During Monday’s All-Day chat here at FanGraphs, someone asked our favorite teams and I piped up with the Colorado Rockies (I’m watching them right now) and the Tampa Bay Rays. My main reason for listing those two teams is simple: They both developed much of their own talent. As a prospect follower, that’s a pretty big positive.
So, let’s have a look at exactly where the Rays’ and Rox’ 2010 Opening Day talent comes from.
Amateur Draft: 0
Free Agency: 5
Notes: Clearly, the Rays club utilizes trades very effectively, as well. However, the key members of both the rotation and the lineup are home-grown. The starting rotation was all but built through the draft – with Price and Niemann coming from the college ranks, while Shields and Davis were selected out of high school. The club has made two key trades in the past few years: Garza/Bartlett from Minnesota (for Delmon Young), and Zobrist from Houston (for Aubrey Huff). The club does not use the free agent market very much, although Pena was a steal value-wise as a minor league free agent. Nine of the Rays’ Top 10 prospects, according to FanGraphs pre-season ranking, are home-grown, and all but one of those came through the amateur draft (the exception being Alexander Colome).
Amateur Free Agent: 4
Free Agency: 5
Notes: With the exception of Gonzalez, the lineup is entirely home-grown, which is a pretty amazing feat in this day and age. Of those seven players originally signed by the club, five come from the college ranks, while two (Fowler and Stewart) were drafted out of high school. Not surprisingly, the club has not been able to attract free agent pitchers, save for the odd minor league free agent like Belisle and Flores. The club has clearly benefited from a presence in Latin America, especially in the pitching ranks. According to FanGraphs’ pre-season rankings, all 10 of the Rockies’ Top 10 prospects were originally signed by the organization: four through the draft, and six through amateur free agency.
Both clubs have taken interesting routes to developing their teams, but both teams benefit significantly from building from within: the Rockies with the club’s lineup, and the Rays organization with its young starting staff and key offensive players.