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

Not yet where we'd like it to be, but headed in the right direction...

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Keith Law's annual MLB farm system rankings have been published. You can find them in full here, but it's an Insider link. (meaning you have to have a subscription)

At the top of the list are the Cubs, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who pays much attention to baseball prospects, because they have one of the strongest collections of position-player talent that most evaluators (including Law) can recall seeing.

On the opposite end of the list is someone Tribe fans will be happy to see: The Tigers. Detroit hasn't drafted especially well and has traded away many of the few good prospects they had over the last couple years. Whether a team that spends $150+ million on payroll can ever really have the bottom fall out is debatable, but Detroit sure isn't doing much to give itself low-cost options for the next few years.

As for the Indians, they're at #16, basically right square in the middle. Since the Indians don't spend $150+ million on payroll, they need to have a good farm system if they're to be competitive for any sort of extended period. In that light, #16 is a little disappointing. They're on the rise though, and Law has this to say:

The system got a huge boost from perhaps my favorite 2014 draft class, which featured a good mix of probability and upside...

The Indians are likely to graduate their top prospect (Francisco Lindor) sometime this year, but most of the other talent will remain on the farm. If the key 2014 draftees do well in their first full professional season and the Indians have another good draft, they'll probably climb into the top ten by the time next winter's rankings are released.

Elsewhere around the AL Central, the Twins are ranked #2 among all teams, easily tops in the division. They're problem in the last year pr two has been keeping their top prospects healthy. Byron Buxton was the consensus #1 prospect in baseball a year ago, but he played in only 31 games, and still hasn't gotten any real experience above Single-A. The White Sox (12) and Royals (15) are both ahead of the Indians, but that trio is all pretty close together.

Notably, the divisions' best team in recent years (Detroit) appears to have the least help on the way, while the worst team (Minnesota) appears to have the most, while the other teams (who are viewed by most as pretty close to one another in terms of MLB talent right now) are also close in terms of prospects.

The AL Central could be very competitive during the next five years.