John Sickels of Minor League Ball has released his initial grades for all 30 teams in Major League Baseball. The grades will be adjusted, slightly, in the next week or two, as Sickels goes through ranking players beyond just their organization. Still, even before the grades are 100% final, it’s always fun to see how the various farm systems stack up against each other.

The Methodology

There were many, many, many grades that were listed as Grade/Grade (for example: Grade A-/B+). In those cases, I simply gave the player the higher of the two grades listed. For Tampa Bay Rays Brendan McKay, who is both a pitcher and a position player, his value was assigned a split between his grade value as a pitcher and a hitter (the difference was just +/- 0.8, so it was a minimal change).

The values are based on works done by others, and myself (they did the hard work, I simply adjusted the “top whatever” prospect to John Sickels grades). If you want to really dive into that, here’s the place to start.

Here’s the value for prospects, depending on the grade given.

Team A A- B+ B B- C+
H Value 48.4 38.3 20.3 14.5 4.9 0.88
P Value 40.4 24.5 18.7 9.5 6.5 2.6

The 2018 Farm System Rankings

Values based on prospect grades by John Sickels –

Before the grades are finalized, the Cincinnati Reds rank 10th among Major League Baseball Farm Systems. The overall surplus value of the farm system for the Reds was $217.08M, and it was split rather evenly. The position side was 117.98, while the pitching was 99.1. That’s a 54/46 split. You can see how he graded the Reds prospects here. Here is the list of all 30 teams grades.

There are a few grade changes that could make differences on the chart above. Going from an A- to an A is a big boost in value. Likewise, so is going from a B+ to an A-. A pitcher going from a B to a B+ is pretty big of an increase, too. Those switches, if made, would be notable for several teams. If and when the grades are adjusted, I will try to remember to create a new post with the new rankings. But for now, I thought this would be a fun read.


8 Responses

  1. The Duke

    I feel pretty good about the future of the offense. A possibility we may be an elite offense, but at worst we should be average to above average. The whole rebuild is going to come down to just a select few guys:

    Luis Castillo
    Robert Stephenson
    Sal Romano
    Tyler Mahle
    Amir Garrett
    Jose Lopez
    Vlad Gutierrez
    Tony Santillan

    The Reds are going to need 3 playoff starters out of that group. Not even going to include Hunter Greene yet, he’s still a ways away from even being a rookie. If we get 3 legit playoff starters out of that group (and there is a shot it does happen) then we’ll be a serious competitor in our next “window”.

    • Bourgeois Zee

      I’d add Reed, Finnegan (remember, he’s only 24) and any other pitching prospect who’ll pitch in High A this season, but the reasoning is spot-on. IMO, both Castillo and Mahle look the part– ie, minor league numbers, feel for pitching, and/or stuff seems to be very, very good. Assuming health (always a dangerous assumption), I feel good about those two.

      Can they find a MOR guy out of the rest of them?

      • The Duke

        I was pretty sure I was forgetting somebody, but didn’t want to take the time to think about it. Finnegan I agree should be included. If he’s committed to throwing his changeup, he can be a good starting pitcher (assuming he can hold up). Reed needs to establish some consistency before we can consider him again.

    • wes

      Totally agree on needing 3 reliable starters for playoff caliber baseball. It’s completely different than regular season and you got to be prepared for that! You also need a real ace too. If I took one player first to build a team around for 1 season I’d take Bumgarner bc he’s lights out every playoff game! All the top of every NL contenterder (except Rockies) have at least 1 true Ace. So Reds need a guy they feel comfortable squaring off against a Kershaw/Scherzer/Greinke….no way you can say Castillo is that guy today and feel good about it like when you saw Cuato take the mound in his Reds playoff days.

      So they really need a true ace and two more legitimate starters. Prior to this weekend and slating Castillo as the hopefully the future Ace- I’d say Disco was the only guy close to filling any of those spots. He was a legit 2/3 when he was at his height in 2016. Any one else on that list you have to stretch to make an argument for. For every guy who is projected as a number 3 starter- there’s 3 more that were projected, had great minor league careers, and never panned out. Stephenson, Reed, and Garrett are 3 of those guys- All still at it, but all 3 were projected top of rotation guys.

      So that’s a big big IF imo that Reds have 3 of those guys in the system. I think they’ll need to acquire a guy to fill one of those rolls.

      Kinda crazy to think Arrietta could have been 1 for only 25 a mil on only a 3 year deal. If he wasn’t tied to a draft pick….

  2. JPhillips

    I guess it’s impressive that they’ve done so well with very little coming from the international market.

  3. Michael

    I agree, I think we have an excellent chance of having an elite offense. If we don’t develop the starters as you mentioned, do we buy? and if so, how quick? Perhaps event trade our upcoming #5 draft slot for a package deal for a controllable arm within the playoff window which is looking like 2019-2021. Let’s do this while we still have generational talent like Votto. If somehow Senzel can stick at SS during that Window we have ‘REAL’ chance to compete.

    • Bourgeois Zee

      It seems as if Williams is working under the Jocketty style (which makes sense) of patching huge offensive black holes with decent bats (save one extraordinary glove, a la Hamilton).

      The focus on OBP is nice– extra bases are great no matter how they’re acquired.

      But I question whether Cincinnati will have enough offensively to compete with the Chicagos and LAs and Washingtons of the world.

      Last year, Cozart and Gennett had career seasons that likely aren’t going to be approached in 2018. If Schebler hits like he did before and after his injured shoulder, that takes care of one “hole”. Can Senzel approach Cozart’s numbers at SS?

      ‘Cause that’s what it’ll take. (Unless some combination of Winker, Duvall, and Hamilton blossom.)

    • Bill

      Teams are only allowed to trade Competitive Balance Picks.