Yankees rank 23rd in Baseball Prospectus’ farm system rankings


Baseball Prospectus published their annual organizational rankings today and, best of all, you don’t need a subscription to read the piece. The entire thing is free. The Twins, led by elite prospects OF Byron Buxton and 3B Miguel Sano, sit at the top of the list and are followed by the Cubs and Pirates. The Angels predictably sit in the basement.

The Yankees rank 23rd and the write-up says they “have talent in the minors—which helps separate them from the poorer systems in baseball—but down years from key prospects caused the system to yo-yo from middle of the pack to the bottom third … In a talented yet schizophrenic system, all it takes is a return to form from some of the more heralded names on the farm and the Yankees will shoot back up the org rankings.” That sums it up pretty well, no?

Categories : Asides, Minors


  1. PunkPitch says:

    Guys like Tyler Austin, who have been injured, are NOT elitevMLB prospects. The system is devoid of that kind of talent, with or without injuries. I hope for Yankee fans sake, they go crazy and sign a boatload of Intl talent, because the org has no clue how to draft in June. Fact… not glass half full BS.

    • AndrewYF says:

      Actually, the Yankees have 2 elite-level prospects in their system – Gary Sanchez, and Manny Banuelos.

      All of the 2013 first-rounders can also be elite prospects as soon as this year – we’ll just have to see them perform to find out.

      That is a vast difference than a system like the Angels or Brewers, which has virtually no one with even a whiff of elite-level talent.

    • jjyank says:

      There is plenty of talent. Some of that talent under performed, some were injured. Whether or not they bounce back is another conversation, but the talent is there.

      “because the org has no clue how to draft in June.”

      Is that based on two draft picks? Culver and DBJ? It’s odd that you’d say that following the June where they drafted three consensus first rounders in one year.

      • AndrewYF says:

        Ssh, you’re ruining the narrative.

      • Fin says:

        I don’t get lumping DBJ in with Culver anyway. DBJ wasn’t a first round pick and people treat it like the Yankees took him as the 1st overall pick in the draft. Culver was the clear over reach and huge mistake, but shit happens. It seems developing players is the Yankees issue, not finding talent.

        • Tanakapalooza Floozy says:

          We lump him in because no one in the baseball universe outside of the guy in the Yanks office who pushes the button thought that DBJ should’ve been picked where he was picked. He was the wrong pick at the time, and has panned out as such.

          • Preston says:

            That’s not true. We’re talking about guys who were both projected to go in the second round. One was taken 32nd, one was taken 51st, these aren’t the biggest reaches in the history of the draft.

    • lightSABR says:

      Hmm. Good try shooting for the daily parody award. Pretending you think that the Yankees can’t recognize 18-year-old talent in the U.S. but can recognize 16-year-old talent elsewhere is a nice touch. You get good marks for cleverly feigning total ignorance of how scouting and drafting works.

      That said, your satire of bad commenters’ unrealistic expectations for late first-round draft picks isn’t very creative, and it’s not exaggerated enough to be over the top. You should work on that. As is, it’s coming across more like you actually meant it than like parody.

      So, you’re a nominee for the daily award, but I’ll have to see what other submissions come in before I give it to you.

      • Tanakapalooza Floozy says:

        Actually, there is a material difference between scouting internationally and domestically. We never have access to the very best guys domestically, those who project as can’t miss or nearly so (and yes, I’m aware that even the top 10 draft picks have a high flame out rate). Not true internationally, where all it takes is money.

        And I’m not saying we do a great job internationally either necessarily, though we do seem to have far more success in heart at arena.

        • Tanakapalooza Floozy says:

          * that arena.

        • lightSABR says:

          Well… okay. I guess I was stretching a bit. Though I’m not sure the international spending restrictions leave a lot of room to get the best guys outside the U.S., either.

          I’m just saying, the guy seems to think the Yankees’ farm’s failures are due to total incompetence in their draft picks. If that’s the case, why should he think the amateur scouting department will have any idea whom to sign abroad? Sure, it’s different scouts on the ground, but it’s going to be the same people (Oppenheimer, etc.) pulling the trigger.

    • ALZ says:

      I don’t think they need elite to have a good chance. Not to mention that many of the elite prospects are getting drafted in the first 10 picks. This team is very active in free agency and should be for the future. Their finances are the biggest advantage they have, and should use it to help their team. What they really need is those middle players. Guys like Gardner and Nova, that aren’t stars but are solid players.

    • Mike says:

      We have a top 10 ranking if it wasn’t for some bad luck.

  2. dkidd says:

    i love what a hot mess the angels have become


  3. Dalek Jeter says:

    The Rays are 26th?! But I was told by commenters on this very blog that the Rays were good because something about their farm being better than ours and how even though they’ve been good/very good the past few years it wouldn’t make a difference that their farm would continue to be the best in baseball because Joe Maddon?

    • And the A’s with the great Billy Beane are 28th!

    • AndrewYF says:

      The difference is the Rays (and Oakland) have graduated top young talent to the majors in the past several years. You’ll likely see the Red Sox in the bottom half of rankings once they ‘lose’ Boegarts, Bradley, and some of their pitchers to the major league team.

      The Yankees…have not done this. They’re near the bottom because of injuries and under-performance. I actually can’t remember the last prospect the Yankees graduated to the major leagues. Nova? Dude’s 27.

      • Dalek Jeter says:

        Adam Warren, John Ryan Murphy, Austin Romine, Corbin Joseph, David Adams, Zolio Almonte, Melky Mesa, David Phelps, and that’s just off the top of my head of guys in recent years.

        • Dalek Jeter says:

          Sure, not many of them have been successful, but I think Warren and Phelps at the very least have distinguished themselves as guys capable of pitching in the majors while John Ryan and Almonte have shown the ability to compete and deserve a chance.

          • lightSABR says:

            Right. I think a lot of people have unrealistic expectations of what a successful Yankee farm system is going to look like. It’s not going to be producing Bryce Harpers and Stephen Strasburgs.

            It’s going to be producing Brett Gardners a bit more often than it is now, and Ivan Novas, and keeping the bullpen full of useful guys, and providing reasonable replacements when regulars go down so that the team doesn’t spend the season searching for Alberto Gonzalez / Reid Brignac types and hoping one of them sticks. Phelps and Warren aren’t world beaters, but they’re absolutely successes.

            • ALZ says:

              Right. They don’t get the high draft pick. They have the money they can sign the Harpers in free agency. It is helping this year too in a way. Look the contracts Hughes, Vargas, etc have gotten. If they can get Phelps/Pineda(a trade from farm netted him so is not free agency) to be a serviceable #5 that is $5-8M a year saved by not having to go get a backend starter.

            • Tanakapalooza Floozy says:

              It’s unrealistic to expect the Yanks to produce better MLB caliber players than the crop mentioned above?


              I can’t imagine being that satisfied with meh.

              • lightSABR says:

                I didn’t say anything about Corban Joseph, etc., and I didn’t say the team’s farm system doesn’t need to improve. Obviously it does. Everyone knows that.

                What I am saying is that if you don’t think Gardner, Nova, Phelps, and Warren are success stories, you have unrealistic expectations. Improvement in the farm is mostly going to mean more Gardners, Novas, Phelpses, and Warrens, rather than more Canos and Pettittes. Canos and Pettittes would be nice, sure, but given our draft position and the international spending restrictions, we just don’t get a shot at that kind of talent often.

                • The Big City of Dreams says:

                  Improvement in the farm is mostly going to mean more Gardners, Novas, Phelpses, and Warrens, rather than more Canos and Pettittes.


                  True but they do need a select few guys to be more Cano and Pettitte then the other group. Spending out of trouble will only last for so long.

          • AndrewYF says:

            I meant guys who have made a meaningful contribution to the team, like Nova and Robertson.

            Warren and Phelps are it I guess, but they are at the absolute periphery, and Phelps was below replacement level last year. No wonder I couldn’t remember them.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

          Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy do count as well.

          • AndrewYF says:

            I’m talking within the last 3 years, immediately after which is when it’s okay for a farm system to be at the bottom of the barrel. I was making the comparison to Oakland and Tampa Bay, who, while their farm systems are currently somewhat barren, at least have graduated high-impact talent to the major leagues.

          • Tanakapalooza Floozy says:

            Frankly their trend lines don’t bode all that well for them being in the conversation long term.

      • Tom K says:

        Think again on Oakland. If you think the Yankees are had at finding amateur talent, look at Oakland’s recent track record.

    • jjyank says:

      It’s almost as if the fact that a team not getting top 5 draft picks every year anymore has made a difference.

  4. Scout says:

    When a farm system underperforms over an extended period, several narratives are plausible. The bounce-back theme is popular during spring training, when players return from injuries and disappointing systems recede in the rear-view mirror. But another narrative also gains support from the evidence — that the Yankee organization, under Cashman’s full control for eight years, lacks the capacity to find and develop talent. There’s always some explanation or excuse for a particular bad year or disappointing prospect. The larger pattern, though, becomes harder to dismiss with each passing year.

    • Steve says:

      If you think that narrative becomes harder to dismiss with each passing year, you need to spend some more time on here

    • AndrewYF says:

      It’s actually easy to dismiss the pattern once it breaks completely, as it has done several times during Cashman’s tenure. 2014 is a big year for the Yankees system. It will be the first year that the ‘wondergroup’ of the 2013 draft actually play, and will be make-or-break years for many prospects who were top-tier only 2 years ago – Manny Banuelos and the three outfielders.

      Your words will be utterly meaningless if the Yankee farm has a bounce-back year, which it looks primed to do in all likelihood. Your words may start to have meaning if the entire group of talent fails – but don’t worry, you’re not ‘on’ to anything yet.

      • Tanakapalooza Floozy says:

        I disagree that a bounce back as described in your first paragraph disproves the facts behind the underlying pattern. Blind squirrels find nuts, broken clocks are right twice each day, etc.

      • Tanakapalooza Floozy says:

        And what are these several times during Cashman’s tenure of which you speak? The 95-96 bumper crop don’t count.

    • Preston says:

      The problem with this is that the beginning of Cashman really controlling the draft was in 2004, and the 2004, 2005 and 2006 drafts weren’t too shabby (they’ve produced about 75 WAR at the big league level). 2007 looks like a dud, but anything after that is really too soon to tell. So what you’re doing is trying to make a pattern out of things that haven’t happened yet.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

        Easy to do when you start at “Everything sucks” and work backwards.

        You’re exactly right.

      • Tanakapalooza Floozy says:

        Where does that 75 war rank across MLB?

        And how many of those guys are defense first value guys (e.g. Gardner) about which it is reasonable to treat as at least somewhat suspect due to the inherent subjective nature and flaws in the advanced defensive metrics?

        • Preston says:


          Here’s a good review of the 2004 draft. We ranked 17th, but only got 8.8 WAR from that draft, we did much better in 2005 and 2006. People who criticize the Yankees don’t realize how little production some teams get from the draft. 10 years later and the Braves produced 0 WAR from the 2004 draft. And You could regress Gardner or Jackson’s defense all you like, but that is purposefully skewing the numbers if you aren’t going to go through and do it for other players.

    • Cheval Anonyme says:

      By what objective measure has the farm system underperformed over an extended period? You can’t just say the Yankees have delivered fewer top layers through the draft, because: a. when they do draft in the first round, their pick is typically to the back of the round, b. they often lose their top pick(s), due to signing top free agents, and c. they let top free agents leave infrequently, so they get relatively few comp picks. Look at the draft for the past few years; the Red Sox typically have 3 to 4 1st and 1s round picks; the Yankees average barely over 1.

      • The Big City of Dreams says:

        the Red Sox typically have 3 to 4 1st and 1s round picks; the Yankees average barely over 1.


        That’s on them though.

    • Tanakapalooza Floozy says:

      “There’s always some explanation or excuse for a particular bad year or disappointing prospect.”

      Most people around here like these trees a great deal and have little interest in forest.

  5. jjyank says:

    That last part sums it up pretty great. I think the Yankees have a ton of talent and can easily shoot up 10+ slots in these rankings given good years by a few of the top prospects and the emergence of some new guys.

    I also thing “yo-yo” is a good way to view farm rankings in general. I don’t think you can look at one year’s rankings and say “these guys suck at building a farm”, or vice versa. Hell, it was only one year ago the farm system was rated as high as #11 in the game.

    I’m cautiously optimistic. A lot went wrong in 2013, just as it did for the MLB squad. I’m hopeful the odds will swing back in our favor in 2014.

  6. Jorge Steinbrenner says:

    The Rays are 26th and A’s are 28th. So many bags of dicks to eat.

  7. CONservative governMENt says:

    Seems fair and I agree that a bounceback year is a distinct possibility.

    Without getting into a flame war, I think most posters would like the Yankees to go with consensus picks early, like they did with Jagielo, Clarkin, Judge, Hensley and even Joba/Hughes.

    Keep it simple and spend up to your limits and things will be fine.

  8. ALZ says:

    I thought the Marlins were considered higher than 19. Or is it just because they graduated several players to the majors.

  9. Tanakapalooza Floozy says:

    This isn’t remotely surprising. Regression to the mean in 2014 will put us back in the middle of the pack, which will baffling satisfy many of you.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      which will baffling satisfy many of you.


      I guess it’s the crawl before you can walk theory.

    • Preston says:

      The Yankees have three distinct things that cause them to have a lesser farm system.
      1. They have have poor draft position.
      2. They sacrifice picks to sign FAs.
      3. They trade prospects to fill needs.

      They do these things every year, they do them more often than any other team. These are all the direct result of winning and trying to win now. I would not trade wins today for a stronger farm system. If given these handicaps they are still able to maintain an average farm system that would be an adequate outcome and probably enough to sustain a winning team given their financial resources.

      • Mike says:

        I agree. It’s almost impossible to win every year and have a top farm system.

        In my opinion, we have a top class farm and are favorites to win the World Series.

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