What makes an organization rank as one of the top farm systems in baseball? Simply put, it's a combination of quality and quantity. The MLB Pipeline staff ranked the Top 10 systems in the game by considering which organizations have an abundance of elite-level prospect talent as well as depth, in terms of future big leaguers up and down the system.
:: Top 10 Farm Systems ::
Below is a snapshot of each organization in our ranking, with its Top 100 prospects, its Prospect Points and links to its Top 30 Prospects list and a breakdown of that list.
Prospect Points are determined by awarding a team 100 points for the No. 1 prospect on the Top 100 list, 99 points for No. 2 and so on, down to one point for No. 100. Points are then tallied by team.
1. San Diego Padres
Padres' Top 30 Prospects | Breakdown
Top 100: 7 - Fernando Tatis Jr., SS (No. 8), McKenzie Gore, LHP (No. 19), Luis Urias, 2B/SS (No. 36), Cal Quantrill, RHP (No. 40), Michel Baez, RHP (No. 42), Adrian Morejon, LHP (No. 50), Anderson Espinoza, RHP (No. 89)
Prospect Points (MLB Rank): 423 (1)
After ranking fourth in MLB Pipeline's farm-system rankings a year ago, the San Diego Padres enter the 2018 season now at the top of that list. While much of that can be attributed to the team's seven Top 100 prospects, a group headlined by two future starts in Tatis Jr. and Gore and featuring four other players ranked in the Top 50, the Padres' system as a whole stands out just as much for its overall depth and sheer upside. San Diego has assembled baseball's top farm system through a series of strong drafts, key trades for high-ceiling young prospects and a 2016-17 international spending spree in which the club shelled out more than $60 million (including penalties) to land seven prospects who now rank among the Top 30 in the organization. And while the Padres are unlikely to receive much help from their farm this season, a host of prospects -- 14, to be exact, including Tatis, Quantrill, Baez and Morejon -- are poised to debut in 2019, with even more impact talent set to arrive in the subsequent years.
:: Team Top 30 Prospects lists ::
2. Atlanta Braves
Braves' Top 30 Prospects | Breakdown
Top 100: 8 -- Ronald Acuna, OF (No. 2), Kyle Wright, RHP (No. 30), Mike Soroka, RHP (No. 31), Luiz Gohara, LHP (No. 49), Ian Anderson, RHP (No. 51), Kolby Allard, LHP (No. 58), Max Fried, LHP (No. 83), Austin Riley, 3B (No. 97)
Prospect Points (MLB Rank): 407 (2)
Even with the scandal regarding international rules violations that cost the organization a dozen prospects, highlighted by infielder Kevin Maitan, an argument can be made that the Braves still have the strongest farm system in baseball. They definitely have the most pitching, with six arms on the Top 100 alone. Three -- Wright, Soroka and Gohara -- are in the top 50, and it should be noted that there's a nice mix among that half dozen, with a trio of right-handers and lefties. All of them are led by one of the most dynamic offensive prospects seen in some time. Acuna dominated the Minors across three levels in 2017, then was the best player in the Arizona Fall League, all as a teenager. Many of these upper-echelon prospects are going to contribute in Atlanta this year and there's a lot more on the horizon, with at least a couple more prospects who could land on the Top 100 this year and legitimate talent at every level in the system.
Video: Braves rank high among farm systems for 2018
3. Chicago White Sox
White Sox Top 30 Prospects | Breakdown
Top 100: 7 -- Eloy Jimenez, OF (No. 4), Michael Kopech, RHP (No. 10), Luis Robert, OF (No. 28), Alec Hansen, RHP (No. 54), Dylan Cease, RHP (No. 61), Dane Dunning, RHP (No. 92), Blake Rutherford, OF (No. 99)
Prospect Points (MLB Rank): 359 (3)
The White Sox system ranked among the worst in baseball for most of this decade before the organization fully committed to rebuilding. Starting at the 2016 Winter Meetings, general manager Rick Hahn has swapped Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, Jose Quintana and a package of Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle in exchange for 14 Minor Leaguers, including former Top 100 Prospects Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez (who already have graduated to Chicago) and current Top 100 guys Jimenez, Kopech, Cease, Dunning and Rutherford. Robert, who looks like an outfield version of Moncada, and Hansen, who led the Minors with 191 strikeouts in his first full pro season, also have impact talent. If the White Sox could have their one trade blunder back -- sending shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. to the Padres to get James Shields in mid-2016 -- they'd rank No. 1 on this list.
Video: White Sox rank high among farm systems for 2018
4. Tampa Bay Rays
Rays' Top 30 Prospects | Breakdown
Top 100: 6 -- Brent Honeywell, RHP (No. 18), Willy Adames, SS (No. 22), Brendan McKay, 1B/LHP (No. 25), Jesus Sanchez, OF (No. 57), Jake Bauers, OF/1B (No. 64), Christian Arroyo, 3B/SS (No. 81)
Prospect Points (MLB Rank): 339 (4)
Strong drafts, key international signings and shrewd trades involving big league assets for controllable young players have helped the Tampa Bay Rays assemble one of baseball's best and deepest farm systems. It's headlined by six Top 100 prospects, each of whom is expected to contribute at the Major League level in the next two years. Honeywell was poised to join the Rays' starting rotation at some point in 2018, but he'll now miss the entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Beyond him, Adames, Bauers and Arroyo are all on the cusp of becoming everyday players for the Rays, and while they may be further away, the same can be said about McKay and Sanchez. The contributions don't stop there, either, as the Rays' system as a whole is teeming with toolsy up-the-middle players, impactful hitters and high-ceiling, projectable young arms that have the potential to drive the organization's success in the years to come.
Video: Rays rank among the top farm systems in 2018
5. Philadelphia Phillies
Phils' Top 30 Prospects | Breakdown
Top 100: 6 -- Sixto Sanchez, RHP (No. 26), Scott Kingery, 2B (No. 35), J.P. Crawford, SS (No. 37), Adonis Medina, RHP (No. 86), Mickey Moniak, OF (No. 88), Adam Haseley, OF (No. 95)
Prospect Points (MLB Rank): 239 (8)
The six players the Phillies have on the Top 100 tie them for fourth with the Rays and Yankees, and it's the big steps forward some of those top-level prospects made last year that contributed to their jump up these farm system rankings. Sanchez wasn't even on the Top 100 prior to the start of the 2017 season and he now sits at No. 26 and atop the Phillies' Top 30 with more "prospect helium" than perhaps any other pitcher. Then there's second baseman Kingery, who seemed like a solid college performer type before exploding with a 20-20 season and jumping into the top 40 overall list as well. Those hoping to see the Phillies get more competitive now should be cheered by the fact that Kingery, shortstop Crawford and catcher Jorge Alfaro will all be making big contributions in 2018. And there's a lot more coming. Keep an eye on outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz. He could be near the top of this list by this time next year.
Video: Phillies have one of the top farm systems in 2018
6. New York Yankees
Yanks' Top 30 Prospects | Breakdown
Top 100: 6 -- Gleyber Torres, INF (No. 5), Estevan Florial, OF (No. 44), Justus Sheffield, LHP (No. 48), Miguel Andujar, 3B (No. 65), Albert Abreu, RHP (No. 74), Chance Adams, RHP (No. 75)
Prospect Points (MLB Rank): 295 (5)
Despite graduating a strong rookie class headlined by Aaron Judge, Jordan Montgomery and Chad Green and trading several quality prospects to acquire Giancarlo Stanton, Sonny Gray, David Robertson and others, the Yankees still might have the deepest system in the game. They have a number of prospects ready to contribute in 2018 if given the opportunity -- Torres, Andujar, right-handers Cody Carroll, Domingo German and Giovanny Gallegos -- and plenty more coming up behind them. New York's international department has fueled that depth, signing Florial, Andujar, righties Luis Medina, Freicer Perez, Domingo Acevedo and many more. Adding Top 100 Prospects Torres, Sheffield and Abreu via trades during a rare retooling year in 2016 also helped.
Video: Yankees rank high among farm systems for 2018
7. Oakland Athletics
A's Top 30 Prospects | Breakdown
Top 100: 4 - A.J. Puk, LHP (No. 32), Jesus Luzardo, LHP (No. 60), Franklin Barreto, SS/2B (No. 66), Jorge Mateo, SS/OF (No. 72)
Prospect Points (MLB Rank): 174 (14)
While the on-field results once again weren't there for the Oakland A's in 2017, the club did offer a glimpse into its bright future through the success of Matt Chapman, Matt Olson and Chad Pinder. Olson led the way with his 24 home runs, and together the trio of homegrown rookie infielders combined to swat 53 home runs. Meanwhile, after hedging against an inevitable roster turnover, both at the Major League level as well as on the farm, through smaller trades in previous years, the A's made the most of their third straight losing season by trading even more big league assets for more impact prospects. They landed Top 100 prospect Luzardo and hard-hitting infielder Sheldon Neuse from the Nationals in mid-July in exchange for relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, and then added even more high-end talent at the Trade Deadline, when they acquired Mateo, Dustin Fowler and James Kaprielian from the Yankees for Sonny Gray. In total, exactly one-third of Oakland's 2018 Top 30 prospects, including seven players ranked in the Top 15, entered the system via a trade.
Video: A's have one of the top farm systems in 2018
8. Cincinnati Reds
Reds' Top 30 Prospects | Breakdown
Top 100: 5 - Nick Senzel, 3B (No. 7), Hunter Greene, RHP (No. 21), Taylor Trammell, OF (No. 43), Jesse Winker, OF (No. 82), Tyler Mahle, RHP (No. 84)
Prospect Points (MLB Rank): 268 (6)
The Reds have five prospects in the Top 100, with a hitting-pitching 1-2 punch at the top of their list that rivals just about any organization. Senzel, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 Draft, might even be better than advertised, proving to be athletic enough to get some looks at shortstop this spring, and with one of the best pure bats in all of the Minors. Behind him is Greene and his somewhat effortless 100-mph heat. Seeing what he can do in his first full season will be a treat, even if he'll be under very strict usage guidelines. Throw in Trammell, from the same Draft class as Senzel, and that's a top three with some ridiculous upside. The remaining two Top 100 guys, Winker and Mahle, may not have the same ceiling, but they're ready to contribute now.
Video: Reds sport a Top 10 farm system in 2018
9. Toronto Blue Jays
Blue Jays' Top 30 Prospects | Breakdown
Top 100: 3 - Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B (No. 3), Bo Bichette, SS (No. 13), Anthony Alford, OF (No. 47)
Prospect Points (MLB Rank): 240 (7)
Phenoms Guerrero Jr. and Bichette give the Blue Jays arguably the best prospect tandem in baseball. Both players are elite offensive talents who, with further defensive strides at their positions, could find themselves in the club's big league lineup much sooner than first thought at the outset of their careers. Alford gives the team a third Top 100 prospect, and he should contribute in the Majors in 2018 along with players like Danny Jansen and Ryan Borucki. The club also has a crop of fast-rising young arms in former first-rounders Nate Pearson and T.J. Zeuch and highly touted international signee Eric Pardinho. The aforementioned players comprise a system that has 27 homegrown players on its Top 30 Prospects list for 2018.
Video: Rosenbaum on top prospects for the Blue Jays in 2018
10. Los Angeles Dodgers
Dodgers' Top 30 Prospects | Breakdown
Top 100: 3 - Walker Buehler, RHP (No. 12), Alex Verdugo, OF (No. 33), Keibert Ruiz, C (No. 52)
Prospect Points (MLB rank): 206 (10)
The Dodgers have had back-to-back unanimous National League Rookie of the Year Award winners in Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger, so it would make sense for them to fade. And yet, here they are once again in the top 10. There's more immediate help on the way with Buehler and Verdugo primed to contribute as needed. Aggressive forays into the international market netted the Dodgers intriguing prospects like Yadier Alvarez (signed for $16 million) and Yusniel Diaz ($15.5 million), though it is the modest signing of Ruiz ($140,000) that might pay the biggest dividends. Graduations and trades have thinned the system a little, but it's still pretty strong and ready to help the Dodgers get back to the postseason.
Video: Rosenbaum on the top prospects for the Dodgers in '18