2014 MLB Team Development Review

Posted: January 1, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Without aplomb, here we go:


1.  Houston (3.5 out of a possible score of 4.0):  Less catching and relief, wow-wee.  I’m not quite ready to claim the 2015 Astros will be the 2014 Royals regarding surprise, but plenty of talent has been developed within.  The organization is loaded with talent at first, second, center and starting pitching.  The starting pitching in waiting is the best of any A.L. team by far.  The following cast provides depth, choice and at the very least achieved the proverbial cup of coffee exposure in the Bigs during 2014:  Brett Berholtzer, Jake Buchanan, Nick Tropeano, Rudy Owens and Colin McHugh.  Choice is difficult, but at least available.  But, the best starter in Houston’s system may be Thomas Shirley who was impressive in AA ball during ’14.  At the end of the bullpen, look for Richard Rodriguez and Mitchell Lambson to receive long looks during spring training.  On the offensive side, look for Conrad Gregor (1b/A+/A), Tyler White (1b/A+/A), Joe Sciafani (2b/AAA/AA), Tony Kemp (2b/AA), Colin Moran (3b/AA), Rio Ruiz (3b/A+), Carlos Correa (ss/A+), Austin Wates (cf/AAA), Robbie Grossman (cf/MLB/AAA . . . time to stick, Robbie), Teoscar Hernandez (8/A+ while enjoying the wind blown advantage of playing in Lancaster, CA) and Domingo Santana (rf/MLB/AAA).  At the 1, 3, 4, 6-9 spots, Houston has candidates from AAA to A ball.  Deep development and well done.

2T.  Boston (3.0):  Christian Vazquez’s quick ascension spelled the end of Ryan Lavarnway as heir apparent at the 2 spot.  I’m doubtful, but if Christian falters, Blake Swithart (AAA/AA) awaits.  Jantzen Witte (A+/A) is Fenway’s future first baseman.  Same with Sean Coyle (2b/AA), though that pesky Pedroia fellow seems to be in the way.  Carlos Asuaje (3b/A+/A) placed Will Middlebrooks on borrowed time long before the signing of Sandoval.  I choose to assume that Mookie Betts stays in Boston, but much like Mr. Vazquez, any faltering on behalf of Mr. Betts encourages the development of Derrick Gibson (cf/AA) and Manuel Margot (cf/A+/A).  Henry Ramos (rf/AA) concludes the best in system.  Starting pitching prospects, less Henry Owens (AAA/AA), are at least two years away.  The best of an above average lot are Brian Johnson (AA/A+) and Eduardo Rodriguez (AA).  Future 8th and 9th inning men are Miguel Celestino (AA), Kyle Martin (A+) and Austin Maddox (A+), though A+ ball is a long way from any MLB stadium.  The Sox did run shabby in the bullpen after A+ ball (as did the 6 spot), thus an area of improvement for 2015.

2T.  Minnesota (3.0):  Less the 3 position, the Twins’ system is either deep or possesses a very talented player at a particular position.  For instance, Chris Herrmann (c, MLB/AAA.  Time to win the 2 spot, Mr. Herrmann), Levi Michael (2b/AA/A+), Daniel Ortiz (lf/AA), Jason Kanzler (cf/A+/A) and Alex Swim (rf/A).  Deibinson Romero would be a legitimate 5 guy, but the 21 errors are far too many.  The Twins should slow down the advancement of Jorge Polanco (ss, all of 20) who skipped AAA ball before landing in Minnesota.  Never a good move.  The same critique applies to Kennys Vargas (1b).  The starting pitching prospects are woeful in AAA, but AA and A+ are relatively loaded.  Watch for Tyler Duffey (AA/A+), Jason Wheeler (AA/A+) and Jose Berrios (AA/A+) to arrive in Minnesota for the proverbial cup of coffee in September, 2015.  The trio should be fully ready in 2016.  The relief candidates are plentiful as well from AA down.  Jake Reed (A) had eye-catching numbers in ’14.

2T:  Oakland:  If you wondered why Billy Beane made those December deals, now you know.  Sure the 2-9 AAA talent is old (far too many 28 and 29 year olds), but lots of age appropriate talent at the AA and down levels calm the winds of trade.  The A’s system is loaded with potential at the 2-4 and 8 spots.  However, that is not to dismiss the talent at 6, 7 and 9.  Lots to choose from, especially at the A+ level.  The only everyday position lacking talent is third.  As for names, look for Beau Taylor (c/A+), Matt Olson (1b/A+), Tyler Ladendorf (2b/AAA), Daniel Robertson (ss/A+) and, my find of the year, Boog Powell (cf/A+/A), who, I hope, is related to the Boog Powell of the Baltimore Orioles from, oh, so long ago.  Continuing with the A+ emphasis, the majority of the starting pitching talent is found at that level (Stockton, CA . . . a beautiful city.  Ahem).  The relief squad candidates are more evenly dispersed throughout the A’s system.  Evan Scribner (closer/MLB/AAA) must stick in O-Town (pardon the Sons of Anarchy influence) in 2015.  Waiting is Tucker Healy (A+) and Brendan McCurry (A).

3.  Tampa Bay (2.9):  Castigating the Devil Rays is currently popular, but they continue to develop well.  The 2 position is absolutely brimming with talent.  The best of the seven rated may be Justin O’Conner (A+).  Ryan Brett (1b/AA) will be chased by Kean Wong (1b/A) his entire ascension to the Bigs.  Choosing between Leonardo Riginatto (ss/A+) and Juniel Querecuto (ss/A) is a problem all teams should face.  The same can be said of center field where Kevin Kiermaier (MLB/AAA), Mikie Mahtook (AAA) and Johnny Field (A+/A) offer plenty of ability.  Starting pitching holds strength at the A+ and A levels which serves as a ding to their ratings, but Austin Pruitt (A+) along with German Marquez (A) and Jacob Faria (A) hold exceptional promise.  Adam Liberatore should be closing in Tampa in 2015.  Cory Burns (AA) is a year or two away.  Watch for William  Gabay (A).

4.  Seattle (2.8):  Tampa Bay, Junior when you look at the catching talent.  John Hicks (AAA/AA), Steve Baron (AA/A+) and Tyler Marlette (A+) would all be worth a trade.  Jody Lara (1b/A+) is MLB bound in 2017.  Same goes with Zack Shank (2b/A, though not in Seattle with Mr. Cano in the way), Jack Reinheimer (ss/A+/A) and Gabriel Guerrero (rf/A+).  I imagine some mavens get excited about Patrick Kylehan (3b/AA/A+), but the 24 errors do not translate to MLB.  Sadly, the M’s pitching development from A to Z is pathetic.  Few candidates at either a starting or relief role.  All I can offer is Tyler Olson (starter/AA), Stephen Kohlscheen (closer/AAA/AA) and Mayckol Guaipe (closer/AA).  Less these three, the mound is a barren place in the Seattle system.  Given the abundance of talent at the 2-9 spots, perhaps a few of those players might be offered to bolster the system pitching staff as 2015 unfolds.  Just an idea.

5T.  Cleveland (2.7):  Two gaping development holes are found at second (a mere two candidates, though one is the talented Jose Ramirez) and right field (one candidate finally found in A ball, Luigi Rodriguez).  However, lots of good news at the 2, 3, 5, 6 and 8 spots.  The Tribe actually encourages potential future third basemen to field and throw well.  Giovanni Urshela (AAA/AA) as well as Yandy Diaz (A+) and Paul Hendrix (A) play a sparkling defensive bag and can hit.  Roberto Perez (c/MLB/AAA) can hit and throw out runners (39% toss rate).  Erik Gonzalez (ss/AA/A+), Anthony Gallas (lf/AA), LeVon Washington (lf/A+), Tyler Holt (cf/MLB/AAA/AA.  Watch for this guy.  If your team needs a center fielder, here he is.  Go get him) and Tyler Naquin (cf/AA) are the best of the best in system.  Pitching is solid.  AAA brims with starters (T.J. House, Tyler Cloyd, Zach McAllister, Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer) who spent time in MLB during ’14.  The ‘pen prospects are better than the starters which is impressive.  Look for C.C. Lee (MLB/AAA) and Kyle Crockett (MLB/AAA/AA) to impress in spring training.  Enosis Tejeda (AA) and Trevor Frank (A) are two years away.

5T.  New York (2.7):  Especially deep at first and second.  Above average at the 2, 5 and 7 positions.  Shortstop has one guy (Tyler Wade/A).  Center and right trend thin, but two of the more intriguing prospects play those spots:  Mark Payton (cf/A+/A) and Aaron Judge (rf/A+/A).  Returning to the 4 spot, either Jose Pirela (MLB/AAA) or Rob Refsnyder (AAA/AA) stick in NYC.  Francisco Arcia (c/AA) may find time in the Bronx in ’15 given desperation levels as the season unfolds (collapses).  Starting pitching prospects are deeper than relief candidates.  Jason Long (AA/A+/A.  A most impressive journey in one year) and Luis Severino (AA) are the best of the starters as well as representative of the talent found at the AA level.  Relievers with potential are found in abundance at the A+ level, thus wait and see who prospers at the AA level in ’15.

6.  Texas (2.6):  I will be polite and say “An organization in transition.”  Now for the bad news:  Zero prospects at short.  One guy at second (Odubel Herrera/AA/A+, but he can play.  Unfortunately, no other 4 guy can).  First base has only two guys (Trevor Adams/AA and Preston Beck/A+).  Catchers are plentiful and from A ball up.   Same can be said for left fielders.  Speaking of outfielders, Nomar Mazara (rf) made the rare jump from A to AA with no A+ time.  He’s one to watch at the ripe old age of 19.  Speaking of skipping A+ ball, the best of the rest are found in A+ ball:  Christopher Garcia (cf), Nick Williams (lf) and Ryan Cordell (lf/though he did begin ’14 in A ball).  Pitching prospects created the 2.6 rating.  Nick Tepesch (starter/MLB/AAA) and Alec Asher (starter/AA) are the best of an above average group.  However, please put the brakes on rushing Alex Claudio to the Bigs.  Alex began the year in A ball as a closer and spent time in Arlington.  Along the way, he started in AA and AAA, but the rise for a 22 year old was far too fast.  Spencer Patton and Neftali Feliz are the two most likely relievers to stick in Arlington in ’15.

7.  Toronto (2.5):  One guy at first (Jorge Flores/A+).  One guy at third . . . who is 29 (Jared Goedert/AAA.  I’m too nice).  Two guys in center, Darin Mastroianni (who seemingly can’t stick in MLB) and the incredibly talented Dalton Pompey who did the rare A+/AA/AAA/MLB run all that age of 21).  But, after Dalton, not much in the center field spot.  Catching features Derrick Chung (AA/A+) and Jorge Saez (A+/A).  Shane Ortiz (ss/A+, yet struggles to find innings at short) and Dwight Smith (lf/A+) end a relatively thin 2-9 system.  The starting prospects are deep and high-lighted by Marcus Stroman (MLB/AAA), Daniel Norris (MLB/AAA/AA/A+ and a classic rush job at the age of 21.  When he burns out, let me know) and Kendall Gravemen (see Mr. Norris, though Mr. Gravemen is a sage 23 and bettered Mr. Norris by beginning his journey in A ball).  The relief corps is average with most of the talent found in A+ ball.  No prospects in AAA.  A mere one in AA (Randy Boone).

8T.  Detroit (2.4):  Catching has four solid prospects.  The best are James McCann (MLB/AAA) and Grayson Greiner (A).  Dean Green (AA) provides the most hope at first.  Dean Travis (AA) does the same at the 4 spot.  Corey Jones (AA) is the same at third.  Less him, no one.  Short is loaded.  Eugenio Suarez (MLB/AAA/AA), Dixon Machado (AA/A+) and Domingo Leyba (A) are an impressive trio from which to choose.  Left field prospects (Jason Krizan/AA and Wayne Gaynor/AA) along with Ezequiel Carrera (cf/MLB/AAA) and Wynton Bernard (rf/A) are the best of a thin group roaming the outfield.  Starting pitching is average at best.  Most of the talent is found in A+ and A ball, thus years away.  Relief candidates are better scattered from AAA down, though a tad heavy to A+/A, thus nothing immediate awaits Detroit less Pat McCoy (MLB/AAA), Justin Miller (MLB/AAA) or Chad Smith (MLB/AAA/AA) having a good spring.

8T.  Kansas City (2.4):  The Royals have zero to one prospect at first (zero), center (one) and right (0ne).  Boo.  Such vacancy took away from a bounty of third basemen and left fielders.  Whit Merrifield (lf/AAA/AA) is one to watch.  Any MLB team looking for a ready shortstop should inquire about Christian Colon (MLB/AAA).  Starting pitching rated very well.  Look for the arrival of Christian Binford (AA/A+) and Andy Ferguson (AA) by 2016.  The relief corps was awful.  No AAA prospects, two AA prospects, four in A+ ball and one in A ball.  That adds to seven.  Not good.

9.  Chicago (2.3):  Much is lacking when any team makes the Royals’ bullpen prospects look deep.  May I introduce you to the Chicago White Sox.  The White Sox system has three guys who rated.  Three.  Their entire system from A ball up.  Three.  Bryan Bloughs (A+), Bradley Salgado (A and very good) and Jose Bautista (A) are the fortunate three.  Starting pitching ranked second from the bottom in the A.L.  No AAA prospects.  Two AA prospects (Chris Beck and Mike Recchia).  The rest are found in A+ or A ball.  A long way from the top.  However, Chicago does develop catchers.  Josh Phegley should stick in Chicago in 2015.  Behind him is Keyan Smith (AA), Omar Narvaez (A+/A) and Jeremy Dowdy (A).  Same can be said for first (Andy Wilkins/MLB/AAA the best of five) and second (Carlos Sanchez/MLB/AAA leads a strong group of three).  Short, third, left and center need many more candidates.

10T.  Angels (sorry.  I refuse the ridiculous geography, though I am an Arte Moreno fan) (2.2):  No depth to speak of at second (two quality prospects in Vance Albitz at AAA and Sherman Johnson at A+, then nothing), third (two, again), left (ditto) and right (ditto).  Jett Bandy (AA) is a quality catching prospect, but young catchers and the demands of Scioscia are often a bad fit (just ask Hank Conger).  First and center have an abundance of quality ball players.  At first, Brian Hernandez (AA) and Dennis Raben (A+) are the best of six.  Center features five of whom the most intriguing may be Bo Way (A).  The Angels inability to develop any depth in starting pitching is astounding.  From AAA to A ball, six guys made the cut.  Nate Smith (A+) is the best bet of the six.  Relievers do much better.  Cam Bedrosian (MLB/AAA/AA) suffered from a rush job, but possesses talent.  Same with Jairo Diaz (MLB/AA/A+.  Skipped AAA).

10T.  Baltimore (2.2):  Much like Oakland, a lot of 28 and 29 year olds at the top of their system.  Not good.  The O’s completely lack a right field prospect.  One at short.  A 28 and 29 year old are one-two at third base.  Two guys in center.  Concerning the 2-9 guys, hardly any quality prospects are  found at the AA level and few at A+ ball.  A bare system.  However, pitching prospects are plentiful.  Starters include Tyler Wilson (AAA/AA and quite good), Zach Davies (AA) and Steven Bault (A+/A).  Preston Guilmet (MLB/AAA) should prosper in spring, 2015 and travel north.  Brock Huntzinger (AAA) and Oliver Drake (AA) wait for opportunity in Baltimore.


1.  New York (3.5):  Loaded everywhere less left and right.  Quality prospects at all levels (AAA/AA/A+/A).  If the following players have above average springs, find a nice apartment in Queens:  Juan Centeno (c), Eric Campbell (1b), Dilson Herrera (2b), Matt Reynolds (ss), Wilmer Flores (ss), Cesar Puello (lf), Matt den Dekker (cf) and Chase Bradford (closer/bullpen).  The Mets could get better in a hurry in 2015.  Starting pitching possesses five candidates at the AAA level.  AA was deep enough to exclude from consideration any A+ or A pitcher in the Mets’ system.  The relievers have three ready at AAA (the aforementioned Mr. Bradford along with Miguel Socolovich and John Church).

2.  Washington (3.3):  Not as deep as the Mets (who is?), but plenty of quality at the 2-9 spots.  Second, short and right are the strongest everyday spots.  Less catching, the other positions all rated above average.  Starting pitching features six potential candidates, though Paolo Espino at AA may surpass them all.  From the relief corps, expect Xavier Cedeno (MLB/AAA) to remain in Washington, D.C.   He should be joined by Matt Grace (AAA).  Derek Self (AA/A+) is a year away.  If Brain Dupra (A+) and Jake Walsh (A+/A) succeed in AA ball in 2015, the future of the Nats bullpen is bright.

3.  Miami (3.1):  Weak spots are left and center (a paltry two candidates at each), but the rest of 2-9 positions rate well.  J.T. Realmuto (MLB/AA, skipped AAA) and Austin Barnes (AA/A+) are two strong catching candidates.  A third lurks in Chad Wallach (A+/A).  Mark Lanha (AAA) and Justin Bour (MLB/AAA) will forever battle for the 3 spot in Miami.  Derek Dietrich (2b/MLB/AAA) is MLB ready for 2015.  Any MLB team in the market for third basemen or right fielders should cruise the Marlins minor leagues.  Lots from which to choose.  Starting and relief prospects are deep even in light of the Andrew Heaney trade.  A lot of the Marlins depth is found at the AA level.  Potential quality starters are Justin Nicolino, Jose Urena and Jared Rogers.  Relievers at this level are Greg Nappo, Matt Ramsay, Nick Wittgren, James Nygren and Collin Cargill.  This is a point of strength in development.  Well done, Fish.

4,  San Diego (2.9):  Notable depth at short and left.  Second and right are the next best developed spots followed by center.  Weak points are catching and third (below average) while future first basemen are thin with the best at A ball (Jake Bauers).  As testament to the Pads depth, consider the deep trade activity the team engaged in.  Others do pay attention.  Speaking of traded players, Joe Wieland (#1 starter) and Joe Ross (3# starter) now enjoy greener pastures outside the Padres’ system.  Matt Wisler (AA) and Kyle Lloyd (A) are the most interesting starters in system.  Jerry Sullivan (AAA) leads an average group of relievers that is dominated at the A level that leaves too much to future proof.

5.  Atlanta (2.8):  Lots of quality first base talent (Joey Terdoslavich/MLB/AAA, Ernesto Mejia/AAA, Seth Loman/AA, Rich Poythress/AA and Jake Schrader/A).  Philip Goselin (3b/MLB/AAA) should stay in Atlanta.  Cedric Hunter, (lf/MLB/AA, skipped AAA) , Todd Cunningham (cf/MLB/AAA) and Jose Martinez (lf/A+) are the best outfield prospects.  A battle rages between two quality shortstop prospects, Gustavo Nunel (AA) and Elmer Reyes (AA).  Sadly, starting pitching prospects are woeful.  Once upon a time, the Braves developed quality starters like Hostess made Twinkies.  Alas, no more.  No AAA prospects of note.  The best in system is Greg Ross (AA/A+).  While the Braves AAA efforts find only one prospect (Chasen Shreve/MLB/AAA/AA) in the bullpen, Shae Simmons (MLB/AA, sorry, a 2 game exposure at AAA doesn’t count for AAA exposure) and James Hoyt (AA) form an above average group in the system bullpen.

6T.  St. Louis (2.7):  Cracks are found.  No third base prospects.  Two left field prospects.  Two right field prospects.  Three average shortstops.  Above average development is found at the 2-4 and 8 spots. Ed Easley (c/AAA), Xavier Scruggs (1b/MLB/AAA), Greg Garcia (2b/MLB/AAA), Thomas Pham (cf/MLB/AAA) are the most likely to not play AAA ball in 2015.  The Cards create no cracks whatsoever with pitching development.  My favorite word:  Loaded.  Starters include Marco Gonzales (the highly unlikely line of MLB/AAA/AA/A+ while posting superb numbers at all stops) Tyler Lyons (MLB/AAA), Nick Greenwood (MLB/AAA), Tim Cooney (AAA), Angel Castro (AAA) and Zach Petrick (AAA/AA).  The rich get richer.  Now for the bullpen.  Jeremy Berg (AA) is the one to watch, but Dean Kickhefer (AAA), Heath Wyatt (AAA) and Jorge Rendon (MLB/AAA) are more than ready.

6T.  Pittsburgh (2.7):  Lots of outfield prospects which is indicative of the talent already found in Pittsburgh.  Any organization in need of outfield candidates need to call the Pirates   Jose Tabata and Gregory Polanco cannot both play right field at the same time.  Keon Broxton (AA), Mel Rojas (AAA/AA) and Austin Meadows (A) can hit and roam center.  Jeff Decker (MLB/AAA) needs one more year at AAA.  Catching and first base are as strong as outfield development.  Andrew Lambo (MLB/AAA) and Chris McGuiness (MLB/AAA) are a strong duo at first.  Elisa Diaz (AA) is the best of the catchers.  Second and third need work while short is a dismal failure.  Speaking of dismal, that describes the relief development.  One guy at AA (Kenn Kasparek) and three at A ball.  Yuck.  However, starting pitching is just the opposite.  Vance Worley (MLB/AAA) should not throw 46 innings at AAA in 2015.  Casey Sadler (MLB/AAA) and Brandon Crampon (MLB/AAA) should join Vance on a permanent basis somewhere in MLB land.  Nick Kingham (AAA), Tyler Waldron (AAA) and Jake Brigham (AAA) wait in the wings.

6T.  Arizona (2.7):  As bad, if not worse, than Pittsburgh in relief development.  The Snakes do slither, slide and stink after the sixth inning in developmental baseball.  I choose Silvino Bracho (A) as the sole hope of system wide relief efforts.  While speaking of bad pitching development, may I present the starters.  Below average on a good day.  Zeke Spruill (MLB/AAA), Chase Anderson (MLB/AA, skipped AAA) and Charles Brewer (MLB/AAA) alone with Bryan Woodall (AA) are, um, bright spots of a woeful group.  Moving to the offense, lots and lots of shortstops.  The deepest pool in MLB.  Nick Ahmed (MLB/AAA) leads a talented group.  Raul Navarro (ss/A+) and Ryan Gebhardt (ss/A+) will rise quickly.  Left and center are brimming with talent.  Alfredo Marte (lf/MLB/AAA), Tom Belza (lf/AA), Ender Inciarte (cf/MLB/AAA) and Mike Freeman (cf/AAA) should all find time in MLB during 2015.  Steve Rodriguez (AA) leads a talented, but young group of catchers.  First and right need a lot of work either due to age issues or lack of prospects.

7.  Los Angeles (2.6):  A system of extremes.  Plenty or famine.  Plenty at the 2, 4, 6 and 9 spots.  Famine at third, left and center.  Only first offers in between.  Why Tim Federowicz (c/MLB/AAA) does not stick in L.A. is a mystery.  Chris O’Brien (c/AA) will soon push Mr. Federowicz.  Since the Dodgers traded for Howie Kendrick, I imagine Alex Guerrero (2b/MLB/AAA) and Ryan Adams (2b/MLB/AA, skipped AAA) are available.  Corey Seager has been crowned heir apparent at short, but Miguel Rojas (ss/MLB/AAA) can also hit and field as can the tongue twister Erisbel Arruebarrena (ss/MLB/AAA).  Speaking of heir apparent, Joe Pedersen (cf/MLB/AAA), despite impressive numbers, may be available post-spring given the eternal log jam in the Dodgers’ outfield, Kemp reduced or not.  Starting pitching is as substantial as gruel.  Candidates do not exist above the A+ level.  Pin hope on Jonathan Martinez (A).  The relief group is slightly less thin.  One AAA candidate and one AA candidate.  Then the gruel returns.  The Dodgers have the worst pitching development in minor league baseball.  The worst.

8.  Cincinnati (2.5):  The 2-9 spots are weak in AA development.  Not a good long term sign.  Neftali Soto (3b/MLB/AAA), Jake Elmore (2b/MLB/AAA), Bryan Anderson (c/MLB/AAA/AA) and Rey Navarro (ss/AAA) are the best bets to remain out of AAA in 2015.  After the less than thick offering of AAA help, we skip AA for the most part (Seth Mejias-Brean/3b/AA/A+ holds the greatest hope) and we drop to A+ ball for the majority of the prospects.  Returning to the Dodger crown of horrible pitching development, the Reds are not far behind.  Both starters and relievers rate below average.  The most promising starters are Ben Lively (A+) and Daniel Wright (A+/A).  The upper levels of relievers are just as unspectacular as starters, so I offer Juan Gonzalez (A+), Layne Somsem (A) and Nolan Becker (A) as future bullpen Reds.

9.  Chicago (2.4):  Not a single shortstop or centerfielder in their system.  Two in left.  Granted, two each at third and right, but two of those four are Kris Bryant (3b/AAA/AA) and Jorge Soler (rf/MLB/AAA/AA).  Thus, forgiveness is granted.  Catching is loaded.  Most interesting is Kyle Schwarber (A+/A), but he has plenty of competition above and below.  First and second are the next two spots offering choice, but with Rizzo at first Lars Anderson (1b/MLB/AAA/AA) is bound for elsewhere, though he can play.  The same fate awaits Mike Olt (1b/MLB/AAA, though he was once the third baseman of the future for Texas, thus he has position options).  Starting pitching is full of talent.  Consider the possible inclusion of Eric Jokisch ((MLB/AAA), Kyle Hendricks (MLB/AAA), Dallas Beeler (MLB/AAA), Chris Rusin (MLB/AAA) and possibly Joe Gardner (AA).  As for the ‘pen, Marcus Hartley (AAA) and Andrew McKirahan (AA/A+) are the best of a less than impressive group.

10.  San Francisco (2.3):  Sparse development.  Nobody at first.  One guy at short (Matt Duffy/MLB/AA, skipped AAA).  Two guys in right (though, Juan Perez posted very strong numbers.  MLB/AAA).  Center has no prospects at AAA or AA.  We witnessed the rise of Joe Panik (2b/MLB/AAA), though he may well be pushed by Blake Miller (2b/AA/A+).  Most of the 2-9 talent is found at the A+ level.  Pitching development is average.  The best starter is Clayton Blackburn (AA).  Hunter Strickland (MLB/AA, skipped AAA) and Cody Hall (AA) are the best relief prospects of a group that registered six system wide.

11.  Colorado (2.1):  Ugh.  Meh.  The future is, um, in the distance.  The following 2-9 guys in A ball are worth a watch:  Joe Briceno (c, 44% toss rate), Raimel Tapia (lf), David Dahl (cf), Ashley Graeter (c, 36% toss rate), Patrick Valaika (ss) and Dillon Thomas (lf).  Rarely do I see a team with few A+ prospects, but the Rockies fell into that hole.  Rarely, do I see 4 (the number between 3 and 5) prospects at a AA, but the Rockies fell into that hole as well.  Starting pitching development is average.  Daniel Winkler (AA) is the best in system.  Five guys made the cut as relievers.  You guess.  You choose.

12.  Milwaukee (1.9):  Positive spin . . . they have catchers.  An absolute log jam at AA (Shawn Zarraga, Adam Weisenburger and Joey Paciorek).  Plus one guy at A+ (Parker Berberet) and guy at A (Rafael Neda).  First is barren, less the mystery of Matt Clark (MLB/AAA) who should have logged year 5 in MLB a long time ago.  Two prospects at third:  Jason Rogers (MLB/AAA/AA) and Taylor Smith-Brennan (A).  The rest of the 2-9 development is a shoulder shrug.  But, wait!  The Brew Crew develops starters.  Jimmy Nelson (MLB/AAA), Tyler Cravy (AA), Jed Bradley (A+) and Taylor Williams (A+/A) are the best of a solid core.  Relievers, not so much.  The majority of the talent lies in A+.  Overall, average at best.

13.  Philadelphia (1.3):  I’m so sorry, Phillies’ fans.  Your organization does nothing well regarding development.  You scout, draft, sign and develop as well as SONY decides to release film.  The only spots that ranked average were catching and right field.  The rest are bad, stinky, yucky and road kill-ish (new word).  And now for pitching.  I’m so sorry, Phillies’ fans.  Okay, I’ll stop.  Both starting pitching and relief rated below average.  Here are two names, both starters:  Aaron Nola (AA/A+) and Ryan Demmin (A+).  I rated seven relievers system wide.  Maybe Hector Neris (MLB/AAA) sticks in the Bigs.  Maybe Tyler Knigge (AAA/AA).  Does anybody believe in explosives?



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