With Spring Training opening and the 2017 season almost upon us, MiLB.com looks at the state of all 30 farm systems and ranks them, according to certain changing criteria with each edition. This week we focus on pitching prospects and consider the quality and quantity of top talent in each system. The 30-21 rankings:
30. Seattle Mariners
Jerry Dipoto has been active -- to say the least -- in his time as the M's general manager, but his dealing reputation hasn't done much to bolster Seattle's arms on the farm. That doesn't mean the Mariners are totally devoid of interesting prospects. Right-hander Nick Neidert, a 2015 second-round pick, posted a 2.57 ERA and held Midwest League hitters to a .225 average against in 19 starts last year. From Neidert's same Draft class, Oregon State product Andrew Moore has produced strong returns. In two seasons, Moore has gone 13-5 with a 2.65 ERA in 28 starts between Class A Short Season, Class A Advanced and Double-A, delivering five times as many strikeouts (176) as walks (33). Reliever Dan Altavilla jumped from Jackson to Seattle last year and was terrific out of the big league bullpen, sporting a 0.73 ERA in 15 appearances.
29. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Like the M's, the Angels have seen their Minor League ranks thinned by deals to benefit the Major League club, and lackluster Drafts haven't helped. Former top Twins pitching prospect Alex Meyer
could be a surprise contributor in Anaheim if he can harness his impressive repertoire with consistency. Southpaw Nate Smith
may have the system's highest ceiling, and though his numbers weren't eye-popping with Triple-A Salt Lake, he increased his strikeout rate while cutting his walk rate. After struggling as a starter in the Minors, Keynan Middleton
moved to the bullpen and rocketed from Class A Advanced Inland Empire to Salt Lake, striking out 88 batters in 66 innings across three levels. Claimed off waivers from Arizona, Vicente Campos
returned strong from Tommy John surgery to make his big league debut. At the lower levels, the Halos are high on Jaime Barria
, Cole Duensing
and Elvin Rodriguez
28. Baltimore OriolesHunter Harvey
's tough luck with injuries has limited the appeal of Baltimore's hurlers. Still his club's No. 3 prospect, Harvey has pitched in just five games since 2014 and is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery
last July. While Harvey's stock has dropped, Cody Sedlock
(above) may be ready to fill the void. The 2016 first-rounder out of Illinois got two outs on the ground for every one in the air in his debut season thanks to a heavy fastball. Sedlock's Draft classmate Keegan Akin
likewise debuted with an impressive showing, posting a 1.04 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 26 innings over nine starts for Class A Short Season Aberdeen. Trade acquisition Chris Lee
had an interesting season with Double-A Bowie, going 5-0 with a 2.98 ERA in eight outings (seven starts) while striking out only 19 and walking 13 in 51 1/3 innings. The lefty limited damage by allowing just 41 hits for an opponents' average of .222.
27. Arizona Diamondbacks
It wasn't long ago that the D-backs system was headlined by tantalizing high-ceiling prospects like Archie Bradley
and Touki Toussaint
, but the current crop of available arms is less notable. Lefty Anthony Banda
leads the way, reaching the doorstep of the Majors last season by registering a 2.88 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, and more than a strikeout per inning (152 K's in 150 IP) over 26 starts split evenly between Double-A and Triple-A. Behind Banda, the system is thin. Southpaw Alex Young
and righty Taylor Clarke
both climbed to Class A Advanced last season where Clarke shined brighter with a 2.74 ERA in four starts. Brad Keller
had mixed results at the level, making 24 starts but registering a 4.47 ERA and a .281 average against.
26. Miami Marlins
Like the Orioles, the Marlins have seen injuries and inconsistency decimate a highly touted first-round pick. Tyler Kolek
, the second-overall selection in the 2014 Draft, missed all of last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April. In his two seasons prior, he failed to impress, putting up a 4.55 ERA and 74 walks to go along with his 99 strikeouts in 130 2/3 innings. Kolek's struggles didn't deter the Marlins from taking another high schooler with their first pick last year as Miami nabbed lefty Braxton Garrett
. Though MLB.com's No. 43 overall prospect
didn't appear in a game, he flashed three above-average offerings in the instructional league. Dillon Peters
was the biggest riser in the system last year, going a combined 14-6 with a 2.38 ERA in 20 starts for Class A Advanced Jupiter and another four with Double-A Jacksonville. Reliever Jarlin García
pitched at three levels last season and earned an Arizona Fall League trip. After the Minor League campaign, he posted a 1.13 ERA over 10 appearances for Toros del Este in the hypercompetitive Dominican Winter League.
25. Kansas City Royals
After recording a 3.43 ERA in 22 outings (18 starts) with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, lefty Matt Strahm
showed promise with a 1.23 mark in 21 relief appearances with the big club. Deciding whether his ultimate role is as a starter or reliever will be Kansas City's task for 2017. Josh Staumont
has big stuff but struggles to control it, striking out 167 while walking 104 in 123 1/3 innings between Class A Advanced and Double-A last year. The Texas League's 2016 strikeout leader was lefty Eric Skoglund
, who fanned 134 and made 27 starts, more than in his first two pro seasons combined. Righties Scott Blewett
and A.J. Puckett
both showed promise in stretches with Class A Lexington. Oft-injured former top prospect Kyle Zimmer
pitched just 5 2/3 innings last year before having thoracic outlet surgery the Royals hope will put him on track for a rebound in 2017.
24. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs' rebuild and run to a world title came in part from a system stocked with position players. The arms have always lagged behind, but that doesn't mean the cupboard is bare. Dylan Cease
returned from Tommy John surgery and hit triple digits while making 12 healthy starts -- and posting a 2.22 ERA with 66 K's in 44 2/3 innings -- for Class A Short Season Eugene. He's ready for more
in 2017. Oscar De La Cruz
got his first taste of full-season ball and impressed with 35 K's and eight walks in 27 2/3 outings for Class A South Bend. Right-hander Trevor Clifton
won Carolina League Pitcher of the Year and Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year accolades after going 7-7 with a 2.72 ERA for Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach. Purchased from the Mexican League in 2015, 18-year-old righty Jose Albertos
dazzled in his lone 2016 appearance, a four-inning start in the Rookie-level Arizona League last June before the Cubs shut him down due to forearm soreness.
23. Philadelphia PhilliesFranklyn Kilomé
struggled mightily in his first month in full-season ball but rebounded to post a 3.85 ERA in 23 starts for Class A Lakewood. Down the ladder, fellow right-hander Sixto Sanchez
opened eyes in the Gulf Coast League by going a perfect 5-0 with a stingy 0.50 ERA in 11 starts, limiting opponents to a .181 average against and registering a 0.76 WHIP. Then there's Mark Appel
, the former first-overall pick-turned-trade chip. Appel made just eight starts with his new club before surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow. In those outings, he continued to confound, going 3-3 with a 4.46 ERA and 34 strikeouts against 20 walks.
22. Detroit Tigers
Top prospect Matt Manning
leads the way, though his arrival in Detroit is a long way off. The 2016 ninth-overall pick, Manning debuted in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and finished strong, allowing just three earned runs over his final four outings and fanning 46 in 29 1/3 total innings. A year before Manning, the Tigers took Beau Burrows
in the first round, and last year, the right-hander made his full-season debut with 21 outings (20 starts) for Class A West Michigan at just 19 years old. Two college arms also show promise for Detroit. Southpaw Tyler Alexander
, a TCU product, earned midseason All-Star recognition in the Florida State League and showed well in Double-A with a 3.15 ERA in six starts for Erie. Louisville's Kyle Funkhouser
slipped to the fourth round last year, but the Tigers had to be pleased with his debut, a 13-start stint for Class A Short Season Connecticut during which he posted a 2.65 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and didn't allow a homer in 37 1/3 innings.
21. San Francisco Giants
Tabbed his organization's top prospect entering 2017, Vanderbilt product Tyler Beede
(above) is coming off a breakout year at Double-A. With Richmond, the righty made 24 starts and posted a 2.81 ERA and 1.28 WHIP while improving his strikeout-to-walk ratio. Ty Blach
is a strike-thrower who was steady through 26 outings with Triple-A Sacramento before posting a 1.06 ERA in four appearances (two starts) for San Francisco. Drafted three times, Andrew Suárez
signed with the Giants in 2015 and reached Double-A last year. Though his arsenal is only slightly above-average, the lefty controls it well, striking out 129 batters while walking just 24 last year, but opponents saw him well, batting .278 for the season. Joan Gregorio
stuck in the rotations at Richmond and Sacramento all season but struggled in Triple-A with a 5.28 ERA in 21 outings.
Tyler Maun is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun.