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House of Shlain: Organizational Top-10 Lists: AL

Nick Shlain

Nick analyzes prospects for RotoWire and focuses on the Midwest League during the season.

"Ships that pass in the night and speak each other in passing, only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Prospect lists can be a lot of fun. I enjoy reading and writing them as much as the next guy, but too much of a good thing is still too much of a thing. Today I've organized top 10 lists for each of the 15 American League teams and I'll be doing the same for the National League later this week as well, but I'd be remiss if I didn't express a little bit of caution with these lists. Enjoy them all you want this week because things are going to change. Even since I last ranked 200 prospects just two weeks ago my opinions and rankings have changed a bit as I noticed myself contradicting that list with some rankings here (Mason Williams over Gary Sanchez for one). That doesn't make the two-week old list a bad list, it just means something changed (be it the prospect's stock or my opinion). Prospect lists are a snapshot, a moment in time. Two ships passing in the night.



1. Mason Williams, OF
2. Gary Sanchez, C
3. Eric Jagielo, 3B
4. Rafael De Paula, RHP
5. Tyler Austin, OF
6. Slade Heathcott, OF
7. Ian Clarkin, LHP
8. Jose Ramirez, RHP
9. Jose Campos, RHP
10. Aaron Judge, OF

At least something good came out of the Yankees' offseason as the organization was able to add Ian Clarkin and Aaron Judge with compensatory draft picks from free agents Rafael Soriano and Nick Swisher leaving. Sanchez was recently called up to Double-A and Williams has picked up his play over the last few months, but as a group this hasn't been the best season for the quartet of Sanchez (didn't crush repeat in High-A), Williams (struggled a lot early, DUI), Austin (wrist injury), and Heathcott (inconsistent).


1. Hak-Ju Lee, SS
2. Jake Odorizzi, RHP
3. Richie Shaffer, 3B
4. Taylor Guerrieri, RHP
5. Ryne Stanek, RHP
6. Blake Snell, RHP
7. Nick Ciuffo, C
8. Mikie Mahtook, OF
9. Drew Vettleson, OF
10. Felipe Rivero, LHP

Taylor Guerrieri's Tommy John surgery was obviously a big blow and we'll have to see how he is when he returns, but that's an unknown right now and he had tremendous stuff prior to the injury. He'd be the clear number one on this list if he were healthy. Overall, this is really not a bad system for a team that graduated Wil Myers and Chris Archer this year.

Red Sox

1. Xander Bogaerts, SS/3B
2. Garin Cecchini, SS
3. Henry Owens, LHP
4. Matt Barnes, RHP
5. Trey Ball, LHP
6. Anthony Ranaudo, RHP
7. Blake Swihart, C
8. Deven Marrero, SS
9. Jose Vinicio, SS
10. Bryce Brentz, OF

Bogaerts. Bogaerts, Bogaerts, Bogaerts. Did I mention Bogaerts? Have I started typing this comment yet? Oh, I have? Sorry, I just went to the Bahamas for a second. Well, Bogaerts, get to know him. He could be here soon as the Sox have him playing third base at Triple-A to possibly get him ready for manning the hot corner in the big leagues for the stretch run. Stash him now in redraft leagues if you can.


1. Dylan Bundy, RHP
2. Hunter Harvey, RHP
3. Jonathan Schoop, INF
4. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP
5. Mike Wright, RHP
6. Christian Walker, 1B
7. Brandon Kline, RHP
8. Adrian Marin, SS
9. Tim Berry, LHP
10. Devin Jones, RHP

It's not a deep system when a guy who recently underwent Tommy John surgery tops the list, but here we are. The Orioles graduated Kevin Gausman to the big leagues and traded away L.J. Hoes and these moves have left the organization's farm a little light at the moment. Eduardo Rodriguez has been hit for at least five earned runs in three of his six Double-A starts since his promotion.

Blue Jays

1. Aaron Sanchez, RHP
2. Clinton Hollon, RHP
3. D.J. Davis, OF
4. Daniel Norris, LHP
5. Roberto Osuna, RHP
6. Marcus Stroman, RHP
7. John Stilson, RHP
8. Alberto Tirado, RHP
9. Chase DeJong, RHP
10. A.J. Jimenez, C

Speaking of light farm systems, the Jays emptied the tank in the trades for headliners Jose Reyes and R.A. Dickey during the offseason, losing Travis d'Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, Jake Marisnick, and Justin Nicolino in the process. Without those guys and unsigned first-round pick Phil Bickford, this list is decidedly not what it could have been. However, I still think they have plenty of good arms and Sean Nolin didn't even make this list because he pitched in the big leagues this year.



1. Nick Castellanos, OF
2. Jonathon Crawford, RHP
3. Jake Thompson, RHP
4. Austin Schotts, OF
5. Corey Knebel, RHP
6. Tyler Collins, OF
7. Casey Crosby, LHP
8. Eugenio Suarez, SS
9. Steven Moya, OF
10. Harold Castro, 2B

Outside of Castellanos, the Tigers' system isn't really something to write home about. The organization continues to target big guys who throw hard in the draft and then they wonder how they end up with a bunch of guys ticketed for the bullpen. It's astonishing. Corey Knebel, a 2013 first-round pick, is closing for Low-A West Michigan already and could be the first 2013 draftee to make the majors yet I hear rumblings that the Tigers view him as a starter long term. Oy.


1. Francisco Lindor, SS
2. Clint Frazier, OF
3. Dorssys Paulino, SS
4. Ronny Rodriguez, SS
5. Mitch Brown, RHP
6. Tyler Naquin, OF
7. Anthony Santander, OF
8. Luigi Rodriguez, OF
9. Jesus Aguilar, 1B
10. Tony Wolters, INF

It's taking a lot of strength not to just tear up my top-200 list from two weeks ago and rank Frazier above Lindor. I like Frazier that much (if you remember I wrote that he has a legitimate argument as the top fantasy prospect in the 2013 draft) and the reports on him in the Arizona League have been that good, but I guess we'll make the youngster sweat it out until the offseason.


1. Kyle Zimmer, RHP
2. Yordano Ventura, RHP
3. Raul Adalberto Mondesi, SS
4. Miguel Almonte, RHP
5. Bubba Starling, OF
6. Jorge Bonifacio, OF
7. Sean Manaea, LHP
8. Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B
9. Jason Adam, RHP
10. Sam Selman, LHP

This is the Royals' prospect list after moving major prospects last offseason and dealing Kyle Smith to Houston at the deadline. It's still very good and deep even though it's been a rough year for their two outfielders Bonifacio (wrist injury) and Starling (approach issues).


1. Byron Buxton, OF
2. Miguel Sano, 3B
3. Alex Meyer, RHP
4. Eddie Rosario, 2B
5. Kohl Stewart, RHP
6. Jose Berrios, RHP
7. Trevor May, LHP
8. Max Kepler, OF
9. Travis Harrison, 3B
10. Jorge Polanco, INF

The Twins have a legitimate argument in the best farm system in baseball debate. You know the headliners Buxton and Sano, but having pitchers that miss bats like Meyer and May also has to be exciting for Twins fans. Kohl Stewart, the Twins' first-round pick this June, was the top high school arm in the draft and also has a huge ceiling.

White Sox

1. Tim Anderson, SS
2. Avisail Garcia, OF
3. Courtney Hawkins, OF
4. Trayce Thompson, OF
5. Carlos Sanchez, SS
6. Erik Johnson, LHP
7. Scott Snodgress, RHP
8. Chris Beck, RHP
9. Marcus Semien, INF
10. Keenyn Walker, OF

Comic Book Guy on the White Sox's farm: "Worst system ever!" In all seriousness the White Sox player development struggles have gone on for some time and stem from ownership being unwilling to go the extra mile (over slot) financially to get the best talent (Jerry Reinsdorf's relationship with Bud Selig being the elephant in the room). New general manager Rick Hahn is in for a challenge, but he's already added the first two names on the list this year by drafting Anderson in the first round and netting Garcia in the Jake Peavy trade.



1. Luis Sardinas, SS
2. Joey Gallo, 3B
3. Jorge Alfaro, C
4. Lewis Brinson, OF
5. Rougned Odor, 2B
6. Luke Jackson, RHP
7. Ronald Guzman, 1B
8. Nomar Mazara, OF
9. Jairo Beras, OF
10. Nick Williams, OF

Jurickson Profar, Mike Olt, Martin Perez, Nick Tepesch and Justin Grimm all came off this list and the Rangers are still looking mighty strong down on the farm. A little light on arms as nine position players have a place on this list. Texas has guys that can do it all in Sardinas and Odor and guys with standout raw power in Gallo and Alfaro. It's a very athletic group of position players overall. Alfaro runs very well for a catcher and Lewis Brinson has quite the power and speed combination himself.


1. Addison Russell, SS
2. Michael Choice, OF
3. Billy McKinney, OF
4. Renato Nunez, 3B
5. Daniel Robertson, SS
6. Miles Head, 3B/1B
7. Chris Bostick, 2B
8. Michael Ynoa, RHP
9. Matthew Olson, 1B
10. Seth Streich, RHP

With Dan Straily and Sonny Gray in the big leagues, this list is also light on arms. A's 2013 first-round pick Billy McKinney has hit the ground running in the Arizona Rookie League as he's hitting .330/.383/.417 in 29 games. Addison Russell has a line drive swing with plenty of power to boot and he looks better at shortstop everyday. He's one of the best prospects in all of baseball.


1. Mark Appel, RHP
2. Carlos Correa, SS
3. George Springer, OF
4. Jonathan Singleton, 1B
5. Mike Foltynewicz, RHP
6. Lance McCullers, RHP
7. Delino DeShields Jr. 2B
8. Rio Ruiz, 3B
9. Nolan Fontana, INF
10. Danry Vasquez, OF

No team needed a makeover more than the Astros and so far Houston has had two big drafts to put the team headed in the right direction. Ed Wade did them a favor on his way out getting Jarred Cosart and Jonathan Singleton in the Hunter Pence trade, but the Jeff Luhnow administration really deserves the credit here. This is a strong farm system.


1. Taijuan Walker, RHP
2. D.J. Peterson, 3B
3. Danny Hultzen, LHP
4. James Paxton, LHP
5. Stefen Romero, 2B
6. Tyler Pike, LHP
7. Victor Sanchez, RHP
8. Luiz Gohara, LHP
9. Chris Taylor, SS
10. Gabriel Guerrero, OF

I'm still completely baffled as to why the Mariners decided to keep players such as Michael Morse, Oliver Perez, Raul Ibanez, and Tom Wilhelmsen instead of cashing them in for prospects at the trade deadline. All of those guys will be free agents in two months save for Wilhelmsen, who was sent to the minors after Monday night's loss. Still, this system has a few potential above-average players in Walker and Peterson, the 2013 draftee.


1. Kaleb Cowart, 3B
2. C.J. Cron, 1B
3. Hunter Green, LHP
4. Nick Maronde, LHP
5. Randal Grichuk, OF
6. Taylor Lindsey, 2B
7. R.J. Alvarez, RHP
8. Mark Sappington, RHP
9. Jose Rondon, SS
10. Alex Yarbrough, 2B

At what point is the Mike Trout grace period over with this farm? It's understandably light after years without a first-round pick due to activity in free agency, but eventually the organization needs to win at the major league level or restock the farm. I know which one usually comes first.

Well, that was fun, now you can go tell me about how I insulted your favorite player down in the comments, but don't forget that anyone who has appeared in the majors this season is ineligible for this ranking.

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