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Organizational Rankings: #1

Posted By Dave Cameron On March 27, 2009 @ 4:00 pm In Daily Graphings | 49 Comments

And we reach the end – the healthiest organization in baseball.

Rankings So Far

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

#1: Boston Red Sox

Ownership: A

There are lots of not-so-flattering stories about John Henry and Larry Lucchino that make the rounds, and given Henry’s involvement in the shady three way sale of the Red Sox/Marlins/Expos and Lucchino’s issues with Theo Epstein, they’re pretty easy to believe. However, those stories don’t undo the fact that Henry’s ownership group has breathed life into the Red Sox franchise – upgrading Fenway Park, adding new revenue streams, and investing in the team in ways that simply weren’t happening before. They flex their significant financial power every winter, and have leveraged the Red Sox brand to give them non-monetary advantages as well. They want to win, they back it up with significant capital, and they’ve built the Red Sox into a team that can sustain high level payrolls and make a profit.

Front Office: A

Theo Epstein gets a lot of credit for building the Red Sox roster, and he should, but more than that, he should get credit for building a front office that brings many different voices together. It’s far from a one man show in Boston. Allard Baird and Bill James, Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington, Tom Tippett and Craig Shipley – lots of voices with different ideas, all working for the same goal. The Red Sox aren’t just an organization of stat-nerds pushing their Ivy League degrees on people – they look for every advantage they can find, and will go to anywhere from Japan to the Independent Leagues to find talent. Having a significant amount of money certainly helps, but the Red Sox spend it well, and the results are a franchise that is run as well as any in baseball.

Major League Talent: A

The offense is going to be one of the best in the league. The starting rotation is strong and deep. The bullpen is even stronger and deeper. There are question marks about the roster, but they aren’t the kinds of fatal flaws that will sink a team. There’s depth behind the question marks, and so much excess pitching that swinging a deal to patch a hole won’t be particularly hard. The core of the team isn’t exactly young, but they don’t have any onerous contracts on the books that will keep them from reloading in future off-seasons, and the ’09 roster is certainly good enough to win right now.

Minor League Talent: B+

The system has more quantity than high level quality, with Lars Anderson as the elite prospect and then a bunch of good but not great prospects after him. Michael Bowden, Daniel Bard, and Josh Reddick are talented players but not likely to become stars. Junichi Tazawa opened some eyes in spring training, but questions about his role linger. Ryan Westmoreland, Michael Almanzar, Casey Kelly, Nick Hagadone and Ryan Kalish provide some long term hope. The farm system is good but not great, but when this is the weak spot of your organization, you’re doing a lot right.

Overall: A

Well capitalized owner who wants to win and invests in the product? Check
A cohesive front office that combines scouting and statistical analysis? Check.
A major league team that can win immediately and has pieces to build around? Check.
A minor league farm system that will replenish the major league roster? Check.

The Red Sox are the cream of the crop in baseball right now. There’s a reason players are taking discounts to sign with them, that they aren’t experiencing a brain drain in their front office, and that they win a lot of baseball games. They’ve built a baseball juggernaut, and it’s going to take some pretty large mistakes to bring down the Evil Empiore 2.0. Get used to the Red Sox winning, because it’s going to be a frequent theme going forward.


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