With Spring Training underway and the 2018 season almost upon us, MiLB.com will look at the state of all 30 farm systems over the next couple weeks and rank them, according to certain changing criterion with each edition. After looking at position player prospects (30-21, 20-11, 10-1), this edition focuses on pitching prospects and considers the quality and quantity of top talent in each system in its current state. Here are the rankings, 30-21:
30. Seattle Mariners
King Felix probably won't have a successor anytime soon. After selecting him in the second round of last year's Draft, the Mariners got a limited view of Sam Carlson
. Before turning 19 in December, the club's top pitching prospect allowed one run over three innings in the Rookie-level Arizona League and was shut down for precautionary reasons. Seattle has a slew of right-handed relievers, including Art Warren
, who has a plus fastball, Matthew Festa and Wyatt Mills
. Max Povse
spent time in the bullpen -- and even made it to the late innings at Safeco last season -- but entered camp as a starter. The 24-year-old will need to control the running game better before returning to the bigs.
29. Kansas City Royals
While the Royals signed a flamethrower in Carlos Hernandez
in 2016, most of their best pitching prospects were drafted in 2014. Third-round pick Eric Skoglund
reached the Majors last year, but first-rounder Foster Griffin
has made slower strides and second-rounder Scott Blewett
has not produced quality numbers. Kansas City snagged another 2014 pick in Trevor Oaks
, who had to deal with an oblique injury last season before coming over from the Dodgers in August. Miguel Almonte
, who will be 25 in April, reached the Majors after putting up dominant numbers, but a strained rotator cuff ended his campaign in July. Josh Staumont
's above-average fastball delivers some hope, but walk count is his biggest obstacle.
28. Baltimore OriolesHunter Harvey
has been one of the most exciting names in the system since he was selected in the first round of the 2013 Draft. But the injury bug has been especially cruel to the righty. Harvey's pitched 144 1/3 innings over five years, missing all of 2015 due to an elbow injury and undergoing Tommy John surgery five starts into 2016. Back on the mound last season, the 23-year-old is looking like he can finally live up to expectations. DL Hall
, Keegan Akin
and Cody Sedlock
will look to bounce back from tough seasons, while Tanner Scott
and Alex Wells
will try to build on recent momentum.
27. San Francisco Giants
It's no secret that Tyler Beede
isn't as touted as he was to start his career. Last season, his toughest to date, was cut short by a groin injury. But just like the big league club, the 24-year-old tends to do better in even years, so there's hope for a rebound. The Giants have glimmers of hope at the lower levels with Shaun Anderson
and Garrett Williams
both doing well at Class A Advanced San Jose in their first full seasons. San Francisco got a taste of arguably its most exciting relief prospect in Reyes Moronta
, who showed off his above-average fastball as a September callup.
26. Texas Rangers
The Rangers have a lot of strong arms in the pipeline, it's just going to take a few years for them to get to Arlington. Cole Ragans
, a 2016 first-rounder, led the Class A Short Season Northwest League in strikeouts, while 2017 second-rounder Hans Crouse
shoved in the Rookie-level Arizona League. Kyle Cody
developed a slider, while Jonathan Hernández
added velocity as they both reached Class A Advanced Down East. Of the pitchers among the Rangers' top 15 prospects, though, Yohander Méndez
is the only one to toe the rubber at a higher level. The 23-year-old utilized his standout changeup to advance from Double-A to the Majors last September.
25. Toronto Blue Jays
This season should provide Blue Jays fans with the first real look at most of their top pitching prospects. Nate Pearson
, last year's first-round pick, was stingy over 20 innings following the Draft, while 2016 first-rounder T.J. Zeuch
was limited in his full-season debut by a back injury and Eric Pardinho did not pitch after signing in July. This year also will be big for Ryan Borucki
, who'll look to repeat after shaking off injuries and breaking out in his fifth pro season. If Sean Reid-Foley
, the club's top pitching prospect in 2016, can rebound from his roughest season statistically, he could reach the Majors come September.
24. Chicago Cubs
In the bigs, it's a pretty exciting time for the Cubs pitching staff with the addition of Yu Darvish
. In the Minors, it's still a work in progress, but the depth is there. At the lower levels, Jose Albertos
, Alex Lange
and Brendon Little
commanded in limited time with Class A Short Season Eugene, while Adbert Alzolay
, Oscar De La Cruz
and Thomas Hatch
matured with Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach. Jen-Ho Tseng
added a deceptive cutter and Dillon Maples
employed a 75-grade fastball as they both made it to the North Side for September callups.
23. New York Mets
It seems like every farm system has at least one player recovering from Tommy John surgery. That's especially true for the Mets. Marcos Molina
missed 2016, while Anthony Kay
hasn't pitched since being selected in the first round of the 2016 Draft, although he's set to return this year. Thomas Szapucki
underwent the procedure in July and Jordan Humphreys
followed in August. But, hey, top pitching prospect David Peterson
did well in a very brief (3 2/3 IP) pro debut and Chris Flexen
advanced from Class A Advanced to the Majors in 2017, so they have some bright spots.
22. Colorado Rockies
With an ERA on the wrong side of 5.00 and a 1.34 K/BB ratio, Riley Pint
saw a precipitous fall in the rankings, going from MLB.com's No. 55 overall prospect last year to No. 100
this spring. But with a fastball that grades at 75 and three other strong pitches to round out his arsenal, the 20-year-old still has a lot of promise. Peter Lambert
developed a slider as a 20-year-old in the California League, while Ryan Castellani
was among the youngest starting pitchers in the Eastern League at 21 as the Rockies prospects continue to mature. Yency Almonte
is the likely the closest Minor League pitcher to Coors Field, but early success this year at Triple-A Albuquerque will be key.
21. Washington Nationals
The Nationals rankings look a lot different than a year ago, with Austin Voth
and Koda Glover
falling off the top 30 and A.J. Cole
losing his rookie status. In the 2017 Draft, however, the club picked up three dominant arms in Seth Romero
, Wil Crowe
and Jackson Tetreault
, all of whom contributed immediately. Of course, with all the change, Erick Fedde
remains the Nationals' brightest star. The 2014 first-round pick bounced between the rotation and the bullpen, all while making three starts in the Majors. Fedde ended the year on the disabled list with a forearm flexor strain, but he's already returned to action at big league camp.
Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan.