This is the first I have seen Baseball Amercia on CNNSI, but John Manuel has ranked the top & bottom five farm systems in a just published article. And, he has the Nationals at #26 overall. His comment …
26. Nationals: They have the best prospect in the game in No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg, plus solid talents in catcher Derek Norris, right-hander Drew Storen and shortstop Danny Espinosa. Beyond that, though, the Nats have very little help, especially at the upper levels, which is a pity considering the state of the big-league roster
That’s a bit surprising to me. By no means are they a top ten organization but I figured that they would do no worse than their #21 ranking from the beginning of 2009.
UPDATE: The more I think about it, I guess I can understand BA’s claim on a certain level (though I don’t necessarily agree), given their fondness for project-ability. It’s difficult to assess the overall strength/weakness of a system based on their top 10 alone but I’m going to try and use that as the basis of my defense of the #26 ranking (ignoring the fact that I’d need to do a similar analysis for all of the BA teams in the 15-30 to see how teams rise/fall).
|Rank||Last Year||This Year|
The Nats “graduated” Zimmermann & Detwiler from last year but added Strasburg & Storen. Add that to Norris’ breakout season should have bumped them up from #21. But it’s the rest of the equation that starts to show why they might have slid.
Burgess, McGeary, Ramirez & Nieto did not progress as I’m sure BA was anticipating. That hurts the project-ability to a large degree as all four are younger players who were viewed with higher ceiling last year.
The picture of Marrero has come into sharper focus. While last year, BA may have seen him as being more of an impact bat, the 2009 season began to paint a picture of a ceiling as a solid major league regular.
Smiley falls completely off the map.
Adding Espinosa, Kobernus, Desmond & Maxwell is more indicative of solid guys entering the assessment … just not guys who are likely to be stalwarts at the top of a major league lineup.
The bottom line is that if you use the BA top 10 as an arbiter of the overall strength, it could be argued that the gains of Strasburg, Storen, & an improved Norris cannotr offset the “graduations” and reduced ceilings of some of the younger guys.