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Thread: Jonathan Mayo ranks Reds system as 4th best

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    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Jonathan Mayo ranks Reds system as 4th best

    Who has the best farm systems?
    Rays, A's, Rangers, Reds and Red Sox among elite
    By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com

    Creating a pipeline. Building up the farm. Filling the prospect cupboard.

    Call it what you want, but it's all the rage these days. Developing homegrown talent is no longer seen as a necessity just for low-revenue teams; even the biggest-market organizations have re-dedicated themselves to building from within.

    What each club does with its farm system varies. Some want to funnel players up to the big leagues to contribute (see Rays, Tampa). Others use the farm system as pawns in trades (see Diamondbacks, Arizona or Mets, New York). And some are trying to find a happy medium (see Red Sox, Boston and Yankees, New York).

    There's no set criteria for evaluating systems. Any combination of overall depth, number of elite prospects and/or total players close to contributing can be used to come up with a list. As a result, everyone's top five will be different, though there are some teams most can agree on.

    1. Tampa Bay Rays: Picking perennially at the top of every draft certainly does have its benefits. Since 2000, the Rays have taken their first draftee in the top 10 of the first round. It hasn't translated into big-league improvement, but that's going to change soon.

    The Rays have five players in MLB.com's Top 50, beginning with No. 2 overall Evan Longoria, who's ready to take over at third base and join an already young roster.

    Tampa had been known for developing hitting talent, but the pitching has caught up. The No. 1 overall pick from last year, David Price (No. 11 on the prospect list), impressed in big-league camp and shouldn't need a whole lot of time before he's ready. He joins Wade Davis (No. 12), Jacob McGee (No. 20) and Jeff Niemann, who ranked just outside the Top 50 as top-level arms who should be able to contribute by 2009, at the latest.

    Not only do the Rays have elite talent, they've got depth as well, with legitimate prospects at just about every position. That kind of talent throughout a system breeds competition, and everyone knows that competition brings out the best in players. The Rays have the No. 1 overall pick once again in the 2008 draft, so they're sure to add to their coffers, though their days of top 10 picks will come to an end in short order.

    2. Oakland A's: A year ago, the A's wouldn't have come close to this list. It's amazing what a couple of trades will do for your system's strength.

    The deals that sent Dan Haren, Nick Swisher and, to a lesser extent, Mark Kotsay, away brought in more talent than the A's know what to do with. Two Top 50 guys in Carlos and Gio Gonzalez are now a part of the organization and will make an impact in Oakland very soon.

    But that's just scratching the surface. There's a number of bats -- Daric Barton, Ryan Sweeney -- and arms -- Greg Smith, Dallas Braden -- ready to contribute now or in the near future.

    Beyond the close-to-the-bigs guys, there's a horde of talent down below. Take a trip to the A's California League affiliate in Stockton, Calif. to see the future. That might be the most, forgive the pun, stocked team in all of the Minors, with recent draftees, international signees and, of course, acquisitions from the trade activity, filling up the roster.

    3. Texas Rangers: The Rangers have come a long way in the last couple of years. They've got two Top 50 guys in Elvis Andrus and Eric Hurley; their place on this list is largely because of the depth they've accumulated.

    A chunk of the talent came via the Mark Teixeira, Eric Gagne and Kenny Lofton trades. More of it came from very successful drafts the past couple of years. Add to those two sources an influx of international talent and the Rangers are awash in young players.

    Texas could be seen as the envy of many organizations in two areas: catching and power arms. In last year's first round alone, Texas moved way up the list by taking high school pitchers Blake Beavan and Michael Main. Behind young backstops in the big leagues (Gerald Laird and Jarrod Saltalamacchia), they've got guys like Taylor Teagarden and Max Ramirez. It may seem like an embarrassment of riches, but the Rangers aren't complaining.

    4. Cincinnati Reds: Call them the big four. The Reds have a quartet of elite prospects that single-handedly put them in the upper-echelon of all farm systems. And all four of them should start contributing in Cincy in 2008.

    Outfielder Jay Bruce is the consensus No. 1 prospect in all of baseball. Ace of the future Homer Bailey may have had a small hiccup last year, but finished strongly and is still a Top 10 kind of player. Joey Votto is ready for a full-time first base job in the big leagues now and right-hander Johnny Cueto has generated a ton of buzz in big-league camp this spring, working his way into the No. 5 starter mix. Even if none of these players breaks north with the Reds on Opening Day, you'll be hearing from them soon enough.

    There is a decided drop-off after these four, but there are still a good number of future big leaguers in this system. Their biggest strength in terms of depth is probably in the middle infield, where there's a viable shortstop at pretty much every level. There's also some good arms behind the Bailey-Cueto dynamic duo and if you examine the system closely enough, they've got at least one legitimate prospect at every position.


    5. Boston Red Sox: This one was a tough call, with the Yankees and their upper-level pitching, the Marlins and all that young talent -- some homegrown, some from the big trade with the Tigers -- and the up-and-coming Nationals, who have improved ten-fold with some truly impressive drafting, all getting some consideration. In the end, though, the combination of outstanding talent at the top and young talent at the bottom in Boston was too much to ignore.

    It starts with the two guys who made major impacts last year. Clay Buchholz was the No. 6 prospect and Jacoby Ellsbury came in at No. 13. After that come the two names mentioned often during the Johan Santana trade saga: Jed Lowrie and Justin Masterson. Then, down below, it's a bounty of talent, fed by a scouting department that uses the organization's financial resources to take some risks that have really paid off. It's set them up for long-term success and they'll be able to keep the players they develop for as long as they'd like.

    http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/n...milb&fext=.jsp

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    The Future GoReds33's Avatar
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    Re: Jonathan Mayo ranks Reds system as 4th best

    Man, I didn't realize the Red Sox built up their system that fast. Trading Hanley Ramirez was a huge hit to their system. Still, I don't see how a team with Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes, and Joba Chamberlain can be ranked below them.
    If you can't build a winning team with that core a fire-sale isn't the solution. Selling the franchise, moving them to Nashville and converting GABP into a used car lot is.
    -LTlabner

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    Re: Jonathan Mayo ranks Reds system as 4th best

    Their biggest strength in terms of depth is probably in the middle infield, where there's a viable shortstop at pretty much every level.
    ??? I don't know about that.

    Also, the A's at 2?? That seems high. I'm with Mayo that I would take the Red Sox system over the Yanks right now. I think I'd go:

    Rays
    Reds
    Bo Sox
    Yanks
    Rangers

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    Re: Jonathan Mayo ranks Reds system as 4th best

    I think between every list I've seen so far, the general concensus has been the DRays, BoSox, Reds, and Yanks in that order. Mayo definitely thinks way too much of the A's farm system. Even with those trades, they're still just inside the Top 10 at best. The 3 spot seems high for the Rangers as well.
    That hit was plenty fair. Atleast by a quarter of an inch.
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    Re: Jonathan Mayo ranks Reds system as 4th best

    Quote Originally Posted by Oxilon View Post
    The 3 spot seems high for the Rangers as well.
    Especially considering that Volquez was considered their top prospect just a year ago.
    If you can't build a winning team with that core a fire-sale isn't the solution. Selling the franchise, moving them to Nashville and converting GABP into a used car lot is.
    -LTlabner

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    Re: Jonathan Mayo ranks Reds system as 4th best

    If you count Volquez as one of our "prospects," I believe we would be neck and neck with the DRays for #1 overall.
    Go BLUE!!!

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    Re: Jonathan Mayo ranks Reds system as 4th best

    Quote Originally Posted by fearofpopvol1 View Post
    ??? I don't know about that.

    agreed. We have SSs that catch and SSs that hit, but need to invest in human fusion technology before we'll see a complete player.

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    Re: Jonathan Mayo ranks Reds system as 4th best

    Quote Originally Posted by princeton View Post
    agreed. We have SSs that catch and SSs that hit, but need to invest in human fusion technology before we'll see a complete player.
    yep, aren't Cozart and Janish the only "real" shortstops in the system?

    Frazier, Soto, Rosales and even Valaika can hit, but I don't think anybody is really confusing them for shortstops at the big league level.
    Go BLUE!!!

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    Re: Jonathan Mayo ranks Reds system as 4th best

    Quote Originally Posted by Benihana View Post
    yep, aren't Cozart and Janish the only "real" shortstops in the system?

    Frazier, Soto, Rosales and even Valaika can hit, but I don't think anybody is really confusing them for shortstops at the big league level.

    if one of the hitters can become a below average ML shortstop, the Reds might be able to carry his glove IF they find great defensive OFers (Stubbs? Patterson?) and catcher.

    alternatively, if the Reds can find a bat at catcher, then they can carry the bat of one of the hitlessers

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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Jonathan Mayo ranks Reds system as 4th best

    Quote Originally Posted by Benihana View Post
    yep, aren't Cozart and Janish the only "real" shortstops in the system?

    Frazier, Soto, Rosales and even Valaika can hit, but I don't think anybody is really confusing them for shortstops at the big league level.
    Soto isn't written off of SS yet. There is a chance he could stick still at this point. Lets also not forget about Jose Castro, the kid we got from the Mets.

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    Re: Jonathan Mayo ranks Reds system as 4th best

    Castro had good numbers at A+, but had a huge dropoff at AA for the Reds, I see him at AA this year. I think I read he was good with the glove.
    Suck it up cupcake.

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    Re: Jonathan Mayo ranks Reds system as 4th best

    His 'huge dropoff' in AA, was 60 points of OPS in 59 plate appearances. Its hardly worth mentioning.

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    Re: Jonathan Mayo ranks Reds system as 4th best

    A sub. 700 OPS is worth mentioning doug. Especially in a young kid at an advanced level. He's obviously been overpromoted.
    Suck it up cupcake.

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    Re: Jonathan Mayo ranks Reds system as 4th best

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    A sub. 700 OPS is worth mentioning doug. Especially in a young kid at an advanced level. He's obviously been overpromoted.
    Not in less than a months worth of at bats.... 59 plate appearances is two weeks worth of games.

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    Re: Jonathan Mayo ranks Reds system as 4th best

    I remeber getting smacked around for saying Guardado was a mirage for his 2 weeks worth of work before getting DL'd.

    Castro hasn't really done great with the stick at any level, I'd have him repeat High A this year. He's young, let him earn the trip to AA.
    Suck it up cupcake.


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