These teams have the most Top 100 prospects

March 18th, 2022

MLB Pipeline’s recently released Top 100 Prospects list celebrates individual achievement. But each of those individual future stars plays within an organization, and understanding which farm systems have the most Top 100 prospects can help determine which have the brightest futures.

In the 2022 edition, eight teams boast five or more Top 100 prospects, a jump from only five such systems at this time a year ago. That’s a sign that top talent is being spread across the game -- a notion backed up by the fact that 16 of the 30 systems claim at least four Top 100 prospects.

There is no individual club on the mountaintop either, at least when it comes strictly to the Top 100. The Rays led the way with a franchise-best eight Top 100 prospects in 2021 but, following some prominent graduations, have fallen back to the rest of the pack with five. Instead, three clubs are tied at the top with six Top 100 representatives each.

Miami Marlins (6)

The rebuilding efforts in southeast Florida are about to produce some serious fruit. Miami’s batch of six Top 100 prospects ties the club’s high since MLB Pipeline began ranking prospects in 2004. (Note: Rankings were limited to 50 prospects from 2004 to 2011.) You have to go back to 2006 to find the last time Miami claimed so many representatives on a Top 50/100 list.

Take that one step further, and Miami’s 344 Prospect Points (100 given out to No. 1 overall, 99 to No. 2, etc.) are a new club best and the most of any system to begin the year.

What makes this group pop is the diversity of ways it was built. No. 25 Kahlil Watson, No. 35 Max Meyer and No. 69 J.J. Bleday represent the club’s three most recent first-round picks. No. 34 Edward Cabrera and No. 41 Eury Perez were international signees. No. 58 Sixto Sánchez was acquired in a February 2019 trade with the Phillies. The most sustainable farms stock and restock through a variety of methods. With four of the six owning 2022 ETAs, Miami could be about to turn the corner in their bid for homegrown contention.

Pittsburgh Pirates (6)

The Bucs have one of the deeper systems right now, and that depth comes with impressive names at the top. The group features six Top 100 prospects, giving it its best Top 100 representation since 2015 (seven). Tyler Glasnow, Jameson Taillon and Josh Bell sat atop the rankings then. Today, it’s 2020 first-rounder Nick Gonzales, 2021 first overall pick Henry Davis and Major League-ready slugger Oneil Cruz.

Unlike that 2015 group, this Pittsburgh iteration seems much more prepared to hang onto its high-ceiling talent in its attempt to build a Steel City contender. Having prominent up-the-middle names like Davis, Gonzales, Cruz and Liover Peguero alongside big arms like Quinn Priester and Roansy Contreras is a notable start to that endeavor, and the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s Draft should help matters.

Seattle Mariners (6)

You could make the argument that the M’s have the best top-three prospects in baseball. No. 3 Julio Rodríguez, No. 11 Noelvi Marte and No. 32 George Kirby make Seattle one of only three systems with three prospects in the Top 32 (Arizona and Pittsburgh are the others), and it’s the only one of that trio with a 70-grade talent (Rodríguez). Recent Draft picks Emerson Hancock (2020), Harry Ford ('21) and Matt Brash (2019) round out the half-dozen.

This marks the second straight season in which the Mariners enter the season with a franchise-best six Top 100 prospects. This year’s iteration trails last year’s in Prospect Points 341-287, primarily due to the graduation of Jarred Kelenic, but don’t sleep on someone else rising to prominence in the ways Marte and Brash did in 2021.

Best of the rest

Five clubs fit within that next tier with five Top 100 prospects each.

The Orioles are the most notable of that group and place fourth with 277 Prospect Points. No. 2 Adley Rutschman and No. 6 Grayson Rodriguez give Baltimore a potent one-two punch, and Gunnar Henderson, Colton Cowser and DL Hall -- each ranked between No. 64 and 90 -- make sure there’s some depth there too. This is the second straight season Baltimore opens with a club-best five Top 100 prospects.

It only feels like Tampa Bay has slid in the rankings because of the aforementioned graduations of Wander Franco, Shane McClanahan and Luis Patiño, but the fact that the Rays are in this group with five Top-100 talents speaks to its continued player-development success. Tampa Bay has had five or more Top 100 prospects in each of the past five preseason lists, making it the only system with that claim, and its total of 80 ranked prospects since 2004 easily tops the group.

Second on that ranking is the Dodgers with 69, after LA posted another group of five this year. The NL West powerhouse has claimed five or more Top 100 prospects in four of the past seven seasons, and the 2022 batch of five is completely new from previous iterations. Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray were the Dodgers’ two Top 100 prospects to start 2021 but were traded to the Nationals in July. Diego Cartaya, Bobby Miller, Michael Busch, Andy Pages and Miguel Vargas are the new contingent.

The Guardians have five Top 100 prospects for the first time, eclipsing their previous high of four all the way back in 2006. Three of the five (George Valera, Daniel Espino, Brayan Rocchio) aren’t expected to see the Majors until 2023, so don’t expect this group to fade quickly. Finally, the Rangers, led by four first-rounders, have a set of five Top 100 prospects for the first time since 2016 -- a promising sign for an organization that made moves to win now in the offseason.

Elsewhere, the Tigers are the only club with two Top 5 overall prospects in Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene, helping Detroit finish fifth in Prospect Points with 254. Both should be in the Majors quickly this summer if they continue performing as they did in 2021. The D-backs finished fifth in PP with 245 and were in the discussion for more Top 100 prospects as well, so keep Arizona on the list of systems to follow closely in 2022.

Historical context

Rounding out the top five on the all-time Top 100 list after the Rays (80) and Dodgers (69) are the Braves (66), Padres (63) and Twins (61). The Angels (34), Nationals (35), Giants (38), Cardinals (39) and Athletics (40) sit on the bottom. For what it’s worth, San Francisco’s system claims four Top 100 prospects this year and could climb out of that group with another year or two of its young core.

The Angels, Braves and Rockies have only one Top-100 representative apiece on this year’s list, and the White Sox and Astros have none. Chicago’s drop from four to zero came through graduations that helped the Major League club capture an AL Central title in 2021, while the always-contending Astros enter 2022 with one or fewer Top 100 prospects for the third season in a row. The Braves dropped into the one-or-none club following the trade that moved Shea Langeliers to Oakland as part of a four-prospect package for Matt Olson.