Now that the minor league rosters have been set and their seasons are underway, this is a rundown of where you will initially have the best shot at seeing a few talent-packed organizations' top prospects. This doesn’t necessarily reflect all of the top-ranked farm systems, because some, such as the New York Yankees, distributed their top prospects more evenly across their four full-season affiliates and extended spring training.
Top 100 prospects: LHP Kolby Allard (No. 32 overall, No. 3 in the Braves’ system), LHP Max Fried (No. 50 overall, No. 5 in the system).
Others of note: RHP Mike Soroka (No. 10 in the system), RHP Patrick Weigel (No. 11), 2B Travis Demeritte (No. 22).
The Braves have so many pitching prospects that they ended up jumping both Allard and Soroka up from low-A to Double-A this year to ensure that everyone who needs a rotation spot has one. You could argue that in their four full-season rotations they’ll have 20 legitimate major-league pitching prospects -- some of them relievers in the future, but all probable big-leaguers. Even the unranked pitchers on Mississippi’s staff have potential, guys such as Matt Withrow (Chris’ younger brother), Jesse Biddle (a former Phillies’ first-rounder, now back from Tommy John surgery) and Chad Sobotka (fresh off the docks in Baltimore). They’re light on bats -- Atlanta’s top hitting prospects are in Triple-A and high-A -- but this is the best collection of arms in the system and among the best anywhere in the minors.
Rome Braves (Braves, low-A)
Top 100 prospects: RHP Ian Anderson (No. 52 overall, No. 6 in the system).
Others of note: LHP Joey Wentz (No. 13 in the system), RHP Bryse Wilson (No. 24), SS Derian Cruz (No. 16), CF Cristian Pache (No. 15).
Three of the four high school arms Atlanta took in the first four rounds of last year’s draft are in Rome’s rotation, including Anderson (who went third overall) and Wentz, who got an over-slot deal at No. 40 that priced him like a top-20 pick. Wilson was their fourth-round selection but also got an over-slot deal, and when I saw him last month in Orlando I noted they’ve already cleaned up his delivery. Pache and Cruz signed in 2015 for a total of $3.4 million in bonuses, and neither will turn 19 until after this season ends. Both have huge upsides but may not be ready to hit at this level yet.