Skip to content

Keith Law’s organizational rankings are out

Jan 26, 2011, 12:54 PM EDT

dayton moore

As he does every year, Keith Law has released his organizational rankings. We’re talking farm systems here, not big clubs, as this will be followed up shortly — if form holds, tomorrow — by Keith’s Top 100 prospects list. Apologies, but both features are for ESPN Insider members only.  But really, these are two of the features that make getting an Insider subscription worthwhile. If you care a lick about player development, you’ll be going back to them over and over throughout the season.

As for the systems: the Royals are at the very top. Not surprising at all given how much we’ve heard lately about how loaded their system is.  The Rays are second, and will only be strengthened by an offseason that has given them a number of extra picks in this year’s draft.  Other notables include the Braves at number three, the Phillies fifth, the Yankees ninth, the Red Sox 11th, the Cubs 20th, the Giants 23rd, the Mets 26th and the Brewers dead last.

As is always the case with these sorts of lists, the narrative assessment of that which is ranked is more useful than the number ranking in and of itself, so if you are able, I recommend giving Keith’s piece a read.

  1. Ari Collins - Jan 26, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    As a Sox fan and a Law fan, I’m pleased to see he has Boston so high even after the Gonzalez trade sliced the top off the system. I’m not sure I agree, but I’m not a big Jose Iglesias fan.

    Conversely, I think he has New York too low.

    I sincerely hope the Royals can figure out how to complement their young could-be stars with some smart FA signings for once. It’s sad when taking a gamble on Jeff Francis is probably the best FA signing Moore’s ever made.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 26, 2011 at 1:56 PM

      Unfortunately the Yanks is based on a lot of projection. Even the top prospect, Montero, has to find a spot to stick at before he can be adequated rated. If he stays at catcher, and has a Frank Thomas batting career (Klaw and Manuel’s comparison, not mine), he could be one of the best in the game. Put the Thomas batting line at DH and his value drops significantly. Sanchez could be even better, but is only 18 and played in the GCL last year iirc.

      The Yanks have almost no in-field help in the pipeline. The pitching staff shows a lot of promise with the B’s (Brackman, Betances, and Banuelos), but all are coming off injury issues and don’t have the track record yet to push the Yanks ranking higher. A bunch of raw prospects with good upside in the low As that play catcher and CF, but they are so far away it’s difficult to project.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 26, 2011 at 2:07 PM

        You make some quite excellent points. Still, they have such pitching depth and upside that there’s a good probability a frontline starter emerges in the next couple years.

        I also think the Thomas comps are kinda ridiculous. A Frank Thomas who plays his entire career at DH is still a HOF. But your point stands; Montero at DH needs to hit like crazy to be a star, and his likelihood of sticking at catcher ain’t so great.

      • Kevin S. - Jan 26, 2011 at 2:34 PM

        Yeah, Frank Thomas had a 4:3 split between DH and 1B. Given that such a scenario is a realistic possibility for Montero (though obviously not with the Yankees), I can’t see his value being damaged all that much if he can hit like Thomas. Yanks need to find out if he can pull a Bryce Harper and man right field.

      • ta192 - Jan 26, 2011 at 3:22 PM

        I’m reading the comment, and I’m thinking, “How the hell does a Frank Thomas bat make this guy an all time great?”, of course, I’m thinking of the OF from the ’50’s and ’60’s, not THE Frank T. Getting too frigging old, too frigging fast…

  2. ThatGuy - Jan 26, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    Im surprised the Twins are as high as 7. Must be because of depth or something, as MLB’s prospect list didn’t have a twin until 40.

  3. apbaguy - Jan 26, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    Hard to argue with Keith’s rankings since this is his area of expertise. My question is the relative differences between the clubs; meaning, how big is the difference between # 18 Oakland and # 24 Baltimore, for example? How big is the gap between KC and Tampa? There may be bigger gaps and smaller gaps in there.

    • Kevin S. - Jan 26, 2011 at 2:37 PM

      He did say Tampa was already number two even before the Garza haul, and it sounds like they aren’t that far back. I think the reason he only gives ordinal rankings is because of his well-known bias against all things cardinal.

      Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week.

  4. Jonny 5 - Jan 26, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    I’m kind of surprised the Phills have remained in the top after making all the trades they have recently. It looks like they’re primed up for a good long run.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 26, 2011 at 1:57 PM

      KLaw and the guys at BA love that low A team that he mentions in the article.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 26, 2011 at 2:35 PM

        Yeah, I’m not a subscriber so I couldn’t read it. I have heard though that more than a few scouts feel the Phills single-a is the strongest in the game.

      • Kevin S. - Jan 26, 2011 at 2:39 PM

        I’ve always enjoyed watching games in Lakewood. I’ve felt that I’ve gotten to see more talent that eventually makes it to the bigs than one should expect from a low-A Sally team.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 26, 2011 at 2:46 PM

        “Sally” Damn, I found another person who uses the term “Sally” too funny.. Well they’re the Champs 2 years straight, so they can’t be too bad can they?

      • Kevin S. - Jan 26, 2011 at 2:50 PM

        Minor league championships can be misleading, especially if a team is stocked with guys “old” for the level, but Lakewood is legit.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 26, 2011 at 2:50 PM

        The GCL Phillies won the championship in 2010 as well.

        http://www.csnphilly.com/09/02/10/Brown-Phils-Win-GCL-Title/landing_onthepharm.html?blockID=303047&feedID=2571

    • Ari Collins - Jan 26, 2011 at 1:59 PM

      I don’t think their run’s actually going to be that long. They only have a couple more years before their core is old and too expensive to replace, and I don’t believe their farm system is strong enough to sustain them after that. It’s possible of course I’m just not as high on PHI’s system as Keith is, though.

      And when all’s said and done, they’ll probably have had 6-7 years of great teams.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 26, 2011 at 2:08 PM

        With the next couple years possibly being their best.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 26, 2011 at 2:39 PM

        You mean you “hope” right? LOL….. Yeah, the way I see it in all honesty is they will either have quite a few years where they’re fair to middlin’ until they can grow some talent n the farm. Or they go the way of the Yankees and Sox and exceed the cap. But when you think about it, would it surprise you if it went either way?

      • Ari Collins - Jan 26, 2011 at 3:56 PM

        The Phillies actually already have a slightly higher payroll than the Red Sox, though Boston’s likely to go higher next year if they extend A-Gon.

        But to better explain my point: I think by the time the farm system’s ready to produce stars (if at all, given prospect attrition), the current Philly core will be past its prime. And then the Howard extension will kick in… So I guess I can see your point, in that they’re going to have to spend like the Yankees if they want to stay competitive after the current core declines but before a hopefully-new core develops.

        And yeah, like you say, it wouldn’t shock me if the Phillies manage to keep competitive despite some of their worse contracts.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:11 PM

        Well, we all know “if” is only in the mix to save the sox from paying the luxury tax this season. They’d be goofy beyond all realms of possibility if they didn’t sign the man given the men they traded away. One 1st round pick won’t get them back that package by any means.

        And I agree whole heartedly that Philly will see some declining seasons before long. They have promise though, and I’m super happy to see they haven’t lost sight of the value of a strong farm system. Being the fan of what used to be perpetual losers, I can live with that. I expect we’ll have some nice banter this season. You and I. Honestly I love me some Red Sox vs. Philly games. This season we’ll have some trash to talk late June, I can’t wait. And if we’re lucky, October as well.

  5. macjacmccoy - Jan 26, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    Man imagine where the Phillies would be at farm system wise if they didnt do all those mid season trades. Drabek, Carrasco, Marson, Donald, Taylor, . Obviously they wouldnt have Halladay right now if that happened and probably wouldnt have made that WS run in 2009 but they still would have had a really solid team and really solid farm system going into this season.
    I could live with a rotation of Lee, Hamels, Oswalt, Drabek, Carrasco and Michael Taylor & Dominic Brown replacing Werth in the outfield and possibily Ibanez too.

  6. clydeserra - Jan 26, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    I think every team is notable. not just the ESPN ones.

    • Ari Collins - Jan 26, 2011 at 3:49 PM

      To be fair, he also noted the WS winner, the worst minor league system in baseball, and “his” Braves, none of which I’d call ESPN teams. And at least the Phillies, Red Sox, and Yankees are notable not just for being ESPN favorites, but also for being good teams WITH good minor league systems. (Neither of which are true of the Cubs or Mets.)

      Most importantly, though, Craig can’t note every team, because it’s not a free column.

      • clydeserra - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:46 PM

        I know, I know, just giving the business.

      • Alex K - Jan 26, 2011 at 5:05 PM

        I disagree with the notion the Cubs don’t have a good minor league system. They have a lot of guys that will be big leaguers, just no big time impact guys. Their current system isn’t great, but it is good.

      • seattlej - Jan 26, 2011 at 6:33 PM

        That kind of depends how you define “good”. If that means that it’s in the top half, then no, it’s not a good system. It’s not terrible, but it’s certainly not good. Average might be a better descriptor.

      • Kevin S. - Jan 26, 2011 at 7:27 PM

        And, you know, they just used a good chunk of it on Matt Garza.

      • Alex K - Jan 27, 2011 at 12:11 PM

        I was using good and average interchangeably.

        I’m aware that they just used most of their top EYP’s for Garza, and one of them made it into Tampa’s top 10 according to Klaw.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Who's outside looking in on playoffs?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. R. Castillo (2493)
  2. M. Trout (1881)
  3. J. Hamilton (1834)
  4. D. Ortiz (1822)
  5. J. Heyward (1810)
  1. J. Ellsbury (1767)
  2. S. Pearce (1748)
  3. A. Pagan (1704)
  4. C. Kershaw (1701)
  5. D. Jeter (1671)