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Ranking the farm systems

Dec 3, 2009, 7:02 PM EST

Baseball America’s annual ranking of the farm systems is out. The top five: Rangers, Rays, Giants, Phillies and Indians.  The bottom five: Nationals, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Cardinals and Astros.

The Giants at number 3 seems like an empty ranking to me.  While they still technically count, the two blue chippers they name — Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner — aren’t going to be minor leaguers for long, and another named prospect — Angel Villalona — may never be allowed in the United States, what with the murder rap and all. Mostly, though, I just refuse to believe that Brian Sabean has built a solid farm system, because if that happened I’d have to stop criticizing him about everything, and it’s hard to let go of the things that you love.

The Indians should be on there twice. Once for having a good system of their own, and once for allowing Philadelphia to rank so high by virtue of not driving a hard bargain in the Cliff Lee deal.

At the bottom, the Nats have Strasburg and Storen, but everything else was put together by Jim Bowden so it’s understandably a mess. I think the most telling tidbit, however, comes in the Astros comment: no Houston farm team has had a winning record since 2007.  That’s sixteen team seasons. That’s top-to-bottom consistency, my friends.  Awful consistency, but consistency all the same.

Anyway, the B.A. list is always fun, if for no other reason than it puts to lie the “our team should trade some prospects for so-and-so” arguments you hear on talk radio all the time. Fact is, for a good number of you, there are no prospects. 

  1. s/k - Dec 3, 2009 at 7:40 PM

    the phillies are a class organization and appear to know how to upgrade year in and year out {finally}

  2. DirtyWudders - Dec 3, 2009 at 11:19 PM

    Ha. Agree. You know what. Us Phils fans have lived through a whole lot of losses and bad trades and bad luck. Shoot, I am only 28 years old – older/wiser men than me will have greater complaints…
    This makes me happy. The Phillies have been a World Series Team the last 2 years. Playoff team the last 3. Close team for much of the decade. and still are top 5 farm system. Dom Brown, Michael Taylor and Kyle Drabek could be huge reinforcements soon.
    Appreciation to the management/scouts who, despite winnning, can lock up and develop some big time talent like this. We all know Cliff Lee, more likely than not, is gone after this year. The Phils have the talent to replace him (Drabek) internally or outside (Halliday, others)
    Go Phils

  3. Wooden U. Lykteneau - Dec 4, 2009 at 9:46 AM

    Actually, Craig – This is John Manuel’s Top and Bottom Five, not Baseball America’s — unless I’m misreading the 1st sentence of the 3rd graf:

    For the personal ranking presented here, the emphasis is on star power.

    I point this out because I wanted to see how Manuel had ranked the Nationals last year, and it turns out he did not do such a ranking the way, say, Keith Law does.
    It’s also a meaningless exercise. Baseball America is notorious for its obsequiousness to youth, especially high schoolers. And even Manuel admits his bias towards “star power” Translation: an organization that has a lot of prospects that project to be everyday major-leaguers, but not many projected stars is going to rank lower than one that has a lot of superstars.
    Now ask yourself, for a lot of the smaller-market teams, doesn’t it make more sense to have a farm system that can consistently plug the gaps without breaking the bank?

  4. Dirck - Dec 4, 2009 at 9:51 AM

    The Nationals have to have a better system than the Mets . Strasburg alone is worth more than the entire Mets minor league system .I like the Marlins prospects better than the Rays group . The Rays have no one who can compare to Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison .

  5. amazon thunder acai berry -discount - Mar 2, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    I must say, I could not agree with you in 100%, but it’s just my opinion, which indeed could be wrong.

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