Kansas City had a record nine players in Baseball America‘s annual ranking of the top 100 prospects, including three guys in the top 10, so it’s no surprise that BA‘s farm system rankings released today have the Royals in the top spot.
It’s also no surprise that the Rays rank second, as Tampa Bay claimed BA‘s top spot in three of the past four seasons.
Bringing up the rear are the Brewers and Marlins, who both ranked among the top 15 farm systems in 2010. Milwaukee gutted their prospect crop to acquire Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, while Florida called up most of its top prospects to the majors last year.
As usual with BA there’s a ton of worthwhile content beyond just the rankings, as Jim Callis provides a rundown of each farm system’s strengths and weaknesses.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.