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It’s generally accepted that the legendary Branch Rickey devised the universally used 20-80 scouting scale. The actual origin of the scale is a bit of a mystery, but some believe it’s based on a scientific scale used in some fields that revolves around a median (in this case 50), and three standard deviations above (60, 70, 80) and below (40, 30, 20). What does that have to do with organizational rankings? Not much, unless you’re a scouting dork like me. As opposed to being completely subjective here, I went about the task of trying to actually quantify the rankings.


I began by assigning points to each team for the talent it has, giving points at differing levels within the Excellent, Very Good, and Good labels used in the recently completed Top 10 lists. Additional points were granted for average prospects, as well as talent beyond their top 10 that would qualify for that level. The rankings you see here reflect the total raw points. In order to have a little fun with this, and in an attempt to provide some additional information, I then split the talent between hitting and pitching, found the average amount of hitting and pitching points, and then calculated the number of standard deviations above or below that average. Presto! Instant 20-80 scores for each category.

Rank Team Hitting (Rank) Pitching (Rank) Comment

1


Devil Rays


Top
10 Prospects
76 (1st) 62 (4th) The best system in baseball and it’s not even close. Hard to beat three elite
hitting prospects, all of whom have proven themselves at Double-A or higher,
as well as one near-ready stud pitcher and a plethora of high-ceiling young
arms. The D-Rays won’t be picking at the top of the draft for much longer.

2


Rockies


Top
10 Prospects
63 (4th) 60 (6th) Another team that needs help and will get it from within their system. Jason Hirsh,
Chris Iannetta and Troy Tulowitzki begin the flow of talent to the big leagues this
year, Dexter Fowler looks like a potential dynamo, and no group of arms
can light up a radar gun like Colorado’s youngsters.

3


Angels


Top
10 Prospects
67 (3rd) 49 (17th) Even with Howie Kendrick and Jered Weaver out of the picture, the talent keeps coming,
though the Angels will need some more pitching to step forward and join Adenhart
in the upper echelon.

4


Yankees


Top
10 Prospects
45 (18th) 74 (1st) Philip Hughes leads off the best collection of mound talent in the game.
Unfortunately, Jose Tabata is left alone to carry the weight offensively,
as the hitting talent is thin.

5


Dodgers


Top
10 Prospects
56 (6th) 60 (5th) As usual, the Dodgers have a well-rounded collection of talent, including
a number of high-ceiling young players who could help move this ranking up
next year.

6


Diamondbacks


Top
10 Prospects
72 (2nd) 36 (26th) Even with Stephen Drew and Carlos Quentin in the big leagues, the Diamondbacks have
three more elite hitters in the system with Carlos Gonzalez, Justin Upton,
and Chris Young. The pitchers are either low on ceiling, or low on talent–signing first-round pick Max Scherzer sure would help.

7


Brewers


Top
10 Prospects
54 (8th) 55 (10th) Ryan Braun and Yovani Gallardo give the Brewers a hitter/pitcher combo
that ranks with just about anyone, and while the elite talent ends there,
the depth of the system is among the best in the game.

8


Mets


Top
10 Prospects
53 (11th) 56 (9th) Few teams in baseball have two outfielders to match Fernando Martinez
and Carlos Gomez or two righthanders to match the duo of Philip Humber and
Mike Pelfrey. So they get huge points for top-level talent, but there is little to
talk about after that.

9


Royals


Top
10 Prospects
58 (5th) 49 (19th) The big three of Billy Butler, Alex Gordon and Luke Hochevar carry the
torch for the system, but three potential All-Stars is still enough to rank
in single digits.

10


Reds


Top
10 Prospects
54 (9th) 50 (16th) A once moribund system suddenly has a potential ace in Homer Bailey and
a potential impact outfielder in Jay Bruce. Joey Votto is pretty good in
his own right, but the talent falls off in cliff-like fashion in short order.

11


Red Sox


Top
10 Prospects
45 (17th) 58 (7th) Plenty of exciting pitchers throughout the system, both in starting and
relief roles, but who is going to hit? Jacoby Ellsbury is the only star-potential
hitter who is close.

12


Twins


Top
10 Prospects
41 (27th) 63 (3rd) An incredible collection of arms should keep the Twins stacked for years
to come. With first-round picks Matt Moses and Denard Span hitting a wall
at Double-A, impact bats are few and far between.

13


Indians


Top
10 Prospects
44 (20th) 58 (8th) Lots of arms, headlined by an elite starter in Adam Miller who should
hit the big leagues this year. The hitting, however, has thinned out dramatically
over recent years.

14


Braves


Top
10 Prospects
51 (14th) 49 (18th) Not the system it once was, with few impact hitters, and a group of
pitchers that pales in comparison to past groups. The system does feature
some projectable pitchers who are short on success and experience but high
on ceiling.

15


Tigers


Top
10 Prospects
54 (10th) 45 (21st) Miller and Maybin and pray for rainin’? Young outfielder Gorkys Hernandez
is a fascinating prospect, but after trading a trio of pitchers to the Yanks
for Gary Sheffield, there’s nothing left–not that Detroit needs young
arms.

16


Mariners


Top
10 Prospects
52 (13th) 44 (22nd) Better than you might think at first glance. Jeff Clement and Adam Jones
are a potent pair at the top, and Carlos Truinfel is unproven but very exciting.
The 2006 Draft class began a much-needed restocking of arms.

17


Giants


Top
10 Prospects
44 (22nd) 53 (13th) Pretty much the entire group of good hitting prospects went splat at
Double-A, but Angel Villalona is already a scouting legend at 16. Tim Lincecum
leads off a pitching group that offers depth and little
else.

18


Orioles


Top
10 Prospects
43 (24th) 53 (14th) Billy Rowell sure looks good so far; after that, it’s hard to figure
out where future Baltimore runs are going to come from. The pitching looks
good across the board, but some of the better ones might take a while.

19


Marlins


Top
10 Prospects
33 (30th) 64 (2nd) Absolutely nothing in the position player category, but we’ll give them
a mulligan after watching what the big league team did last year. They’ve
spent the last two drafts stocking up on pitching, with their rotation at
High-A Jupiter this year possibly having five first-round picks.

20


Blue Jays


Top
10 Prospects
56 (7th) 35 (27th) Adam Lind and Travis Snider are an enviable pair of hitting prospects,
and while the upper-level talent ends there, the system has a number of
solid prospects who should get to the big leagues. What about the pitchers?
Don’t ask.

21


Cubs


Top
10 Prospects
42 (26th) 51 (15th) Moving in the wrong direction offensively. Felix Pie and Eric Patterson
could help in 2007, but after that, it’s nada city. The pitching looks much
better.

22


Rangers


Top
10 Prospects
38 (28th) 54 (11th) Some of their top pitching prospects have taken steps backwards of late,
but Eric Hurley made up for it with a breakout performance in 2006. There
is very little offensively, especially at the upper levels.

23


Athletics


Top
10 Prospects
53 (12th) 35 (28th) The offensive ranking surprised even me, though Daric Barton and Travis
Buck
are a nice pair at the top; beyond that, they’re similar to Toronto,
with a number of players easily projected as big leaguers. Last
year’s dip into the high school pitching pool paid few dividends.

24


White Sox


Top
10 Prospects
44 (21st) 46 (20th) John Danks, Josh Fields, and Ryan Sweeney are a nice trio at the top,
but after that, the well is dry, particularly at the lower levels after
years of overly conservative drafting.

25


Pirates


Top
10 Prospects
48 (15th) 41 (25th) Injured pitchers, the disappointing career of Neil Walker, and no more
Brent Lillibridge is too much for a great talent like Andrew McCutchen
to make up for.

26


Phillies


Top
10 Prospects
37 (29th) 53 (12th) A nice collection of young, high-ceiling arms, with some potential innings-eater
types coming quickly to keep the seats warm for the high-ceiling teenagers.
If there were any good hitters going into 2006, chances are pretty good they
had a miserable season.

27


Cardinals


Top
10 Prospects
45 (19th) 42 (24th) Colby Rasmus looks awfully good, but after that, the only word that comes
to mind is ‘boring.’ A whole lot of future middle relievers and fourth outfielders.
Yawn.

28


Astros


Top
10 Prospects
43 (23rd) 44 (23rd) Hunter Pence sure is good. So is Troy Patton. Following them is virtually nothing offensively and a group of pitchers with good scouting reports and little success.

29


Padres


Top
10 Prospects
47 (16th) 34 (30th) When your best pitching prospect has open injury issues, that’s a
bad thing. When he’s the only one in your team’s top 10, that’s even worse.
Kevin Kouzmanoff arrives to save the day offensively, while Cedric Hunter‘s
impressive pro debut provides some optimism.

30


Nationals


Top
10 Prospects
43 (25th) 35 (29th) Still recovering from the final years in Montreal, where the signing
budget was limited and the scouting department was reduced to a skeleton
crew. They used their plethora of picks in the early portion of the 2006
draft to take high-ceiling teenagers, so there’s potential to move up. Not
that there is any other option.
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