2010 Organizational Rankings: Kick-Off

In about 15 minutes or so, you’ll see the first of 90 posts that will make up the FanGraphs 2010 Organizational Rankings. We ran these on the site last year, but I’ve wised up and gotten the whole crew involved this time around. We’ll break down each team’s present talent, future talent, and the overall health of the organization, at least as we see it.

Let me get a few things out of the way up front.

1. By its nature, this is subjective. If your favorite team isn’t placed where you think they should be, well, nothing in life has really changed, right? Disagree all you want. Explain why you disagree. That’s what the comments are for. But try not to get personally offended. We’re not out to anger anyone. This is supposed to be fun.

2. In a lot of cases, there’s very little difference between spots in close proximity to each other on the list. There’s a pretty huge blob in the middle, for instance, where a bunch of teams are very even, and the fact that one team is #13 and another is #18 doesn’t mean that we’re much higher on the former organization.

3. Having a chance of winning it all this year is great. Having a great farm system is great. Having a forward thinking management staff is great. But by themselves, none of those things are enough to earn a high grade overall. We’re really trying to highlight the balance between winning now and winning in the future. There will be teams that are high on the list because of how good they may be in 2011 or 2012, while teams that are better in 2010 will be behind them. It’s not just a short term thing, and these aren’t projected order of finish for 2010. It’s our perspective on the total health of where each team is, relative to their peers, going forward.

With that out of the way, we hope you enjoy the 2010 version of the FanGraphs Organizational Rankings.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


24 Responses to “2010 Organizational Rankings: Kick-Off”

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  1. Tom B says:

    #30 – The New York Mets… :)

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  2. bobo says:

    Maybe call these something other than the 2010 Organizational Rankings. If you expect Team A to be better than Team B in 2010, but rank team B higher than Team A, then I am not sure how much these rankings are weighted by 2010. I hate to get into symantics, but I imagine the gest of the snarkey comments to be related to this issue, because by the time you are at the middle of these posts, most people will have fogotten your description in this kick-off article. Anyway, I’d suggest ‘Overall Organizational Rankings’ or something similarly vague…

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    • CMC_Stags says:

      They are called the 2010 Organization Rankings, not the 2010 Team Rankings. I think the name captures “We’re looking at how each organization stacks up heading into the 2010 season.”

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  3. JH says:

    You’re a glutton for punishment, Dave. That said, I look forward to it.

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  4. Steve says:

    My team is too low!

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  5. B says:

    We’ll see if you’ve wised up on the Marlins this year, or whether you’re ok with unleashing another firestorm. ;)

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  6. Ted says:

    So are the rankings still going to be based on the organizations chances to win a championship in the future, or is the ranking going to be based on what a fan base would be happy with?

    For example the Yankees would only be happy with winning it all, yet the Royals and Tigers would be happy making the playoffs for the next 5 years.

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      It’s based on the organization’s chances of winning, both now and going forward, based on current talent, present talent, skill of management, financial flexibility, and quality of ownership and ballpark.

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      • longgandhi says:

        Isn’t divisional context taken into account? For example, the Orioles could continue to develop a strong nucleus of young players, but their road to the post-season is and will continue to be for the foreseeable future substantially more difficult than that of the Nationals or Marlins because they have to contend with at least 3 of the best run (and two of those most well-funded) organizations in baseball, and none of the worst run. Doesn’t that have as much impact as any of the factors you mention?

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    • Tom B says:

      It’s not the World Series of Mediocrity…

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  7. Sky Kalkman says:

    Looking forward to these, Dave et al.

    How will revenue/payroll figure into things? Do the Yankees get a bonus for having the potential to sign more good players? Do they get a handicap for not doing as much with what they have? Or is it ignored?

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      Financial flexibility is definitely a bonus. If a team has the ability to spend a lot of money going forward, we assume that that they will spend it in a way that will improve their team, so that cash is an asset just like a player is an asset.

      The idea is to measure organizational health relative to each other, so each team is measured against the same baseline. The Yankees are not held to a higher standard because they should win more.

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  8. The Truth says:

    10 bucks says the Mariners are in the top 5.

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    • Fresh Hops says:

      Hmmm…

      I take it you’re challenging the objectivity of these ratings. But it would be better if you listed five organizations that are better before you assume it’s just bias. I can think of three organizations that are clearly better, and a few that I would say are candidates–I’d need to look more closely to be sure. The M’s are actually a pretty good looking organization right now, IMO.

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      • Omar says:

        Yankees/Red Sox/Rays/Phillies are the “for sure better” organizations. After that I’d say that the Cardinals are better too…after that there’s a few maybes.

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      • The Truth says:

        The Mariners are looking pretty good. There is a reasonable argument to be made for the Mariners at #4-5, as there is for a good handful of other teams. I stand by my bet.

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      • Omar says:

        They’ve definitely made a HUGE turn around. That being said, I can’t honestly see rating them as a top five organization in baseball when they’re not even a sure bet to make the playoffs in a weak division. Their current (and foreseeable) major league talent just isn’t there, while their rotation is stacked at the top end this year will Cliff Lee stay? A 3-4-5 of Ryan Rowland Smith, Ian Snell, and Doug Fister doesn’t exactly instill a lot of confidence in me. Furthermore, a line up of (I’m guessing):

        Ichiro
        Figgins
        Bradley (I will assume they’ll realize that he’ll DH)
        Lopez
        Kotchman/Garko
        Gutierrez
        Bard
        Ackley
        Wilson

        Isn’t going to set the world on fire either, yes it will definitely prevent a lot of runs, I can’t see putting them ahead of the Cardinals, Rays, Phillies, Red Sox, or Yankees with the lack of current major league talent or the true impact prospects aside from Ackley.

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  9. Omar says:

    Dave,

    I am glad to see these back, I’m glad you didn’t let the negative comments (mine included) discourage you from doing this. As much as I, vehemently at times, disagreed with your rankings…I enjoyed reading about teams and the series. I must say that I was wrrr….wrrr…wrrr…I wasn’t right about the Seattle Mariners. Large call on Jack Z. I fully expect some teams to have their rankings change drastically with in a year, some of which being the Florida Marlins, Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, and yes…the Seattle Mariners. I also expect smaller changes too, from a certain team that I root for :), within a year. I’d also like an individual piece on the team’s management and ownership too, and a final wrap up piece comparing last year’s rankings to this year’s. I know I was wrong about the quality of some organizations last year, and I know you were too ;). So I say this with the utmost enthusiasm: LET THE BITCHING BEGIN!!!!!

    -Omar.

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  10. Omar says:

    A disagreement already:

    3. Having a chance of winning it all this year is great. Having a great farm system is great. Having a forward thinking management staff is great. But by themselves, none of those things are enough to earn a high grade overall. We’re really trying to highlight the balance between winning now and winning in the future. There will be teams that are high on the list because of how good they may be in 2011 or 2012, while teams that are better in 2010 will be behind them. It’s not just a short term thing, and these aren’t projected order of finish for 2010. It’s our perspective on the total health of where each team is, relative to their peers, going forward.

    Well, 2011 and 2012 are pretty far away. A lot of times when you think you have something, even this year, things turn sour pretty quickly. Ask some Mets and Indians fans.

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    • mowill says:

      Okay Mr. Minaya that is just about enough out of you.

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      • Omar says:

        Ughhhhh…for fuck’s sake it’s NOT Omar Minaya, it’s THIS Omar:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omar_Little

        Furthermore, my point was don’t underrate 2010 for the sake of 2011 and 2012. I can’t think of a team who is primed to contend for a title in 2010 that won’t be primed to contend for the next two or three years. I can understand rating a team that is probably a good bet to miss the playoffs this year but not a bad organization, like the Rangers, over a team like that’s a good bet to make the playoffs but still has quite a few question marks after this year like maybe say the Angels. That being said, IMO, of all the title contenders this year, every one of them has a reason to believe that they can compete in 2011 and probably 2012. I wouldn’t be too confident in saying talent like Carlos Santana, Nick Hagadone, Hector Rondon and Matt LaPorta will make the Indians title contenders with Shin Soo Choo and Gady Sizemore in 2012…when that’s simply too far off and there’s a lot of variables in play here. Note: I am not saying that I think they’ll be busts or I think they won’t be good players, BUT, when you’re counting on players with zero to limited major league experience to take a team that’s toiling in mediocrity to title contention, that’s a stretch for me.

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  11. DME says:

    trust the process

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  12. q says:

    Wow, all of you guys crying about an anti-Phillies bias need to get two things through those thick-skulled heads of yours:

    1) Cameron clearly said the Phillies are favored.
    2) Cameron gave the Reds an organizational ranking of 20 and the Phillies a ranking of 10.

    By the way, in hindsight, the Phillies ranking is looking pretty good. Given Seattle’s pathetic performance, the Phillies surely deserve to go up a spot, but I’m not sure if they’ve shown enough in the past year to leapfrog the Braves or the Rockies.

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