Farm system value rankings (Part 1)

With spring training games beginning, almost all top prospect lists have been released. Prospect rankings and farm system rankings can be tough to judge and create plenty of debate online. In this series I’m going to try to provide an objective point of view when it comes to evaluating farm systems. To do this, I’m going to allocate the prospect values based on top-100 prospect rankings. More information is here and in my THT annual article.

Before I could allocate prospect values, I had to find a way to rate the top 100 prospects in baseball. To do this, I took prospect rankings from four sources: Baseball America, Kevin Goldstein, Keith Law and Deric McKamey. For each list, I took the No. 1-rated prospect and gave him 100 points, 99 points to No. 2, 98 points to No. 3 etc.

Finally, I added up all the points each player got and rated them from highest to lowest, creating a top 100 list. Here were the results:

Rank  First Name  Last Name    Team
1     Matt        Wieters      Baltimore
2     David       Price        Tampa Bay
3     Madison     Bumgarner    San Francisco
4     Jason       Heyward      Atlanta
5     Neftali     Feliz        Texas
6     Colby       Rasmus       St. Louis
7     Travis      Snider       Toronto
8     Rick        Porcello     Detroit
9     Tommy       Hanson       Atlanta
10    Buster      Posey        San Francisco
11    Cameron     Maybin       Florida
12    Pedro       Alvarez      Pittsburgh
13    Lars        Anderson     Boston
14    Tim         Beckham      Tampa Bay
15    Trevor      Cahill       Oakland
16    Brett       Anderson     Oakland
17    Dexter      Fowler       Colorado
18    Eric        Hosmer       Kansas City
19    Andrew      McCutchen    Pittsburgh
20    Justin      Smoak        Texas
21    Mike        Moustakas    Kansas City
22    Mike        Stanton      Florida
23    Brian       Matusz       Baltimore
24    Chris       Tillman      Baltimore
25    Carlos      Santana      Cleveland
26    Gordon      Beckham      Chicago (AL)
27    Matt        Laporta      Cleveland
28    Derek       Holland      Texas
29    Jarrod      Parker       Arizona
30    Brett       Wallace      St. Louis
31    Wade        Davis        Tampa Bay
32    Fernando    Martinez     New York (NL)
33    Jordan      Zimmmerman   Washington
34    Alcides     Escobar      Milwaukee
35    Michael     Ynoa         Oakland
36    Josh        Vitters      Chicago (NL)
37    Logan       Morrison     Florida
38    Austin      Jackson      New York (AL)
39    Aaron       Hicks        Minnesota
40    Tim         Alderson     San Francisco
41    Angel       Villalona    San Francisco
42    Jhoulys     Chacin       Colorado
43    Jordan      Schafer      Atlanta
44    Jesus       Montero      New York (AL)
45    Desmond     Jennings     Tampa Bay
46    Yonder      Alonson      Cincinatti
47    Wilmer      Flores       New York (NL)
48    Carlos      Carrasco     Philadelphia
49    Michael     Bowden       Boston
50    Ben         Revere       Minnesota
51    Carlos      Triunfel     Seattle
52    J.P.        Arencibia    Toronto
53    James       McDonald     Los Angeles (NL)
54    Mat         Gamel        Milwaukee
55    Jordan      Walden       Los Angeles (AL)
56    Aaron       Poreda       Chicago (NL)
57    Matt        Dominguez    Florida
58    Brett       Cecil        Toronto
59    Reid        Brignac      Tampa Bay
60    Jose        Tabata       Pittsburgh
61    Nick        Adenhart     Los Angeles (AL)
62    Jake        Arrieta      Baltimore
63    Taylor      Teagarden    Texas
64    Jeremy      Jeffress     Milwaukee
65    Adam        Miller       Cleveland
66    Michael     Main         Texas
67    Greg        Halman       Seattle
68    Chris       Carter       Oakland
69    Freddie     Freeman      Atlanta
70    Nick        Weglarz      Cleveland
71    Philippe    Aumont       Seattle
72    Jason       Castro       Houston
73    Kyle        Blanks       San Diego
74    Andrew      Lambo        Los Angeles (NL)
75    Gorkys      Hernandez    Atlanta
76    Martin      Perez        Texas
77    Jason       Donald       Philadelphia
78    Josh        Reddick      Boston
79    Jeremy      Hellickson   Tampa Bay
80    Tyler       Flowers      Chicago (AL)
81    Dominic     Brown        Philadelphia
82    Adrian      Cardenas     Oakland
83    Chris       Perez        St. Louis
84    Elvis       Andrus       Texas
85    Mat         Latos        San Diego
86    Brett       Lawrie       Milwaukee
87    Michael     Saunders     Seattle
88    Todd        Frazier      Cincinatti
89    Ethan       Martin       Los Angeles (NL)
90    Wilin       Rosario      Colorado
91    Dayan       Viciedo      Chicago (AL)
92    Wilson      Ramos        Minnesota
93    Kyle        Skipworth    Florida
94    Angel       Salome       Milwaukee
95    Darryl      Jones        St. Louis
96    Christian   Friedrich    Colorado
97    Michael     Taylor       Philadelphia
98    Aaron       Cunningham   Oakland
99    Gio         Gonzalez     Oakland
100   Junichi     Tazawa       Boston

With this complete, I gave each prospect a net present value (NPV) based on his tier. I then sorted values by teams to find farm system values for each team. The following list shows values for teams rated from 16-30:

Rankings

30. Houston Astros, NPV: $18.73 million
Top 100 Prospects: Jason Castro (ranked 72)
Houston ranks on the bottom of the list. When the rebuilding eventually starts, it could be a real long process. Castro’s general rankings continue to make the decision to draft him over Justin Smoak particularly questionable.

28. Washington Nationals, NPV: $22.48 million
Top 100 Prospects: Jordan Zimmerman (33)
I would say that Washington’s situation isn’t as bad as it looks based on this ranking. The Nationals have a few guys who were on the cusp of breaking into the composite top 100 and have a few breakout candidates for next year. Also, having two top-10 picks in next year’s draft will help a lot.

28. Arizona Diamondbacks, NPV: $22.48 million
Top 100 Prospects: Jarrod Parker (29)
Arizona’s farm system has struggled, as it’s in the transition stage. The Diamondbacks have graduated a lot of their past top prospects. They’ve been college-heavy in the last few drafts, and it might be time for them to mix in a few high-upside type players.

27. Detroit Tigers, NPV: $23.49 million
Top 100 Prospects: Rick Porcello (8)
Porcello is an interesting prospect to project. His performance, while still very good, has been a little different than what scouts had thought. Jon Garland seems to be a popular comparison that’s getting thrown around; they do have similar minor league performances as 19-year-olds. Porcello may be a player with no great comp.

26. Chicago Cubs, NPV: $28.28 million
Top 100 Prospects: Josh Vitters (36)
The Cubs might want to look into trading Vitters, maybe restarting talks with the Padres for Jake Peavy. The team is clearly in a win-now situation, and it will be a few years until Vitters is ready.

25. San Diego Padres, NPV: $32.6 million
Top 100 Prospects: Kyle Blanks (73), Mat Latos (85)
The Padres get hurt in a ranking system like this because they lack elite-level prospects. However, their farm system is pretty deep. They could shoot up in value after having the No. 3 draft pick and having their prospects develop.

24. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, NPV: $32.7 million
Top 100 Prospects: Jordan Walden (55), Nick Adenhart (61)
The Angels’ farm system has been hurt by the loss of draft picks over the last few years. However, they have a number of picks this year, so this draft will be very important for their future. The A’s and Rangers’ deep farm systems will make this a very tough division, and there aren’t any guarantees about this year either.

23. Cincinnati Reds, NPV: $43.91 million
Top 100 Prospects: Yonder Alonso (46), Todd Frazier (88)
Cincinnati lost a ton of talent from last year. The big question is if the talent will be enough to get the Reds back in contention. They don’t have any pitching that will help in the immediate future, except maybe Daryl Thompson. The Reds are headed in the right direction, but they seem to be stuck. They’ll need a few more pieces to go along with their current talent.

22. Los Angeles Dodgers, NPV: $48.95 million
Top 100 Prospects: James McDonald (53), Andrew Lambo (74), Ethan Martin (89)
The Dodgers have done a great job of drafting and developing players over the last few years. The one thing the farm system has struggled to produce is a big time impact hitter, though Matt Kemp or James Loney could change that. Like Arizona, the Dodgers are in a bit of a transition period, since a lot of talent has graduated.

20. New York Mets, NPV: $56.56 million
Top 100 Prospects: Fernando Martinez (32), Wilmer Flores (47)
The Mets have done a great job with international signings, as prospects like Martinez and Flores show. It will be interesting to see what effect the economy has on the international market. International signings are one area teams might look to cut costs in. With the refusal to go above slot in the draft, the Mets will have to stay strong with international signings if they want to continue to improve their farm system.

20. New York Yankees, NPV: $56.56 million
Top 100 Prospects: Austin Jackson (38), Jesus Montero (44)
The Yankees roster construction provides an interesting case with opportunity costs and roster spots. With the number of long-term contracts they’ve signed, there isn’t much flexibility with roster spots. This might be something to look at in the future when dealing with long-term contracts, as I briefly explored in the past. While Montero is blocked at first base for the near future, the DH spot should be cleared up by the time he is ready. This would provide an interesting dilemma for the Yankees if Montero were closer to the majors.

19. Kansas City Royals, NPV: $68.62 million
Top 100 Prospects: Eric Hosmer (18), Mike Moustakas (21)
The Royals are slowly gathering more and more talent. A potential stumbling block with their current farm system setup is that by the time guys like Moustakas, Hosmer and most of their pitchers are ready, their young major league players like Alex Gordon and Billy Butler will be nearing free agency.

18. Philadelphia Phillies, NPV: $69.37 million
Top 100 Prospects: Carlos Carrasco (48), Jason Donald (77), Dominic Brown (81), Michael Taylor (97)
The Phillies have done a great job of developing big-time stars for the major league team. Now we’ll see if guys like Carrasco, Donald and J.A. Happ can help provide a little more depth for the majors.

17. Seattle Mariners, NPV: $69.44 million
Top 100 Prospects: Carlos Triunfel (51), Greg Halman (67), Phillipe Aumont (71), Michael Saunders (87)
The Mariners have an interesting collection of minor leaguers. They aren’t the most polished bunch, but they provide some upside. We’ll see what kind of influence Jack Zduriencik has on the draft, and if he changes their player development approach—the Mariners had been known to move prospects quickly.

16. Minnesota Twins, NPV: $72.19 million
Top 100 Prospects: Aaron Hicks (39), Ben Revere (50), Wilson Ramos (92)
Ben Revere is a unique prospect. My only concern is that he won’t hit for enough power to make pitchers respect him. However, Revere may be so unique he finds a way to succeed with his skill set. He’ll be an interesting prospect to follow.

In the next part of this series, we’ll look at the top 15 farm systems.

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