Ranking the Minor League Systems by Impact: #16-30

One of the many rites of the baseball offseason is the publication of minor league prospect and organizational rankings. It’s my turn to take a swipe at this process, and I’m going to take a little bit of a different tack. The organizations will be ranked from top to bottom, and a key word that you will see over and over again is “impact”. Each team’s inner core of impact prospects – those that project as likely above average major league regulars – will drive each team’s ranking, though the number of non-impact regulars and the system’s total number of viable future big leaguers will also play a role. Today, systems 16 through 30.

Below, each team will have a brief section, containing the following information:
– IMPACT – The number of impact prospects currently in the system, followed by their names in alpha order, with top-tier impact guys in ALL CAPS.
– Other 2013 Impact – A listing of other players on the team’s prior year impact prospect list, with the positive (in the majors) or negative (downgraded prospect status) reason they are no longer on the impact list.
– Strength/Weakness – Self explanatory
– Depth Ratio – The number of total viable MLB prospects in the organizations divided by the average number of viable prospects in a system.
– One I Like More – A prospect I like more than the industry consensus, and why.
– One I Like Less – A prospect I like less than the industry consensus, and why.
– Observation – One takeaway, big-picture thought on the organization at this moment in time.

A couple of words regarding the methodology used here – a combination of analytical and traditional scouting methods were utilized. A Top 10 or Top 30 organizational list approach can obscure the difference between very strong and very weak systems. Holding all players to the same age and performance thresholds enables one to more easily cut each system’s prospects into tiers. I have seen many of the players discussed below in person, but far from all of them. That’s where video, MILBtv, scouting reports and other forms of research come in. There’s also a healthy dose of gut feel. The older, professional players who never played in a team’s minor league system – the Masahiro Tanakas, the Jose Abreus, etc., were not included in this analysis. Enough of this……let’s get on with the rankings.

16 – Arizona Diamondbacks
– IMPACT (2) – RHP ARCHIE BRADLEY, SS Chris Owings
– Other 2013 Impact – LHP Patrick Corbin (MLB), 3B Matt Davidson (CWS; non-impact MLB regular), CF Adam Eaton (MLB), LHP David Holmberg (CIN; non-impact MLB regular), LHP Tyler Skaggs (MLB)
– Strength/Weakness – Impact talent has been thinned dramatically by trades of Davidson, Eaton, Holmberg and Skaggs over the past calendar year, with the resulting level of improvement of the major league club open to debate. RHP remains an area of strength thanks to Bradley and RHP Braden Shipley, who sits just outside of the impact group. OF and LHP are the system’s leanest areas.
– Depth Ratio – 0.93
– One I Like More – RHP Matt Stites – Is dicing through the system as a reliever, with a career ERA of 1.53 and a 150/19 K/BB in 135 IP. Stuff plays up, could find himself in the big league pen sometime this season.
– One I Like Less – RHP Jose Martinez – Like the stuff, not sold on the size or lack of performance to date. Still a pup, too early to consider him an impact guy.
– Observation – Diamondbacks gambled a significant portion of their impact talent on what would seem to be modest big league gains. Club does retain ready supply of quick-to-majors relief talent in Stites, Jake Barrett and Jimmy Sherfy.

17 – Cincinnati Reds
– IMPACT (3) – RF Phillip Ervin, RHP ROBERT STEPHENSON, LF Jesse Winker
– Other 2013 Impact – CF Billy Hamilton (non-impact MLB regular)
– Strength/Weakness – Outfield depth is solid, infield depth is almost non-existent. Depth of non-impact regular group is fairly weak, though Billy Hamilton is as close to an impact guy as anyone in that category.
– Depth Ratio – 1.00
– One I Like More – RHP Jon Moscot – Went an amazing 2-14, 4.59, in the California League last year, albeit with solid peripherals. Was much better at the Double-A level as a 21-year-old in his first full pro season. Projects as a durable mid-rotation starter.
– One I Like Less – Hamilton. Must emphasize that I do like Hamilton, but not as an “impact” guy, as there are simply too many questions with the bat. There is Vince Coleman upside here, but Coleman sure did make a lot of outs.
– Observation – A very top-heavy system – Stephenson is one of the best pitching prospects in the game, and Ervin can really hit. System is trending downward, as much of its bulk has been moved for major league upgrades in recent seasons.

18 – San Francisco Giants
– IMPACT (5) – LHP Ty Blach, RHP Clayton Blackburn, RHP KYLE CRICK, LHP Edwin Escobar, LHP Adalberto Mejia
– Other 2013 Impact – None
– Strength/Weakness – Exceptional high-end pitching depth, especially from the left side. Position player depth is almost nonexistent, and there are few future MLB regular contributors beyond the impact group.
– Depth Ratio – 0.93
– One I Like More – Blackburn. Perennially underrated by most evaluators, likely due in part to his doughy frame, but Blackburn has carried the load and dominated both A-ball levels. His stuff is solid, and his command is better. Success at the upper levels in 2014 will advance his case.
– One I Like Less – RHP Chris Stratton – 2012 1st rounder was fairly pedestrian at Low-A Augusta last season, and just hasn’t been the same before or after his draft year at Mississippi State.
– Observation – We’re getting down to only truly flawed systems at this point. The Giants have a genuine strength in impact-level starting pitching depth, and have come a long way since their system hit rock-bottom two or three years back. There just aren’t many future potential everyday position players on hand, however.

19 – Detroit Tigers
– IMPACT (5) – 3B Nick Castellanos, LHP Robbie Ray, RHP Bruce Rondon, RHP Jake Thompson, 2B Devon Travis
– Other 2013 Impact – None
– Strength/Weakness – As usual, the Tigers possess more than their fair share of hard throwers, especially bullpen types. Middle infield depth is adequate, but overall position player depth is quite lacking. There aren’t many potential regulars behind the impact group.
– Depth Ratio – 0.89
– One I Like More – Ray. While I am not about to suggest that I approve of the Doug Fister trade from the Tigers’ perspective, I will say that Ray is legit, and has a bright MLB future, most likely as a starter. He should slide into Drew Smyly‘s 2013 role before long.
– One I Like Less – UT Hernan Perez – Simply cannot see him hitting. Projects as an Eduardo Escobar type, a fringe utilityman.
– Observation – I’m probably higher on this system than most, and believe that they are on the right track after a few years near the bottom of such rankings. Expect them to graduate most of their impact guys to the big leagues in 2014, likely lowering their 2015 ranking.

20 – New York Yankees
– IMPACT (1) – C Gary Sanchez
– Other 2013 Impact – RF Tyler Austin (non-impact MLB regular)
– Strength/Weakness – With Sanchez, JR Murphy and Peter O’Brien, the Yankees possess solid catching depth, though one or two may need to move off of the position in the majors. There may not be a single future MLB regular starting pitcher in the system at present.
– Depth Ratio – 1.13
– One I Like More – O’Brien. A future position switch is likely, but his power is very real and plays anywhere if he can make a bit more consistent contact.
– One I Like Less – CF Mason Williams – Hasn’t hit a lick since undergoing shoulder surgery in 2012. A big leaguer, yes, thanks to his defensive ability, but can’t buy him as an impact guy or even as a regular until he shows more with the bat.
– Observation – This system would rank even lower if not for a glut of interesting talent that toiled in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2014 – remember the names of SS Thairo Estrada, SS Abiatal Avelino, 3B Miguel Andujar and 2B Gosuke Katoh – and expect one or more to take a step forward this season. The Yanks are also primed to spend big bucks internationally this year to get their ranking up to snuff.

21 – Philadelphia Phillies
– IMPACT (4) – LHP Jesse Biddle, SS JP Crawford, 3B Maikel Franco, RHP Severino Gonzalez
– Other 2013 Impact – None
– Strength/Weakness – No real areas of depth here, ranking is salvaged by a solid impact group. In fact, the ranking would be much lower if not for the drafting of stud SS prospect Crawford in the 1st round last season, coupled with Franco’s breakout season. There are few projected MLB regulars beyond the impact group, particularly among starting pitchers.
– Depth Ratio – 0.82
– One I Like More – S.Gonzalez. He smoked three levels in 2013, finishing up with a solid AA outing at age 20. His VSL numbers evoke the Mariners’ Erasmo Ramirez, another extreme strikethrower with surprisingly good stuff, and Gonzalez got more done in his first year stateside.
– One I Like Less – RHP Ethan Martin – Martin is what he has always been – a big arm just feeling his way pitching-wise. See him as a 6th-7th inning reliever at best, not an impact guy.
– Observation – Another top-heavy system, but I cannot emphasize enough how much I like JP Crawford – think Jimmy Rollins.

22 – Oakland Athletics
– IMPACT (2) – CF Billy McKinney, SS ADDISON RUSSELL
– Other 2013 Impact – 3B Miles Head (no longer projects as a regular), RHP Dan Straily (MLB)
– Strength/Weakness – Addison Russell is the system’s primary strength – without him this is a bottom-five system for sure. There are few future MLB regulars in the system, though the A’s solid track record in getting the most from their prospects’ talent offers hope. Beyond 2013 1st rounder McKinney, there is very little OF help.
– Depth Ratio – 0.87
– One I Like More – LHP Chris Kohler – Really like the A’s 2013 supplemental 3rd rounder. Well-proportioned lefty with three now MLB offerings, dominated the hitter-friendly AZL rookie ball environment and should move up quickly.
– One I Like Less – RHP Michael Ynoa – He’s finally healthy and showing flashes of the talent that got paid $4.25 million, but still has a very long road ahead. A solid lottery ticket, but not an impact prospect in my opinion.
– Observation – Russell is the key to the system, he represents as much of a system’s total value as any prospect in the game. You can’t rank a system with a top-tier, premium position guy too close to the bottom of the pile.

23 – Tampa Bay Rays
– IMPACT (2) – SS Hak-Ju Lee, RHP Jake Odorizzi
– Other 2013 Impact – RHP Chris Archer (MLB), RHP Taylor Guerrieri (Inj; non-impact MLB regular), CF Wil Myers (MLB)
– Strength/Weakness – As usual, the Rays’ starting pitching depth is solid, with RHPs Guerrieri, Alex Colome and recently acquired Matt Andriese behind Odorizzi. Beyond CF Andrew Toles, there is limited MLB regular quality OF. Longball power is not an organizational strength.
– Depth Ratio – 1.13
– One I Like More – Andriese. Acquired from the Padres in a rare five-for-two prospect challenge trade, Andriese projects as an inning-eating, ground ball machine starter, and isn’t far away.
– One I Like Less – LHP Enny Romero – I do like him, but he has posted poor K/BB ratios the last two seasons, and he doesn’t possess the contact management skills to overcome this. See him as more of a potential low-end starter.
– Observation – The Rays system had reached its recent low-water mark, so they made that interesting depth-building deal with the Padres that should help both clubs. Still, it feels odd to see their system ranked so low, despite their many early-round draft whiffs in recent years. A David Price deal could shake things up a bit.

24 – Toronto Blue Jays
– IMPACT (2) – RHP Roberto Osuna, RHP Marcus Stroman
– Other 2013 Impact – RHP Aaron Sanchez (non-impact MLB regular)
– Strength/Weakness – Starting pitching depth is solid, position player depth very lean behind SS Franklin Barreto.
– Depth Ratio – 0.87
– One I Like More – Osuna. Yes, he had Tommy John surgery last summer, but this guy is electric. His large frame is somewhat of a concern, but he was on his way to becoming one of the game’s premier pitching prospects prior to his injury.
– One I Like Less – CF DJ Davis – Sure, he can fly and flashes surprising pop, but he’s as raw as they come and struggles to make consistent contact. The ceiling is high, but his status as even a future MLB regular is far from certain at this point.
– Observation – Not too long ago, this was an emerging top-tier system. Then they went all-in on 2013, made the Jose ReyesMark Buehrle trade with the Marlins, as well as a couple smaller win-now deals, and here we are. Their position player portfolio ranks among the game’s leanest, though the top handful of pitchers still offer plenty of hope for Jays fans.

25 – Chicago White Sox
– IMPACT (1) – SS Marcus Semien
– Other 2013 Impact – RF Courtney Hawkins (non-impact MLB regular)
– Strength/Weakness – This system has actually made a solid step forward with the acquisition of 1B/3B Matt Davidson, who resides just outside the impact group, and a strong 2013 draft that netted them SS Tim Anderson, RHP Tyler Danish and CF Jacob May in the first three rounds. That said, the impact talent level is low, as even Semien barely rises to that level.
– Depth Ratio – 1.09
– One I Like More – Semien. A gut feel guy here. He’s just a baseball player, good at everything, though not always looking pretty doing it. The type of guy who tends to find himself on the winning side.
– One I Like Less – RHP Chris Beck – Though he fared better after a late-season promotion to AA, I just can’t wrap my head around his poor High-A K rate (57 in 119 IP). See him as a future pen guy.
– Observation – After a long fallow period, this system is showing signs of life. Besides the mostly “performer” types listed above, traditional tools guys like 2B Micah Johnson and 2012 1st rounder Hawkins also offer hope for the future.

26 – Miami Marlins
– IMPACT (3) – LHP Andrew Heaney, CF Jake Marisnick, 3B Colin Moran
– Other 2013 Impact – RHP Jose Fernandez (MLB), LHP Justin Nicolino (non-impact MLB regular), CF Christian Yelich (MLB)
– Strength/Weakness – Beyond the two impact hitters, there is nothing resembling a future MLB regular among the position players. On the other hand, pitching depth is quite solid, with Nicolino and fellow lefties Brian Flynn and Adam Conley lined up behind Heaney. RHP depth isn’t nearly as strong.
– Depth Ratio – 0.82
– One I Like More – RHP Nick Wittgren – Has never overwhelmed stuff-wise, but it has always played up, to the tune of a 110/15 K/BB ratio in 89 IP as a pro, with an 0.91 ERA. A quick mover.
– One I Like Less – 2B Avery Romero – A 2012 3rd round high school draftee at age 19, he has amassed just 34 full-season league at-bats since, with just five hits. Nothing to hang your hat on, tools-wise. Could fall through the cracks with another uneventful season.
– Observation – Tough to be too hard on the Marlins, as their total pre-2013 teardown pushed a bunch of interesting prospects to the majors prematurely. They need to reload, particularly on the position player side, where pickings are slim behind Moran and Marisnick.

27 – Atlanta Braves
– IMPACT- RHP Lucas Sims
– Other 2013 Impact – RHP Julio Teheran (MLB)
– Strength/Weakness – RHP is the closest thing to a strength in the system. There is very little offensive punch, as their two best position player prospects, C Christian Bethancourt and SS Jose Peraza, are both defensively oriented.
– Depth Ratio – 0.89
– One I Like More – Peraza. Though his defense is ahead of his bat, he’s far from a zero offensively, hitting .288-.341-.371 with 64 steals as a teenager in a full-season league last season. Another such year makes him an impact guy.
– One I Like Less – RHP JR Graham – Missed most of 2013 with a shoulder injury, and hasn’t logged an inning above AA at age 24. A ground ball guy, my guess is that he winds up in the pen as a 6th-7th inning type, not an impact type.
– Observation – Can’t be too hard on the Braves either, as their collection of young, entrenched MLB talent ranks among the very best in the game. Their next high impact homegrown MLB hitter might not even be in their system yet, however.

28 – Washington Nationals
– IMPACT (2) – RHP AJ Cole, RHP Lucas Giolito
– Other 2013 Impact – CF Brian Goodwin (non-impact MLB regular), 2B Anthony Rendon (MLB)
– Strength/Weakness – Two really good pitching prospects, including one potential stud in Giolito at the top, but quite possibly not a single other MLB regular anywhere else in the system.
– Depth Ratio – 0.87
– One I Like More – SS/3B Zach Walters – Had a very odd offensive line in 2013, batting .253-.286-.517 with 29 HR and a poor 134/20 K/BB ratio. If he can smooth out the rough edges, that kind of power that can spot in the middle of the field will play at the MLB level.
– One I Like Less – LHP Sammy Solis – Has been a medical train wreck going back to his amateur days, and has pitched all of 160 relatively ordinary innings in four years as a pro. The stuff has gone backward as well – I’m not counting on an MLB future for Solis.
– Observation – The Nats swing for the fences in the draft, and value quality over quantity in their system, and it has served them well, as they turned high picks into Strasburg/Harper/Rendon/Giolito. Now that they’re picking lower, they need to find an alternate path to success.

29 – Milwaukee Brewers
– IMPACT (0)
– Other 2013 Impact – None
– Strengths/Weaknesses – From the above two blank lines it is apparent that a lack of premium talent is the Brewers’ chief weakness. That said, they have made some recent strides in adding future non-impact MLB regular talent, with 2013 2nd round RHP Devin Williams a potential near-term graduate to the impact class.
– Depth Ratio – 0.82
– One I Like More – Williams. Taijuan Walker immediately comes to mind when discussing Williams – both were raw, athletic, low-mileage, high-ceiling power guys when drafted. Williams is not in Walker’s class, but he can become this lean system’s top prospect in short order.
– One I Like Less – RHP John Hellweg – Huge body, huge arm, running it up into the upper-90’s at times, but has simply never taken even a moderate step forward command-wise. Even his K rates have taken a hit in the upper minors.
– Observation – The Brewers need to grow their own impact talent, and they simply do not have it on hand in the minor leagues at present. The addition of Williams and SS Orlando Arcia, 19, already a vet of a full year in a full-season league, are baby steps in the right direction.

30 – Los Angeles Angels
– IMPACT (1) – RHP RJ Alvarez
– Other 2013 Impact – None
– Strengths/Weaknesses – Not much to discuss strength-wise, as their only impact prospect is a reliever. There may not be a single future regular MLB starting pitcher in the system. In Taylor Lindsey and Alex Yarbrough, they do possess a pair of 2B prospects who could eventually start in the major leagues.
– Depth Ratio – 0.87
– One I Like More – Alvarez. He may be a reliever, but he’s a dominant one. He had 79 K in 49 High-A IP last season, and pushes 100 MPH with his heater. He’s a quick return on investment guy who could force his way to Anaheim quite soon.
– One I Like Less – 1B CJ Cron – He’s an all-or-nothing masher whose utter lack of plate discipline has hindered him from reaching his power upside. Lacks a true position, and has a lengthy injury history.
– Observation – Not much to see here, but drafting Mike Trout after over two-thirds of the teams in the game passed buys you an awful lot of mulligans. They have drafted some other solid guys in recent years – Patrick Corbin and Tyler Skaggs, to name two – but have moved them to bolster their major league club.



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Shane
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Shane
2 years 2 months ago

The Angels didn’t draft Tyler Skaggs.

Shane
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Shane
2 years 2 months ago

Never mind. Didn’t realize he had been with the Angels before the Diamondbacks.

Facepalm
Guest
Facepalm
2 years 2 months ago

DERP, DERP, DERP.

AJ
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AJ
2 years 2 months ago

Tony,

Begging you to have someone format this so that it is a little cleaner [preferably with hyperlinks]

Cliff
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Cliff
2 years 2 months ago

Yeah, this format is really terrible.

thomasgrantham
Member
thomasgrantham
2 years 2 months ago

It looks like a wordpress blog….a 15 year old’s wordpress blog.

Sean C
Member
2 years 2 months ago

Fangraphs does use wordpress actually.

I tend to struggle with Blengino’s articles due to formatting. His tables are often suboptimal. This was a very difficult article to get through itself. I’d love to see his work polished up.

Quagmire
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Quagmire
2 years 2 months ago

18?! ALRIGHT!!!

Izzy
Member
Izzy
2 years 2 months ago

My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

Fallout Boy
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Fallout Boy
2 years 2 months ago

Look behind you, Radioactive Man! The sun is exploding again!

Jack Z
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Jack Z
2 years 2 months ago

The font size could use some work as well.

Ray
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2 years 2 months ago

Teheran is not a prospect anymore. Nice work otherwise. thanks.

Ray
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2 years 2 months ago

nevermind….says 2013 impact…my bad.

Brett
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Brett
2 years 2 months ago

How do you determine your team rankings? Because based on having fewer impact players (0 to 1) and a worse depth ratio (0.82 to 0.87), it seems like the Brewers, and not the Angels, should come in last.

Jason B
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Jason B
2 years 2 months ago

I think there’s more to the ranking than just the depth figure, although it certainly plays a large role.

Bryan Robinson
Member
2 years 2 months ago

Generally enjoyed this post a lot, Mr. Blengino. Very original. Thanks

Compton
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Compton
2 years 2 months ago

SHOULDN’T MARCUS STROMAN’S NAME BE IN ALL CAPS??

MK
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MK
2 years 2 months ago

I don’t fully understand how you are using the term “project” as above average ML regulars. I assume you are not using the prospect’s ceiling as the projection, but what are you using? Does this list essentially ignore guys in the lower minors because its hard to make projections?

Two other questions: I can’t follow the depth ratio, can you give an example of the numerator and denominator?

How does the order work? If an organization has no Impact guys (MIL), how is ranked above an org with one (LAA). Also, NYY at 20, but several of the orgs below them have more and better impact prospects (according to your list).

TS
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TS
2 years 2 months ago

This. Re: Yankees 20th placement despite 1 impact guy and zero others on the cusp. You mentioned their glut of GCL players as your reasoning for their 20th ranking. How can they possibly be viewed as above average MLB regulars?

I realize a lot of work probably went into this project, but like MK, I need a better understanding behind the ranking methodology. On the surface, I would favor the A’s and Nats because of their higher ceiling impact talents over an org like the Yankees with one guy who hasn’t exactly set the world on fire since being promoted from low-A.

ALZ
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ALZ
2 years 2 months ago

Both of those systems have been cleared out a lot to support the ml team. The Yankees have have not been productive, but that doesn’t change these rankings. The Yankees have a ton of very interesting players in the low levels. They need the players to prove themselves.

Roger
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Roger
2 years 2 months ago

The methodology is clear as mud. I’ve been hoping to see an attempt at defining impact, but I haven’t seen one yet. Is it extrapolating projections from league equivalencies? Is it based on scouting grades? How do you define a “viable prospect” for the depth ratio?

If we’re going to be vague about it, I’ll rely on Baseball America and their networking with scouts. I come to FanGraphs for a more scientific, stats-driven approach to balance the art of scouting that I see at BA.

Steve Holt!!
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2 years 2 months ago

I, for one, appreciate this article. Some subjective analysis is warranted on this site. Plus, given the guy has been a FO employee, I think that this article serves as a valuable insight into how FO’s do things.

Plus, he included a ratio!! How many more numbers do you need?

BurleighGrimes
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BurleighGrimes
2 years 2 months ago

Thumbs up!

Eminor3rd
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Eminor3rd
2 years 2 months ago

This is confusing.

Eminor3rd
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Eminor3rd
2 years 2 months ago

The White Sox have 2 consensus top 100 prospects (Johnson, Davidson), and yet the only IMPACT guy is Semien? Who usually isn’t considered a top 100 guy?

And then if that’s the case, how is the Marlins system, with 3 IMPACT guys, considered worse than the White Sox?

ALZ
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ALZ
2 years 2 months ago

Depth. Depth. Depth.

If you took the time to read the intro.

Eminor3rd
Guest
Eminor3rd
2 years 2 months ago

I did read the intro. The entire thing was dedicated to the importance of IMPACT talent, with depth labelled an afterthought. Maybe you should re-read it.

Metsox
Member
Member
Metsox
2 years 2 months ago

Erik Johnson seems like an omission from the white sox. Pitched last year. Might be in rotation.

Kyle
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Kyle
2 years 2 months ago

Probably starts in the rotation…

Kram
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Kram
2 years 2 months ago

This is awesome stuff. Nice post

Plush Butt
Guest
2 years 2 months ago

There may not be a single future regular MLB starting pitcher in the [Angels] system.

Fortunately, their MLB staff is rock solid and won’t need any help.

Sean C
Member
2 years 2 months ago

If I were an Angels fan, I would not feel comfortable about their pitching at all. Skaggs may never get his shit together and their depth is… frightening to say the least.

Vx
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Vx
2 years 2 months ago

*Whoosh*

Snowman
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Snowman
2 years 2 months ago

And in case that, too, was missed: His whooshing sound was somewhere between you and the sky.

Joe Blanton
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Joe Blanton
2 years 2 months ago

It’s what I do!

Forrest Gumption
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Forrest Gumption
2 years 2 months ago

Bobby Wahl is the biggest sleeper in the A’s organization – its also particularly interesting/insulting that the terrible Yankees system is ranked above them, they are a bottom 5 for sure.

ALZ
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ALZ
2 years 2 months ago

Yankees system has a ton of interesting talent in the lower levels. People often change their view based on ml team. A’s system produced a lot of guys over the past few years and is pretty barren now.

Dewey
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Dewey
2 years 2 months ago

Mr. Blengino,

How do you look at clubs that make overly aggressive assignments on those prospects that initially were considered to have impact abilities? Perhaps not the best example, but the White Sox had no business playing Hawkins in High A after just 16 games in A Ball.

Pirates Hurdles
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Pirates Hurdles
2 years 2 months ago

Do the Nats deserve any credit for drafting Stras and Bryce? I would think no, every team in MLB would have selected them. Remove sheer luck and timing and I think Rizzo’s draft record hasn’t shown much thus far.

TKDC
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TKDC
2 years 2 months ago

Along with one guy who had a decent rookie year and one guy who hasn’t played in the bigs yet. So really it has not really “served them well” yet.

ALZ
Guest
ALZ
2 years 2 months ago

Right. They were pretty consensus guys, any team would have picked those players first.

Anon21
Member
Anon21
2 years 2 months ago

The Giolito pick certainly got good reviews from prospect mavens. Although of course we don’t know how he’ll turn out, in the end.

David
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David
2 years 2 months ago

I think that’s a little unfair. #1 prospects flame out all the time, even guys who are heralded as “CAN’T MISS.” Of course, any team would draft them. I think they deserve credit for developing them though.

There is a legitimate argument to be made that, at draft time, the Nationals selected the best player 4 years in a row (Strasburg, Harper, Rendon, Giolito).

Drew Storen
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Drew Storen
2 years 2 months ago

Also took a closer in the first round! TERRIBLE in any draft, especially when MIKE TROUT could have been theirs.

David
Guest
David
2 years 2 months ago

They drafted Storen because they wanted to be sure they could sign Strasburg. They needed a sure-fire signee for a cheap price.

TK
Guest
TK
2 years 2 months ago

Rendon over Bradley, Fernandez, & Stephenson?

Giolito over Correa, Buxton, Fried, Russell, & Wacha?

REALLY?! No legit argument can be made they drafted the best in all 4 years, in fact the opposite is more accurate!

Trout is better than Strasburg, and Machado as well as Sale and a healthy Harvey gives Harper some legit competition

JCCfromDC
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JCCfromDC
2 years 2 months ago

It’s pretty silly to make a declarative statement that “no legit argument can be made that [the Nationals] drafted the best in all 4 years” simply because the clear basis for the argument that they did is that this will be true over time.

To say that Giolito can’t possibly be better ultimately than Wacha (et al) because “hey, look at Wacha’s big league impact!” ignores a lot of possible outcomes. Giolito is 19, for cryin’ out loud. His stuff is good enogh to have been noticed in HS, and he’s pitched enough professionally to demonstrate that TJ surgery hasn’t diminished that stuff. With Rendon, people forget that he was the #1 college bat for two years in a row – like Giolito, he slipped to the Nationals because of injury concerns. He put up a solid rookie season despite being rushed to the majors with all of 8 minor league games at his position.

JCCfromDC
Guest
JCCfromDC
2 years 2 months ago

The Nationals’ farm system has come so far from the Minaya/Bowden days that it’s hard to put into words. It’s not just Harper and Strasburg. It’s the depth of the system that makes it impressive. In the Minaya/Bowden years, the franchise’s minor league system was rife with retreads (former major league players) and organizational grunts that were playing out the string but had no real shot at the major leagues. No longer true; now at every level the team has players with a real shot at solid major league careers. They won’t all make it. Heck, most won’t. But some will, and a few will have impacts that we didn’t see coming. That’s why depth is important. And Mike Rizzo and his team are really good at it.

The farm system has enabled the Nationals to build virtually the entire team around Strasburg and Harper. It’s picking up Alex Meyer (a pick that was criticized at the time), developing him into a premium prospect, and trading him for three years of Denard Span. They flipped a late round draft pick in Billy Burns into Jeremy Blevins – Burns has gotten a lot of buzz in A’s camp and may make that team. They packaged prospects into trades for impact pitching in the form of Gio Gonazalez and Doug Fister. And still the team has solid starting pitching depth pretty much down to the short season A ball level. The depth should enable the team to continue this practice if/when the need arises.

It’s not a perfect system; the Nats have focused on pitching and so the position players don’t have the same depth. The team identified an opportunity in the drafting system (being willing to overpay for picks) that netted them several players such as Matt Purke, A.J. Cole and Robbie Ray. They were so successful that MLB changed the rules. I don’t know what they will come up with next, but their track record makes me confident that the system is in very good hands.

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 2 months ago

“Observation – Not too long ago, this was an emerging top-tier system. Then they went all-in on 2013, made the Jose Reyes-Mark Buehrle trade with the Marlins, as well as a couple smaller win-now deals”

Maybe it is a bit picky, but I think it was more the Dickey trade that denuded the TO farm system. Miami robbed them on the front end by trading them backloaded contracts, but the NYMs robbed them in the back end by stealing a impact prospect, and a borderline impact prospect. Nice deal by Miami and all, but mostly on payroll. I think the NYMs got the better prospects.

Dan
Guest
Dan
2 years 2 months ago

You seem to be low on Aaron Sanchez. Any reason?

Shankbone
Guest
2 years 2 months ago

Spot on about the Gigantes lefties. If you want to stick in this joint you might want to tone it down though, ranking the Giants this high won’t go over well.

Guest
Guest
Guest
2 years 2 months ago

Ugh.If this is what Tony’s presentation style is at work, no wonder Jack Z was confused by his reports and graphs.

Now the Truth comes out
Guest
Now the Truth comes out
2 years 2 months ago

This is why folks were saying that the reality probably wasn’t as bad as Baker’s scathing article made it out to be. There were/are problems in the front office to be sure, but now one of the more ridiculous knocks on Z seems to have been legitimized the completely other way.

obsessivegiantscompulsive
Guest
2 years 2 months ago

Eh, the format could be improved, but that’s a quibble. Very nice job overall.

About Stratton, I would note that Andy Baggerly, who covers the Giants for CSN Bay Area plus Giants prospects for Baseball America, said that the concussion that Stratton had in late 2012 season really affected his preparation for the 2013 season, so his 2013 performance is not necessarily representative of what he can do. Of course, now that he’s healthy, 2014 is a “prove it” year, so your warning is apt still.

I love Blackburn too and think he’s been marginalized by those who discriminate because of his body, much like Sandoval had been downgraded early in his prospect career for his size. I think he’s going to have a career arc similar to Matt Cain, who was also known for being amazingly mature for his age and experience and also downgraded for much of his prospect career (every year, the Dodger’s would have a prospect the experts loved more than Cain; where are they now, whereas Cain had gotten better every year until 2013).

I would add Andrew Susac as one to watch, he provides both offense and defense from the catching position, and he hit really well in AA given how that’s a league that normally crushes hitters, instead, he showed improvement in both offense and defense.

Nice job, I suppose you could have used a table structure with cells and borders, like with a spreadsheet, that would have improved the presentation, but good overall.

Brian
Guest
Brian
2 years 2 months ago

Just to add on about Stratton, I believe the Giants wanted him to focus on a sinker (correct me if I got the wrong pitch) and not really worry about the results. That and the concussion the previous year are probably what contributed to what most would deem a sub-par season for a top prospect.

JS
Guest
JS
2 years 2 months ago

The Brewers had 2013 impact players who are looking to be starters in 2014 (Khris Davis, Scooter Gennett), am I misinterpreting that category?

grandbranyan
Member
grandbranyan
2 years 2 months ago

Ryan and Khris project for, at best, about 2 WAR each in 2014. That is not an impact player.

JS
Guest
JS
2 years 2 months ago

I disagree on those projections (Gennett had 1.9 WAR in 69 games last season and Khris Davis had 1.2 WAR in 56 games), but shouldn’t they at least show up under the “other 2013 impact” not the main impact heading? People like Matt Eaton had -.5 WAR, and Matt Davidson had .2 WAR show up under the #16 ranked Diamondback players.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 2 months ago

Do you not see John Ryan Murphy as an MLB regular?

If he’s a no-doubt catcher like people are saying, I find it hard to imagine him not being an above average starter there.

Ghostshan
Member
Ghostshan
2 years 2 months ago

You really like JP Crawford but he isn’t an “all caps” true IMPACT guy?

arc
Guest
arc
2 years 2 months ago

Had the same thought. When I think Jimmy Rollins, I think big impact.

I hate change
Guest
I hate change
2 years 2 months ago

I don’t understand how an article with so many words can get posted on this site. I want my money back.

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