M’s farm system ranked 27/30

DMZ · March 30, 2006 at 5:36 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

…by Baseball America.

“Utter lack of pitching prospects has roots in run of poor drafts in late 1990s, early 2000s.”

or, as the in-depth look writes:

“By contrast, Seattle’s 1998-2002 were extremely barren, peaking with Willie Bloomquist and featuring a series of expensive reaches such as Michael Garciaparra and Sam Hays.”


To look on the upside, I’ll say this — prospect lists, and particularly BA’s lists, look for potential major leaguers and only pick out players in A-ball if they’re really interesting. If the Mariners (as we’ve argued) are doing a much better job drafting talent now, that’s not going to show up yet. Of course, you could say that about every team.


18 Responses to “M’s farm system ranked 27/30”

  1. Steve T on March 30th, 2006 6:06 pm

    Every time I think I’ve seen the words “Michael Garciaparra” for the last time, there they are again. It hurts me, it really does.

    So does the phrase “peaking with Willie Bloomquist”, except in the context of “my ire rose in my throat like gall”.

  2. JAS on March 30th, 2006 6:09 pm

    Has anyone looked at these rankings to see if they actually mean anything?

    I don’t have the time myself, but couldn’t we validate these judgment calls by comparing organization rank with MLB productivity from the relevant players?

    I’d hazard a guess that such an exercise would place rankings such as these in proper context (pure speculation subject to unquantifiable forces which distort all predictive power).

  3. JAS on March 30th, 2006 6:14 pm

    From the link:

    “21. St. Louis Cardinals 30 28 28 30 23
    Early returns on their bountiful 2005 draft boost stock of previously moribund system.”

    That assessment is a counter point to the idea that recent drafts wouldn’t show up in the rankings…

  4. stevecox on March 30th, 2006 6:23 pm

    The system is pretty weak, but it also graduated quite a few prospects last year. Felix, Lopez, Betancourt, Reed, Sherrill and Morse were all on last year’s top 30 list. Systems that graduate a lot of prospects often see their rankings fall the next year. If some of the guys who looked good last year in the lower levels step up and if guys like Clement and Jones continue to improve, then next year’s ranking could look a lot better. Of course, the opposite could happen, too…

  5. Joe C. in Buffalo on March 30th, 2006 6:23 pm

    Couldn’t a comment similar to the A’s be said about the Mariners? The A’s are 26th, but apparently justifiably so, because they graduated 4 impact rookies to the majors. Well, Seattle graduated Felix, Reed, Lopez and Betancourt. I’d say those are 4 impact rookies as well.

  6. DMZ on March 30th, 2006 6:30 pm

    w/r/t St Louis: sort of.

    St. Louis’s 2005 draft went (ranking on their Top Ten list leading as #x)
    1st round:
    #2 Rasmus – HS
    #3 Greene – College
    #5 McCormick – College

    Herron – HS
    Wilson – HS
    #9 Webber – College

    Jones – HS

    Seattle, meanwhile, had a first — with which they got Clement — and then nothing until the 4th round. There’s a huge gap in the number and quality of picks available to St. Louis compared to Seattle in the 2005 draft.

    My point is that Seattle, if it’s really better able to get value out of its later picks, isn’t going to get that out of highly-regarded super-stud prep players. They’re going to get them out of later rounds and draft-and-follows.

  7. joser on March 30th, 2006 8:12 pm

    But Reed, Morse, and Betancourt weren’t really products of the Mariner “system” were they? The system would look even poorer if they only took credit for the players they actually drafted and developed…

  8. Jim Thomsen on March 30th, 2006 8:24 pm

    What defines a player as an organization’s product?

    Can a player be a Mariners product if not drafted or signed to his first professional contract by the M’s?

    Can a player be an M’s product if he spent more time in the Seattle system than the organization that orginally signed/drafted him?

    Does it have to do with how much time he spent at certain, more developmental levels of the minor leagues in the Mariner system? If so, where do you draw the line?

  9. joser on March 30th, 2006 8:36 pm

    I don’t know, but one year (and the last year before the majors) hardly seems like enough.

  10. stevecox on March 30th, 2006 8:38 pm

    RE#7: Players developted in other systems count for the Mariners just like count for all the teams when compiling the top 30 list. Another way to look at it would be, “which organizations developed the best prospects in baseball.” But that would be an entirely different list. It would be interesting one, though.

  11. seattlesundevil on March 30th, 2006 8:50 pm

    #7… I am not so sure going on that would be an entirely bad thing for the Mariners. For years we have been openly trading young talent that we drafted and developed only to see them flourish with the team we traded them too. I will not go into detail, but a man by the name of a famous cat cartoon character (the name makes me shudder) (Heathcliff) ::shudder:: is one such trade. So if you look at the top prospects that we traded away after developing them for a long time, it actually does not look too badly.

  12. joser on March 30th, 2006 8:52 pm

    Right, and that’s very true (and I would like to see that list also). But I was responding to the comments that the reason the M’s system looks so weak is because so many guys got promoted. But most of those guys weren’t in the system a couple of years ago either, and when they arrived it wasn’t because they got traded for equally good guys who were in the system. So trying to excuse the weakness of the system because a bunch of guys got promoted when those guys were never in the system for very long doesn’t really hold a lot of water. The system was weak before they traded for those guys, and it’s weak again now that they’ve moved up. The FO gets full credit for getting them, but “the system” shouldn’t get credit for developing them, or be given a pass because they’re now in the bigs.

  13. seattlesundevil on March 30th, 2006 8:54 pm

    OK, I see where you are coming from.. I was purely just going on your post, didn’t really look at what you were referencing haha, laziness strikes again… Touche

  14. leetinsleyfanclub on March 31st, 2006 8:15 am

    This ranking is the precise reason why Bavasi deserves more time to right the ship. He inherited an old team and a barren farm system, which has limited him to free agency as just about the only means of improving the major league club. I’m not sure anyone’s record would be a whole lot better than his has been with the M’s given the rotting corpse he inherited.

    It’s also interesting that the M’s did nothing but win under Gillick while their farm system regressed and are now doing nothing but lose under Bavasi while the farm system gets restocked. It would appear from following the M’s that the GM skills it takes to win at the major league level and to build a strong farm system are mutually exclusive.

  15. DMZ on March 31st, 2006 8:18 am

    Sure, but that’s a view that’s obviously contradicted by the history of other teams.

  16. The Ancient Mariner on March 31st, 2006 11:57 am

    Am I the only one who noticed that Jim Callis included Matt Tuiasosopo as one of our international signings?

  17. Badperson on March 31st, 2006 2:35 pm

    While there might be some ways to discredit this ranking system, our farm system currently does seem to be biting the big one. On the other hand, Felix goes a long way towards making out system not so bad afterall. IMHO It’s better to produce a few potential superstars than buckets of journeymen.

  18. John D. on April 1st, 2006 3:20 pm

    BTW, I note that only three (3) organizations had a better Baseball America organization status for the last five years (Twins, Braves, and Cubs) than the Mariners.

    ITEM OF INTEREST – Last year BA (Callis) called the Tacoma starting pitching rotation (Felix, Blackley, Nageotte, Baek, Thornton) one of the best in the upper minors.

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