These days, there are so many prospect rankings that it can be hard to keep up. No matter how many fish there are in the sea, though, it seems like the Baseball America Top 100 list is still the king. These are the rankings that now go on a player’s Baseball Reference page. When someone says “Player X was rated as the 36th-best prospect in Year Z,” they’re most likely talking about the Baseball America rankings.
It’s not a stretch to say that the Top 100 has become iconic. It lists the stars of the future. And the Brewers don’t have a single player on this year’s list. They’re the only team in the league not represented.
To be fair, it isn’t exactly unexpected. After the trades for Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, the Brewers were left without the can’t-miss guys that usually make lists like these. Even without those trades, Milwaukee’s system wouldn’t grade out all that well — Brett Lawrie came in at #40 for Toronto (up from #59 last year), while Jake Odorizzi made his Top 100 debut at #69 for the Royals. Even with Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain losing their prospect eligibility and Jeremy Jeffress falling out of the Top 100, Kansas City still placed an incredible 9 prospects in the list. There’s a reason why many are calling their farm system the most stacked of all-time.
Florida was the only other organization that failed to place at least two prospects on the list, but Matt Dominguez did come in at #81, and they’ve graduated some big-name guys like Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison in the past year. Escobar is the only guy that could fit into that category for the Brewers in the past couple seasons, and he was a disappointment during his rookie year.
There’s a good chance that whoever the Brewers end up taking at #12 and #15 in June’s draft will be the team’s two highest-rated prospects this time next year. That’s not necessarily an indictment on the players currently in the system, but you won’t find anyone out there who thinks there’s a player in the system now who projects to be much more than a nice role player. You need those guys to pan out just as much as the hotshot prospects like Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, and Rickie Weeks, but they don’t make for good trade chips or a good big league club down the road if that’s all you have.
This year, I don’t think you’ll find many fans complaining about the lack of Brewers representation on the Top 100, especially if Greinke and Marcum pitch as well as expected and the team makes a playoff run. But if finishing without prospects in the Top 100 and near the bottom of the organizational rankings becomes an annual thing, the Brewers are in trouble. This year’s draft will be a big deal. The Brewers need to capitalize on the strong class and get a couple guys who could work their way onto lists like these.
Team-by-team breakdown of the number of prospects placed, organized by division:
|AL East||AL Central||AL West|
|Rays – 7||Royals – 9||Rangers – 3|
|Yankees – 6||Twins – 4||Angels – 3|
|Jays – 4||Indians – 4||Mariners – 3|
|Red Sox – 3||Tigers – 3||Athletics – 2|
|Orioles 2||White Sox – 2|
|NL East||NL Central||NL West|
|Braves – 6||Reds – 4||Dodgers – 3|
|Phillies – 4||Pirates – 3||Rockies – 3|
|Nationals – 4||Cardinals – 2||D’backs – 3|
|Mets – 3||Cubs – 2||Padres – 3|
|Marlins – 1||Astros – 2||Giants – 2|
|Brewers – 0|