System Rankings: #15 - #11
System Rankings: #10 - #6
System Rankings: #5 - Cloud City
System Rankings: #4 - Cleveland
System Rankings: #2 - Pittsburgh
System Rankings: #1 - Seattle
The Patsies may not have an almost guaranteed future Hall of Famer like Hernandez or Mirxayan, but they’re still loaded with top-end talent. They have the first system with three players of 65 FV or higher, and they’ve got the depth to supplement them, with four more players that I’ve rated average or better. Joel Cortez is the best catcher prospect in the game. Manzo and Barnett both look like locks to be studs. Berg and Pak will be future rotation pieces, Fukuhara will be starting in CF and moving to the mound late in games, and Ybarra is the ultimate wild card. If you like a well-rounded farm system, take a look at Brooklyn’s -- they’re the most well-rounded in the game.
#3 - Brooklyn Patsies
5th in OSA’s rankings, 5 OSA Top 100 (#8 C Cortez, #27 RF Manzo, #29 3B Barnett, #46 P Kennelly, #53 P van den Berg)
C Joel Cortez, 21, #8 OSA, 68 POT, 75 FV - A good defensive catcher is the most valuable thing in baseball. There’s just something about a guy who touches (almost) every pitch of (almost) every game. A defensive catcher makes everything else better. As a pitcher, having a good catcher behind the plate puts your mind at ease, knowing that ‘if I throw this ball in the dirt, I won’t have to bust my ass to cover home plate because he’ll get down and block it.’ The best defensive catchers seem to know which pitches to call and when. They seem to sense which pitches are working on any given night, and can adjust the game plan on the fly to maximize their pitcher’s success. That’s absolutely invaluable to any team. Joel Cortez is a defensive catcher. He might end up as one of the best in the game. His arm isn’t great, but he’s only 21 and still has some time to develop it. Even without it I think he’ll be very good. So what if he allows a few too many stolen bases, he’ll still be making a huge impact on every single pitch. Oh, he’s also projected to have a plus hit tool, plus power, and elite ability to avoid strikeouts. His eye might be average one day, but that’s about it. He doesn’t quite have the power potential that Veldhuis has, but he’s got every claim to the “potential future best player” that Veldhuis does, and he’s way more developed already. Brooklyn is being super aggressive with his route to the majors, playing him in AA last year as a 20 year old, and again this year at 21. He played well there in his limited time last year, but he’s struggling a bit so far to start this season. Those struggles -- and the currently below average arm -- are the only things keeping him from being 80 FV. He just looks like a stud, and at the most important position in the game, that makes him one of the most valuable pieces around.
RF Juan Manzo, 24, #27 OSA, 63 POT, 65 FV - Speaking of studs, this guy is 6’5, 220 lbs, and has a cannon for an arm. He doesn’t quite have the range to be an elite defensive RF, but he’ll be good enough. He’s also a fantastic baserunner, although you won’t see him stealing many bases with his almost non-existent speed. Offensively, he reminds me a lot of Sal Flores of Everett. They have almost the exact same profile, although Manzo is much more developed now while Flores has the higher ceiling. The only reason I gave Flores a 70 FV and Manzo 65 is that Flores could stick in CF, or be elite in LF, while Manzo projects more as a good RF. Manzo was absolutely demolishing AAA this year before being called up to the majors. If he hadn’t been promoted, he was on pace to hit close to 40 HRs with an OBP of .355. His month or so in the majors hasn’t been as successful, but he’s still batting close to league average, which for a guy who just turned 24 is pretty good. Manzo has one of the highest floors around -- I think if he stopped developing today, he’d be an above average player. That makes for an easy 65 FV with probably the most confidence I’ve had in any rating so far.
3B Adrian Barnett, 23, #29 OSA, 63 POT, 65 FV - Here’s another slightly-worse copy of a top prospect for Brooklyn. Barnett reminds me a lot of Mick Neilson of Cloud City, from the good range to the great glove to the elite arm. Both will be among the league-leaders defensively at 3B for a long time. Barnett has the slightly lower ceiling of the two, and is less developed now at roughly the same age. Since being drafted in the first round earlier this year, Barnett has been on a tear. A month of 121 OPS+ hitting in A-ball was all Brooklyn needed to see before promoting him to AA, where he’s absolutely taken off. He’d be on pace to hit close to 50 HRs over a full season, while also maintaining a .296 batting average and .376 OBP, good for a cool 2.1 WAR in just 38 games. I said Barnett was ready for the majors when he first came out of the draft, and nothing he’s done so far has changed that.
SP Eric Kennelly, 20, #46 OSA, 60 POT, 45 FV - Kennelly has the stuff to be one of the best pitchers in the game. All four of his pitches have the potential to be plus-plus or better, with the fastball and changeup in particular having elite potential. Surprisingly, it’s not his changeup that I’m most worried about. His changeup has actually developed pretty well, especially for a 20 year old, but his curveball and slider have been nosediving for a while now. At this point, I’d be surprised if both of them get to average, although that would still leave him with the required three pitches. If it were only those two pitches declining, I’d still have this guy tagged as a future ace, but his control has also taken a sharp turn for the worse. The original plus-potential rating for his command has now dropped to alarmingly low levels, and his control likely now has the ceiling of “bad”. His 4.4 BB/9 this year in S A seems to confirm OSA’s scouting report. If you weren’t concerned about this guy already, how about this: his lowest FIP in his three seasons is 4.57. That’s as a 20 year old in S A. This guy’s a future bust.
SP Tade van den Berg, 21, #53 OSA, 58 POT, 55 FV - He’s got the potential for three plus-or-better pitches. The cutter and slider are already average, and the changeup has shown some positive improvement recently. His velocity and movement are both above average, but his calling card seems to be his control, which projects as very good. That, combined with his top-notch stamina, give him the ceiling of a #2 starter, although it’s more likely he ends up as an innings-eating, middle-of-the-rotation workhorse. He’s only got 12 professional games under his belt, so it’s hard to look too far into his stats, but he has performed decently well so far this year, albeit in R-ball. I’d like to see him in high-A at some point this season.
SP Young-chul Pak, 25, NR OSA, 49 POT, 50 FV - Pak’s almost 26 years old, so it’s unlikely he makes any huge strides in his development. Speaking of development, his movement potential has been in freefall for a while now. It’s interesting that scouts were so right about his stuff and control and so wrong about his movement. Pak’s got two plus pitches and another plus-plus one, which combined with his average movement and below-average velocity makes for an average pitcher. If his movement ever recovers, or if his pitches do end up hitting their potential, he could end up as a #3, but I see him more as a back-of-the-rotation guy. The one big positive for Brooklyn is Pak’s performances: he’s been very good basically every year of his career, other than his 15 starts in AAA three years ago. This year, he’s cut his walk rate down significantly from his career average en route to a 2.16 ERA and 3.24 FIP.
SP Bobby Palma, 26, NR OSA, 33 POT, 45 FV - Another old pitcher who’s likely done developing. Palma’s got the stuff to be a starter, sporting three plus pitches and average velocity. There doesn’t seem to be any glaring weakness with him: average movement, average control, average stamina, average velocity, but he doesn’t seem to get it done on the field. On the bright side, he’s steadily improved each year for the past four. This year, he put up a career-high 8.6 K/9 and career-low 2.8 BB/9 in AAA before being called up to the majors. That’s a good sign for sure, but I’m not sold on him just yet. I think his future is in the bullpen as a long-reliever or spot starter. If he can continue his improved performance he could be more than that.
1B Robbie Flores, 22, NR OSA, 43 POT, 50 FV - He’d be on pace to hit close to 30 HRs this season if he played every day. That’s a very good sign that his immense power potential might come to fruition, as is his already-developed gap power. He’ll probably never be more than average with his bat or his eye, but he could legitimately hit 40+ HRs one day so nobody’s complaining. He’s been very good with the bat every season of his career, and has improved his walk-rate and ISO every year. He also plays a elite defense at 1B and could win Gold Gloves there in the future. He’s almost 23 and still in A, so I’ll need to see him play at a higher level before I can call him more than a future average player, but he’s got the potential for that and much more.
RP Hiromichi Fukuhara, 22, NR OSA, 71 POT, 55 FV - Has the stuff to be an elite closer, with an elite fastball and a plus screwball, although the screwball also has elite potential. How a scout can say a screwball is elite when it’s probably the only one he’s ever seen is hard to say. His movement and control will never be more than average, although at least they’re already developed. His velocity is only average, which keeps his upside down, but his good stamina gives him a chance to be an important bullpen piece. He might never close, but I think he’ll make for a good fireman or setup man. He’s also got some potential as a batter, although he’ll be average at best. His real value comes from his ability to play anywhere in the outfield at a high level. He could also play anywhere on the infield, although his limited range will likely keep him on the right side. He’s also an elite baserunner. His potential to be an everyday CF who can dominate late innings as a reliever is interesting, to say the least.
CF Alberto Ybarra, 21, NR OSA, 26 POT, 45 FV - Honestly, who the hell knows with this guy. Coming out of the draft three years ago, Ybarra was a once-in-a-lifetime prospect who could bat .300 and mash 50 HRs while playing a very good CF. Scouts have cooled on him since then, now projecting him as a career minor leaguer. How anyone could change their mind so quickly on something is beyond me, especially when Ybarra hasn’t been exactly bad in his career. Sure, his first season wasn’t great, but he was an 18 year old playing in A and almost put up league-average numbers. He’s improved every year since then. Last year, as a 20 year old in AA, he was on pace to hit 30 HRs if he had started every day, although the batting average was low. This year, he increased his batting average by 65 points, and was still mashing HRs left and right. He played so well in AA that he got called up to AAA as a 21 year old, where he’s performing even better. Scouts say his eye is horrible, although he’s walking in close to 10% of PAs. They say his bat is bad, but he’s hitting close to .300 at a level or two higher than he realistically should be. He’s also a very good defender in CF, and could win multiple awards in LF. Oh, and he’s one of the best in the game on the basepaths. I have him tagged as a 45 FV guy, but he could be anywhere from 0 to 80. Only time will tell.