug Mientkiewicz had a few all-star caliber seasons, even though they were never selected.
T-3. 2002-2003 Angels
The Angels won the World Series in 2002 and were able to follow up with five division titles in six seasons from 2004-09 in large part due to their rich system. The same nine players were in the system in both 2002 and 2003, with Rodriguez famously starring as a 19-year-old in the 2002 postseason and remaining prospect-eligible at the start of the 2003 season. Seven of the nine made All-Star Games as Angels, with Jenks and Turnbow becoming all-star closers with the White Sox and Brewers, respectively.
T-3. 2004-05 Dodgers
Many of the same players who became all-stars from the 2006 Dodgers system were also in the system in 2004 and 2005, but there were others who cycled through in a testament to the Dodgers ability to keep their system loaded despite any prospect trades or graduations. Victorino, Soria and Jackson became all-stars for other teams, but all were originally scouted and signed by Los Angeles.
T-5. 2005-06 Brewers
The Brewers featured some of the worst farm systems in baseball from 1998-2012, but they had a tremendous peak in 2005-06 on the strength of excellent drafts under then-scouting director Jack Zduriencik and some astute international signings. It began with their excellent 2005 season, and after Hardy and Weeks graduated to become Milwaukee’s starting middle infield duo, the club added Braun and Brantley in the draft to keep the pipeline full of future all-stars. With so much talent in the system ascending to the majors or being used in trades for key veterans, the Brewers ended a 26-year playoff drought in 2008 and reached the NLCS in 2011.
T-5. 2003 Indians
The dominant Indians teams of 1995-2001 had scattered by this point, with Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, Roberto Alomar, Omar Vizquel, Kenny Lofton and Bartolo Colon all playing elsewhere by the start of the 2003 season. The Indians were able to build another talent base through excellent international signings (Martinez, Peralta, Hernandez) and astute trades for prospects (Lee, Hafner, Sizemore), giving them an elite farm system that would put them back in the playoffs shortly. With many of the players from their 2003 farm system playing key roles, the Indians returned to competitiveness with a 93-win season in 2005 and came within one game of reaching the World Series in 2007.
T-5. 2001 Mariners
The signing of Ichiro, who immediately ranked as the No. 9 prospect in baseball, gave the Mariners a new face of the franchise after the departures of Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez and helped propel them to a 116-win season in 2001. While he provided instant impact, the Mariners had more talent coming up in the farm system. Choo, Fuentes, Thornton and Podsednik were all let go before they could make an impact in Seattle, however, often for very little return, limiting the reward the Mariners would reap from the system beyond Ichiro.
T-5. 2003, 2005 Twins
The Twins successfully graduated the bulk of their insanely talented 1998 farm system and simply reloaded. Mauer and Morneau gave them a pair of future MVPs, and even after Morneau and Cuddyer graduated from prospect eligibility, they were able to backfill with an astute prospect trade acquisition (Liriano) and another, non-Mauer successful local draft pick (Perkins).