Farm System Rankings Part Two Doug Gray January 15, 2013 33 Comments Back in late November part one of this series came out based on some unscientific point system I came up with based on the Baseball America League Top 20 Rankings. According to those rankings, the Reds came out 10th. In this series, based on the rankings of each team by John Sickels at MinorLeagueBall.com. His grades are not final, but these were the grades he had posted and updated as of 4pm on Monday afternoon. Here is the description for the system that is a copy/paste from last years article. I went through each system that John graded and took down the grade for both hitters and pitchers. Why did I do that? Well, hitters and pitchers have different values. The value’s that I used were the ones first identified by Victor Wang in an article at The Hardball Times. The guys at Beyond The Box Score took that and made it into a monetary value. Here is what the average prospect was worth who fell in these ranges: Top 10 hitting prospects $32.5M Top 11-25 hitters $22.3 Top 26-50 hitters $20.8 Top 51-75 hitters $12.6 Top 76-100 hitters $11.1 Top 10 pitching prospects $13.5 Top 11-25 pitchers $14.2 Top 26-50 pitchers $14.2 Top 51-75 pitchers $10.8 Top 76-100 pitchers $8.7 Grade B pitchers (as graded by Sickels) $6.5 Grade B hitters $4.9 Grade C pitchers 22 or younger $1.9 Grade C pitchers 23 or older $1.3 Grade C hitters 22 or younger $0.62 Grade C hitters 23 or older $0.45 Now I did have to make some adjustments. As we can see, Pitching prospects in the 11-50 range tend to be more valuable than those in the Top 10. Since that doesn’t actually make much sense, I made every pitcher graded as a B+ or better worth the same “average” value of 14.2M. Team A A- B+ B B- C+ H Value 32.5 22.3 20.8 12.6 4.9 0.88 P Value 14.2 14.2 14.2 9.8 6.5 2.6 For the C+ guys I had to change a little. I didn’t go through all of the players who were graded C+ to find the age. So what I did was take the average C grade (split the difference between the two grades). That made 1.6 for pitchers and 0.54 for hitters. I used the weighting for the B grade prospects to wind up with the C+ being worth the same for a C as the B+ was for the B grades. Now that we had the value for each type of prospect, I just ran the numbers for the different teams. One thing to note, I didn’t include the grade C prospects because not all of the C prospects made each list, so the data was left out because it was incomplete. Here are the results: Breakdown The Reds ranked 17th, middle of the pack, with this kind of data. It makes sense as most of the Reds top 10 prospects are all pitchers, who are viewed as less valuable as their position player counterparts with a similar ranking. When we look at the different breakdowns I used, here is where the Reds ranked among the 30 teams in the league. Rankings Top 5 Top 10 Hitters Pitchers Reds 13 16 24 13 The overall picture doesn’t look so well when we look at this data, but I think that unlike most teams, the Reds have some really intriguing C level prospects who could really break out. There are lots of very young and toolsy players in that range for the Reds who weren’t even considered for this kind of ranking system. After all of the trades of the last two seasons, the fact that the system is as healthy as it is it’s a true testament to the entire minor league staff (scouts, directors, instructor, coaches and managers). 33 Responses Marty January 15, 2013 When will the 2013 Prospect Guide be available? Doug Gray January 15, 2013 The 2013 Reds Prospect Guide is available now. There is a link at the top of this article. Tim January 15, 2013 Wow! Have the Astros really turned their minors around that much??? Werent they like bottom 5 like 2 years ago??? foxbud January 15, 2013 Agree. I am not aware of the Astro’s system being ranked that high. While the Pirates system is better stcked than ours right now, they don’t have much there that I am impressed with. The Duke January 15, 2013 Fire sales and top draft picks will help a farm system. MK January 15, 2013 For as much as the Astros have improved the Royals have certainly dropped. Doug Gray January 15, 2013 The trade with the Rays took away several of their Top 10 prospects. The Duke January 15, 2013 Middle of the pack sounds more right than top 1/3 to me. WallyP January 15, 2013 great info really really great sultan of swaff January 15, 2013 I’ve been reading a lot about the top 15 prospects from our division rivals. That said, the rankings are a total joke. The Brewers and Cubs (outside of their top 2) are just brutal. I could get on board with the Cards that high, but we should be at least even with the Pirates. Ah well, I’m taking it with a grain of salt. It’s a snapshot in time, nothing more. Doug Gray January 15, 2013 The Cubs have a lot of really good depth in their system and a few guys who could be all-stars. That is a good system. The Brewers system has a little bit of depth, but lacks that star power within. -MBP January 15, 2013 Doug, what is your opinion on Sickels ranking Moscot #14? It seems to me that his best case scenario would be, to use current Reds comps, Mike Leake with the more likely outcome being Sam LeCure. Maybe I’m wrong, but that doesn’t scream top 15 prospect to me. Doug Gray January 15, 2013 I had him quite a bit lower, but Mike Leake is an average Major Leaguer. Sam LeCure is pretty useful as well. If you can guarantee either of those outcomes, that guy is deserving of a Top 10 prospect in a system. Moscot is considered pretty polished and I think he could wind up as either guy. Like I said, I wouldn’t have him quite that high, but I can see the rational for ranking a guy who projects to a solid MLB contributor who also has a good amount of polish to his game. peppe January 15, 2013 doug i know its a long shot in your opinion who will be on the reds 25 man roster Doug Gray January 15, 2013 Essentially the same roster as last year, except with the addition of the guys traded for. MK January 15, 2013 Where were the Marlins last year? Doug Gray January 15, 2013 24th. MK January 15, 2013 Trades moved them up. I really like Jake Marisnick. peppe January 15, 2013 thanks doug MK January 15, 2013 Another subject, but it was interesting Wilkin De La Rosa received an invitation to big league camp. With the need for a lefty in the pen he could be the sleeper in camp. Doug Gray January 15, 2013 Without several injuries, he has absolutely no shot. Marshall, Arredondo and Chapman are all likely to begin the year in the bullpen. Two are lefties and Arredondo is lights out against lefties (unless he walks them of course). Stock January 15, 2013 I can’t buy into this value system. You will not convince me that Winker and Moscot have more value than Bundy (Bal) or Miller (Stl) but according to this weighting the Reds would be foolish to make either trade. I can see how there once was a time this was true but today teams take care of their pitchers and they are much more likely to avoid injuries in the process of their development. Just as important they don’t throw out their arms prior to pitching professionally. I don’t think you can convince me that Houston has a better system than St. Louis. Sickels rated 24 Cardinal prospects as a C+ or better with two receiving an A. Houston had 20 and 0. Doug Gray January 15, 2013 I do find that the values are a bit off, but unfortunately there still isn’t enough data available from the 2000’s to change the systems value system. History wasn’t kind to pitchers and I agree, we are getting much better at producing ones that are eventually successful. We are keeping them healthier (due to new ways of bringing them up, better ideas of mechanics as well as new ways to fix them when they do get injured). As I noted, the system does devalue pitchers, but there is a reason for it (even if it does ding them more than I believe it should): Risk of injury. Pitchers get hurt more often, thus miss more time and sometimes, never recover to the point of effectiveness. Odds tell us that one of Bundy and Miller is going to not come close to living up to the hype. Heck, even looking at BA’s lists from say 2005-2008, here are the pitchers who were in the Top 10 of a given year: Joba Chamberlain Clay Buchholz Clayton Kershaw Franklin Morales Homer Bailey David Price Phil Hughes Andrew Miller Francisco Liriano Chad Billingsley Justin Verlander Matt Cain Felix Hernandez Scott Kazmir Those guys were supposed to be the cream of the crop. Now, there are some studs in there. Verlander, Cain, Hernandez, Price and Kershaw. Some guys have seen some success too. Then there are guys like Franklin Morales who has a grand total of 260 innings in the Majors after becoming a reliever or Andrew Miller who has a career ERA over 5.50 (though he did just have his first successful season of his career – although as a reliever). For the best of the best, while some of those guys have been good, they haven’t lived up to the billing (Bailey, Chamberlain, Hughes, Kazmir, Billingsley, Liriano, Buchholz). Pitchers are just tougher to peg than hitters. Be it injuries, or that breaking ball not developing as expected or just something else, they are riskier. Their values are reflected in the values seen here. Stock January 15, 2013 Using the time frame you used I looked at the top 10 prospects split between pitchers and non-pitchers. Since you excluded Daiske I did likewise. 19 pitchers placed in the top 10 21 times in the 5 years. The WAR (Fangraphs) of these 19 pitchers averages to be 15.62. (if you include repeats (Bailey and Price) this drops to 15.23. 21 position players made the top 10 29 times in the 5 years. The WAR (Fangraphs) of these 21 positions players averages to 11.38 (if you include repeats (Wood, D Young(3peat), Rasmus, Maybin (3peat), J Upton and Longria) this drops to 10.79. Pitchers are 50% better based upon WAR. As for your comment on Morales and Miller I agree. Morales, Miller and Neftali Feliz are the three pitchers whose career WAR is below 5 at this point. 3 out of 19 comes to 16%. The hitters with a career WAR < 5 are Wood, Marte, Joel Guzman, Delmon Young, Milledge, Snider, Hermida, Ian Stewart, and Kotchman. That is 9 out of 21 or 42%. Recent history says pitching performance has become a much more reliable projection tool as opposed to hitting. On the quality end 7 pitchers on this list were top 60 picks in my fantasy draft last year and 4 non-pitchers were. In short more star pitchers and fewer duds. This does not agree with your value system. My point is times have changed and this weighting system needs to be updated because it isn’t really realistic. Afterall, do you really consider Winker as good of a prospect as Bundy? Doug Gray January 15, 2013 I don’t consider him as good of a prospect as Bundy, but I do think that 10 Winkers and 10 Bundys are probably likely to have similar value because of the injury risk associated with pitchers. The time frame was small and I just randomly selected those years. I would love to update it all, but there simply isn’t enough data available yet in order to do so. I believe that things began to change in terms of how most teams developed pitchers, in particular high school pitchers, in the 2000 range. That gives us no real time to look at high school pitchers or hitters. Assuming they were drafted in 2004 and didn’t debut until they were 23, they don’t even have 6 seasons of data to work with. Much less anyone who was drafted later than that or debuted a little later. Stock January 15, 2013 10 Bundy’s would be much better than 10 Winker’s. 10 Bundy’s would produce 2 injured pitchers (max), 6 aces and 2 #2 SP. A LF with as of yet undeveloped power can’t compete with that. There are a couple of things in play here. I have no doubt that ML teams take care with their pitchers enhancing the chances they cotdribute on the ML level. Second surgical procedures help. We have both already agreed to this and we agree this helps pitchers more than hitters. One thing we haven’t discussed is the advancement of the people responsible for creating these prospect lists. Thanks to the internet they have much more information avilable to them than before. I have no doubt that someone at baseball america follows your sight on a regular basis. You provide them with information they might not get elsewhere. Thanks to Sabermetrics they understand potential flaws more than they did 10 years ago. Prospects lists of today are much better than they were 10 years ago. Doug Gray January 16, 2013 I am not sure where you are grabbing the ranges from in your outcome, but I am just not sure I agree with it. Winker is a tougher sell I guess, simply because he is a rookie ball guy. But if it were a first rounder who had gone through A ball and had a B grade, I think we would see something similar to what I posted. While it seems everyone of the big guys that do prospect lists are better at it today than ever before, there is still a lot more uncertainty with pitchers than hitters. Perhaps it will be something to undertake. Say, look at the 2000-2008 list Top 50’s and see where guys are falling in at so far. sultan of swaff January 15, 2013 Josh Ravin didn’t get an invite to spring training. Kinda thought he would…. DaveCT January 15, 2013 He’s on the 40-man right? if so, he’s there … Doug Gray January 15, 2013 Correct. Mauired January 15, 2013 I was excited to see the Reds signed Cesar Izturiz to a minor league deal. If he’s healthy he’s got a good shot of making the team as the backup shortstop over Jason Donald. It’d be nice having a switch hitter on the bench too. This guy’s a former all star and I think a gold glove winner. Another great pickup by Walt. Still can’t believe the Cards fired this guy. Who have thunk the Cards would be responsible for turning around the Reds. Alan Horn January 15, 2013 I agree. He could be the final piece we need(whether he is kept in AAA or breaks camp with the Reds). I also agree he likely takes Donald’s spot on the roster. If we wanted perfection, then another left handed reliever would probably be the final piece. I don’t think we need one that bad with Cingrani apparently ready and Arredondo’s effectiveness against left handed hitters. mauired January 15, 2013 I think the Reds will pickup a lefty or two before spring training on minor league deals. Rick Ankiel project anyone. What an arm he had before his nervous breakdown in the playoffs. Remember Jocketty loves his former Cards. He drafted Ankiel, and was the GM when they coverted him to a hitter. Maybe there’s one ressurrection left for Jocketty to try.