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March 12, 2012

Future Shock

2012 Organizational Rankings

by Kevin Goldstein

1. San Diego Padres
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
They might lack that one marquee name, but no system in baseball can boast of having as many players at the upper levels who project as average or better big leaguers.

2. Toronto Blue Jays
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
A ridiculous number of high-ceiling teenage arms to go with some elite up-the-middle talent.

3. St. Louis Cardinals
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
They've suddenly become a drafting and development beast, with plenty of help coming beginning in 2013.

4. Oakland Athletics
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
The rebuilding has begun with a greatly enriched farm system set up for a window that doesn't exist until MLB gets off their hands in terms of a potential move.

5. Kansas City Royals
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Down a bit due mostly to big league promotions, but some rebounds from the lefties that disappointed in 2011 would be nice.

6. Texas Rangers
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
An  impressive ranking considering the team has used their system to bolster the big league squad for the last two years. As always, the system is loaded with young, high-ceiling talent.

7. Seattle Mariners
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Pitchers at the top made dealing Michael Pineda a little easier to swallow, and Jesus Montero will be the big league club's best hitter as a rookie.

8. Pittsburgh Pirates
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
While progress at the big league level has been slow, the system continues to provide optimism, especially in terms of pitching, the Pirates' biggest need.

9. Arizona Diamondbacks
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
It's hard to find a more talented collection of starting pitchers, but that is the overwhelming strength of the system, as offensive talent is woefully thin.

10. Atlanta Braves
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Here for the pitching and shortstop, but things could be moving in the wrong direction in a couple of years, as the team is suddenly thin at the lower levels due to some ugly drafts.

11. Washington Nationals
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
A tribute to their strength as they still rank in the upper half even after the Gio Gonzalez deal. Still star-studded, but the depth is gone.

12. Boston Red Sox
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Far from loaded when it comes to future stars, but still one of the deepest systems around with prospects at every level that bear watching.

13. Tampa Bay Rays
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
In danger of losing their status as the poster child for scouting and player development. With Matt Moore in the big leagues, this is a mediocre collection of talent headlined by a player they traded for; recent drafts have been ugly.

14. Colorado Rockies
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
A good mix of pitchers and hitters, as well as some young players who could take steps forward in 2012.

15. New York Yankees
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
There is plenty to dream about in terms of young talent, but other than Banuelos and Betances, the upper levels are bereft of quick help.

16. Baltimore Orioles
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
It's hard to rank a system with Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado any lower than this, but overall, the system is still wading-pool shallow.

17. New York Mets
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Made slow and steady improvements thanks to some returns on the international side of the ledger and a trio of power arms in Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jeurys Familia.

18. Cincinnati Reds
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
A big downturn, but that's because of the Mat Latos trade; using prospect to acquire talent is one of the primary reasons for having prospects in the first place.

19. Los Angeles Dodgers
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
There's certainly pitching here, but it's more quantity than quality, and the organization is wafer-thin when it comes to positional prospects at the upper level.

20. Chicago Cubs
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
The rebuild his begun, but there is still much work to be done. When your team's fans are obsessed with Matt Szczur and Junior Lake, that doesn't speak well of the system.

21. Florida Marlins
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Better than it looks at first glance, especially in terms of upside, as the majority of their top players have yet to reach the upper levels.

22. Minnesota Twins
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Boring drafts have led to a boring system, but the prospects at Low-A this year, including slugger Miguel Sano, gives them some upside.

23. Los Angeles Angels
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Without Mike Trout, this would be a nightmare, and he won't qualify anymore after his first big league game of the season.

24. Cleveland Indians
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Maybe the most fascinating system in the game as they are loaded with toolsy Latin American kids who have yet to play a full-season. Explosive potential, but also the risk of it all turning into nothing.

25. San Francisco Giants
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Gary Brown is awfully good, but it's a snooze fest after that.

26. Houston Astros
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Things are looking up thanks to the Hunter Pence trade and 2011 first-round pick George Springer, but it's still the same ol' mess after that.

27. Detroit Tigers
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Among the shallowest systems in the game, the back-end of their Top 11 wouldn't make some Top 20s.

28. Milwaukee Brewers
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Nowhere to go but up from last year, and they finally slide a player into the Top 101 with Wily Peralta at No. 92.

29. Philadelphia Phillies
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
Picking at the end of the first round and being constant buyers at the trade deadline has taken its toll. There are some arms here, but very little offense, and even less depth.

30. Chicago White Sox
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance:
It really is that bad.

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

39 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

mdthomp

Very bullish on the Cardinals, I love it.

Mar 12, 2012 00:04 AM
rating: 0
 
delatopia

Where do the three-star orgs start? More seriously, are there clear tiers here for you?

Mar 12, 2012 00:12 AM
rating: 2
 
NYYanks826

How does the current White Sox system compare with some of the worst systems you've come across since working with BP?

Mar 12, 2012 03:29 AM
rating: 8
 
jalee121

To piggy back on this question, an article breaking down how the White Sox got in this position would be really interesting.

Mar 12, 2012 09:58 AM
rating: 5
 
ttt

Never exceeding slot, being unethical in latin america then ignoring latin america.

Mar 12, 2012 10:00 AM
rating: 2
 
Asinwreck

And dealing off what little young talent the system had in ill-conceived trades for veterans.

The question to ask is whether the Mexico City Reds ought to rank higher than the White Sox on this list. #30 seems too high.

Mar 12, 2012 15:06 PM
rating: 0
 
Squirrelmetrix

Blame Reinsdorf. He is too buddy-buddy with Butt Selig and wouldn't circumvent his precious slot rules. If you are going to draft that way, you better hit some dartboards.

Mar 12, 2012 21:02 PM
rating: -1
 
Benjamin Harris

No haikus. So sad.

Mar 12, 2012 05:41 AM
rating: 5
 
Behemoth

No haikus. So sad.
Kevin Goldstein should redo
This list the right way

Mar 12, 2012 06:11 AM
rating: 6
 
Bradley Ankrom

Rankings sans haikus,
Can't be called rankings at all,
Just zeros and ones.

Mar 12, 2012 06:29 AM
rating: 0
 
Nathan

You ruined haiku!
The first thing we'll break tonight
So said Kevin's Mom--ma

Mar 12, 2012 07:10 AM
rating: -2
 
Amos

Rescuing pitbulls,
Wearing hats, and braising meat
No time for haikus

Mar 12, 2012 09:34 AM
rating: 2
 
Infrancoeurgible

Where is Montreal?
Swore Expos had best system
Oops, time machine stuck.

Mar 12, 2012 11:12 AM
rating: 6
 
Amos

Jonah Keri, is that you?

Mar 12, 2012 11:25 AM
rating: 2
 
Behemoth

What, still no haikus?
Protesters now in Dekalb
Corn will be trampled.

Mar 12, 2012 15:46 PM
rating: 1
 
DetroitDale

So what is the problem with the Tigers' system? Sure they've been winning lately so they have to draft later and they've been signing a lot of free agents and losing picks to compensation, but it doesn't seem like that in itself accounts for a 27th place finish. Are they picking the wrong guys or are the coaches and instructors screwing them up? Are they losing more prospects that other teams to injury? Is that just bad luck or are they running their prospects into the ground?

I wouldn't sweat the system with the talent on the team now, but in 3-4 years they're going to need a better system, can this be reversed in that time?

Mar 12, 2012 07:17 AM
rating: 1
 
Nathan

Someone has to be 27th, no?

Mar 12, 2012 09:36 AM
rating: 1
 
formersd

As a Padres fan, I'm basking in the glory. Player development has never been a franchise strength, so it's a great accomplishment for the organization. However, does it concern anyone we gave the parties in charge of that development to the Cubs for a bag of beans?

Mar 12, 2012 08:19 AM
rating: 4
 
Bradley Ankrom

I'm glad I'm not the only one who still feels a little weird about how that went down...

Mar 12, 2012 08:51 AM
rating: 0
 
timber

Count me in that group too. Padres fans have a right to be incensed about what happened, and concerned about the future leadership of the team if Moorad is making decisions.

Mar 12, 2012 09:31 AM
rating: 3
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

It's hard to keep people that don't want to stay.

Mar 12, 2012 09:44 AM
 
Infrancoeurgible

To be fair, that bag of beans is really toolsy.

Mar 12, 2012 11:15 AM
rating: 10
 
jwschaefer

Does this ranking partially reflect your assessment of the Team's ability to develop minor leaguers, not just the raw talent?

Does a raw talent/highly projectable pitcher in Org A with an excellent minor league staff might get viewed as more likely to succeed than an equally raw talent/highly projectable arm in Org B with a poor staff?

Mar 12, 2012 09:42 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

No. This is just the raw talent. This has nothing to do with any judgement of development efficacy.

Mar 12, 2012 09:44 AM
 
lukejackson10

KG -- in looking at the O's ranking of 16th, I'm wondering if there are any players that could take steps forward into that four-star type range next year in order to boost the system. Obviously they have the fourth pick in the draft and should get a really good talent there, but I do like some of the lower level guys in the system like Delmonico and Bridwell. Anyone you see that could make a jump next year?

Mar 12, 2012 10:35 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Not especially.

Mar 12, 2012 12:21 PM
 
JPinPhilly

If Brown were eligible where would the Phils rank? Middle of the pack at least?

Mar 12, 2012 11:53 AM
rating: 0
 
Kampfer

First his development is hurt by mismanagement. Second he is getting old. I think even with Brown this system is still in the lower part of the ranking.

Mar 12, 2012 12:12 PM
rating: 0
 
JPinPhilly

His development was hurt by his development. Yeah, the Phils did him no favors by calling him up in 2010 and keeping him there while not playing him but the RF job was there for the taking in 2011 and he broke his hand. That's not the GM's fault. When he was healthy he struggled and then the Phils thought adding Pence would put them over the top so they did it.

Brown still has a chance to become the everyday guy in LF. I see your point that he doesn't help the system all that much if he's included.

Mar 12, 2012 12:38 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

One guy isn't going to move the needle THAT much. See the Angels.

Mar 12, 2012 12:21 PM
 
JPinPhilly

My understanding is that there are a lot of scouts who are still pretty high on Brown and see him as a potential impact guy. I wasn't so much trying to gauge how much Brown would help the Phils' ranking as much as I was trying to get a read on how much any impact prospect would affect a team's ranking.

If you're saying that Brown would only bump them up a few slots then I'm fine with that. If you're saying that removing Trout drops the Angels several slots then I understand. I'm just trying to get a read on the rankings.

This isn't a "hey, why do you hate my team?" thing. I'm trying to understand the ways, if any, that this system could improve outside of getting a whole new bunch of guys. If May is strong in AA I assume his stock continues to rise, if Colvin has a solid season and Valle walks more than once a month, and James shows something at the plate this still looks like a system filled with utility guys, back ups, bullpen arms, and mid rotation starters. There are no impact guys. Is that fair to say?

Mar 12, 2012 13:12 PM
rating: 1
 
onegameref

Perfect examples of Kenny Williams woeful talent evaluation skills are trading Quentin and Santos for prospects not even ranked for their respective former teams. I can understand trying to trade for guys with upside but when you trade established major leaguers for guys that can't even crack the top 20 of their organizations that is an indictment of your evaluation skills. The White Sox were once among the highest rated organizations during Schueler's time and KW tore that down. It should have been a complete blow out last fall when Ozzie left town. KW should have been shown the door as well. He better hope the names he got for Q and Santos work out well or it may be adios for KW.

Mar 12, 2012 17:51 PM
rating: 0
 
Behemoth

You probably have a point, but saying Nestor Molina was unranked is just not true. Quentin was just not worth that much, given that he costs $7 million this year, will cost more next year, and will then be a free agent.

Mar 13, 2012 03:44 AM
rating: 0
 
drmorris

Kevin, when you ran the Padres list originally, I wondered where you'd eventually rank the organization and guessed mid-pack due to your lack of enthusiasm for the upside there. Meanwhile, I was thinking they were a top 5 system for major-league depth. Really interesting to see you ultimately slotted them on top.

Mar 12, 2012 18:19 PM
rating: 0
 
onegameref

Behemoth, I know Castro was ranked with the Padres but his profile was dropping fast which might make him a good value pick-up if he recaptures his past form. I still don't see Molina ranked anywhere for the Jays in the last 4 years of BP's rankings. I like his numbers and he sounds great on paper but I defer to the talent scouts of BP and BA and he wasn't highly regarded for the Jays. He certainly is highly regarded in the Sox system. I want all of KW's trades to work out but I fear they will end up disappointing us all. The kids he picked up for Frasor seem promising but only in the Sox system. I simply appears again that KW did not use the assets he had in hand for a higher return. If Quentin remains healthy a full season, not a good bet mind you, he will certainly give the Padres that much value. Santos should certainly give the Jays plenty of value for his pay relative to other potential closers.

Mar 13, 2012 18:34 PM
rating: 0
 
R.A.Wagman

Molina was not highly touted until this season. He was just another arm who began his career as a 3B. This season, something clicked. He was moved to the rotation and reached AA by the end of the year. Still only 22, he has ridiculous command. The Blue Jays blogosphere could not stop talking about the guy all season. John Sickels rated him as the #2 prospect on the Jays. He may not have been worth Santos, but he has some solid cache.

Mar 13, 2012 19:18 PM
rating: 0
 
rockets98

Florida Marlins?

Mar 15, 2012 10:53 AM
rating: 0
 
Lassaller

Big fish was last seen
Swimming in the fishing hole
Labeled twenty-one

Mar 16, 2012 13:16 PM
rating: 0
 
jfranco77

Commenter above
Pointing out that the big fish
are called Miami

Mar 19, 2012 09:18 AM
rating: 0
 
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