Farm system value rankings (Part 1)by Victor Wang
March 03, 2009
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:
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.
Victor Wang's work on OPS has been featured in SABR's By the Numbers magazine, and was the 2007 recipient of SABR's Jack Kavanagh Memorial Youth Baseball Research Award. He can be reached via email here.