Yes ladies and gents, it is about time for Spring Training to get under way. Minor League rankings are out, and the Pirates's system rankings 12. To me that is too low. I am biased, but still, I think it is low. There are also lots of prospect rankings out there, but this is my favorite so far. It is the kindest to the Pirates because it ranks Luis Heredia, and ranks him well. He does not make anyone else's list. So based on my limited knowledge I will give my top 10.
1. Padres - They have no super great A+ prospects, but have 10 top 100 prospects, or at least 9. That is really good. No one else comes close to that many. I put them at #1. Of course with all the trading they have been doing the last year they had better be #1.
2. Blue Jays - supposedly they have crazy depth, but they only have 5 Top 100 prospects, and one of those is real near the bottom. Travis D'Arnaud is good and an A type prospect, but I am not sure that they are better than the Padres.
3. Royals - They were #1 last year, but put a lot of guys in the majors that drop them. The addition of Bubba Starling ought to prevent them from dropping too far. Odorizzi is under rated in my opinion, and Mike Motgomery, who had control problems last year, should still be considered a potential star. He still struck out 7.7 per 9 innings, and was a top 20 prospect last year for Baseball America and is not top 100 this year. Even without Motgomery they put 5 in the Top 100.
4. Athletics - Billy Beane packs them in. He puts 7 in my favorite list, although one could make an argument there are only 5 solidly on the list. Still that is a lot and it is enough to crack the top 5.
5. Rays - Matt Moore is great. No doubt. They only put one other guy on this Top 100, but look at the 2011 draft class. They signed ten guys higher than Josh Bell. Now, they are probably not all better than Bell, but they are not chopped liver either. This group is going to produce results. They seem to always have some talent waiting in the wings, and I am going to put faith in their system and put them up at 5.
6. Rangers - Profar is the big name here, but there are 5 guys in the Top 100. They have shown themselves to be a system that can find and develop talent. The Rangers just missed the Top 5, and are probably interchangeable with the Rays here.
7. Mariners - Two top 20 prospects and 4 top 100. I sort of think Hultzen is underrated as well, so the Mariners are looking good with their talent. High ceilings abound.
8. Pirates - Yes, I think we have the 8th best system. We are short on hitting, but not as short as some of the others, and we have 4 legit possible aces in the system (one of which does not make the top 100). This ranking has 6 Pirates in the Top 100. I down grade us a little because we have some depth issues, and Owens probably took a hit in his status this past year, but overall we have a great system. Allie and Dickerson are not on the top 100 list, but are high ceiling guys. Our Latin America program ought to start really paying off soon as well.
9. Cardinals - As much as it pains me to say it the Cardinals have a good organization. Shelby Miller is good, and they have a total of 5 on this Top 100 list. Probably a bit more balance over all than us, but I don't think they are better than us.
10. Nationals - I was pretty torn here, but I am going Nats. Harper needs no comment and may be the best overall prospect. I think Rendon is low at 26 and Purke is clearly a top 100 guy. They have a few other guys who are not off this list by much.
Now it is hard to make huge argument if you wished to put the Diamondbacks at 10, but I think the fact the Nats have great hitters and a pitcher and the Diamondbacks only have three great pitchers makes the Nats system better. PItching beats hitting, but only once every five games. Thus, the Braves follow behind the Diamondbacks with the same problem. Red Sox are decent, and you could throw in Twins to round out my Top 15.
Game Thread: Joe Musgrove is a Bucco
3 hours ago