Boy, this must be a wonderful day to work in the Angels' scouting or player-development departments. MLB.com just released their annual Top 100 Prospects list, and guess which team didn't place a single young player ...
All but one team is represented on this year's list, with only the Angels shut out. Two teams, the Brewers and the A's, have one prospect each, and there are nine organizations with two representatives. On the other end of the spectrum is the Boston Red Sox, leading the way with nine on the Top 100. The Cubs and Astros are next, with seven representatives each. The Pirates have six, and the Twins and Rangers each have five.
While having a lot of prospects on the list is certainly not a bad thing, it also doesn't instantly mean that an organization has the best farm system, because it doesn't necessarily reflect depth in a system or where talent is along the organizational pipeline. For the last few years, though, we've used a weighted scoring system to determine which system has the most impact or elite talent. After awarding 100 points to the team with the No. 1 prospect, 99 to No. 2 and so on, it turns out the team with the most prospects on the list does not rank atop the "prospect points" standings.
That honor belongs to the Houston Astros, whose seven prospects netted 439 points. The Red Sox are close behind with 436, while the Cubs (393), Pirates (364) and Twins (342) round out the top five. The Rangers, while having five prospects like the Twins, finished 14th with 167 points due to their Minor Leaguers landing a bit further down the list.
The Red Sox have nine prospects on the list. The Yankees have two. Which reminds me of something that Tyler Kepner wrote in the wake of the Tanaka news:
This is what the Yankees do. They understand there is a better and cheaper way, they just cannot execute it. While the Yankees missed the playoffs last fall, the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals reached the World Series with just two players, one per team, on nine-figure contracts. Counting the suspended Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees have six such players.
The Cardinals win with a few stars and a self-sustaining farm system that pumps out impact players every season. The Red Sox won last year with a discount version of the playbook the Yankees are following now.
The Red Sox won last year with a heavily discounted version of the Yankees' 2014 playbook and the Red Sox have a far better farm system than the Yankees. In fact, the Yankees' farm system has been comically non-productive. With all the opportunities that came last season because of all those injuries, the Yankees' best under-27 hitters -- really, their only under-27 hitters -- were Eduardo Nuñez, Austin Romine, David Adams, and Zoilo Almonte ... and being quite frank about this, all four of those guys were awful, with Nuñez the best of the lot.
In 2005, Robinson Canó finished second (behind Huston Street) in the American League Rookie of the Year balloting. Since then, Yankees have shown up in the balloting exactly twice: In 2008, Joba Chamberlain got one fifth-place vote, and Ivan Nova finished fourth in 2011. Yes, they've traded a hot prospect here and there. Ian Kennedy and Jesus Montero come to mind. And it's more difficult to draft well when you're finishing at or near the top of the standings every year. But the Yankees and Red Sox are directly comparable in these regards, and yet the Red Sox always seem to have a crop of sterling young players whilst the Yankees doth not.
Usually it doesn't matter, because $$$. Last year it did. This year it might, even with all the $$$.