(Lobman’s Note: Soooo everyone, someone decided to grace us with some #content for the blog. After much formatting issues and margaritas THANKS SEAN, I have decided to really put this together so Brian could have himself a good read. And guys, it’s like 5000 words or so. I have left this bitch raw, but I have decided to put my input from time to time. But without further ado)
Written by: Gregory P Heroy
-With our newly improved minor league system now set in place after our First Year Player Draft, I figured it was the best time to take a look at everyones current minor league situation. I will review each team’s high minors, low minors and Draft Rights’ Players, with MLB.com’s prospect rankings (and only their rankings, who do you think I am Sean? I don’t have the time to research a million articles for fluff, this shit is all my opinions, so its 100% FACT). I will add in my thoughts, and how each player fits into the future for that team. I know we still have a little over a month until rosters need to be set, so I won’t try to penalize teams for not having their minors filled out just yet, but it will come into consideration with overall grades. Now onto the good stuff:
The teams listed are in no particular order, other than from ESPN’s drop down list
(Lobman’s note: Its fucking shitty to use MLB.com’s rankings, because they’re, in fact, bad. But OK let’s do this)
|High Minors||Josh Bell||27||128 AB’s|
|Aaron Judge||45||84 AB’s|
|Manuel Margot||23||37 AB’s|
|Mauricio Cabrera||NR||38.1 IP|
|Low Minors||Cody Bellinger||12|
High Minors: To start, the Topes have some decent talent in their high minors system. Josh Bell is only ranked 27, but had a nice start to his MLB career last year with the Pirates. He burst onto the scene with a grand slam, but also had his struggles along the way, mainly in the field. Which cost him a lot of AB’s which may be a good thing for the Topes since he is still minor league eligible. He will need to sure up his defense if he looks to get consistent AB’s on the Pirates team this year, and only has 2 AB’s left of minor league eligibility. So that will be another bench bat for the Topes after his first game.
They also just acquired Margot to add some steals to their repertoire, and he should help them in CF with his DRS metric…. right fantasy baseball here. He should get them some steals that this team desperately needs. Back to the power side that this team is more known for, Aaron Judge. Let’s just say Aaron Judge can hit some monster homeruns, but the most intriguing storyline following Judge this year is if he can hit at least 10 less homers than Bryce Harper. There is a nice $100 bet riding on the fact that he can’t and won’t. Mauricio Cabrera is on the roster since he can get some holds, and keeps his minor eligible status for now. He is on a bad team with at least two other pieces in front of him to garner saves.
Low Minors: This won’t take long. The Topes are notorious for not knowing players born from 1986 on, and it shows with his low minors and draft rights players on his roster. Cody Bellinger isn’t a bad player to own, he has power from the 1B position and the Dodgers have an eye for talent and developing them into stars over recent years. The Topes were also able to pick up Erick Fedde in the FYPD that took place over the weekend. Another promising piece for the future that has a chance to show up in Washington as early as this year, especially with the Nats other top pitching prospects out of the picture.
Draft Rights Players: None
Overall Minor Grade: C-
Even though the Topes have a few nice pieces in the high minors, the cupboard is only half full in the low minors, and completely bare when it comes to any DRP’s. The fact that Bell only has 2 AB’s remaining doesn’t help his case, and I’m not sold on anyone else being a true difference maker moving forward.
River City Bad Dudes
|High Minors||Frankie Montas||NR||15 IP|
|Low Minors||Vlad Guerrero Jr.||34|
High Minors: The Bad Dudes only have one player in their high minors system, and they aren’t a very exciting “prospect”. Frankie Montas wasn’t picked up to be a stud but to fill a need. He is a minor eligible holds guy, so he fits the bill for the team from River City.
Low Minors: This is the meat of the farm system (pun not intended, but works nicely) for the Dudes. Rosario is the headliner of the group and at a premium position, for the Dudes favorite team nonetheless. He finally put it altogether this past year in the minors and showed why he deserves the top 5 ranking. One to watch for the future and can slot into the starting lineup once he comes up. To reminisce for a moment, I remember watching a guy hit a ball that bounce to the plate over the wall for a homerun, and then throw someone out at the plate from RF on the fly. That man was fun to watch, and that man now has a kid coming up in the Blue Jays system. Mikey T would be able to tell you all about Vlad Guerrero, since that was the last time he watched baseball. Back to the Bad Dudes, there are already tales about the kid hitting balls out of stadiums. Who knows what Vlad Jr. can become, but if its half what his dad was, he will be a good one. To compliment his young bats, Lobman also has some power arms in the system. Francis Martes is a hard thrower who really took a step forward in 2016 after struggling in the early part of the season. Alvarez looks to be a future pen piece for the Dodgers, and the same can be said for Joe Jimenez. With the value of bullpen pieces skyrocketing in The Backyard, those are two arms to keep an eye on. Amir Garrett profiles as a nice middle of the rotation arm, and has the opportunity to compete for the 5th rotation spot this year with the Reds.
DRP: Nicknamed “The Cuban Bryce Harper” was all the Bad Dudes needed to hear to spend their third round pick on Armenteros. With not much out on this guy, all I know is that he has a nickname that makes me think he will be the next Yasiel Puig. Sell high.
Overall Minor Grade: B+
The Bad Dudes boast one of the top hitting prospects at a premium position and a power arm that will end up in the top end of the rotation. To top that off, they have some intriguing pen pieces for now and the future.
Main St. Mooninitez
|High Minors||Dan Vogelbach||NR||12 AB’s|
|Carl Edwards Jr.||NR||36 IP|
|Grant Dayton||NR||26.1 IP|
|Alex Reyes||14||46 IP|
|Low Minors||Lewis Brinson||18|
High Minors: We all know the story behind Alex Reyes, but to rub it into Sean’s hippy wounds a little more, LET US DISCUSS MORE. Reyes was destined for the Cardinals rotation and to dominate the NL Central this year. Sean was envisioning a boatload of strikeouts and still had a few IP left of minor league eligibility, BUT he went down for the season and now Wacha won’t become a holds eligible SP. Since the Moonz loves to use the system to aid him in the current season, he has a few holds players on the roster. Nothing flashy about them, but they are there for a purpose and serve that purpose well. They also recently traded for Dan Vogelbach, and I don’t think we really need to discuss him, ON WE GO.
Low Minors: If this was written a week ago, Sean would get my full support of his low minors for owning a future stud. That stud was shipped out of town with another promising prospect for Keon Broxton. Back on track of what he does have, stock in the Braves pitching coaches. Since he went crazy and picked up three overall (2 low minors) Braves prospects. It is well publicized that the Braves have a lot in their minor levels, so Sean is banking that his curse is only on Cardinal’s prospects. Insert Oscar Taveras jokes here, followed by Alex Reyes elbow pictures. To pile on top of the old saying, “You can never have enough pitching”, the Moonz also added Mitch Keller and David Paulino to their growing stable. I like both of those young fellows and it sure seems anything the Pirate’s touch turns to gold. So Keller is someone to watch in the next few years. The cream of the crop is Lewis Brinson. Brinson has shown flashes through his time in the minors. From climbing the ladder from High A ball to AAA in the same year, but then showing he isn’t quite ready, .280 OBP at AA last year. After being dealt to the Brewers at the deadline, he was red hot in AAA and should get his chance to start for the lowly Brew Crew.
DRP: AJ Minter is another one of those Braves pitching “prospects” that I honestly don’t know much about. He is a reliever that pitched at 3 levels of the minors last year and had a very nice K rate. Not someone who is going to move the needle.
Overall Minor Grade: B-
Sean gets saved from receiving a C because of his depth in the minors and having Alex Reyes. One of the many pitchers he has on the roster, has to turn into something just based off percentages (I’m not researching the percentage of pitching prospects to turn into something, you can do that if you are so inclined). Brinson and Reyes are top prospects that will be contributing by next year.
|High Minors||Tom Murphy||NR||44 AB’s|
|Andrew Toles||NR||105 AB’s|
|Ty Kelly||NR||58 AB’s|
|Edubray Ramos||NR||40 IP|
|Chris Beck||NR||25.1 IP|
|Low Minors||Kyle Tucker||35|
High Minors: While the first edition of this was being written, the Resurgence had an abundance of high minors players, and some that served a pretty good purpose. Things have since changed with a shakeup from management earlier today. The Resurgence had a useful speedster that hit for good average in Andrew Toles, but he was shown the pink slip earlier today. So was Ty Kelly, and the only reason that upset me is because I had a joke that his age almost matched his number of AB’s (there I still fit the joke in anyway!). With those two gone it leaves Rojo with two minor league eligible relievers that will attain holds. It seems that is how a lot of teams are using their high minors these days. It makes sense for a man who is already losing every week he begins without a closer on his roster. He also has Tom Murphy, and well he seems to be a bench bat with the addition of Stephen Vogt earlier today.
Low Minors: Until the draft, the Resurgence were even more scared of the idea of getting younger than the aging Isotopes. With a new format, brings new ideas. Rojo was able to pluck two prospects ranked in the 30s which isn’t an easy feat at this point. A decent amount of teams loaded up on prospects after the Trout Fishing Club won their first ever title, be happy that is the first selfish plug so far. Although neither prospect will be confused for Mike Trout or Mookie Betts or Kris Bryant, they are a start for the Resurgence on their quest to find their Surgence.
Overall Minors Grade: D-
I don’t like failing anyone, especially if there is effort being put forth. Since Rojo finally added some low minors players in the draft, he avoids the daunting F. He still needs his parents to sign his test so they know how terrible he is doing to this point. Everyone is responsible!
Barnegat Banana Slugs
|High Minors||Robert Gsellman||NR||44.2 IP|
|Matt Strahm||NR||22 IP|
|Low Minors||Tyler Beede||88|
High Minors: The Banana Slugs have a couple of very useful high minors in their system. With Gsellman, you get a Jacob DeGrom clone. Literally. He wants to be just like Jake, take a look at that hair. He can also pitch like DeGrom, when DeGrom was healthy. Since they are both Mets, I bet they don’t stay healthy. Still useful at this point though. Strahm is going to be extended this spring to become a starter, so we will see how this experiment works out. Last year he was a strikeout machine that got holds. As a minor leaguer in our system, that is as good as it gets.
Low Minors: Don’t let the MLB.com rankings fool you. The highest rated player is Kyle Lewis at 29, but Brian has had an eye for talent for quite a while. This is where I show Mikey T a proper segue. SPEAKING OF KYLE LEWIS, he was a top pick in the draft and had a great start with power and speed combo, until he went down for the remainder of the season with an injury. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back, but I think he will be fine. He is young and athletic. Other young and athletic talent on the roster is Franklin Barreto, a middle infielder with double digit power and plenty of speed to boot. These kind of players are hard to come by, so we will see if Franklin can make his skills translate to the majors when his name is called. Possibly flanking Lewis in the Mariners OF one day is Tyler O’Neill. He has shown plenty of pop throughout the minors, and may get his chance at a call-up at some point this year for the M’s. Brian keeps the talent coming with Derek Fisher. Another OF on the fringe of the majors with a nice power/speed combo. Instead of talking about Tyler Beede’s year at AA Richmond, I will just leave you with this: https://t.co/8b67RDwzCS?ssr=true
DRP: The only player designated with the DRP on the BS roster is Zack Collins. Another lower rated prospect whose numbers seem to show he should be ranked higher. The BS have an eye to the future with the selection of Collins. Martin is getting up there in age, and it seems Brian already his replacement waiting in the wings.
Overall Minors Grade: B
This is a very solid group when put together. The combination of power and speed from almost every player can have the Banana Slugs back to losing the Championship game in no time.
Point Loma X-Rayz
|High Minors||Roman Quinn||NR||57 AB’s|
|Charlie Tilson||NR||2 AB’s|
|Low Minors||Ozzie Albies||10|
High Minors: For a team that normally relies heavily on their high minors to fill out their major league roster, it seems fairly light at this point. Roman Quinn is a player I have personally been waiting to get his shot in the Bigs. He is exciting and loves to steal every chance he gets. Although, he doesn’t get many chances because he has an extensive injury history that cannot be ignored. He played his most games in a season this year with a combined 92. He can steal plenty of bases when he plays, but don’t expect him to play too many games. Tilson was destined to start the season as the starting CF of the White Sox, until he also got injured. It sounds as if it isn’t anything serious, and if that is the case, he will provide the man from Point Loma with some more speed. Since we all know that is his weak area….The X-Rays also have AJ Cole sitting in their high minors, but only for another 2.1 innings.
Low Minors: What a difference a week makes for the PLXR. They were able to add a pair of top ten prospects via trades in Robles and Albies. Both players carry plenty of risk, but also plenty of reward if they pan out as expected. To go along with a few common themes of the X-Rayz minor league system, he has some more speed demons at the premium middle infield positions. Willy Adames, Jorge Mateo and DRP Delvin Perez all bring the speed element that X-Rayz management builds their team around.
Overall Minors Grade: B+
The X-Rayz almost adjusted the curve with the first A, but I am not one to buy into the ranking for Albies. Among other reasons, Robles carries a ton of risk, even though I believe he will still be a useful piece if he doesn’t reach superstar levels. Also, the one area where the X-Rayz need help is the power department, and these players will only help him extend his current all-time steals record.
Pine Lake Punchouts
|High Minors||Andrew Benintendi||1||105 AB’s|
|Yoan Moncada||2||19 AB’s|
|Low Minors||Rafael Devers||17|
High Minors: You know your high minors is set when your worst player is the second ranked prospect in all of baseball. Andrew Benintendi got the call-up to Boston last year and never looked back. He started producing from the second he took the field, and still has 25 AB’s as a minor leaguer. Moncada on the other hand, didn’t impress quite like Benintendi. That doesn’t mean he won’t be productive, its just a matter of time until he breaks into the White Sox lineup and shows why he got paid so much as the top international player a few years back.
Low Minors: To continue the prospect onslaught, the Punchouts roll out another three prospects in the top 25, with only one out of the top 50. Meadows should see time in the Pittsburgh OF this year, and will definitely see AB’s once that selfish, over-the-hill prick McCuthcen is traded (miss you buddy). Devers seems to get overlooked because of the talent in the Red Sox system. He is a power 3B that even provided 18 steals last year. Espinoza, another former Boston prospect, has a ways to go until he lands in San Diego’s rotation, but he has the stuff to get him there. The pitcher I am more excited to discuss is BARNEGAT native, Jason Groome. Brian just got angry seeing that Groome isn’t on his team again, and for some odd reason, that makes me happy. Groome was projected to go as high as the top pick in the draft in June, but fell to Boston at 12. He definitely has the stuff to be a front of the rotation arm, but there are questions about his maturity. Another first round pick last year was Blake Rutherford, this time by Boston’s rivals. The Yankees scooped up another top prospect that fell in the draft, and Ryan did the same when he drafted him in our FYPD. He also drafted Alex Verdugo, who honestly doesn’t deserve any other mention because he doesn’t compare to the other names on this list.
Overall Minors Grade: A+
It is hard to argue that anyone has a better farm system than Ryan right now. He has the top of the line stars, depth with all 8 slots filled and combination of bats and arms. Even if he doesn’t make it back to the playoffs this year, it won’t take him long to get there and be a force for years to come.
Ocean Gate Trout Fishing Club
and defending Backyard Champions (Fuck you Greg )
|High Minors||Lucas Giolito||11||21.1 IP|
|Tyler Glasnow||8||23.1 IP|
|Jose De Leon||33||17 IP|
|Low Minors||Brendan Rodgers||15|
High Minors: This is where you will find the future aces in the majors, or at least OGTFC hopes. With the stars not shining as bright as they did last year, Giolito and Glasnow hope to get their shot at a rotation spot instead of the spot starts they were awarded last year. Meanwhile, Jose De Leon looks to showcase his skills in both real life and fantasy. After coming over from the Moonz in an off-season BLOCKBUSTER, De Leon is hoping to stay healthy, and carry his minor league success to the OG.
Low Minors: The current champions won the title because of the talent they brought up through their system. Guys like Trout, Betts, Bryant, Turner, McCutchen, Posey and Bregman were all brought up by Greg. You would think after all of that talent graduated to the majors there would be nothing left in the minors, well you would be DEAD WRONG! This team still boasts some minor league talent with Rodgers and Jimenez showing they are ready for the next level. While Ian Happ had a successful spell across high A and AA, and Franky Mejia only had the longest hitting streak in the minors in like ever. It looks like the TFC’ers are ready for life after Posey.
DRP: The crown jewel of the OGTFC system is none other than Kevin Maitan. I will describe him using the words of professionals, “The Venezuelan teenager has been compared to Miguel Sano and his ceiling has been put side-by-side with the likes of Miguel Cabrera and Chipper Jones.” Those are two names that Mikey T actually knows, whereas Maitan will be one he wished he had. AJ Puk was recently acquired as a DRP from the Bad Dudes. He was successful at Florida and outside of one bad outing towards the end of the season, seems to have translated that success to the professional ranks. Quantril has a cool name and a semi successful father, which is why he was drafted.
Overall Minors Grade: A-
Even after offloading one of their more talented minors players in Bradley Zimmer this week, the OGTFC still own 8 players in the top 50 ranking. That is more than the Punchouts, and is why they have the second best grade to this point. The only downside of having that much talent in the minors is that they also have an exorbitant amount of talent on the major league roster. The toughest decision the TFC management will have to make this year is how to fit all of their talent on the same roster once players get their call-up.
Q-Tip City Morning Wood
|High Minors||Dansby Swanson||4||129 AB’s|
|Hunter Renfroe||42||35 AB’s|
|Jharel Cotton||NR||29.1 IP|
|Carson Fulmer||71||11.2 IP|
|Low Minors||Dominic Smith||63|
High Minors: Shane came in and had a long road ahead of him to rebuild this team. One piece left from the previous owner was Dansby Swanson. Although he only has 1 minor league AB left, he is going to be a good player for a long time in Atlanta. As evidenced by his abilities at the end of last season. Hunter Renfroe was an addition that should help add some power the the Wood lineup. While Cotton and Fulmer are promising rotation arms moving forward with some major league time under their belts already.
Low Minors: Other than Dom Smith, everyone else on this list is a result of new management. Which is saying a lot when you look at the depth and talent that was added in such a short period of time. The Wood smartly picked Torres off the free agent list since no one else had faith in him. He went on to scorch his way through the Arizona Fall League and become the youngest MVP the league has ever seen. He also acquired fireballer Michael Kopech in a trade with the Bad Dudes (seems to be a theme that the Bad Dudes trade away a lot of talent). We have all heard the stories about Kopech and how hard he can throw, but there is a negative to throwing 105 MPH. That is sometimes you don’t know where the ball is going to go. He has enough time to work on some mechanics before he gets to the majors anyway. To help stabilize an already stacked pitching staff, Shane was able to bring in Josh Hader and Honeywell also. Honeywell had success in AA with a pitch that is rarely seen. He dominated with a screwball last year to the tune of a combined 2.34 ERA across high A and AA. Another addition was number 1 pick (real life and fantasy) Mickey Moniak to the Wood’s roster. With only a few games under his belt in rookie ball, the verdict is still out on Moniak.
DRP: As if this team didn’t already have enough pitching at all levels, they added a few more names in the FYPD. Garrett is a high risk high reward type player, but where the Morning Wood picked them, it was a no brainer. Matt Manning is a product of a Tiger fan trapped with the team of a former Met homer. He was also the number 9 overall pick this past year, so is obviously talented.
Overall Minors Grade: A-
With new ownership came a new approach regarding the minor league system. Shane decided he wanted to put an emphasis on improving the young talent in his minors, and in just a few months has accomplished just that. Adding Torres to go along with Dansby gives him a pair of superstars. He also has 8 prospects ranked within the top 50, which is why the Wood deserve this ranking. Top young talent and depth will help this team win more than four games in no time.
Forked River Three-Eyed Fish
|High Minors||Trey Mancini||NR||14 AB’s|
|Ramiel Tapia||90||38 AB’s|
|Matt Olson||NR||21 AB’s|
|Low Minors||Nick Senzel||26|
High Minors: The 3EF have some talent lying in their high minors system, starting with the talented Tapia. Even if MLB.com doesn’t like Tapia, it is hard to argue with his output over the years. He has never hit under .300 at any level of the minors, and has included some speed to go along with the hit tool. Olson is someone that is not far removed from power numbers at the minor league level. It hasn’t translated much with the A’s but he has plenty of time until he hits his minor league limit. Trey Mancini, well what is there to say about him, I honestly have nothing.
Low Minors: With the third pick in the draft, the 3EF were able to snag the top player available. So for that, Connor gets a kudos. Senzel started his pro career at Low A after being drafted this past year, and he put on a display. He can hit for power, average, and even throw in a few steals for good measure. Being a college player, he has the opportunity to move quickly through the Reds system and start paying dividends for the team from Forked River. Another recent addition, from yours truly, Bradley Zimmer brings a rare combination of power and super speed. In his two years in the minors he has an average of 41 steals and 15.5 HR. If Zimmer can cut down on his strikeouts and impress Terry Francona, he may earn his way to the Cleveland OF before the season’s out. Reid-Foley looks like a complete douche, but may be able to back up that terrible looking face with some nice stats. A team known for drafting talented pitchers recently, the Blue Jays took Reid-Foley, honestly who the fuck has hyphenated names now-a-days and get rid of that mustache. I’m done discussing him. Some believe that JP Crawford will be the real deal, while others believe he will be a better real baseball player than fantasy player. I fall into the latter. Although he will still provide enough stats to be relevant, I don’t see Crawford being a centerpiece of a fantasy team. Someone who may take those honors is Clint Frazier. The man is known for his elite bad speed, and if Sean was writing this article, you would be reading research from fan graphs about bat speed translating into some new age stat that helps guys hit more home runs and lower their estrogen levels. Well I am not Sean, and I am glad, because I’m not sure I could live with Herpes like he does. Back to Frazier, he will be in the bigs by 2018, and should produce solid numbers on a young talented Yankees roster.
DRP: The 3EF were able to somehow find another Braves pitching prospect, that somehow wasn’t picked up by the Moonz. They have a ton of young talent throughout the minors and Anderson is ranked towards the bottom, but still can emerge as a reliable option down the road.
Overall Minors Grade: B
This was a tough team to grade. I love the additions of Senzel and Zimmer to go along with Tapia and Frazier. I just don’t see Crawford and the rest of the bunch producing enough to grade the entire system any higher. In my book, a B is extremely solid and there are plenty of pieces to make this team better than the Isotopes which is all anyone really cares about.