One of the best things about the release of MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list is scouring it to see how your favorite team fares on the list. Even for organizations expected to compete for postseason play in 2018, it's exciting to see what the future might look like.
There are 27 teams with at least one player on the Top 100, with the Royals, Mets and Cubs the three organizations without a representative. Who's at the top in terms of Top 100 representation? That can be answered in more than one way.
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In terms of sheer numbers, the Braves lead the way with eight on the Top 100 list and clearly still have a farm system to be proud of. It starts with outfielder Ronald Acuna all the way up at No. 2 and runs down to third baseman Austin Riley at No. 97. Acuna is the lone international signee of the Braves on the Top 100, while Riley is one of five the Braves acquired via the June Draft. Lefties Luiz Gohara and Max Fried joined the organization via trade.
The White Sox and Padres are next, with seven Top 100 prospects each. Even with the graduations of high-level prospects acquired via trade (Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito), Chicago has five on the new Top 100 who did not start their careers within the organization. Outfielder Eloy Jimenez and right-hander Dylan Cease came from the Cubs in the Jose Quintana deal. Right-handed flame-thrower Michael Kopech is a product of the Chris Sale trade with Boston and fellow righty Dane Dunning came with Giolito from the Nationals in the Adam Eaton swap. Outfielder Blake Rutherford came aboard late last year when the White Sox sent Todd Frazier, Player Page for David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees. Chicago does have a draftee, Alec Hansen, and international signee Luis Robert as homegrown talent on the list.
:: Prospect Points ::
The Padres are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Five of their seven Top 100 prospects are homegrown, starting with 2017 first-round pick MacKenzie Gore, while 2016 first-rounder Cal Quantrill is also on the list. Infielder Luis Urias, right-hander Michel Baez and lefty Adrian Morejon all come from San Diego's increased efforts on the international amateur market. Shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., the organization's top prospect, and right-hander Anderson Espinoza did come via trades.
The Rays, Phillies and Yankees have six prospects apiece, while the Reds have five Top 100 guys in their organizations.
Having a large number of players on the list doesn't ensure that the team will land on the top 10 farm systems list (coming in early March). Obviously it doesn't hurt, with a large number of impact talents -- what the Top 100 measures, after all -- clearly being a good thing. But that falls short of examining an entire organization, leaving out depth as an important measuring stick.
It's still interesting to see how the teams measure up Top 100 talent-wise. We've used a weighted scoring system, "Prospect Points," for a while now, awarding 100 points to the team with the No. 1 prospect, 99 to No. 2, and so on. It turns out the team with the most prospects does not sit atop those standings.
Padres take "Prospect Points" title
The Braves might have the most Top 100 prospects, but they get edged by the Padres, who finish with 423 points to the Braves' 407. That's because six of San Diego's seven top prospects landed in our top 50 and two -- Tatis and Gore -- are in the top 20. After Acuna at No. 2, the Braves don't have a prospect until No. 30, with four total in the top 50.
The White Sox, with their seven Top 100 prospects, are next with 359 points. Two of the six-prospect teams, the Rays (345 points) and the Yankees (295), round out the top five.
History has shown that doing well in the prospect points standings correlates to future success in the Major League standings. Four playoff teams in 2017 began the year in the top 10 prospect point-wise, starting with the Yankees, who led the PP standings, with the World Series champion Astros coming in ninth. In 2016, four of the 10 playoff teams were in the top 10 in prospect points entering the season. Seven postseason teams in 2015 were in the top nine and six of the top eight prospect point teams landed in the 2014 playoffs. Highly rated prospects are quickly turning into highly rated big leaguers, or at least are being used to trade for them, leading to highly rated teams.