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Pipeline Inbox: Who missed out on the Top 10?

August 10, 2017

We knew it was just a matter of time, right? Even though the non-waiver Trade Deadline passed on July 31, we knew there would be moves with guys being put through waivers. The first one happened on Wednesday night, with the Indians getting Jay Bruce from the Mets for reliever

We knew it was just a matter of time, right? Even though the non-waiver Trade Deadline passed on July 31, we knew there would be moves with guys being put through waivers. The first one happened on Wednesday night, with the Indians getting Jay Bruce from the Mets for reliever Ryder Ryan.
Ryan won't go on the Mets' Top 30 list for now, but he's kind of interesting, even if his 4.79 ERA in his first full season seems uninspiring. A 30th-round pick in 2016, Ryan was a position player at the University of North Carolina for two years, so he's still new to pitching. He throws hard, uses his athleticism well on the mound and his secondary stuff is developing. It's not a huge prospect deal like we saw a couple of weeks ago, but Mets fans should stash Ryan's name on the back burner and keep an eye on his progress.
Now on to your questions.
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After the Trade Deadline, we did indeed re-rank the top 10 farm systems, which Jim Callis wrote about recently. For us, the White Sox and Braves were neck and neck, and the clear leaders of the group.
We had general consensus on who the teams were behind Chicago and Atlanta to fill out the top 10, and even who was in that 11-15 group, even if we differed personally a tad on the order. But I'll give you my votes for that 11-15 farm system and a note on how each could climb into the top 10.
11. Reds: There isn't much separating them from No. 10 or 9, where they were preseason. Another strong Draft will help, and if those guys, plus the international signings, step forward, they'll move up.
12. Twins: Minnesota thinks Wander Javier could be something special. If he continues to show what he can, along with Alex Kirilloff's return to health, that could be enough. Getting some of those injured power arms back on the mound will also help.
13. Cardinals: There's still a ton of young talent here, with an intriguing logjam forming at the upper levels. In particular, if Junior Fernandez and Sandy Alcantara can find more consistency on the mound, they could rise up these rankings.
14. Blue Jays: Having two elite hitters at the top in Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette certainly won't hurt. A boost could be provided by the 2017 Draft class, with Nate Pearson having the chance to be the organization's top pitching prospect at some point and high school catcher Hagen Danner an excellent get in the second round.
15. Pirates: The graduation of Josh Bell and Tyler Glasnow off lists didn't help. But an aggressive high school-heavy top of their 2017 Draft could help add depth and move the system up. Shane Baz is in the Top 100, but Steven Jennings, Cal Mitchell and Conner Uselton all have considerable upside as well.

We still have Meadows as our No. 20 overall prospect, so clearly we think so. But he was No. 10 before the year started, so he has slipped a little.
We try not to knock a guy too much for injuries, though we're not always successful. But there is some concern when there are multiple disabled list trips, especially if it's a recurring injury. With Meadows, that's been repeated hamstring issues, which once again put him on the shelf this year. He does need to show he can put that behind him to reach his potential, especially since speed is part of his game on both sides of the ball.
The amazing thing with Meadows is that, despite the injury history, he was still in Triple-A at age 21, a testament to his advanced feel to hit. He's hit for average and gotten on base almost everywhere he's been and the power was just starting to show up. Meadows got off to an awful start in the International League this year, hitting .195 in April with a .503 OPS. In May, however, he hit .300 with an .804 OPS and then got hurt midway into June.
Where Meadows is going to play or how he's going to break into that outfield is a conversation for another day and doesn't impact his prospect status. I'm still a big believer in that bat, but he needs to avoid the trainer's room to advance to the highest level and be the impact player he has the potential to become.

We don't get a ton of questions about the Angels' farm system. That's not a big surprise, as most would put them close to the bottom of any full-system rankings. But you know what? There are some interesting things cooking here, and not just because Taylor Ward and Matt Thaiss, the club's 2015 and '16 first-round picks, are both performing well in Double-A. More on them in a minute.
The top of the Angels' Top 30 list, which includes Thaiss at No. 3 and Ward at No. 11, now has some very intriguing high-ceiling players. Jo Adell, the 2017 first-rounder, and Jahmai Jones, the '15 second-round pick, are playing well and showing off their considerable tools. Brandon Marsh, the '16 second-rounder, is raking in the Pioneer League. The 2017 Draft also netted the Angels high school outfielder Jacob Pearson, who also has a power-speed combination. On the mound, the organization loves Chris Rodriguez, Futures Gamer Jaime Barria has reached Double-A and '17 draftee Griffin Canning could be a steal. It's still not super deep, but it's much more intriguing than it used to be.
Now as for Thaiss and Ward, it remains to be seen how they fit into this mix. They don't fit the high-ceiling mold of some of the other hitters atop this list, but that doesn't mean they can't be big leaguers. Thaiss is hitting for average and getting on base since his promotion to Double-A, but he also has just five extra-base hits in 101 at-bats in the Southern League, and he'll have to show more pop consistently to be an everyday first baseman in the big leagues. Ward has hit well since he moved up, too, with impressive on-base skills and a little pop in 15 games. There's not as much pressure on his bat if his catching continues to improve. I'm not sure either are true impact players, like guys such as Adell and Jones could be, but they are headed in the right direction.

I'm almost positive this is the first question from a mascot ever answered in the Pipeline Inbox. And as nonsensical as this is -- Harry Caray/Will Farrell nod noted -- I couldn't resist. Quickly, no I would not. First of all, I don't eat meat, so I'd have to pass for that reason. But even if it were made of fish (I'm a pescatarian, for the record), I wouldn't do it. Have to figure that would wreak havoc with the tides and all.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.