Dave Cameron of Fangraphs and USS Mariner fame has been counting down his rankings of all thirty organizations. He’s based his rankings on four main categories: Ownership, Front Office, Major League Talent, and Minor League Talent. He grades each category than tallies up the scores, however it’s a sliding scale rather than a straight average of the individual scores to get the overall. Unsurprisingly, the Nationals bring up the rear with an overall grade of F. That’s what happens when your ownership doesn’t care and your GM is incompetent and your scouting director can’t get his first round pick signed.
Also unsurprising is that the top three organizations in Dave’s rankings come from the AL East, with the Yanks specifically coming in third. Team Ownership gets the highest possible grade of A+ because, as Dave puts it, of the way the Steinbrenner’s have expanded the Yankee brand. The Major League roster also grades out with an A, and frankly how can it not. They employ arguably the best player at their position at first base and third base, as well as in the front of the rotation and at the back of the bullpen. You really can’t argue with the talent on the 25-man roster.
The Front Office scored slightly lower, coming in at a B+. Here’s Dave:
Brian Cashman doesn’t get enough credit for the things he’s done right in New York. Yes, the payroll gives their baseball operations department room to make mistakes that no other franchise could live with, but he’s continually targeted the highest quality of players. He’s also redirected significant cash back into the farm system to develop home grown talent, and he’s shown that he’s an adept trader when he needs to add a piece to the puzzle. The money obviously helps, but Cashman is a good GM, and the Yankees are run well.
Cashman is one of the more controversial figures in Yankeeland. Many point out the moves that haven’t worked with the benefit of hindsight, while others contend that you can justify those same moves based on the information known at that time. We at RAB fall into the latter camp obviously, but we’re not stubborn enough to think our GM is without his faults. Regardless of how anyone feels, Cash is the man in charge and he’s steered the ship to a prolonged run of excellence.
The final category is the team’s Farm System, which comes in the lowest rated of the four categories at just a C+. Could you argue that it should be a B- or possibly even a B? Yeah, you can, but we’re splitting hairs. Bottom line, the Yanks’ most Major League ready young talent works almost exclusively out of the bullpen, and there’s only one player that projects as an everyday regular above A-ball. Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and KLaw were all correct when they rated the farm system middle of the pack.
The two remaining organizations are the Red Sox and Rays, which shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. Both clubs should receive an A of some sort for the first three categories, but Tampa has Boston beat in the farm system department, so I expect The Little Team That Could down in Florida to top the rankings. The bottom line, the AL East is going to be ridiculously competitive for the next few years. Should make for some great baseball.