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  1. Great job Dave. I enjoyed this series a lot! Astros!

    Comment by Jim — April 3, 2010 @ 1:08 pm

  2. As much as I don’t like the ranking (meaningless to me), I enjoyed reading and appreciate your work.

    Comment by MX — April 3, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

  3. i’d just like to say that ranking the mariners 6th was the funniest thing i’ve seen in a long time. thank you for that.

    Comment by fire jerry manuel — April 3, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

  4. Top six all AL teams? I know there is a serious bias against the NL in the sabermetric community but the Phillies DID win a World Series two years ago. The dominance is not THAT complete. The NL did win 4 WS titles in the 00s.

    Comment by Schu — April 3, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

  5. I think the Cubs moving from 5 (I think it was 5 last year?) to 18 is an artificially steep drop. While these rankings have placed an increased priority on youth and player development, last season the only excitement the Cubs had coming up (by my estimation) were a pair of relievers in Cashner and Ceda, one of whom was traded by a perennially mediocre “proven closer”.
    The past year has only seen the emergence of several prospects with all-star ceilings and the promotion of a 2006 first round draft pick (although Colvin’s baseline is likely that of a reserve outfielder, a role in which he was promoted to fill). Yes the core of the major league roster is aging with some walking wounded, but we knew that in 2009 as well.
    While I don’t mean to seem as woefully optimistic as your average Cubs fan, I see much more excitement coming down the pipeline in 2010 than I did a year ago. In addition to that, the team’s ownership situation has been resolved, which is not something you could have said a year ago and something that negatively impacted the ranking of the Dodgers this season. No adding Marlon Byrd isn’t going to gain any ground on the Cardinals, and the Grabow contract was unforgivable but even if the Cubs flounder in 2010 there are more good times to come than bad.
    I guess my real beef was with their ranking last season. They were likely a 10-12 then and a 15-17 now, but that’s just picking nits.

    Generally I agreed with this series, and love the work you all do.

    Comment by 81 — April 3, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

  6. Mariners and Twins too high, Pirates and Giants too low.

    Comment by Temo — April 3, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

  7. Well yeah, given that by definition one team from the AL and one from the NL are in each WS and that the chances of even a far superior team winning a 7 game series are at most around 60%, I would say that 6-4 is about what we’d expect. More telling I think is that over the past 6 years of interleague play, the AL has won 55.6% of the games.

    Comment by mjmetro — April 3, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

  8. Winning “a few years ago” means absolutely nothing towards the health and future of your franchise.

    Comment by descender — April 3, 2010 @ 1:51 pm

  9. Until a team like the pirates can prove that they can turn what they are doing into a winning product, they stay where they are.

    Comment by descender — April 3, 2010 @ 1:52 pm

  10. How does winning 4 games a couple years ago mean the entire league isn’t inferior?

    Comment by philkid3 — April 3, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

  11. The Giants, as an organization, are abysmal. There is some exceptionally good talent, but horrible processes in place regarding FA evaluation.

    Comment by Tyler — April 3, 2010 @ 2:09 pm

  12. Honestly, Mariners and even Twins over Phillies, Braves and Rockies was kind of hard to buy.

    Comment by Bill — April 3, 2010 @ 2:10 pm

  13. You need to remember that AL team holds systemetical advantage over NL’s because of the full time DH player they employ.

    Comment by Kampfer — April 3, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

  14. That’s right. Love to put them higher, but there’s no way to justify it. I’d take the Pirates front office over all the teams ranked below them, but there’s enough of a talent or money difference with the teams above that they can’t be moved up yet until they’re more successful.

    Comment by Adam R. — April 3, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

  15. I don’t see how the Pirates are ranked ahead of the Nationals. They are about even in current talent, but the Nationals crush them in future talent. Strasburg, Zimmermann, and Lannan are all better than any Pirates pitching prospect. Ross Detwiler is pretty much right on the level of the top Pirates pitching prospects. The Nationals have the best CF and 3B in the league according to WAR. The top hitters for the Nats (Zimmerman and Norris) are ahead of McCutcheon and Alvarez. When you factor in that the Nats have the #1 pick in the draft again, they should be ranked ahead of the Pirates.

    Comment by pm — April 3, 2010 @ 2:29 pm

  16. While I don’t disagree with Dave’s rankings. I think Schu has a point.

    Being in the National League should be a POSITIVE for the good NL teams. The Phillies, Rockies, or whoever, going forward, has an easier schedule. They don’t have to play 36 games against the Yankees or Red Sox each year as the Rays will. They are, thus, more likely to make the World Series, which is the ultimate determinant of success.

    While I agree the Mariners might have a better organization than the Rockies, the Rockies have a greater chance of success in the future, because they play in an easier environment.

    Comment by Will — April 3, 2010 @ 2:54 pm

  17. I love the explanations throughout the entire series. The info was good and semi-complete. I definitely think the White Sox should have been ranked higher. One key is that the White Sox are in a better position than the Cubs. There are questions, and they do not develop enough talent. Rangers are definitely too high, as is Seattle and the Twins. I do not think 6 teams are better than the NL teams. I do not think there was a bias though. It is just how your rankings fell.

    Comment by richwp01 — April 3, 2010 @ 2:59 pm

  18. Full disclosure, I’m a Nats fan. With that said, the Nationals have said they will platoon Willy Taveras against lefties in RF this season. They have also shown that they are considering playing Cristian Guzman in right. This is a reflection of a poor manager.

    However, the front office is not without fault. The GM released a young, talented right fielder with a team option still available without any discernible replacement in place, which forced the manager to platoon a guy with a career OPS of .649 in RF.

    The owners also do not seem to be willing to spend very much money. They took signability picks after Strasburg in the draft (Storen and Holder), and have yet to spend any money internationally. They’re also known to penny-pinch in operational costs (refusing to pay rent and reports from staff regarding their micromanaging).

    To be honest, I’m just happy we aren’t ranked last again. Despite all the Nats’ issues, the Astros and Royals clearly have bigger problems.

    Comment by Will — April 3, 2010 @ 3:08 pm

  19. It’s a pretty good ranking. Mariners are definitely off by the most; they should be 10-15 at best.

    Other than their front office, they would be in the bottom 10 easily. Jack Z doesn’t help them that much.

    Comment by supermets — April 3, 2010 @ 3:08 pm

  20. Forgot to add this part:

    The Nats might have more talent in the organization, but the decision makers are bigger question marks than in the Pirates organization.

    I think that in a few more years, we’ll have a much better idea of how these two organizations will fare in the long run.

    Comment by Will — April 3, 2010 @ 3:10 pm

  21. The ws is a short series involving 2 outlier teams. It is a terrible choice of sample when you want to compare overall strength of the leagues.

    Comment by awayish — April 3, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

  22. It should be neutral, since this list is simply one of team strength in absolute terms. It is not predictive of future record or playoff prospects.

    The only point you have is that being in the NL may mean the team has an easier time outpacing their competition and have better efficiency of resources.

    Comment by awayish — April 3, 2010 @ 3:22 pm

  23. So the top three are in the same division, but I understand why that doesn’t negatively impact their ranking. Those three can all win 100 games, and the wild card seems like it will always be handed to the team in second in the East.

    But if that’s true, that should really hurt Seattle, the Rangers, and the Angels. They are all in the top 11 (reaching for LAA), and unfortunately share a division.

    Looking at this with an eye to who has the best chance of owning their division in the upcoming future, I would give the Rockies a place above the Rangers and Mariners, and maybe the Braves as well.

    Nit picking. This was a great series.

    Comment by Shaggychild — April 3, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

  24. All right, so the first question, to paraphrase Lord Kelvin, is how do we quantify the efficacy of the rankings? A team’s future is sort of nebulous; how far in the future do we go? How much do we rate championships? How do we account for the fact that as we go farther out in the future, the current state has less of an effect?

    These are difficult questions; fortunately, I have answers. Not justified answers, not absolute answers, but answers.

    2010 values: Each win=+1, make playoffs=+4, win DS +2, win ALCS +3 win WS +7, all cumulative.

    2011 values: .9 x (2010 values)

    2012 values: .81 x (2010)

    2013: .72 x (2010)

    2014: .63 x (2010)

    2015: .54 x (2010)

    Post 2015: Nothing.

    Scoring: Each real baseball team is ranked after the six-year period, and those rankings are compared to the rankings given by the rankers. Any real baseball teams within five scoring points of each other are reranked to benefit the ranker.

    Scoring is: -1 for each place off for the first four places off, -2 for each place off for the second four, and -3 for each place off thereafter. Dave has (sensibly enough) asked for others’ rankings; I’ll offer mine later.

    Comment by John R. Mayne — April 3, 2010 @ 4:23 pm

  25. I completely disagree with you on the Nationals have worse management/front office than the Pirates. At least the Nats were willing to spend money on Strasburg and free agents. The Pirates haven’t done that. The Pirates passed up on Matt Wieters and Rick Porcello to draft a LOOGY. The Pirates went cheap at #4 in the draft last season. Do you honestly ever see the Pirates being more willing to spend money than the Lerner family? The Lerner family has issues, but I have to think that they will at least spend some money when the team should contend. I don’t see the same with the Pirates.

    Comment by pm — April 3, 2010 @ 4:52 pm

  26. Please state this properly.

    “They do not have to play 36 games against the Rays and Red Sox or Rays and Yankees as Boston and NY have to do, or against the Yankees and Red Sox as the Rays have to do.”

    That is, the presence of TB in the division makes it just as difficult for NY and Boston as their presence makes it for TB.

    Comment by Bob R. — April 3, 2010 @ 5:55 pm

  27. My rankings.

    #1 – New York Yankees
    #2 – Boston Red Sox
    #3 – Tampa Bay Rays
    #4 – Philadelphia Phillies
    #5 – Atlanta Braves
    #6 – Colorado Rockies
    #7 – St. Louis Cardinals
    #8 – Seattle Mariners
    #9 – Anaheim Angels
    #10 – Los Angeles Dodgers
    #11 – Chicago Cubs
    #12 – Cleveland Indians
    #13 – Minnesota Twins
    #14 – Baltimore Orioles
    #15 – Cincinnati Reds
    #16 – Milwaukee Brewers
    #17 – Arizona Diamondbacks
    #18 – Texas Rangers
    #19 – Oakland Athletics
    #20 – New York Mets
    #21 – Detroit Tigers
    #22 – San Francisco Giants
    #23 – Chicago White Sox
    #24 – San Diego Padres
    #25 – Florida Marlins
    #26 – Toronto Blue Jays
    #27 – Washington Nationals
    #28 – Pittsburgh Pirates
    #29 – Houston Astros
    #30– Kansas City Royals

    Notes: Only the bottom five teams look really out of it for the long-term. Anyone else could make me look silly (or sillier.)

    Comment by John R. Mayne — April 3, 2010 @ 6:06 pm

  28. I thoroughly enjoyed the series. After the Mariners win 78 games and miss the playoffs for the ninth straight year, I’m sure you will move their ranking closer to its appropriate spot on next year’s list.

    Comment by Brett W — April 3, 2010 @ 6:07 pm

  29. Fifth?

    I’m sorry, but the blatant homerism in that ranking, which IMO none of the 300+ comments there did much to dispel, seriously compromised this effort in my eyes.

    Comment by Bad Bill — April 3, 2010 @ 6:26 pm

  30. Why wouldn’t you rank the Current Talent and Future Talent parts separately? You essentially wrote three sets of articles but only bothered to put one in order.

    Comment by Byron — April 3, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

  31. You need to remember that the NL could rectify that if they had a vested interest in not being at a competitive disadvantage.

    Comment by Kevin S. — April 3, 2010 @ 7:02 pm

  32. pm, in 2007, when the pirates took moskos ahead of wieters, et al., huntington was not the gm. this year, going cheap on sanchez allowed them to sign four over-slots; furthermore, sanchez has looked good so far.

    Comment by Ben Hall — April 3, 2010 @ 8:11 pm

  33. 1.Yankees

    Based on win totals, and playoff berths over the next 5 years.

    Comment by Chair — April 3, 2010 @ 8:14 pm

  34. Why are the Marlins 25th?

    Comment by Zack — April 3, 2010 @ 8:16 pm

  35. Why exactly is this voted down? USSM lemmings, you’re not allowed to argue “rankings are subjective, people’s opinions” then flip out anytime someone criticizes them.

    Fangraphs writers aren’t stupid. Rankings of any kind are going to create a firestorm. They did a decent job overall explaining their method and provided a nice conversation piece before the season.

    Comment by dickey simpkins — April 3, 2010 @ 8:35 pm

  36. Pretty nice list, save for Rangers waay low at 18, and the Los Angeles teams a tad too high.

    Comment by Jeff — April 3, 2010 @ 9:37 pm

  37. Top 10:

    Red Sox

    Comment by lvnvn — April 3, 2010 @ 10:09 pm

  38. Great series btw

    Comment by lvnvn — April 3, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

  39. “USSM lemmings”

    I got news for you Seattle chumps. Cameron may call himself a Mariners fan, but damn is that not the furthest thing from the truth. The guy is a Yankees fan. Period. All his posts are evidence of such. He’s probably just a NY transplant trying to look good to you locals. Suckers.

    As far as NY being chosen first, it’s ridiculous. Not one player of value on that team was drafted or traded for by their current GM, who obviously knows nothing about baseball but tons about how to spend George’s money. He’s like an ex-wife, he is. All he does is cling to George’s wallet. So if the ‘best organization’ is judged by how poor its organizational structure judges talent but how quickly it can cover its ass by throwing cash at the situation, NYY is better than average. But an organization should really be judged by how they would fare if all things were equal. And if that were the case, NYY would be a last place team, year after year. Babe Ruth is DEAD.

    Top five in some kind of order:

    Comment by Dirty Water — April 3, 2010 @ 10:35 pm

  40. Are you just trying to see how obvious your trolldom can get?

    Comment by Kevin S. — April 3, 2010 @ 11:02 pm

  41. I really liked the series. I think you really underrated the Tigers and A’s (especially if you have Seattle ranked #6, because I think there are a lot of similarities between the both and Seattle), but it’s almost impossible to make a list like this.

    Detroit’s roster make-up and market are very similar to Seattle’s current situation, and I think you can make a very good argument that the Tigers have a better group of young players that the M’s.

    I think Oakland has a better group of young talent than either team, and you gave Beane almost none of the extra credit that you gave the M’s for having a very smart front office. Also, Cleveland has worse talent on the MLB roster compared to the A’s, and they have a similar issue in terms of the ability to keep players long term.

    Again, this list is almost impossible to make. Those were just a few of my beefs.

    Comment by Mike — April 3, 2010 @ 11:10 pm

  42. No, I just disagree with the piece. It’s homer rubbish, actually.

    Comment by Dirty Water — April 3, 2010 @ 11:22 pm

  43. 1. Red Sox
    2. Phillies
    3. Rays
    4. Yankees (and no, I am definitely NOT a Red Sox fan, I just see issues with aging stars coming sooner than one might think; money can’t buy youth)
    5. Cardinals (Pujols makes up for a lot of shortcomings, and I think they’ll keep him)
    6. Twins (same thing for Mauer)
    7. Rockies
    8. Braves
    9. Rangers (this may be too high)
    10. Dodgers (the divorce won’t last forever…)
    11. Mariners
    12. Angels
    13. White Sox
    14. Tigers
    15. Reds (my pick for surprise team, but only if they unload Dusty)
    16. Orioles
    17. Giants
    18. Cubs
    19. Brewers
    20. Indians
    21. Marlins
    22. D-Backs
    23. Mets
    24. A’s
    25. Pirates
    26. Padres
    27. Jays
    28. Nationals
    29. Royals
    30. Astros

    Comment by Bad Bill — April 3, 2010 @ 11:25 pm

  44. Let’s see here. By your logic:

    *The Yankees massive revenue streams should not be considered a part of their organizational health and ability to compete now and in the future, despite that being the repeatedly-stated goal of the series.

    *The Yankees would operate in the exact same manner if they had an average payroll, and should be judged as thus.

    *Javier Vazquez, Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson are not “players of value.” Hell, we’ll even leave out A-Rod because he opted-out and resigned as a FA.

    But yeah, Dave’s the biased homer for the team he has never expressed support for and has even, IIRC, stated he dislikes in the past. You, sir, are an idiot.

    Comment by Kevin S. — April 3, 2010 @ 11:34 pm

  45. Why should the NYY massive revenue stream be worth as much as you want it to be if, in the past it’s equated to squat? It took this chump organisation one half billion dollars to secure their trophy. You think they can do that yearly? Hardly.

    None of those players you mention impress me, and not a single one would be playing for the top 5 organizations. Eh, maybe Joba as setup, but that’s it. But one appearance by his crazy-ass parents and he’d be waived.

    Comment by Dirty Water — April 3, 2010 @ 11:57 pm

  46. Dave. I would like you to address B’s concerns in the Mariner’s thread. Make the case that the Mariner’s will have a greater chance at making the playoffs and winning the world series over the next few years than all but 5 other organizations – specifically, the Phillies, Cardinals, Braves and Rockies.

    B’s argument was that neither the current talent or the future talent of the Mariners was enough to justify them being one of the most successful franchises over the next few years. According to SG’s diamond mind projections, the Mariners are projected to win 81 games next year and 10 teams are projected to have higher playoff odds than them, with the Cubs less than 1 point behind.

    Red Sox

    Of those 11 other teams, 9 of them have a higher ranked farm system than the Mariners according to Keith Law’s rankings (I would use BA, but I don’t have a subscription) and the only 2 worse then them are the Cardinals and Phillies, two teams that have 20 points of playoff odds on the M’s next year and as good or better finances. Of those 9 teams with as good or better playoff odds than the Mariners and a higher ranked farm system, 7 of them, excluding the Rays and Braves had a higher payroll in 2009, and the Rays clearly are ahead of the Mariners in all other facets and the Brave’s payroll was 2 million lower last year.

    Basically, there are 7 other teams that each have better current talent, future talent and finances than the Mariners, with 4 others that are better than them in 2 out of the three.

    Obviously the front office was the reason for the bump, but how can you make such a confident judgement on the front offices abilities AND place so much weight on that ability. Given the extremely small sample size of the Mariner’s front office and the huge lack of information on them and most other teams, how can you so confidently say the the Mariner’s have such a better front office than, say, the Dodgers or the Twins or the Phillies. And even if you were confident in that assessment, how do you expect the front office to be able to make up for the gap in talent/resources of those other teams. The Mariner’s don’t have any dead weight on their roster that they could trade away and net 2-3 wins solely from adding average players. The guys they are replacing already have positive value and they don’t have any major trading chips in the minors or on the current roster. I know that FanGraphs loves F.A.T. but I don’t see how you can’t build a championship quality roster all from undervalued out of house talent.

    Basically you need to be able to justify why you think the Mariner’s are going to be a more successful franchise over the next 3-4 years that the other teams I listed. This rankings shouldn’t, and I don’t think are, a ranking of how well you like each teams “direction” or “process”, they should be a ranking of how successful each team will be over the next few years.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — April 4, 2010 @ 12:39 am

  47. Really? Nothing? It isn’t, perhaps, reflective of a good roster or good management? The fact that the Angels and Phillies have been tremendously successful over the past few years tells us nothing about the quality of their front office? The only quality should be how well FanGraphs likes their process?

    Comment by vivaelpujols — April 4, 2010 @ 12:48 am

  48. If you mean to address the Mariners at 6 pick, just read through some of the comments, more than enough was said. People really would like a greater response about that.

    I would like to know what is considered more in these rankings, regular season wins, actual team strength without the restrictions of competition levels, divisions etc, or post season success?

    Comment by Chair — April 4, 2010 @ 12:58 am

  49. Apparently making the playoffs 14 of 15 seasons amounts to “squat,” and holy moly, where to even begin on the ignorance of “not one of them would play for [Philly, Boston, Anaheim, St. Louis or Minnesota]? Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher wouldn’t start in front of Delmon Young, Juan Rivera, Bobby Abreu, Jason Kubel, Ryan Ludwick or Shane Victorino? Javier Vazquez wouldn’t start in front of Dice-BB, Clay Buchholz, Joe Blanton, JA Happ, Jamie Moyer, Ervin Santana, Scott Kazmir, Joe Saunders, Joel Piniero, Nick Blackburn, Carl Pavano, Brad Penny, Kyle Lohse, or Jaime Garcia? Brett Gardner posted a higher WAR than Jacoby Ellsbury last year in half the PA. Sure, a lot of that has to do with defense, which we should regress pretty heavily, but even still his wRC+ was in the ballpark. Chamberlain and Robertson would be relied on for leveraged outs in every bullpen in the league, and Hughes’ pedigree would get him a shot at the back end of any rotation (probably would be a toss-up with Buchholz in Boston).

    Seriously, if you just want anti-Yankee validation, stick to the SOSH boards. I’d have thought you would have learned from the last time you posted your idiocy here that the commentariat wasn’t having it.

    Comment by Kevin S. — April 4, 2010 @ 1:19 am

  50. Admittedly I should be biased, but I don’t see how there’s any rational argument for the Yankees ahead of the Red Sox.

    PECOTA and ZiPS both project the Sox with more wins, so there’s no clear argument that the Yankees’ MLB talent is better.

    Among the regulars on both teams, there are five old players (born 1974 or earlier): the Yankees have Rivera, Posada, Pettitte, and Jeter, the Sox just Cameron. There are eight young players (born 1983 or later): the Yankees have Hughes, Chamberlain, and Gardner, the Sox have Bard, Buchholz, Lester, Ellsbury, and Pedroia. So there’s a huge edge in age vs. youth (times impact) for the Sox.

    BA ranked the Sox farm system 5th and the Yankees 18th. Keith Law ranked the Sox 2nd and the Yankees 25th. Kevin Goldstein had the Sox 5th and the Yankees 26th.

    It’s not even close. Not remotely.

    Comment by Eric M. Van — April 4, 2010 @ 1:57 am

  51. You obviously do not have a clue about what you’re talking about. I honestly did not even want to respond to your trollerism but here we go.

    I’ll just do this:

    “As far as NY being chosen first, it’s ridiculous. Not one player of value on that team was drafted or traded for by their current GM, who obviously knows nothing about baseball but tons about how to spend George’s money.”

    We will just go with the starters by position, just to make this easier for your small brain.

    1B- Tex, Free agent
    2B- Cano, Home grown, Top 3 first basemen
    SS- Jeter, Home grown, Enough said
    3B- Arod, TRade for ( Arod>>>>>>>>>>>Soriano)
    LF- Gardner, Home grown, 2.0 WAR last year as a partimer
    CF- Granderson,Great trade by CAshman
    RF- Swisher, Another Heist by Cashmoney
    C- Posada, HOmegrown, Borderline HOF
    DH- Nick Johnson, Came up through the Yankee Farm( How shocking!) but signed as a FA

    SP- CC, FA
    SP- AJ, FA
    SP- Andy, Homegrown
    SP-Vasquez, Great trade by Cashmen
    SP-Hughes, Homegrown
    BP- All Homegrown except Park(FA), Mitre(FA), and Marte(T))

    So in total (since you most likely can’t do the math) that is 6 FA,10 HG, and 5 Trades.

    You Need to stop taking that Haterade. You are entitled to your own opinion and can disagree with the rankings( obviously it is 100 percent opinion) but saying the Yankees, who just won the WS, ranked first is “ridiculous” and then going on and attacking the author is just plain dumb and ignorant.

    And just for a side not, since I can tell you are a RS fan…..
    I’m not sure about everyone inthe BP so I can be off a few.
    T: 4

    Just sayin…..

    Comment by infamy707 — April 4, 2010 @ 1:59 am

  52. I think you should re-read the quoted line.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — April 4, 2010 @ 2:06 am

  53. BTW, I understand the counterargument: that the Yankees’ vast and unmatchable financial resources will allow them to sign enough FA talent to more than counteract the current gap in talent currently within the organizations. But that argument is unsupportable. The Yankees have had that edge for years and they haven’t been able to create any significant edge in talent at the MLB level. The only thing that has happened is that the Sox’ edge in young MLB and minor league talent has steadily widened.

    Comment by Eric M. Van — April 4, 2010 @ 2:20 am

  54. Then I think your standards are weird. And if we were approachint it mathematically, you’d eliminate it as an outlier point and see if the line of best fit still looked good.

    It does.

    Comment by Reuben — April 4, 2010 @ 2:59 am

  55. Old doesn’t mean bad. I would take 40-year old Mariano Rivera over any other closer and 36-year old Jeter over every other AL SS any day of the week. I worry about Posada but everyone else is solid and will be coming off the books soon.

    You’re also ignoring the reason the Yankees farm system is ranked so low: they traded their best prospects for great Major League ready players (Jackson for Granderson and Dunn for Vazques).

    The money issue is important because it allows them to make moves like turning Austin Jackson into Granderson, who’s more expensive but well worth the money. The strength of the organization is supported by their going to the playoffs every year but one this decade and finishing the decade with the most wins/pennants/division titles.

    Comment by Andrew — April 4, 2010 @ 9:14 am

  56. *Vizcaino and Dunn for Vazques rather.

    Comment by Andrew — April 4, 2010 @ 9:15 am

  57. Granderson, Swisher and Vasquez were acquired with Betemit, Cabrera, Kennedy, Jackson, a LOOGY and 2 god-awful mL relievers. Let’s not pretend they’re more than that. Each one of them was a salary dump.

    Comment by Dirty Water — April 4, 2010 @ 9:53 am

  58. So any time a player (Swisher) gets stolen because the other manager and GM are a couple of idiots, he’s worthless? Any time a team decides they want to go with youth, the guy they trade away is worthless? Nick Swisher’s been 20% better than the league-average hitter, and a three-win player in three of the past four seasons. It’s not his fault the White Sox don’t understand how to interpret BABIP fluctuations, and Curtis Granderson’s been a three and a half win player three of the past four years… except when he had that outlier season the other way.

    Again, if you don’t think that’s valuable, why the eff are you here?

    Comment by Kevin S. — April 4, 2010 @ 10:16 am

  59. I assume the rankings is a composition of two things primarily, team assets and strength of management, and the thing being ranked is something like “near future organizational assets on the field.” Quite clearly, teams like the mariners got a bump because it is perceived that their management is quite superior to others. The yankees simply have the biggest advantage in baseball in their marketing base, and that’s so huge of an advantage in the hands of a competent management team that it has to be accounted for even though you could argue the current amount of talent in the team, both future and present, is inferior to boston.

    Comment by awayish — April 4, 2010 @ 10:52 am

  60. A systematic “advantage” which becomes a disadvantage when playing in a NL park as the AL team has a player that can’t be used defensively and has wasted payroll on a “starter” who can’t start.

    Have you checked the numbers for Intraleague games played in NL parks? The AL has a higher win percentage as visitors in NL parks than NL teams do.

    Comment by Doug Lampert — April 4, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

  61. The Mariners and Cardinals should swith rankings.

    One off-season does not put the M’s in that class. Seriuosly they could win 88 games … Or 78 … Far from a complete team or organization. They have a sabermetrically inclined GM .. we get it. All the talk of Sea and Tex and LAA could win the divisio
    n again.

    Redbirds are top 10 at least… Unless what happens on the field doesn’t matter.

    Comment by Circlechange11 — April 4, 2010 @ 3:49 pm

  62. I presume you also think Victor Martinez is worthless, since the Red Sox got him in a salary dump for a 6th starter/swingman.

    Comment by Kevin S. — April 4, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

  63. You Yankee fans pointing out how the Sox, Phillies, et el, also have FA’s and salary dumps are missing the point. The fact is, if any of my aforementioned 5 had to go a few years without picking up a FA or dump, they could – easily; they all know how to draft and develop players. Whereas the entire Yankees organization would fold, making the Mets NY’s dominant team.

    They may be able to buy other programs talent but they can’t develop their own, and that’s why the organizational ranking of the NYY shouldn’t crack the top ten in baseball. That goes doubly this year with their payroll reportedly maxed out and farm system base as usual.

    Comment by Dirty Water — April 4, 2010 @ 4:44 pm

  64. “That goes doubly this year with their payroll reportedly maxed out and farm system base as usual.”

    That goes doubly this year with a payroll that’s reportedly maxed out, farm system bare, and avg age of their lineup sitting at around 43, as usual.


    Comment by Dirty Water — April 4, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

  65. You said that you thought Swisher, Granderson, and Vazquez had no value. You then dismissed them by saying they were acquired in salary dumps. Forgive me for taking the “point” as being that players acquired in “salary dumps” are worthless.

    If the Granderson trade was a salary dump, then so was the Beckett trade. While Jackson/Scherzer isn’t as much as Ramirez, obviously, they are again not without value. Most rational human beings don’t think of trades as simply salary dumps if the other team gets something of value beyond salary relief back.

    Comment by Kevin S. — April 4, 2010 @ 4:58 pm

  66. Not exactly. I never said they were without talent, I said they didn’t impress me and my aforementioned top five wouldn’t want them. in their cases, because they’re too expensive.

    Who wants a declining skills CFer who can’t hit lefties anymore for $25m? Only the Yankees, apparently; look what they gave up for him.

    Who wants the guy who will lead MLB in HR’s allowed in 2010, for $11.5m? going once… going twice… SOLD for Melky and a bag of rocks.

    Swisher for $15m over two seems ok, although I don’t care what UZR indicates, he’s a DH. And he doesn’t hit well enough to DH, so it’s easy to see why a much wiser GM wanted nothing to do with him.

    Comment by Dirty Water — April 4, 2010 @ 5:16 pm

  67. Dirty Water is a fucking idiot.

    Comment by Curt — April 4, 2010 @ 7:39 pm

  68. I enjoyed reading the series. Good job. I think the M’s were ranked a bit to high, they should probably somewhere between 8 and 11. And the Giants were a bit low, they should be around 17-20. btw I am a Seattle fan. Great series overall though.

    Comment by max — April 4, 2010 @ 10:12 pm

  69. For reference this is where team ranked last year compared to this year:
    2010 Team 2009
    #1 – New York Yankees 2
    #2 – Boston Red Sox 1
    #3 – Tampa Bay Rays 3
    #4 – Texas Rangers 12
    #5 – Minnesota Twins 18
    #6 – Seattle Mariners 15
    #7 – Colorado Rockies 23
    #8 – Atlanta Braves 8
    #9 – Philadelphia Phillies 14
    #10 – St. Louis Cardinals 21
    #11 – Anaheim Angels 10
    #12 – Milwaukee Brewers 6
    #13 – Cleveland Indians 4
    #14 – Los Angeles Dodgers 13
    #15 – New York Mets 15
    #16 – Arizona Diamondbacks 16
    #17 – Baltimore Orioles 16
    #18 – Chicago Cubs 18
    #19 – Oakland Athletics 11
    #20 – Cincinnati Reds 24
    #21 – Detroit Tigers 22
    #22 – Florida Marlins 29
    #23 – San Francisco Giants 19
    #24 – Chicago White Sox 17
    #25 – Pittsburgh Pirates 26
    #26 – Toronto Blue Jays 20
    #27 – San Diego Padres 25
    #28 – Washington Nationals 30
    #29 – Kansas City Royals 27
    #30 – Houston Astros 28

    I think it kind of shows how difficult (impossible?) it is to project the future success of baseball teams that–beyond the Red Sox, Yankees, and Rays–there is so much movement near the top. In 2009 teams 4-7 were: Cleveland, NY (NL), Milwaukee, and Chicago (NL). All of these teams fell out of the top ten, with the Cubs falling all the way to 18. This year teams 4-7 consisted of: Texas, Minnesota, Seattle, and Colorado. Last year these teams were ranked: 12, 18, 15, and 23, respectively. There was a great deal of movement outside of the top 10 as well, with the average amount of movement for each team being ~5 spots. With only 30 teams, thats quite significant.

    It seems that if the purpose of these rankings is to project long-term success that the measure of this lists worth would be dependent on year-to-year stability. I appreciate the effort that goes into these lists, but at this point I just don’t think that they are worth much beyond being an interesting off season read.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — April 5, 2010 @ 10:11 am

  70. “But an organization should really be judged by how they would fare if all things were equal.”

    You’re free to start your own site to make your own rankings based on your own criteria, then. Dave laid out the criteria for these rankings, here you go:

    “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.”

    So if you want to argue a point, make an argument based on those criteria, because that’s what the Fangraphs staff used to make these rankings. Otherwise all you’re saying is “I would have used different criteria”. Fine, but does it really warrant all the effort you’re putting in to argue your point?

    Comment by B — April 5, 2010 @ 10:50 am

  71. “It should be neutral, since this list is simply one of team strength in absolute terms. It is not predictive of future record or playoff prospects.”

    I think you should reread their organizational rankings primer. It’s definitely focused on how much winning the organization will do, both now and in the future. Being in the NL should be an advantage for top NL teams, because they don’t face competition as stiff. Throughout the rankings they [Fangraphs] used league/division as a factor for the rankings, so it seems that being in the NL should generally be a positive thing for good NL teams.

    Comment by B — April 5, 2010 @ 10:54 am

  72. Based on how we judge a good process around here (see: Mariners, Seattle), I would think the Pirates should be higher. Everything I’ve seen about what they’re doing now is great, and Huntington has even managed to convince ownership to spend money on player development. They’ve been less successful than the Mariners so far, so I’m not saying they should be ranked high….but if a good process gets the Mariners up to #6, it should at least get the Pirates higher than they are.

    Comment by B — April 5, 2010 @ 10:57 am

  73. “I completely disagree with you on the Nationals have worse management/front office than the Pirates. At least the Nats were willing to spend money on Strasburg and free agents. The Pirates haven’t done that.”

    I think you should do more research. The Pirates FO is completely turning everything around in that organization, and they’ve convinced ownership to shell out money – they’ve been among the big spenders in the draft overall the past couple years.

    Comment by B — April 5, 2010 @ 11:00 am

  74. Now, I’ve made the point repeatedly that I think the Mariners are too high and have yet to see someone make the case that they’ll be the 6th most successful (in terms of winning) franchise over the next 5 or so years, so I think you missed with that ranking. I also think the Pirates are probably a bit low, as I think they have a great FO that has them headed in the right direction. That said, I don’t want to make it seem like I’m letting one major and one minor personal disagreement invalidate the whole series – I think it was great work and spot on overall. And as always, I appreciate all the work you guys do to give us such a great free product. Interesting series and read, and I can see the justification for 28 out of the 30 teams. That’s a pretty good ratio.

    Comment by B — April 5, 2010 @ 11:09 am

  75. Moving past the ridiculous Yankee hate, I’ve gotta say after reading your entire series I would have ranked the Braves higher than 8th and the Phillies definitely lower than their position. I would shift the Mariners behind ‘em and have the Braves 6th (possibly 5th if I had time to consider this further). The Phillies are in terrible shape for the future and their only saving grace is their present, I would have ranked the Dodgers ahead of ‘em even with the messy divorce. Other than that I think you got this spot on, and thank you for the material.

    Comment by RonDom — April 5, 2010 @ 12:21 pm

  76. I think the objection here is that ‘fire jerry manuel’ didn’t say _why_ he thinks mariners should rate lower.

    Comment by brendan — April 5, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

  77. The Royals have maybe the worst opening day lineup I’ve ever seen. Just awful. I’ve got no numbers to back it up and I’m not going to look for any, because it’s too depressing to even research the names.

    Here’s hoping “the process” begins to work ASAP for KC.

    Comment by CH — April 5, 2010 @ 4:32 pm

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