This week Keith Law of ESPN released his Top 100 prospects for 2014 and Farm System Rankings of every Major League team. With the MLB season closing in on us it seems like a good time to take a look at these rankings and see where the Los Angeles area teams farm systems and prospects stand.
Overall Farm System: #11
#14: LHP Julio Urias
Urias, who was born in 1996 (!!!), is a tiny but strong lefty who is still growing and can already hit 96 on the radar gun. He was signed on the same trip to Mexico that netted the Dodgers Yasiel Puig. That trip may go down as one of the best scouting tours in the history of baseball.
#18: SS/3B Corey Seager
Seager, who’s the younger brother of Kyle, third baseman for the Seattle Mariners, is a 6’4 shortstop who will eventually slide over to third base. He has the tools to be a 25-30 home run type of guy; however, he is still a year or two away from cracking the Dodgers lineup. That being said, if Michael Young retires and Juan Uribe struggles, Seager may find his way to the big leagues sooner rather than later.
#41: OF Joc Pederson
The 21 year-old Pederson is probably ready to be in the majors right now or at least at some point during the 2014 campaign. The problem with Pederson is that he is blocked by one of the best outfields in baseball. Where is he going to fit in on this Dodgers team? He’s not replacing Puig, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford. The Dodgers have three options. The first is that they can trade away Ethier or Kemp in order to make room for the less injury prone and cheaper Pederson. However, if the Dodgers were going to do that they would have done it earlier in the offseason. The second option is to keep Pederson in the minors for the time being, which is probably what they’ll end up doing considering he’s still only 21. The third option is to dangle Pederson and another top 100 prospect for David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays. That’s probably not going to happen either.
#75: RHP Zach Lee
The Dodgers drafted Lee, 22, in the first round of the 2010 MLB draft and paid him $5 million dollars as a signing bonus to keep him away from playing Quarterback for LSU. Lee is a natural athlete and has two plus pitches in his arsenal already. Look for Lee to make an appearance on the big league club this year. If he finds success this season Lee will probably become the #4 or #5 starter in 2015.
#96: RHP Chris Anderson
The 21 year-old 2013 first round pick is a big dude (6’4) and is projected to be a #2 or #3 starter sometime in the near future. His fastball hit 98 this summer and he possesses a plus slider. While he won’t be playing in Chavez Ravine any time soon, he is a player that can make a big impact for the Dodgers down the road.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Overall Farm System: #29
Players Ranked in Top 100: None, seriously.
The top players in Angels farm system are 3B Kaleb Cowart, LHP Nick Maronde and 1B C.J. Cron. These prospects are on the fringe of the Top 100; however, have failed to prove themselves to be worthy of such a high ranking or simply were overlooked.
The Angels haven’t developed a ton of prospects from with the organization over the past 3 or 4 seasons; however, they did develop the best position player in baseball: Mike Trout. That’s worth a ton of imaginary points.
While ESPN’s rankings may not be completely accurate, they are a good indication of where the farm systems rank and how other front office executives view another team’s prospects in the pipeline. What this means for the Angels is that if they want to trade for a star pitcher, like Price, they are going to need pull off some sort of miracle to get him. The Angels simply don’t have the assets right now to pull off a deal of that magnitude. That, at the end of the day, is the importance of having a great farm system. It gives you options. That’s something the Angels need desperately.