Keith Law farm systems rankings say the Indians are on the rise

Keith Law farm systems rankings say the Indians are on the rise

Keith Law of ESPN Insider has ranked all 30 farm systems in baseball today and his conclusion is that the Cubs have the best farm system in baseball.

Here is Law’s analysis:

Take a moment to recover from your surprise … The past 12 months have seemed more like a coronation for the Cubs than one for the teams that actually played in the World Series. The hype around their system is justified by the talent in it, with the strongest collection of top-shelf hitting prospects I can remember since I started working in baseball. They have someone coming at just about every position other than catcher and first base, and most of them fare well both in traditional evaluation and in analysis of their performance to date.

The Cubs’ draft strategy under the Theo Epstein/Jed Hoyer regime has been to grab a polished hitter in the first round and load up on arms later. That, along with the trade of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel that netted two more top hitting prospects, has produced a system that’s full of hitting prospects but still a bit light on the pitching side. The first wave of bats reached the majors in the middle of 2014, with more coming this year, but there won’t be enough at-bats for Javier Baez and Jorge Soler and Arismendy Alcantara and Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber and Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo … and that’s not even everyone who might end up pushing for playing time. The Cubs are in prime position to flip a young hitter for a pitcher or even to swing a bigger deal, especially if they want to try to set themselves up to win the NL Central in 2016. There are young starting pitching prospects here to like, led by 20-year-old Duane Underwood, but they’re all a few years away.

Law doesn’t even mention prospects like Albert Almora, Pierce Johnson or C.J. Edwards (though he does discuss the lack of high-profile pitching prospects in the system), let alone young guys like Gleyber Torres, Eloy Jimenez and Jen-Ho Tseng at the lower levels.

The Minnesota Twins were second, Houston Astros third, New York Mets fourth and Boston Red Sox fifth on Law’s rankings.

Among other NL Central foes, the Pittsburgh Pirates are seventh, St. Louis Cardinals 13th, Cincinnati Reds 17th and Milwaukee Brewers 28th.