Breaking down the Top 100 by division

January 30th, 2024

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There isn’t much time for us at MLB Pipeline to sit back, take a breath and enjoy our work. As soon as the Top 100 comes out, we really have to jump into getting Top 30 lists out for each team.

I’m telling you this not as a ploy to curry sympathy, but rather to say that this is a brief moment when I can do just that. So much work goes into getting the list you love to argue about out into the world. Jim Callis and Sam Dykstra are the best content partners in the world, and I think we form an amazing Three Musketeers of prospecting. And that’s just the front end. On the production and social media side, our team is unparalleled and I wanted to take a minute to thank (alphabetically): Michael Avallone, Jesse Borek, Willie Cornblatt, Kelsie Heneghan, Josh Jackson, Jason Ratliff and Paige Schector for their efforts for making everything look good, along with the video work by Kyle Casey and Tim Conaughton that gives it all some extra pizazz.

We have sliced and diced the list every which way, but there’s always another angle. Over the weekend, I was thinking about what a divisional prospect power ranking might look like. We probably could drill even deeper once the Top 30s are out and we re-rank all the farm systems, but for now I’m happy to use the Top 100 to take a look at which divisions are the strongest from a prospect standpoint.

I had a theory before looking at any of the data, and maybe it stemmed from the fact I live in Pittsburgh, that the National League Central was the most stacked. The Cubs, after all, have the most members on the Top 100 with seven, and we’ve often talked about how the Pirates have a strong farm system. Turns out, I was right:

NL Central: 24 Top 100 prospects
AL East: 20
NL West: 18
AL Central: 15
NL East: 14
AL West: 9

We do have one more way to examine this. Again, it’s not exactly scientific, but it does provide another snapshot of where the talent is. We call them Prospect Points, and the system is pretty simple. You get 100 points if you have the No. 1 prospect, 99 for No. 2 and down to one point for the No. 100 prospect. The Orioles, in case you were curious, have the most PP with 444, starting with having No. 1 prospect Jackson Holliday, of course. It’s a look into strength of start talent, and once again, the NL Central is on top. The standings are basically the same as what’s listed above, but it provides a little more info and breaks that tie between the AL Central and NL East. I’ve included the top ranked prospect in each division:

NL Central, 1,196 (Jackson Chourio, Brewers, No. 2)
AL East, 1,145 (Jackson Holliday, Orioles, No. 1)
NL West, 829 (Ethan Salas, Padres, No. 8)
AL Central, 812 (Colson Montgomery, White Sox, No. 9)
NL East, 654 (Dylan Crews, Nationals, No. 7)
AL West, 414 (Evan Carter, Rangers, No. 5)

The NL Central also has the Pirates' Paul Skenes at No. 3 to really help that total, while the AL East has the Rays’ Junior Caminero at No. 4. Carter and organization-mate Wyatt Langford (No. 6) give the AL West a strong 1-2 punch, but there’s clearly not nearly as much in the division after that. Montgomery and the Twins’ Walker Jenkins give the AL Central two in the top 10, and Max Clark of the Tigers isn’t too far behind at No. 13. Crews and fellow Nationals outfielder James Wood (No. 14) give the NL East a pair in the top 15. After Salas, the NL West has two more in the top 12 with the D-backs’ Jordan Lawlar (No. 11) and the Padres’ Jackson Merrill at No. 12.