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Farm system rankings: Position players, 30-21

Witt leads next-gen Royals; Tigers' Greene striving for more
The Royals selected Bobby Witt Jr. with the second overall pick in last year's Draft. (Freek Bouw/Phrake Photography)
February 10, 2020

With the 2020 season rapidly approaching, MiLB.com looks at the state of all 30 farm systems and ranks them in several different ways. This first installment, broken into three parts, focuses on position players and considers the quality and quantity of top talent currently in each system. So, without further

With the 2020 season rapidly approaching, MiLB.com looks at the state of all 30 farm systems and ranks them in several different ways. This first installment, broken into three parts, focuses on position players and considers the quality and quantity of top talent currently in each system. So, without further ado, the rankings, 30-21:

 30. Milwaukee Brewers


When Keston Hiura graduated to the big leagues last summer, the Brewers lost the anchor of their system that pushed them into the middle of the pack of our 2019 rankings. They now operate with a group of hitters not completely devoid of potential but substantially lacking in top-shelf talent. Shortstop Brice Turang briefly snuck into MLB.com's Top-100 rankings at the end of the season, posting a .256/.367/.340 line with 30 stolen bases across two levels. Former first-round pick Corey Ray is knocking on the door of The Show after reaching Triple-A San Antonio but batted .188/.261/.329 at the Minors' highest level. Outfielder Tristen Lutz offers similar promise but not without similar statistical shortcomings as he hit .255/.335/.419 with Class A Advanced Carolina in 2019.

 29. Houston Astros


The Astros are chock full of young talent at the big league level, which naturally means their Minor League ranks are due to fall off for a bit. That's not to say the system is entirely barren of budding hitters. Third baseman Abraham Toro shot up from Double-A Corpus Christi all the way to Houston late last year after turning in his best offensive season, logging a .324/.411/.527 line with 17 homers and 80 RBIs. Shortstop Jeremy Pena also posted impressive offensive numbers, batting .303/.385/.440, and boasts strong potential with the glove. Fellow infielder Freudis Nova performed well in his first full Minor League season, while 2019 first-round pick Korey Lee and third-rounder Jordan Brewer hope to do the same in 2020. That said, there are still no Top-100 prospects here among the position-player ranks.

 28. Cincinnati Reds


Cincinnati dropped 23 spots from last year's top-five ranking for largely two reasons: Nick Senzel graduated and Taylor Trammell was traded away. Senzel spent less than a month in the Minors before climbing to the bigs, while Trammell was dealt to the Padres in a three-team deal that brought Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati. That leaves them with two Top-100 prospects, both of whom are pitchers. Beyond that, infielder Jonathan India projects to make a difference sooner rather than later after being selected in the first round two years ago. Tyler Stephenson stuck the landing on the jump to Double-A, batting .285/.372/.410 while impressing behind the plate. The system also sports significant speed, led by outfielder Michael Siani, who led the Midwest League with 45 steals.

 27. Toronto Blue Jays


No team's Minor League ranks look more different at the top compared to a year ago than Toronto's. With A-listers Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette now raking at Rogers Centre, the Jays possess just one top-100 position player: shortstop Jordan Groshans at No. 75. The 20-year-old was off to a strong start in 2019, hitting .337/.427/.482 with 13 RBIs in 23 games before a foot injury ended his season, so he'll look to get back on that track. His Class A Lansing teammate, outfielder Griffin Conine, also will try to follow up on last year's success as he led the Midwest League with 22 homers despite serving a 50-game suspension. Elsewhere, catchers Gabriel Moreno and Alejandro Kirk are coming off impressive years at the plate, helping bolster the organization's strong battery contingent. Graduating top prospects is always the goal, but it will take some time before this position-player group can jump back to its pre-2019 heights.

 26. Oakland Athletics


The A's system may not be as loaded from top-to-bottom as some others, but it's certainly not shy on big league-ready talent. While his 2019 season was marred by injuries, Sean Murphy enters 2020 as Oakland's top-rated position player at No. 33, and one who's ready to produce in the Majors. He's the third-ranked catching prospect in the game, according to MLB.com, and projects to be among the best defensive backstops in the American League. He's already seen some time in Oakland, as has Sheldon Neuse; the third baseman earned a late-season callup after belting 27 homers and posting a .939 OPS with Triple-A Las Vegas. Fellow Aviators Jorge Mateo and Seth Brown also shined in 2019, rounding out a bunch of infield prospects that could re-assemble in The Show before long. Though the high-ceiling talent might not be there in bulk, Oakland fans can take solace in their prospects' proximity to the game's top level.

 25. Colorado Rockies


Eight of the Rockies' top 10 prospects at the end of last season were position players, demonstrating the organization's overall depth. Brendan Rodgers projects to be next in the line of star Colorado infielders, as he ranks No. 29 on MLB.com's Top 100 list after injury-shortened success with Triple-A Albuquerque and the big league club last summer. Corner infielder Colton Welker began the year red-hot but tailed off late, leading to career-low offensive numbers across the board. Further down, Sam Hilliard finished fourth in the Pacific Coast League with 37 homers and fellow outfielder Yonathan Daza ranked third with a .364 average for the Isotopes while showing impressive defense. Without another Top-100 besides Rodgers, however, this group can't jump out of the bottom six.

 24. New York Yankees


The Yankees have one non-pitching prospect in the Top 100 -- and he hasn't played a game as a professional. Jasson Dominguez signed with New York out of the Dominican Republic last summer at just 16 years old after shooting to the top of MLB.com's international prospect rankings. While he's still a relative unknown, he's widely regarded to possess the next-level talent that helped Juan Soto and others reach the big leagues at a far younger age than many contemporaries. He'll be following closely behind outfielders Estevan Florial and Everson Pereira, catcher Anthony Seigler and infielders Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza who form a stout core of young, developing talent rising toward the Bronx. It's a young group, for sure, and one that could have plenty of helium as it gains more experience.

 23. Boston Red Sox


The Red Sox came in at No. 30 on last year's list, but solid production from a handful of bats gave them a bit of a boost entering a new decade. Leading the way was corner infielder Triston Casas, who stamped out a .256/.350/.480 line with 20 homers, 81 RBIs and 58 walks in his first full professional season. Bobby Dalbec was similarly powerful, cranking out 27 big flies between Double-A and Triple-A while producing a .816 OPS. Normally a third baseman, he could be a first-base option in the Majors for Boston in 2020. Possibly the biggest impression was made by outfielder Jarren Duran, who scorched his way to a .387 average with Class A Advanced Salem to open the year before finishing at an organization-best .303 clip while earning an invitation the Futures Game -- the only Boston player to do so. Much lower, Gilberto Jimenez showed off an impressive hit tool and plus-plus speed with a .359 average and 14 stolen bases at Class A Short Season Lowell. The group also got a late bump over the weekend with the expected acquisition of No. 44 overall prospect Jeter Downs from the Dodgers in the Mookie Betts/David Price deal. Next to No. 77 Casas, that still only gives the Sox two Top-100 prospects, keeping them in this lower third, but it is a significantly better-looking group than this time 12 months ago.

 22. Detroit Tigers


Right-handed pitchers Casey Mize and Matt Manning headline the Tigers' future, but that's not to say there's no offensive firepower on the undercard. Outfielder Riley Greene comes in at No. 34 among the Top 100 after an impressive debut season, putting together a .271/.347/.403 line across three levels after being drafted fifth overall last June. Infielder Isaac Paredes saw his numbers rise almost across the board for the third straight season, producing his highest average (.282) since his debut year. Catcher Jake Rogers and outfielder Daz Cameron profile to be difference-makers in Motown sooner rather than later, helping to begin laying the foundation for Greene and others to build upon when they inevitably make it to The Show.

 21. Kansas City Royals


Shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. injected some much-needed star potential into the Royals system when they selected the teenager second overall in last year's Draft. MLB.com's No. 10 overall prospect should make an immediate impact, serving as right-hander Brady Singer's offensive counterpart as the leaders of the franchise's next generation. Outfielder Khalil Lee also will help the cause, as the 21-year-old posted solid numbers at the plate while breaking out with 53 stolen bases. Beyond that, however, Kansas City will need bounce-back campaigns from players like first baseman Nick Pratto (.191/.278/.310), catcher MJ Melendez (.163/.260/.311) and outfielder Seuly Matias (.148/.259/.307), all of whom saw their numbers at the plate fall off dramatically in 2019. If they can get back on course, they -- along with Witt and Lee -- could move toward the big leagues together in the same way the core that went on to capture the 2015 World Series title did.