Keith Law ranks Cleveland Guardians as 8th-best farm system in baseball

Akron RubberDucks infielder Jose Tena (4) sprints to second on a line drive to left field during the fifth inning of Game 3 of the Class AA Northeast Championship series at Canal Park, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, in Akron, Ohio.Rubberducks 1
Akron RubberDucks infielder Jose Tena (4) sprints to second on a line drive to left field during the fifth inning of Game 3 of the Class AA Northeast Championship series at Canal Park, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, in Akron, Ohio.Rubberducks 1 /
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Akron RubberDucks infielder Jose Tena (4) sprints to second on a line drive to left field during the fifth inning of Game 3 of the Class AA Northeast Championship series at Canal Park, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, in Akron, Ohio.Rubberducks 1
Akron RubberDucks infielder Jose Tena (4) sprints to second on a line drive to left field during the fifth inning of Game 3 of the Class AA Northeast Championship series at Canal Park, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, in Akron, Ohio.Rubberducks 1 /

Keith Law at The Athletic released his 2022 rankings of MLB’s farm systems, putting the Cleveland Guardians squarely in the top ten.

Well, another week, another minor league system ranking has hit the internet. This one is courtesy of Keith Law via The Athletic. Not only did Law rank each team’s system, but he also put out his own top 100 prospects list.

So how did the Guardians fair? Pretty, pretty good.

The Makeup of the 8th-Best Farm System in Major League Baseball (and the Future of the Cleveland Guardians)

Last season, Law ranked the organization as having the second-best farm system, so the drop to eighth could be seen as somewhat worrisome. But this is also due in part to some highly regarded prospects sustaining injuries during the 2021 season. He does note that the system is ripe with Rule 5 Draft-eligible talent and that we will begin to see how this ultimately has an effect on the team’s 40-man roster construction in the coming years.

I have been advocating for months now to use some of that overabundance of talent to swing a trade for any everyday outfielder, but there’s time to discuss that later once the CBA gets finalized.

In his write-up of the organization’s farm system, Law makes a point to note two “draft” classes: 2017 and 2020. During the 2017 international free agency period, Cleveland signed a few prospects you may have heard of by now: outfielder George Valera, shortstop Aaron Bracho, shortstop Jose Tena, and infielder Jhonkensy Noel. Oh, and they also landed Tyler Freeman in the completive balance round of the 2017 draft as well.

Meanwhile, the truncated 2020 draft saw the team take shortstop Carson Tucker, pitcher Tanner Burns, pitcher Logan T. Allen, outfielder Petey Halpin, shortstop Milan Tolentino, and pitcher Mason Hickman.

I don’t think Law is going out on a limb when he highlights either of those classes; each class will rightfully be expected to be the backbone of the next wave of talent fans can expect to see in Cleveland.

In his top 100 overall prospects, four Guardians made the cut: Brayan Rocchio (22nd), Valera (29th) Daniel Espino (51st), and Tena (68th). It should also be noted that outfielder Steven Kwan just missed the cut.

Ultimately, I have to agree with Law’s assessment of the organization, though I think it may end up being a bit conservative. I really think there are three or four additional positional prospects that could contribute in the next two years as well. And that’s not even discussing the pitchers! However, as fellow Away Back Gone writer Steve DiMatteo eloquently put it earlier this week, we as fans do need to be careful when it comes to these organizational rankings. It makes for good fodder, but many of the prospects will remain just that – prospects.

I know I, for one, am very excited for the likes of Valera, Rocchio, Freeman, and Noel. But I’d certainly be lying if I said with any certainty that these are all surefire contributors for the next decade. But the future is bright, even if the Guardians lose a prospect or two in a trade to land a long-coveted outfielder (looking at you, Bryan Reynolds).