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March 3, 2014

Painting the Black

The Prospect Proximity Rankings

by R.J. Anderson


Last Wednesday, Jason Parks released his 2014 organizational rankings, the culmination of a winter spent grading prospects based on their abilities and upside. Using Parks' rankings, we know which teams have the most talent on their farms; today, let's find out which teams have the most talent closest to the majors.

Proximity to the majors is always a talking point with prospects. Yet it surfaces less frequently during conversations about the strength of an organization's minor-league system. Although each team has young players they could call upon tomorrow if needed, there are teams whose best prospects are further along the developmental path than others. Those teams should be better positioned for the short term. A team with a ready-to-go no. 4 starter can use that pitcher if it needs a stand-in due to injury or poor performance. If he's considered surplus, the team can trade him for immediate help. A team with a potential no. 4 starter two or three years away would still find a taker if they looked, but might have to take a lesser return.

In order to make this as objective as possible, a point system was implemented. If a prospect played in the majors last season—even for a single at-bat or inning pitched—then he was credited with half a point; a prospect who showered in Triple-A's sewer water received a full point; a prospect with Double-A teams in his travel log received two points; and so on, all the way to prospects who didn't play, for whatever reason, receiving eight points. The fewer points a team tallied, the closer to the majors their top 10 prospects are. The median sum, for reference, was around 32 points.

Before revealing the results, here is the contractually obligated disclaimer: having an advanced group of prospects does not necessarily trump having a less-advanced group with more upside. Each team's place on Parks' list is included (as "rank in strength") to provide context on that front. Likewise, each team's capsule includes a one-line statistical breakdown on its talent distribution, and has a list of prospects who Parks estimated could reach the majors during the 2014 season or have already had a cameo in the Show.

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Related Content:  Boston Red Sox,  Prospects,  Scouting,  Minor Leagues

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<< Previous Article
Pebble Hunting: Mike T... (03/03)
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Premium Article Painting the Black: Le... (02/27)
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Premium Article Painting the Black: Sp... (03/07)
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Premium Article Top Tools: Best Catche... (03/03)

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