Ranking Retrospective: The Slow Growth

I have had a lot of people tell me that the farm system isn’t improving, that it has been static or declining.  They complain about the influx of talent into the system and how the scouts just aren’t good enough.  But baseball is not a sport that rewards instant gratification in development.  For those that are patient the payoff is worth it.  So lets start briefly with org rankings and then lets focus purely on the input-output equation.

Here are the Org Rankings coming into the year:

Minor League Ball19
Baseball Prospectus25
Baseball America23
Sporting News/Perfect Game25

There is a direct correlation between how high the system ranked and how high they ranked J.P. Crawford, so a hat tip to Keith Law who has been on Crawford since before the draft, but on to the input-output.


Graduations: Ken Giles, David Buchanan, Cesar Hernandez, Mario Hollands

Trades: None

Released: Tyson Gillies, Anthony Hewitt, Brody Colvin, Steve Susdorf, Kyrell Hudson, Jiwan James


Draft: Aaron Nola, Matt Imhof, Aaron Brown, Chris Oliver, Rhys Hoskins (and many more)

International: Franklyn Kilome, Arquimedes Gamboa, Jonathan Arauz, Daniel Brito, Lenin Rodriguez

Trades: Victor Arano, Jesmuel Valentin, Gustavo Pierre


I am not suggesting the farm system is going to vault into the top of lists (though it will on BA if they sign Tomas), unless it moves Cole Hamels.  But to suggest that the farm system has not improved is really quite a silly assumption.  At some point soon we will take a walk through a prospect list and do a stock up stock down, but for now, know that the talent continues to flow in and matriculate up the system

Author: Matt Winkelman

Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has appeared on Phuture Phillies, The Good Phight, and TheDynastyGuru.


  1. The Original Will

    I don’t think it’s “silly” at all to question if the system regressed a bit, and would probably argue in favor of that, if only by a little bit.

    We saw 2 of our 3 highest rated players regress (Biddle a lot, Franco a little), The next tier (Tocci, Quinn, Dugan, Altherr) maybe “held serve”, but none of them improved their stock substantially, and in the case of Tocci and Altherr, probably regressed a bit, at least in terms of perceived upside. We didn’t see a single breakout from our “toolsy” prospects, who are all a year older, and none of whom really answered any of the big question marks people have about them (primarily, can they hit). Yes we drafted people, and we all hope they work out. So did every other team. It’s way too early to act as if our 2014 draft substantially improves our system, relative to other teams.

    When you look at who we added versus who we subtracted, it doesn’t look too bad, but when you consider the stagnation of the players already in the system, I think it quite the opposite of silly to debate whether things look better or worse than last year. The proof will be in the pudding (i.e., when all the rankings come out) but I am not bullish on it, and John Sickels is already on record as downgrading the system.

    • The Original Will

      And of course, JP Crawford is the exception to the above. Obviously.