Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Farm system rankings: 21-and-under talent

Padres, Braves, Cardinals battle for title of best young core
No. 25 overall prospect CJ Abrams batted .401 over 32 games in the Rookie-level Arizona League last season. (Bill Mitchell/
February 25, 2020

With the 2020 season rapidly approaching, is looking at the state of all 30 farm systems and ranking them in different ways. After looking at position-player prospects (30-21, 20-11, 10-1) and pitchers (30-21, 20-11, 10-1), the third installment focuses on prospects who will be 21 years old or younger

With the 2020 season rapidly approaching, is looking at the state of all 30 farm systems and ranking them in different ways. After looking at position-player prospects (30-21, 20-11, 10-1) and pitchers (30-21, 20-11, 10-1), the third installment focuses on prospects who will be 21 years old or younger on Opening Day and considers the quality and quantity of top talent in each system. Tyler Maun covers systems 30-21, Gerard Gilberto writes about 20-11 and Rob Terranova has the top 10. Here are the complete rankings:

 30. Chicago White Sox

Believe it or not, this isn't entirely bad news for White Sox fans. In fact, Chicago's dearth of young talent may be because it's been so rewarded with top-end prospects either at or nearing their graduation to the big leagues. Luis Robert, the team's top prospect narrowly missed the cut for this category, turning 22 last August, while No. 3 Andrew Vaughn cut it even closer. He'll turn 22 on April 3, six days before Minor League Opening Night. Of the White Sox's four qualifying prospects in their final 2019 Top 30, however, three were from last year's Draft: right-handed pitchers Matthew Thompson and Andrew Dalquist along with outfielder James Beard. The good news about the absence of supertalented youngsters is that it may have served as an additional factor playing into Chicago's active offseason. Robert signed an extension and will likely be in the White Sox lineup on Opening Day while Michael Kopech is almost all the way back from Tommy John surgery. Nick Madrigal could play a nearly full big league season this year, too, and Vaughn reached Class A Advanced last year, just a couple of months after being drafted third overall. Without much behind that group, it's clear why Chicago went heavy on the moves this offseason, because barring some breakouts from Thompson, Dalquist and the like, this farm system will look significantly lighter when Robert, Madrigal and Co. graduate, potentially in short order.

 29. Houston Astros

Houston has been one of the best organizations in baseball at developing its homegrown talent over the last half-decade, but now mired in one of the roughest chapters in franchise history, the Astros don't have a lot to lean on in the youngest bracket of their current prospect group -- and that won't get better in the immediate future. Houston was docked its first- and second-round picks in the next two Drafts, so it has to hope it hits on talent from the third round on. That doesn't leave a lot of room for drafting younger and perhaps higher-risk players. Shortstop Freudis Nova is top of the class in Houston's 21-and-under group after posting an impressive debut season with a .259/.301/.369 slash line as a 19-year-old with Class A Quad Cities. The Astros nabbed catcher Korey Lee out of Cal with their first-round pick last year. He put up a .730 OPS in 64 games with Class A Short Season Tri-City and has some positional versatility, as well, having played the corner infield spots while in college. Infielder Luis Santana was acquired from the Mets via trade in January 2019 and continued to showcase his impressive command of the strike zone, striking out just 33 times against 20 walks in 70 games between Tri-City and Double-A Corpus Christi. Still, Houston's group isn't deep and, save for investments on the international market, won't be getting much deeper any time soon.

 28. Colorado Rockies

The Rockies' offseason was just about the opposite of Chicago's, and Colorado's marginal 21-and-under talent isn't as encouraging a sign for its fanbase. The top prospect of the Rox group is Grant Lavigne, a high-risk/high-reward pick at 42nd overall in 2018 who is hoping to be the first position player drafted out of the state of New Hampshire to make the Major Leagues. Just 19 for the majority of last year, the first baseman struggled at Class A Asheville, batting .236 with a .674 OPS and only seven homers in 126 games at one of the most hitter-friendly parks in the Minors. His position mate Michael Toglia was Colorado's first-round pick last June and spent his debut campaign with Class A Short Season Boise, putting up an .852 OPS and nine homers in 41 games. Infielder Ryan Vilade has impressed with the bat in his three professional seasons, but the drop-off is considerable from that group. Outfielder Brenton Doyle could be a gem, dominating the Pioneer League to the tune of a .383 average and 1.088 OPS last year after being plucked from Division II Shepherd College. The Rockies will get a look at shortstop Adael Amador this year after inking last year's 12th-ranked international prospect in July.

 27. Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee's top prospect at the close of last season headlines this group. Brice Turang was a Top-100 prospect, according to, at the end of his first full season in pro ball but didn't crack the list to open 2020. Still, the shortstop was solid for Class A Wisconsin last year, batting .287/.384/.376 in 82 games before slowing with Class A Advanced Carolina to a .200/.338/.276 turn in 47 contests. Outfielder Tristen Lutz spent the whole season with Carolina and posted a .255 average and .754 OPS over 112 games. The Brewers will be eager to get an extended look at Eduardo Garcia this year, having signed the shortstop in July 2018 but having seen him play just 10 games last year due to a broken ankle he suffered in mid-June. The top pitching talent of Milwaukee's young group is left-hander Aaron Ashby, nephew of former big leaguer Andy. He made 24 appearances (23 starts) between both full-season Class A levels last year and recorded a 3.50 ERA while striking out 135 against 60 walks in 126 innings pitched. Much like the White Sox, the Brewers are planning on being in contention now and might not have to lean on their youngest prospects for a while.

 26. Philadelphia Phillies

What the Phillies lack in proven track records among their 21-and-under crowd they make up for some in potential. Most notably, former first overall pick Mickey Moniak held his own in the difficult Double-A Eastern League last year, batting .252/.303/.439 with 52 extra-base hits, including 11 homers and 13 triples, among his 117 total knocks, and he did it at just 21 years old. Moniak won't be 22 until the middle of May and could still continue adding power to his game as he knocks on the door of Triple-A this year. Middle infielder Luis Garcia took his lumps in the Class A South Atlantic League last summer, batting .186 in 127 games, but his speed and arm are solidly above average, and the Dominican Republic product was just a year removed from winning the Gulf Coast League batting title in 2018. The Phillies are confident he'll turn it around at the plate as he gains experience. Right-hander Francisco Morales was Garcia's teammate with Lakewood and showcased electric stuff at times with 129 strikeouts against 46 walks in 96 2/3 innings while working as a starter in 15 games and a reliever in 12. Simon Muzziotti may be a steal. Originally a Red Sox signee in 2015, Muzziotti was declared a free agent a year later due to Boston's international market transgressions, and Philadelphia pounced on him. The outfielder hit .287 and swiped 21 bases last year in 110 games with Class A Advanced Clearwater.

 25. Oakland Athletics

The elite group of Oakland's prospects -- pitchers Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk and catcher Sean Murphy -- are all likely to be major big league contributors this year. The top A's talent behind that group at the conclusion of 2019 is one who hasn't seen the field yet. Shortstop Robert Puason was the second-ranked prospect on's list of the top international talent a year ago and got a contract befitting that mark, signing for $5.1 million on July 2. At 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, he has the lanky, projectable frame scouts dream of with shortstops and possesses an above-average arm and run tool. A few steps ahead of him in the system, Oakland's 2017 third-round pick Nick Allen is likewise a burner and can hit, too, as evidenced by his .292/.363/.434 line in 72 games with Class A Advanced Stockton last year at just 20. Even with all of that, Allen's best tool is his glove, which grades at a 65 according to Outfielder Austin Beck might not be at the forefront of many prospect lists, but his skill set is still tantalizing. He spent last season posting a .714 OPS in the California League at 20 years old. The A's loved outfielder Lazaro Armenteros so much in 2016, they incurred penalties on the international market by signing him for $3 million, which put the team over its spending threshold. While Armenteros batted only .222 with Stockton last season, he registered a .739 OPS thanks to 17 homers, 73 walks and .336 OBP (albeit against an eye-popping 227 strikeouts).

 24. Washington Nationals

Coming off their first World Series title in franchise history, the Nats still have some talent in the pipeline, including No. 97 overall prospect Luis Garcia. The middle infielder was a Futures Game selection in 2018 and went to the Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars contest last year after spending the entire season with Double-A Harrisburg at just 18 years old and batting .257 in 129 games. Signed as a shortstop, Garcia can play second and third as well as yet another asset on his impressive resume. Washington nabbed flamethrower Jackson Rutledge out of San Jacinto Junior College with the 17th overall pick last year and saw the right-hander put up a 3.13 ERA in 10 starts across three levels, including a 2.30 mark in six outings at Class A Hagerstown. The Nats' first-rounder from the year before, righty Mason Denaburg, scuffled in the Rookie-level GCL with a 7.52 ERA in seven appearances but has a high ceiling and will be just 20 for most of the year. The back end of Washington's final 2019 top 10 prospects was loaded with young potential stars as well in infielder Yasel Antuna, outfielder Jeremy De La Rosa and catcher Israel Pineda. Antuna is primed for a return after impressing during his debut season in 2017 before an elbow injury required Tommy John surgery a year later. This group doesn't look the same without the 22-year-old Carter Kieboom or onetime-megaprospect Victor Robles or Juan Soto before them, but if the Nats have shown anything in the Minors, it's that their good for one prospect to pop almost every year.

 23. Cincinnati Reds

The Reds have had one of the flashiest offseasons in baseball this year and head into the 2020 campaign hoping one of the most interesting prospects in recent years is ready for a breakout return at some point. Right-handed pitcher Hunter Greene underwent Tommy John surgery last April and will have a delayed start to his season while still on the recovery trail. Cincinnati likes outfielder Michael Siani who carries potential above-average big league tools in virtually every facet of his game and went wire-to-wire last season with Class A Dayton, batting .253 with a. 672 OPS in 121 games. Also with the Dragons, righty Lyon Richardson made 26 starts at just 19 years old and finished on his best note of the year, posting a 2.45 ERA in August while striking out 22 against six walks in 25 2/3 innings. A fourth-round pick out of Chipola Junior College in Florida last year, infielder Ivan Johnson was steady in his professional bow, batting .255 with a .742 OPS in 46 games with Rookie-level Greeneville while getting time at both second and short. Lefty Jacob Heatherly will look to bounce back from an injury-ravaged 2019 that saw him make just four starts for Dayton before being sidelined by a shoulder issue. A lot of the strength of this group will be determined by Greene's post-surgery potential, however, so keep an eye on the right-hander and his 80-grade fastball this summer.

 22. Texas Rangers

Texas' once-formidable system is on the rise again, and the most electric young player in its ranks is arguably outfielder Leody Taveras, who impressed in a return to Class A Advanced and reached Double-A last year at 20, batting .279/.344/.376 in 131 total games at the two levels. The switch-hitter is also a defensive whiz with a 55-grade arm and 65-grade field tool, according to The Rangers' pitching depth is anchored by the unique talent that is Hans Crouse. The 21-year-old went 6-1 with a 4.49 ERA in 19 outings with Class A Hickory last year and always draws a crowd with his funky delivery and animated presence on the mound. Fellow righty Cole Winn won Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year awards in both Colorado and California while in high school and did similar work to Crouse while sharing a rotation with him, going 4-4 with a 4.46 mark in 18 starts for the Crawdads. Some evaluators are very high on corner infielder Sherten Apostel, a Curacao product who hit .258/.332/.470 with 15 homers and 43 RBIs in 80 games for Hickory to make the jump to Class A Advanced Down East last year. Shortstop Anderson Tejeda placed second in the Carolina League with 205 total bases and fifth with 19 homers in 2018 but suffered an injury to his non-throwing shoulder last year and played just 43 games. It's possible that Texas could end 2020 with multiple additions to's Top 100 from this group, so consider this a young core with potential, even if they have some work to do coming off last season.

 21. Detroit Tigers

While the Tigers' loaded pitching ranks are largely 22 and up, some of Motown's future star position players are making names for themselves in the earliest stages of their careers. Start with outfielder Riley Greene, last year's fifth overall pick, who shined in the GCL and New York-Penn League before playing 24 games with Class A West Michigan. Combined in his 57 games across three levels, Greene batted .271/.347/.403 with five homers and 28 RBIs. Infielder Isaac Paredes was terrific with Double-A Erie at the end of 2018 and went back there in 2019, again impressing with a .282/.368/.416 line, 13 homers and 57 walks against 61 strikeouts in 127 games while playing both short and third. Outfielder Parker Meadows, the younger brother of Rays slugger Austin, was a Detroit second-rounder in 2018 and will look to build off last season when he hit just .221 as a 19-year-old with West Michigan. He may be joined there again by shortstop Wenceel Perez, who hit .233 and OPSed .613 for the Whitecaps but is a speedster with a steady glove and arm. The 2020 season will also likely mean the stateside debut of shortstop Adinso Reyes, who signed with Detroit in 2018 and tore up the Dominican Summer League last year with a .331/.379/.508 line in 62 games.

 20. Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays have reinforcements ready after graduating a pair of top-15 prospects last season. But their strength is not in their youth. No. 75 overall prospect Jordan Groshans and high school teammate Adam Kloffenstein were both excellent in 2019, though the former was limited to 23 games by a left foot injury. Right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson, who came to the Jays along with Anthony Kay in the Marcus Stroman deal, has gained nearly 10 mph on his plus fastball since being drafted in 2018. Eric Pardinho, an international signee from Brazil in 2017, will miss the 2020 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last week. Last year's first-rounder Alek Manoah misses the cutoff by about three months. A pick to click should be shortstop Orelvis Martinez, who produced a .901 OPS in the Gulf Coast League during his age-17 season. There's no Guerrero, Bichette or Pearson here for prospects, but there's enough to make fans north of the border interested in the lower levels.

 19. Boston Red Sox

Just two years removed from a World Series victory, the Red Sox system has seen better days. But there is young talent, and it just got a boost at the cost of a franchise player. Jeter Downs' inclusion in the Mookie Betts deal likely helped to push the deal past the goal line for Boston, and he joins 2018 first-rounder Triston Casas and right-hander Bryan Mata as the system's top qualifiers. Outfielder Gilberto Jimenez emerged as one of Boston's most athletic prospects in 2019, and his bat should be one to watch coming off a season in which he hit .359 at Class A Short Season Lowell. Jay Groome, the 2016 first-rounder, has dealt with injuries throughout his professional career but has arguably the highest ceiling of any arm in the system. The biggest point of emphasis, however, might be the 21-year-old Downs. If he can keep showing a good enough bat in the upper levels, he could become Boston's second baseman of the future and make the Betts deal look slightly palatable.

 18. Chicago Cubs

The Cubs don't have an eye-popping system overall, but there is talent among their younger prospects. Catcher Miguel Amaya and left-hander Brailyn Marquez were included among the seven international players Chicago signed to seven-figure deals in 2015, both rank within the system's top-5 prospects and both finished the season in Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach. Outfielder Brennen Davis took a step forward at the plate with a .305 average for Class A South Bend, and his early power-speed combination has thrust him into the Top-100 earlier than expeected. Still to make his professional debut is 17-year-old catcher Ronnier Quintero, who signed for a Cubs' record $2.9 million in July. That said, there is a drop-off after the Big Three of Amaya, Marquez and Davis, but that trio alone brings an excitement to the Wrigleyville pipeline that hasn't been seen in years.

 17. Kansas City Royals

Bobby Witt Jr. boosted the Royals' under-21 talent after the club used three first-round picks on college pitchers in 2018. Witt has a decent shot at emerging as the game's top prospect, but beyond the current No. 10 overall prospect, the Royals are thin. Outfielder Khalil Lee, once the system's top prospect, stole 53 bases but struck out 154 times in his first Double-A season as a 20-year-old last year. MJ Melendez, Nick Pratto and Seuly Matias each batted below .200, with the latter being left off the 40-man roster a year after competing for the Minors home run title. That group all has the potential to show much more, and that -- along with the presence of Witt -- is why Kansas City doesn't sit much lower in these rankings, but the Royals will be looking for a bigger turnaround from that position-player core in 2020.

 16. Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates are at the point in their rebuild where recently graduated prospects are being relied upon at the Major League level. But Pittsburgh also has impressive depth among prospects in early stages of development. No. 64 overall prospect Oneil Cruz will likely earn a spot in a Major League lineup in the coming years, though doubt about whether the 6-foot-7 shortstop can remain at the position is sure to follow. There is little doubt about his power potential from the left side, however, and that drives the thrill of the 21-year-old. The Pirates replenished their under-21 talent by acquiring shortstop Liover Peguero and right-hander Brennan Malone from Arizona for Starling Marte, and both could feature in the Top-100 shortly if they get comfortable at full-season levels. Ji-Hwan Bae emerged as one of the game's best second base prospects last year, checking in at No. 9 on's positional ranking. Cruz is the only Top-100 prospect here for now. Don't be surprised if he's not alone by his 22nd birthday on Oct. 4.

 15. Baltimore Orioles

The strength of the Orioles young core comes from a pair of touted starters. Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez rewarded Baltimore's faith almost immediately. The No. 36 overall kept opposing batters to a .171 batting average while striking out 129 over 94 innings as a teenager last season. Rodriguez led a staff, which included qualifier Drew Rom, that topped the South Atlantic League with a 3.00 ERA. Southpaw DL Hall (No. 69) remained effective before being shut down with a lat strain, striking out 116 in 80 2/3 innings for Class A Advanced Frederick. Shortstop Adam Hall batted .298 and stole 33 bases in his first full season at Class A Delmarva. No, Adley Rutschman doesn't qualify, since he turned 22 on Feb. 6. But fans of the Orioles' rebuild have other reasons for excitement on the younger end of the spectrum.

 14. Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers lost some star power with Downs' departure in the Betts trade, but they quickly replaced one top-100 prospect with another by landing No. 83 Brusdar Graterol from Minnesota. Despite pitching in the Majors already, Graterol doesn't turn 22 until Aug. 26. The right-hander has a plus slider and can reach triple digits with his fastball. Keibert Ruiz (No. 73) is one of the game's best catching prospects, and 18-year-old backstop Diego Cartaya could make his non-complex debut this summer. Infielders Jacob Amaya and Miguel Vargas both had strong showings for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga last season. Outfielder Andy Pages batted .298 with 19 homers for Rookie-level Ogden in his first season stateside.

 13. Miami Marlins

Miami has scraped together one of baseball's best overall farm systems (more on that next week) through trades. No. 22 overall prospect Sixto Sanchez and infielder Jose Devers are the top qualifiers from that collective haul. Sanchez, who was included in the J.T. Realmuto deal, is viewed as one of the best right-handers in the Minors, possessing a remarkable fastball and a plus changeup. Devers, part of the return for Giancarlo Stanton, exhibited excellent bat-to-ball skills while fighting through a forearm strain. Edward Cabrera (No. 85) is the homegrown qualifier with the most promise, 18-year-old Victor Mesa Jr. had a strong debut stateside and shortstops Jose Salas and Junior Sanchez, to whom the Marlins committed nearly $4 million last July, should play their first professional games this summer. Also, don't rule out 2018 first-rounder Connor Scott, who is a plus runner with a strong arm and could show more offensive potential in his second full season.

 12. Minnesota Twins

An Arizona Fall League MVP award reaffirmed Royce Lewis' talent after a rocky summer. The No. 9 overall prospect expanded his defensive profile to the outfield and each of his tools still rate very well. Beyond Lewis and No. 96 prospect Jordan Balazovic, the upper crust of the Twins' system is closer to the Majors and won't qualify. Minnesota needs more from a pair of shortstop prospects to climb this list next year. Keoni Cavaco, the No. 13 overall pick last June, got off to a slow start in the GCL, and injury-plagued Wander Javier was left up for grabs in the Rule 5 Draft. Also, the trade of Graterol made this group take a hit, though it definitely helped the Major League club strengthen its rotation, which was the whole point. The main takeaway is most systems would love to have a young core led by Lewis, even coming off an otherwise down year.

 11. Cleveland Indians

Cleveland's system doesn't possess overwhelming star power, but the depth of their qualifying top prospects carries them higher on this list. Hockey phenom-turned-No. 37 prospect Nolan Jones, who turns 22 in May, leads the way with a patient approach and plus power potential, but Cleveland also houses several eye-catching prospects at the lower levels. Shortstop Tyler Freeman improved after a promotion to Class A Advanced Lynchburg to maintain his spot as the No. 96 overall prospect. Class A Short Season Mahoning Valley teammates Aaron Bracho (the seventh-best second base prospect in baseball per, outfielder George Valera, shortstop Brayan Rocchio and right-handers Ethan Hankins, Daniel Espino and Carlos Vargas should all make their full-season debuts this spring. Valera, Rocchio, Hankins and Espino especially have Top-100 potential, and while the Tribe isn't there yet, this is a group that could easily slot into the top 10 by midseason.

 10. New York Mets

The new Mets regime has been vocal about its intention to "win now," and while that usually indicates the loss of top prospects and the depletion of a farm system, New York has managed to maintain an impressive core of young talent, even after losing Jarred Kelenic. Three of the team's top four prospects are currently in the lower levels of the system. Ronny Mauricio (No. 62 overall) spent last season in the South Atlantic League, where he drove in 37 runs and scored 62 times in 116 games. Francisco Alvarez (No. 63 overall) and Brett Baty (No. 93 overall) both played the bulk of their games in the Appalachian League. Alvarez, 18, is a catcher who can hit for average and power as well as be an agile defender behind the dish with a plus, accurate arm. Baty was promoted to the New York-Penn League and played at his third level of the year. Andrés Giménez (No. 84 overall), meanwhile, enjoyed the best defensive campaign of his pro career at Double-A Binghamton, where he committed just 11 errors in 112 games as the Rumble Ponies' everyday shortstop. He led all Mets farmhands with 38 swiped bags in 2018 and added 28 more steals last season. The Mets also have Mark Vientos, Shervyen Newton, Josh Wolf, Junior Santos and Adrian Hernandez who all finished 2019 among the organization's top 20 prospects. Queens native Jaylen Palmer, a 2018 Draft selection, put together a standout year at Rookie Advanced Kingsport and could crack the team's top 30 in the upcoming season. The Mets' biggest coup, of course, was drafting and signing Matthew Allan in the third round, and the 18-year-old right-hander already sits as the best pitching prospect in the system.

 9. Los Angeles Angels

The Angels are trying to end a postseason drought that dates back to 2014, and pairing Mike Trout with another homegrown young star may be the best way to do that. Enter Jo Adell. Baseball's sixth-ranked prospect has been everything the organization had hoped for and more since they selected him with the 10th overall pick in 2017. In his age-20 season, the outfielder ascended three levels and continued to shine at every stop. Ending the year with 27 games at Triple-A Salt Lake, Adell is currently at big league camp, and although he will likely open the season back in the Pacific Coast League, a quick callup to The Show feels likely, given the opening in right field. Behind Adell are youngsters at the lower levels like Jeremiah Jackson, Kyren Paris and D'Shawn Knowles. Jackson was a one-man wrecking crew in the Pioneer League last year, tying the circuit record with 17 long balls. Paris was one of the youngest players taken in the 2019 draft class at 17 and reported to the Rookie-level Arizona League, and Knowles recorded 21 extra-base hits, 28 RBIs and 38 runs scored in 64 Pioneer League games. Eighty-grade speedster Trent Deveaux, Jose Soriano, Jack Kochanowicz, Chris Rodriguez and Hector Yan all finished among the top 15 prospects of the Angels system at the end of 2019. A first-round selection in 2018, Jordyn Adams, battled back from an injury and was promoted to Class A Advanced Inland Empire, where he ended the year. With plus-plus speed and raw ability, he could become the Next Big Thing in this group once Adell and the 22-year-old Brandon Marsh graduate.

 8. Arizona Diamondbacks

This is a group loaded on the grass. Three of the club's five Top-100 prospects are promising outfielders, and although they finished last season at different levels, there is a chance that the trio unites in The Show. Kristian Robinson (No. 43 overall) could be a five-tool player, and his raw power alone projects to be among the top of Arizona's system. Alek Thomas (No. 49 overall) not only climbed to Class A Advanced in his age-19 season, he also suited up for the National League squad in the Futures Game last year. Arizona's first-round pick, Corbin Carroll, is a speedster with plus hitting and defense. Projected to develop more power, Carroll appears primed to be on the fast track through the D-backs system. Geraldo Perdomo (No. 82 overall) finished the season in the Cal League, where he hit .301, flashed a stellar glove at short and proved his impact on the basepaths with 26 total stolen bags. Arizona also has reinforcements coming on the mound as right-handers Levi Kelly, Matt Tabor, Luis Frias and lefty Blake Walston all finished the year among the organization's top 14 prospects.

 7. New York Yankees

In many cases of high-risk, high-reward prospects, New York's young system has potentially the highest ceiling in the league. The Yankees finished 2019 with 12 of their top 20 prospects 21 or younger, something no other organization can say. The talk entering this season is focused on 17-year-old phenom Jasson Dominguez (No. 54 overall) out of the Dominican Republic and right-hander Deivi Garcia (No. 92 overall), who climbed three levels last year and finished at the Minors highest level. However, a quartette of fireballers -- Luis Gil, Roansy Contreras, Luis Medina and Yoendrys Gomez -- pitched at Class A Charleston and lit up radar guns across the SAL. Gil and Medina earned promotions to Class A Advanced Tampa, where they finished the season. Former first-round picks Anthony Seigler and Anthony Volpe are primed to make quick ascensions, and in the lower levels Everson Pereira, Antonio Cabello, T.J. Sikkema, Kevin Alcantara, Ezequiel Duran and 18-year-old Cuban native Alexander Vargas all loom.

 6. San Francisco Giants

San Francisco contains five players on baseball's Top-100 list entering this season, but four of them qualify for this list. The team's top prospect, Joey Bart, is 23 and therefore does not qualify for this list, but those just behind him in the organization's rankings do. Marco Luciano (No. 35 overall) put on a power show in the Rookie-level Arizona League last season, smacking 10 dingers, two triples and nine doubles while hitting .322 in 38 games, and then became the youngest position player in the Norwest League last season (at 17). Heliot Ramos (No. 65 overall) swung his way to Double-A Richmond and a spot in the Futures Game in 2019. San Francisco's first-round selection last year, Hunter Bishop (No. 71 overall), was taken 10th overall after a breakout junior season at Arizona State, and the 21-year-old finished his rookie campaign at Salem-Keizer. After two pedestrian seasons to begin his professional career, southpaw Seth Corry broke out in a big way this past year. The 2017 third-rounder was practically untouchable in the South Atlantic League, posting a scoreless streak of 32 consecutive innings and pacing the circuit with 172 punchouts and a 1.76 ERA. Alexander Canario, Will Wilson, Luis Toribio and Gregory Santos all finished among the organization's top 13 prospect last year, and 18-year-old Luis Matos was part of the 2018 international free agent class with Luciano and is expected to be playing stateside this season. A full season of Luciano dominance will make this group look even stronger in 2020 and potentially place him in the first-overall-prospect discussion, but even before then, this is a strong collection of young players.

 5. Tampa Bay Rays

There really isn't much that Tampa Bay doesn't do well, but you could argue that developing young talent is at the very top of that list. And this conversation has to begin with Wander Franco. Still 18 for another week, the top overall prospect in baseball has come roaring through the Rays system since he was signed in July 2017. After starting 2019 at Class A Bowling Green, Franco seemed to only get better after a promotion to Class A Advanced Charlotte, where he compiled a .339/.408/.464 slash line with 40 runs scored over 52 Florida State League games. The Rays historically practice a patient approach in developing young talent like his; however, Franco could force their hand into a rapid promotion to The Show. Acquired from San Diego this offseason, Xavier Edwards is the 72nd overall prospect who boasts a plus bat and plus-plus speed. The 20-year-old provides further depth for the organization in the infield. Right-hander Shane Baz (No. 90 overall) is a work in progress, but provides a high ceiling for the organization. Acquired from Pittsburgh, the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder possesses electric stuff but pairs it with below-average control. He's already added a four-seam fastball to his arsenal since joining the Rays, one that routinely touches triple digits, and pitched to a 2.99 ERA over 17 Midwest League starts last year. Moises Gomez, Nick Schnell, Seth Johnson and John Doxakis were all also among the team's top 20 prospects at the conclusion of last season. That said, it does fall off a bit from the trio of Franco, Edwards and Baz, but any group with those gets an automatic pass into the top five.

 4. Seattle Mariners

After all of the moves to acquire picks and young talent the last few years, the light at the end of the tunnel is becoming blinding for the Mariners. The big return for Seattle in the deal that shipped All-Star closer Edwin Diaz to the Mets was Jarred Kelenic, and he has blossomed for his new organization. The 11th overall prospect in baseball played at three levels last season and finished with a memorable 21 games for Double-A Arkansas. The 20-year-old flashes five plus-tools and he swiped 20 combined bags in his second year as a pro. Seattle's top prospect might start the year back in the Texas League again; however, indications are that he will again move quickly. Julio Rodriguez (No. 18 overall) recovered well from a broken hand in April to mash 31 extra-base hits in 67 South Atlantic League games before being promoted to the Cal League, where he hit .462 in 17 games. Rodriguez also ranks sixth among all outfield prospects. Right-hander Sam Carlson missed all of last season rehabbing but is expected to make a loud return this year, while shortstop Noelvi Marte and hard-thrower Juan Then are another pair of youngsters to keep an eye on. Like the Rays, some slight lack of depth hurts the M's here, but the fearsome twosome of Kelenic and Rodriguez and the potential of Marte has them knocking on the door of the medal stand.

 3. St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals are one of those teams that never seem to rebuild. They just reload, and the pivotal reason behind that is the young talent that the organization consistently acquires. The team's top prospect, Dylan Carlson, was one of St. Louis' two first-round selections in 2016 (the other was Dakota Hudson), and he climbed to the Minors highest level last season. The No. 17 overall prospect hit .361 with five dingers over 18 games with Triple-A Memphis. Nolan Gorman (No. 47 overall) was the organization's first-round selection in 2018 and, after an impressive pro debut, the 19-year-old played his way to the Florida State League. On the mound, Matthew Liberatore (No. 58 overall) was acquired from Tampa Bay in a trade on Jan. 9 after the lefty posted a 3.10 ERA over 78 1/3 frames last year. He was also taken in the first round of the 2018 Draft, and he automatically became the highest-ranked pitcher in the St. Louis system. Elehuris Montero, Ivan Herrera and Jhon Torres were all top-10 prospects within the organization last year. Herrera, in particular, should be one to follow with an advanced approach for a 19-year-old catcher. Eighteen-year-old Trejyn Fletcher was a second-rounder last year out of Maine and could be ready for takeoff with plus speed, a plus arm and good defensive work in the outfield. It obviously starts at the top with Carlson, but the buzz continues a little further down as well among Cardinals youngsters. 

 2. Atlanta Braves

In another year, this might be No. 1. The Braves system is loaded with talent, and a lot of it is quite young. Those who were able to get to a game at Triple-A Gwinnett toward the end of last season got a good preview of it. Cristian Pache -- the top Braves prospect -- is 13th overall in baseball and is knocking on the door of The Show after finishing the year with the Stripers, where he hit .274 with 10 extra-base hits and 13 runs scored in 26 games. The five-tool standout shined brightest in the field, though, where his 70 grades for speed, arm and fielding were all on display. Sharing the outfield with Pache in Gwinnett, and possibly in Atlanta in the not-so-distant future, was Drew Waters. The 26th-ranked overall prospect finished the year with a combined .309 average, nine triples and 40 doubles over 134 games. Right-hander Ian Anderson (No. 37 overall) made his final five starts in the International League and averaged a strikeout per inning. Those are three Top-40 overall prospects who are all under the age of 22 and should open 2020 one step away from the Majors. Elsewhere, righties Huascar Ynoa, Freddy Tarnok, Trey Riley and Victor Vodnik all finished 2019 among the team's top-30 prospects and the Braves third-round selection last year, Michael Harris, finished his rookie campaign with Class A Rome, where he appeared in 22 games. But that core of Pache-Waters-Anderson is almost unrivaled in these rankings. Almost.

 1. San Diego Padres

There was little debate here about who should take the top spot on this list. San Diego has a very promising future, and it's rapidly approaching with four Top-100 prospects who qualify for this list. MacKenzie Gore (No. 5) turned 21 on Monday, and the organization's top prospect is on the fast track after finishing last season with Double-A Amarillo. The southpaw posted a 1.69 ERA over 101 combined frames between the California and Texas Leagues and limited opponents to a .164 average. Luis Patiño (No. 27) was teammates with Gore twice last season with the Storm and Sod Poodles and overpowered the competition with 123 punchouts over 94 2/3 innings. Luis Campusano (No. 50) raked with 47 extra-base hits, 81 RBIs and a .325 average in the Cal League. He also saw a steady improvement in his play behind the plate and finished the year ranked seventh among all catching prospects in baseball. CJ Abrams (No. 25) was taken with the sixth overall pick in the 2019 Draft and proceeded to hit .401/.442/.662 with 23 extra-base hits and 14 steals over 32 games in the Rookie-level Arizona League. And that's just part of the story. Adrian Morejon, Ryan Weathers, Hudson Potts, Tirso Ornelas, Tucupita Marcano and Gabriel Arias all finished last season among the team's top 13 prospects, and those would be a fine 21-and-under core for any club, even without the four Top-100 prospects. Sunny, sunny days ahead for San Diego.

Tyler Maun, Gerard Gilberto and Rob Terranova are contributors to