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Articles Tagged Farm System 

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Hint: it's not cause for optimism.

Not so long ago, I looked back at the nine years since the Milwaukee Brewers had the best farm system in baseball to see what the impact of having the best farm system in baseball might be, on a 10-year timeline. I wasn’t totally sure what I hoped to get at or if I did get at it, but people seemed to like it and asked me to do the worst farm system of the same year, so I’ll do that now. I still don’t know what I’m hoping to get at, so we’ll see where this goes.

The worst farm system in baseball at the time belonged to the Montreal Expos, according to Baseball America, but the Expos were in a weird place and it’s hard to consider them a representative franchise. So we’re going to look at the no. 29 team instead: the Houston Astros. Since 2004, the Astros have played in a World Series, so how bad could it really be? Really, really, really bad!

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In a few weeks, we'll deem one organization's minor-league talent the best in baseball. What will that portend for the team?

In three weeks or so, Jason Parks is going to publish his organizational rankings. Rankings like these, prospect writers will remind you, are a snapshot. They capture reality at a particular moment, the publication upon which that reality immediately shifts into something slightly different or significantly different. There’s no permanent truth for prospects.

But there is the snapshot, and snapshots can be powerful. We weren't ranking organizations yet in 2004, but just before that season Baseball America ranked the Brewers the best farm system in baseball. The Brewers were otherwise in a lousy place: They hadn’t had a winning record in 11 seasons, tied for the longest streak in baseball at the time. The team president predicted Milwaukee would snap that streak in 2004, but when ownership instead chose to cut payroll to $28 million—lowest in baseball, and $35 million below the league median—the Brewers fired the team president (and traded Richie Sexson). But at least the Brewers had the snapshot of that farm system. When GM Doug Melvin wrote a letter to Brewers fans that offseason and had it published in Milwaukee newspapers, the farm system was something to feel good about:

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Ben and Sam answer listener emails about how much steroids help, the best farm systems in baseball, and how they'd try to negotiate a hypothetical trade.



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Ben and Sam discuss Kenny Williams' contention that the poorly rated White Sox farm system is just misunderstood, then consider whether the Cubs should be concerned about Starlin Castro's makeup.

Ben and Sam discuss Kenny Williams' contention that the poorly rated White Sox farm system is just misunderstood, then consider whether the Cubs should be concerned about Starlin Castro's makeup.

Effectively Wild Episode 25: "The Secretly Successful White Sox System?/Starlin Castro's Makeup Concerns"

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Who are the prospects that the BP staff most enjoys rooting for?

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Introducing the Top 101 and Top 11 Prospects stats pages.

4/27 ​UPDATE: ​The Baseball Prospectus Prospect Tracker is now located at baseballprospectus.com/prospect_tracker.

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Will the Red Sox be sporting a bevvy of top prospects next year, or will they be derailed by beer and fried chicken?

Prospect #1: 3B Will Middlebrooks
Background with Player: My eyes; industry sources.
Who: Middlebrooks, a fifth-round selection in the 2007 draft, has slowly worked his way up the professional ladder. Thanks to trades and general attrition, he has become the de facto top prospect in the system. His ceiling isn’t going to bewilder people with its towering presence, but his floor is high and steady; the end results should be at least a solid-average player for a decade.

The 23-year-old Texan is quite skilled with the leather at third; he has good actions and instincts to go along with a very strong arm. At the plate, the hit tool is fringy and batting average will be a challenge at the highest level, but the developing power is legit and will eventually grade out as a plus tool. Middlebrooks has a good baseball face and the grit of a scrawny utility type, only in the package of an athletic 6-foot-4, 200-pound first-division type.



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After a miserable 2011 at the major-league level, will Minnesota at least see some happiness on the farm?

Prospect #1: 3B Miguel Sano
Background with Player: Industry sources
Who: Sano, who has soul-crushing power from the right-side, stands in very elite company when it comes to his raw slugging ability; scouts line up to throw 80s of the future of the tool. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2009 for a robust $3.15 million, Sano might only have a short-season résumé, but the 18-year-old should be considered one of the top offensive prospects in the game.

In the field, Sano has very little chance of sticking on the left side of the infield. He has good athleticism for his present size and a strong arm, but the teenager is already a very large man and all signs point to him getter even larger during the maturation process. This will push his glove to right field or first base, though he has enough offensive potential to have value regardless of where or how he plays on the field.



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February 10, 2012 3:00 am

Future Shock: Cardinals Top 11 Prospects

39

Kevin Goldstein

The 2011 world champs have a much-improved farm system.

Previous Rankings: 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

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June 1, 2006 12:00 am

Future Shock: AL Draft Preview

0

Kevin Goldstein

With the 2006 Draft less than a week away, Kevin gives a preview of each American League team.

Baltimore Orioles

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