30 reasons to be thankful -- 1 for each farm system

November 24th, 2023

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Thanksgiving in the United is a time for baseball fans to dig into their turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing (or whatever other delicious dishes sit on the table), and they also might choose to give thanks for the cornucopia of talent headed toward the Majors. Here are prospect-related reasons each fanbase can be thankful this holiday season:

AL East

Blue Jays: A healthy and productive Ricky Tiedemann won Arizona Fall League Pitcher of the Year honors after missing time with shoulder and biceps injuries during the regular season.

Orioles: MLB Pipeline’s top overall prospect Jackson Holliday climbed four levels in his first full campaign and could be on the cusp of joining former fellow No. 1s Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson in the first half of 2024.

Rays: Junior Caminero debuted with Tampa Bay as a 20-year-old after hitting 31 homers and slugging .591 at High-A and Double-A in the summer. His near-elite power will fuel his MLB chances next spring.

Red Sox: Roman Anthony, the 79th overall pick in 2022, was one of the breakout prospects of the year after showing plus power and impressive swing decisions while reaching Double-A as a 19-year-old. A new Roman empire, perhaps?

Yankees: The New York pitching program helped Chase Hampton and Drew Thorpe jump onto the Top 100 after stellar 2023 seasons -- the latter was named our Pitching Prospect of the Year -- and put Will Warren on the cusp of the Bronx for ‘24. More arms are bound to take similar leaps next spring.

AL Central

Guardians: Acquired from the Rays at the Trade Deadline, Kyle Manzardo was still returning from a shoulder issue at the time but stood out for both his hit and power tools in the Arizona Fall League, solidifying his standing as a legit first-base option for Opening Day.

Royals: Seven of Kansas City’s current Top 30 prospects (Blake Mitchell, Blake Wolters, Carson Roccaforte, Hunter Owen, Jared Dickey, Spencer Nivens, Hiro Wyatt) came from this year’s Draft class, and the group will play a large role in influencing the future of the farm.

Tigers: After missing much of the first half with lumbar spine inflammation, Jackson Jobe got back to dominating with a fastball-slider-cutter-changeup mix that makes for one of the best and fullest arsenals in the Minors.

Twins: Minnesota had the 13th-best odds in the 2023 lottery and landed the fifth overall pick. The Twins took North Carolina prep outfielder Walker Jenkins, and with his five above-average tools, he could be a quick superstar in that system.

White Sox: Chicago is in a state of flux, but having a clear top prospect like Colson Montgomery (MLB No. 17) -- a shortstop with plus-plus raw power -- should bring some hope to the South Side.

AL West

Angels: The Halos took quick-moving Florida Atlantic first baseman Nolan Schanuel 11th overall, and they lived up to their reputation by bringing him to The Show ASAP, only to see him reach base in all 29 of his MLB games.

Astros: Top Houston prospect Jacob Melton -- who moved into that spot with Drew Gilbert and Ryan Clifford traded away -- was one of only five 20-40 Minor League performers last season.

Athletics: Jacob Wilson became Oakland’s top prospect after going sixth overall in July, and he hit .318 with only 10 strikeouts in 99 plate appearances for High-A Lansing after signing. His 5.3 swinging-strike rate was the fifth-lowest among 200 Midwest Leaguers with at least 90 PA.

Mariners: Harry Ford had one of the busiest 2023 years between international play, the Minors and the Arizona Fall League. With all that experience, he could be ready for a bigger jump with a calmer calendar next year.

Rangers: After his postseason performance, Evan Carter will be on Texas’ Opening Day roster, and 2023 No. 4 overall pick Wyatt Langford won’t be far behind him. With Adolis García and Leody Taveras also around, the World Series champs will have some good sorting to do on the grass.

NL East

Braves: Hurston Waldrep’s splitter was one of the best pitches in the 2023 Draft class, and the former Florida Gator used it to strike out 41 batters in 29 1/3 innings as a pro. He could push his way into Atlanta’s rotation early next year.

Marlins: The Fish grabbed two of the best prep pitchers in this year’s class in Noble Meyer and Thomas White, and while that comes with some risk, a future MLB rotation with both would pay major dividends.

Mets: The Mets sent money to the Astros and Rangers in the Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer deals to improve their return, and Top 100 prospects Luisangel Acuña and Drew Gilbert have made the system more dynamic as a result.

Nationals: Most teams would love to have one of Dylan Crews or James Wood. The Nats boast both outfielders, and the pair have the offensive profiles to be valuable anywhere on the grass when one inevitably moves to a corner.

Phillies: Orion Kerkering, a 2022 fifth-rounder, started his first full season at Single-A and ended it in the Major League postseason. Kerkering’s upper-90s fastball and mid-80s sweeper are both at least plus pitches, and he could take a jump with more MLB experience in ’24.

NL Central

Brewers: Milwaukee’s top six prospects (Jackson Chourio, Jeferson Quero, Jacob Misiorowski, Tyler Black, Robert Gasser, Carlos F. Rodriguez) all have upper-level experience and are trending toward 2024 debuts as the Crew pursues another NL Central title.

Cardinals: Trading a rental player in Jordan Montgomery for Thomas Saggese (the Minor League leader in hits and total bases) and Tekoah Roby (a potential midrotation starter with four above-average pitches) is a nice get for a non-contending club.

Cubs: While Chicago fans wait to see how Cody Bellinger’s free agency goes, the knowledge that Pete Crow-Armstrong has already seen the Majors at 21 and is ready to bring his top-of-the-scale glove back to Wrigley Field can be a comfort.

Pirates: Bucs fans only got a taste of what No. 1 overall pick Paul Skenes can do after he made five appearances in August and September. The former LSU star is gearing up for a first full pro summer where his triple-digit fastball and plus-plus slider could (and should) dominate from day one.

Reds: The Reds graduated a lot of bats in 2023. Meanwhile, Cincinnati took Wake Forest righty Rhett Lowder seventh overall in the Draft, and armed with a plus change and plus control, the 21-year-old is set to be the face of the farm quickly.

NL West

D-backs: Jordan Lawlar showed good power and at least plus speed on his way to Phoenix and was part of an Arizona World Series roster ahead of schedule. He should challenge Geraldo Perdomo at the six this upcoming spring.

Dodgers: Despite making 11 straight postseasons, Los Angeles doesn’t have the depleted farm of many contenders, and with players like Michael Busch, Dalton Rushing and Nick Frasso in the mix, it has prospects who could help soon or could hold solid trade value this offseason.

Giants: No one is saying that Bryce Eldridge or Reggie Crawford are the next Shohei Ohtani, but it is fun that both two-way players (and first-rounders) are in the same organization and getting chances to perform on the mound and at the plate.

Padres: The Juan Soto trade looked like it might have wrecked the San Diego system. Instead, Ethan Salas, Robby Snelling, Jairo Iriarte, Graham Pauley and Jakob Marsee (among others) enjoyed breakouts, and other prospects continued to develop nicely.

Rockies: Colorado is always in dire need of pitching and grabbed a quality arm in Tennessee right-hander Chase Dollander with the ninth overall pick. Dollander (MLB No. 59) has a 95-97 mph fastball, plus slider and above-average change.