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NL East Prospect Rankings: Braves Have Best System, Bryce Harper Top-5 Prospect

The Atlanta Braves built their foundation signing, drafting and developing young players (and especially pitchers) to take the field rather than overpaid veterans who do nothing but provide a shiny name to the lineup card. While the farm system is currently down a bit from recent years, the Braves still have the best young talent of any team in the National League East, according to Keith Law of ESPN.

We break down the prospects for the Marlins, Mets, Nationals and Phillies after the jump...

These are courtesy of Keith Law's rankings for 2012. The Braves ranked No. 16 overall in baseball.

21. Nationals

This was potentially a top-10 system before the Gio Gonzalez trade, no worse than top 15. But after dealing A.J. Cole, Brad Peacock and Derek Norris -- probably three of the Nats' top 10 guys before the Gio swap -- this system lacks depth.

Top prospects: Bryce Harper (2), Anthony Rendon (17),

22. Mets

It's actually getting better here, but rebuilding a system takes years, and the Mets have really just begun to inject higher-upside talent into the system.

Top prospects: Zack Wheeler (27), Matt Harvey (38),

25. Phillies

Philly has a ton of athleticism at the lower levels, but the upper levels were wiped out by trades the past few years. New farm director Joe Jordan, the Orioles' former scouting director, has a ton of raw material to work with but no finished or even nearly finished products.

Top prospects: Trevor May (76)

28. Marlins

They have one top-100 guy and only two others who would merit consideration in the next 50 or so. The system has produced a lot of big league talent in the past few years, including one star in Mike Stanton and another future star in Logan Morrison, that doesn't count here.

Top prospects: Christian Yelich (48)

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.