Ranking the Systems


A lot can be learned on the future success of a MLB team by how well their minor league system is stocked with players and how well run that system is. If you paid any attention to how Baseball America has ranked organizations, the recent success of the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers should come as no surprise.

On Wednesday, Baseball America released both a free and paid version of their updated organizational rankings, perhaps a look into the future of how the Majors will shape up?

Here are the rankings:

1. Kansas City Royals

2. Tampa Bay Rays

3. Atlanta Braves

4. Toronto Blue Jays

5. New York Yankees

6. Cincinnati Reds

7. Cleveland Indians

8. San Diego Padres

9. Colorado Rockies

10. Philadelphia Phillies

11. Los Angeles Dodgers

12. Minnesota Twins

13. Washington Nationals

14. Texas Rangers

15. Los Angeles Angels

16. Chicago Cubs

17. Boston Red Sox

18. Seattle Mariners

19. Pittsburgh Pirates

20. New York Mets

21. Baltimore Orioles

22. Arizona Diamondbacks

23. San Francisco Giants

24. St. Louis Cardinals

25. Detroit Tigers

26. Houston Astros

27. Chicago White Sox

28. Oakland Athletics

29. Florida Marlins

30. Milwaukee Brewers

Not surprisingly at all, the Kansas City Royals top the list. Two people I worked with in 2009 with the Lakewood BlueClaws now work for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the 2010 Texas League Champions, and they were able to see this massive amount of talent up close.

The Naturals had hitters like Mike Moustakas, who hit .347 with 21 bombs in 61 games, and Clint Robinson, who hit .339 with 29 homers. The Naturals had six players hit greater than .300 who played 50 games or more, and they hit a combined 132 home runs. Compare that to the Altoona Curve, the 2010 Eastern League Champions, they had three players who hit .300 or better and on smacked 80 home runs. Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers may be the best of the bunch and they’re not even mentioned here.

From a pitching standpoint, five of the Royals top ten prospects are pitchers and that includes first rounder Mike Montgomery, who was tremendous for Team USA in the Pan Am qualifiers and John Lamb, who at only 20 years old, has made it to the AA level.

The Royals have not had a season above .500 since 2003 and have not made the playoffs since they won the 1985 World Series, but don’t look now…they could be the team of the future.

The Pirates, I think a bit harshly are at 19 in these rankings and that’s probably because most of their prospects are young and on the pitching side of things. In a few years, I fully expect the Pirates to break into the top ten because the ceiling is so high for many of the players in the Pirates system, they just have to answer some of the question marks.

The Pirates have spent more money than any other team in the MLB draft over the past three years. Guys like Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie could turn out to be top-of-the-line players and Luis Heredia, a 16-year old, six-foot-five, Mexican pitcher could have a long and great career ahead of him.

Potential 2011 Curve catcher Tony Sanchez and outfielder Starling Marte are beginning to prove themselves as future big leaguers and there’s really a host of other talent, Curve fans should know that from seeing the pitching staff the team had last year and the fact that the Bradenton Marauders made the playoffs last season and Lynchburg Hillcats took home a title two years ago. The Pirates also own the top pick in the 2011 draft and will likely select a player with a tremendous hitting potential.

The Pirates ranking may be 19, but I think that’s with a higher ceiling than most teams, it’s similar to a NCAA Bracket competition. Another team may have more points than you right now, but they took Duke to win it all and you have more potential points sitting out there. That other person will be ranked higher now, but in a short period of time, you’ll be looking down at them on the leaderboard when everything pans out.

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