Klaw’s organizational rankings


One day after Frankie Piliere posted his organizational rankings, Keith Law did the same. He was a bit harsher on the Yanks than Piliere, ranking their system #25 overall. “Lost picks and trades depleted the system,” says KLaw. “After Jesus Montero, the next impact guys are probably Slade Heathcott and Gary Sanchez, with three pro games combined to date, while their highest-ceiling arm, Andrew Brackman, struggled with command in his first full year back from Tommy John surgery.”

Chances are Baseball America will rank the Yanks’ system somewhere in the 15-25 range, so that generally gives us an idea where the Yanks stand. There’s not much of a difference between the 15th best team and the 20th best team, or the 20th best team and the 25th best team. They were middle of the pack coming into the year, and after graduating so many players to the bigs while dealing two top 100 guys in Austin Jackson and Arodys Vizcaino, they were bound to drop.

Categories : Asides, Minors


  1. T-Dubs says:

    I’d love to see organizational rankings for players 25 or younger. Top 5?

  2. Salty Buggah says:

    Can’t wait until some of our high-upside lower level talent progresses to the upper levels. Following the farm system will get even more fun then.

    • Steve H says:

      And they should be able to replenish those lower level guys in draft and international free agency in the next few years, as they are certainly running a better ship with regards to development. Hopefully the can do that so there’s no gaps in the system, like they have now. Looking at the Sox, they have the same gaps as well. Most of their top talent is in the lower levels as well. Does anyone know where Klaw had them ranked?

      • Steve H says:

        Heh, next time I’ll click the link before I post…..

        • Put aside for a moment the obvious similarities between the Sox bottom-heavy farm system and the Yankees bottom-heavy farm system. Yes, they’re way more similar than people are making them out to be, but yes, the Sox deserve to be higher than us. 22 spots higher than us is a bit much, but whatevs.

          The Sox farm system is NOT better than the Rays. That’s ri-dic-u-freaking-lous.

          1) Rangers
          2) Rays

          (mammoth gap)

          3) Braves
          4) Orioles
          5) Rockies (I may be a little bullish on their guys)
          6) Indians

          (large gap)

          Everybody else.

          I’d say the Sox are in that large third tier, mixed in with the Cubs/Royals/Reds/Marlins/A’s. They’re probably at the top of that tier, though. I’d be comfortable with a #7 ranking for them.

      • pat says:

        Of course they’re second. If our farm had two current Hall of Famers in it we’d be ranked higher too.

        • Steve H says:

          By two current Hall of Famers you mean Casey Kelly-SS and Casey Kelly-P right?

        • Thomas says:

          If our farm had two current Hall of Famers in it we’d be ranked higher too.

          You mean like Jesus and Melvin. Or were you assuming the putting them in the HOF would be an insult to their greatness?

        • Chris says:

          Are the Sox really second? What comments did he have on their system? I don’t have insider, so can’t see the full list…

          • What comments did he have on their system?

            2. Boston Red Sox
            The Red Sox have more players in the top 100 than the Rangers and have almost comparable depth, but they don’t have the high-end prospects to match a Smoak, a Feliz, or a Martin Perez, all of whom are high-ceiling and nearly major league-ready. Boston has stuffed its lower levels with gambles on over-slot high school kids after the first two rounds, giving the Red Sox a chance to add those high-ceiling kids even though they don’t typically have a pick among the first 20 overall.

  3. Ivan says:

    The yankees will be in the top 5 no time. Every organization has its and downs with their minor league system.

  4. Ed says:

    I can’t complain about the farm being weak. The Major League team just won the World Series and is in great shape to go for next year’s title. The team as a whole is young, and the older players are among the best at their positions.

    You can’t be strong in all areas, so I’ll take this tradeoff.

  5. Rose says:

    We’ve been a powerhouse for a while now (albeit haven’t won in a while either) but it’s set us back in the drafting order for a while now…and we’ve still been able to draft guys like Joba, Hughes, Action Jackson, etc. having the luxury of paying more for the expensive guys who may drop in the order…as well as taking risks on the injury risks that have turned out alright in some instances…but you’re going to have the ones that don’t work out as well. Everyone is.

    I don’t think we have anything to worry about. We’re exactly where we want to be right now. The team to beat…the best team in baseball.

    Would you rather be a mediocre team with the best farm system (with no guarantees of success in the majors) or be the best team with a mediocre farm system?

    I’ll take the latter any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

    • Aj says:

      Give it 2-3 years before the yanks are top 5-10 again, once or good prospects advance and we draft other players well be good. Unless cashman keeps trading like this of season. But wwith the next crop of free agents next year we won’t have to worry about a trade. Hopefully the yanks offer vasquez arb next season and take the pics!!

  6. jsbrendog officially approves signing Fernando Tatis says:

    what i’d really like to see them institute if/when they rework the draft is the ability to trade draft picks. not only would it cripple poorly run teams (mets trade first round pick to such and such a team for sucky player a and then sign type a sucky player b to lose first rd pick the following year) but to me it would make the draft mroe exciting like the nhl/nfl drafts where on draft day its not, well washington will pick strasburg for sure and not, will team b trade these 3 young stars and their first round pick to washington for the chance to get strasburg?

    you can tarde rule v picks, so why not draft ones?

    • jsbrendog officially approves signing Fernando Tatis says:

      and i didnt think this was offtopic because it owuld have a direct impact on these farm system rankings and such. if this is too far offtopic my bad.

  7. AndrewYF says:

    I’d like to know where KLaw ranked Boston’s system. Their top ‘impact’ guys are Westmoreland and Kelly, neither of whom have over a year of experience under their belts.

  8. Jake K says:

    The thing that concerns me (aside from the fact that KLaw had the Red Sox #2) is the combination of the Yanks’ farm system being rated so poorly + the teams’ seemingly new insistence on sticking to a $200 million payroll. That’s why I didn’t understand the Granderson trade. Yes, he’s a better player than Ajax is now or may ever be. But if this team is at its upper payroll limit, we need young, cheap players like Ajax more than ever.

    So with arbitration raises for the younger guys and increasing salaries for some of the veteran players, how does this team stick to that payroll figure when, other than Montero, there are no other position players in the system anywhere close to being ready to contribute?

  9. CountryClub says:

    I’m sorry, but there is no way that there’s a 23 spot difference between Boston and NY. Both farms are very similar: very little talent ready for the bigs and much high end talent in short season and A ball.

  10. pat says:

    #2 Boston Red Sox
    The Red Sox have more players in the top 100 than the Rangers and have almost comparable depth, but they don’t have the high-end prospects to match a Smoak, a Feliz, or a Martin Perez, all of whom are high-ceiling and nearly major league-ready. Boston has stuffed its lower levels with gambles on over-slot high school kids after the first two rounds, giving the Red Sox a chance to add those high-ceiling kids even though they don’t typically have a pick among the first 20 overall.

    I’m pretty sure you can say the exact same thing about our farm too. Unfortunately we don’t have teh espn hype machine sucking our balls over Manny Banuelos and Austin Romine.

    • Tom Zig says:

      I thought Keith Law was pretty fair overall. I did think Boston was ranked pretty high, but admittedly I have nothing to back my opinion up. I mean it’s not like Peter Gammons, Dan Shaughnessy, and Bill Simmons came up with these rankings.

      • AndrewYF says:

        KLaw likes to be edgy, and go against the grain.

        Unfortunately for him, he seems to think that everyone not slobbering themselves over Boston being an unstoppable juggernaut of unrivaled player evaluation and talent, not to mention health, is some kind of populist backlash that’s totally unwarranted, so he wants to be the lone standard bearer.

        I just don’t think he got the memo that Boston was never that juggernaut to begin with.

        • Rose says:

          KLaw likes to be edgy, and go against the grain.

          Yeah, I was going to say…following the orders on a memo received by the Red Sox Propaganda Machine isn’t exactly going against the grain or being “edgy” by any means lol.

          All the writers and analysts do it because they were the underdog liberated little brother that never got their fair share. Exaggerating about the Red Sox greatness sells…and is what most people like to read about. Not only because there are a lot of Red Sox fans out there now…but also because a lot of people hate the successful Yankees…and anything good about the Red Sox subconsciously means (to some people) something bad for the Yankees.

        • Chris says:

          He’s also said that he likes to see players in person before seriously rating them. I wonder if the fact that he lives in New England gives him more exposure to the Sox minor league teams and thus he has a tendency to over rate them.

    • JMK aka The Overshare's Garden Apartment Complex says:

      Meh, they have high-potential guys all across the diamond; we don’t have much in the infield. Sure, there’s Nunez, CoJo and Russo, but they’re meh-to-good, and all have major flaws. Renfroe and Iglesias in the MI, though Renfroe will probably move to 3B, both have really good upside, particularly Iglesias on defense. Guys like Fuentes, Kalish, Westmoreland, Hsuan in the OF all have starter potential, though a few are more toolsy than baseball players now (mostly Fuentes). Younginger, Mendez, and Kelly are all high-upside young pitchers.

      Let’s be fair, they have some potentially good-looking young players.

    • Bo says:

      It’s too bad the signability guys Oppenheimer has selected havent been you know good.

  11. JMK aka The Overshare's Garden Apartment Complex says:

    I think it’s a bit crazy for the Sox to be ranked #2, but the Yanks are around where they’re expected to be. Virtually all of our talent is under the age of 20, so no objections here.

    Regarding the Sox, they have a good group of talent with Kelly, Westmoreland, Kalish, Anderson, Iglesias, Rizzo, Pimintel, Renfroe, Esposito, Tazawa. That’s better than what the Yankees have, mostly because we only seem to have any “depth” at C, 2B, pitching. They have good talent spread out across the diamond, though it appears the Yanks have better pitching prospects (though not one as good as Kelly as of now).

    The Rays, Rangers, A’s, Indians I think are definitely above them. You can make a case for the Rockies and Marlins being ahead of them, too.

    They’re probably top 10, but #2? Really?

  12. pat says:

    Callis just said in his chat he thinks teh Jesus will be MiLBPOY


  13. T-Dubs says:

    The Red Sox being #2 on KLaw’s rankings is a minor, and somewhat comical, issue. What I find really fascinating is how their underperforming prospects have been consistently overvalued for the better part of a decade by the media and opposing GMs alike. Go back and look at that Schilling trade.

    Casey Fossum???

    • AndrewYF says:

      It wasn’t an overvaluation, it was the dumbass Arizona GM sticking it to Steinbrenner from stealing David Wells from them. I’m sure he had a justifiable reason to be angry, but you don’t take out your anger by firing twice – shooting your opponent in the foot while also shooting yourself in the chest.

      That might be the view from around the league. Steinbrenner had done a lot to piss off a lot of baseball executives. I’ve heard stories that several blame him alone for the skyrocketing of player salaries in the 2000s. It’s only natural for those guys to have wanted to prop up the only team that’s been able to threaten the Yankees’ stranglehold on major league success.

      /conspiracy theory

  14. Section 39 says:

    The fact is, we just has a lot of graduations in the past few years from our farm which make the farm system appear more depleted, but overall, isn’t a bad thing to see graduations into the ML level (Joba, Hughes, Cano, Robertson, Aceves, Gardner, Cervelli). Our ML level team has youth mixed in well, and the older players are veterans that have proven durability and high-level ability that won’t need replacement for a many years (AROD, Tex, CC, AJ). This gives us the time to continue building.

  15. baseballnation says:

    “After Jesus Montero, the next impact guys are probably Slade Heathcott and Gary Sanchez” Because Austin Romine is a hack with out a bat and Murphy is a no upside player? And forgot about Mcallister or Banuelos….fodder chatter…Good going Boston, Good going, its proven again that espn is the butt buddy of the Red sox.

    • CountryClub says:

      No, Keith Law is. I know the RAB guys defend him often, but I think the guy is anything but impartial.

      • Bo says:

        And now Law is a Sox fan biased writer.

        I’ve heard it all.

        • pete says:

          i wouldn’t necessarily go that far, though romine and murphy are pretty glaring omissions from his write-up. IMO, top 10 and bottom 10 rankings should be thoroughly explained. Calling two 18-year-olds with basically no playing time the “next” in line impact guys after Montero while blatantly ignoring some of the teams best prospects (Romine, banuelos) is either an example of fairly strong bias, or plain old laziness. Considering how much good work KLaw does, I’d say its more likely the former. Throw in the inexplicable ranking of the redsox, who do not have a single high-level impact player right now, in front of the rays, who have 4 impact players with upside as high as anyone in the sox system AT AAA, and it’s not at all unreasonable to call bias on this one. That’s not to disparage Law as a writer or a fairly insightful (especially by ESPN standards) baseball mind, and a good talent evaluator. Everyone has biases. Law just didn’t do a very good job hiding them here, that’s all.

  16. Andy’s gonna be so heartbroken tomorrow when Jestin Romtero doesn’t make the top 100.

  17. Can’t argue with that ranking, really.

  18. David says:

    They forgot to include the Yankees AAAA affiliate in Pittsburgh. I’m thinking Dotel and Doumit should be in the Bronx by the end of July.

    • I’m thinking Dotel and Doumit should be in the Bronx by the end of July.

      In exchange for Mitch Hilligoss. Yup, that’s right, we’re trading him to the Pirates even though we already traded him away to the Rangers.

      It’s the Pirates. By the time they notice, the ink will be dry and there’s no turning back.

      • Step One: Acquire Jesus Montero from the Cardinals.
        Step Two: Trade THAT Jesus Montero to the Pirates for McCutchen, making them think it’s THE Jesus.
        Step Three: Championship.

        • pete says:

          It’s so crazy it just might work. I would actually consider doing it if I were cashman. Although I’d probably target the mets as suitors, see if we can’t take that big ol’ sack of frustration Fernando Martinez off their hands.

  19. Tom Zig says:

    How are the Mets ranked so high?

  20. pete says:

    I have no problem with the yanks’ ranking. but putting the sox in front of the rays is inexplicable. if you’re going to put the yanks as low as 25th because their high-upside talent is for the most part so far away, and their prospects in the AA-AAA range look like MLB average players or utility infielders who don’t field particularly well, then it’s awful tough to justify putting the sox in front of the rays. The rays have Desmond Jennings, Wade Davis, Jake McGee, and Jeremy Hellickson all ready to jump in in the event of injury, and likely produce at above average levels. That’s 4 players with as much upside as anyone in the sox system, all with multiple years of professional performance to back it up, and all just about major-league ready.

  21. Bo says:

    When Andrew Brackman is your best pitching prospect you know the team ranking will be really low.

    Oppenheimer has struck out a few straight yrs here with the signability guys. Starting with the complete misfire on Cole. Who would probably be in everyones top 10 list of prospects if he signed. Not getting a firm comit out of him really hurts.

    • Who said Brackman is the best pitching prospect? I’d put a handful of guys ahead of him.

    • pat says:

      He said he had the highest ceiling in the farm. he probably has one of the highest ceilings in the whole league as well. That mans nothing.

    • Steve H says:

      So when do you come out like alex gonzalez and tell everyone you’ve been screwing with us the whole time? Or can you really not read and comprehend?

    • ROBTEN says:

      To say that Brackman certainly didn’t wow anyone in his first season might be an understatement, but it is amazing how quickly some seem to be ready to declare a kid just returning from TJ surgery a bust (and not just Bo).

      As Fangraphs pointed out (with those evil, evil things called “statistics”):

      “Overall in 2009, he ended his first season with 106 hits in 106.2 innings of work. The biggest downside was obviously the walk total, as he posted a walk rate of 6.41 BB/9. His strikeout rate was good at 8.69 K/9 and he did a respectable job of keeping the ball in the park with a homer rate of 0.68 HR/9. Brackman’s numbers were much better when he came out of the bullpen, which is likely a result of needing to improve his stamina, as well as his secondary pitches. He was, after all, injured and unable to pitch for a year and a half. Prior to the injury he was a two-pitch pitcher with a mid-to-high-90s fastball and a plus curveball. Both pitches showed some rust post-surgery.

      In reality, Brackman’s season really wasn’t that bad, especially if you ignore the ERA (His FIP was 4.66). Yes, he was old for the league and did not dominate, but he was raw for his age coming into pro ball and his control has always been issue.”


      or, short version, the burrito is still in the microwave.

  22. Mister Delaware says:

    I don’t see the big deal. I imagine we weren’t much higher than middle of the pack before trading Vizcaino and Jackson, so, logically … right? And the Klaw loves Boston stuff is silly. He was one of the most outspoken non-Pedroia guys in the beginning so its not simply Boston = Correct like some are reducing it to. His likes just mesh with Theo & Co.’s likes, its as simple as looking at his pre-2009 draft top 100 and seeing how many Boston took.

    • Mister Delaware says:

      And the Cole thing. That was an absolute killer.

    • pete says:

      honestly, if the sox had been even as high as #3, I wouldn’t bother complaining, disagree or not. But putting them in front of the rays is simply inexcusable, and batshit insane. As talent progresses, depth thins out. Right now the sox have 8-10 guys with good upside and a decent chance at turning it into results. Two years from now, when the sox current top prospects have a couple of years experience, there’s a good chance that only 2 or 3 of those guys will still be being looked at as big-time prospects. Right now, in addition to plenty of lower level talent, the rays have an excellent defensive SS with a league-avg bat in Reid Brignac, one of the two best outfield prospects in the game, who projects as a terrific defender with a decent bat and great speed (basically Crawford 2.0) in Desmond Jennings, a righty pitcher with great stuff and great numbers throughout 2+ years of minor league PT in Wade Davis, a lefty pitcher with solid-good stuff and terrific numbers in 1+ years of minor league PT in J Hell, and a righty pitcher with great stuff and good numbers in the minors, albeit coming off of injury in Jake McGee. No team, not even the rangers, has that kind of ACTUAL depth. The sox’s MiL depth right now is like the sox’s MLB depth last year. It comes down to quality vs. quantity, and quality is ALWAYS better.

  23. baseballnation says:

    I’m just amped to see a healthy Jairo Heredia this season…Him and Banuelos progression intrigue me. And if JR Murphy comes along that gives the Yankees three pretty awesome catching prospects (yeah yeah Montero has serious questions on his ability to play C regularly) when good catching chips are far and few between. Throw in whatever Sanchez and Higa do and thats gravy.

  24. [...] Montero appeared in several top 100 prospects lists, while the team’s farm system was ranked towards the back of the [...]

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