John Sickels has been posting his 'Top 20' prospect lists for each team over at his website. He finished up the final teams this weekend so I decided it'd be interesting to try to quantify his rankings.
The natural thing to do with Sickels' letter grades is to take those and figure out the GPA like you would in the academic world. However, when you use a scale like that youíre assuming that an A and a C is equal to two Bs. I think itís highly unlikely that a GM would trade one of his A prospects for two B prospects, let alone throw in a C prospect. So I tried to come up with a scale that was more realistic that gave more credit to teams with top prospects. Hereís what I ended up with:
A 12 A- 9 B+ 6 B 4 B- 3 C+ 2
Using this scale it takes three players to equal one player a full letter grade higher. For example, three B- players are equal to one A- player. Similarly, three B players equal one A player. I think itís a fair representation of the return that teams get from players. Would something like this happen in the baseball world? Probably not, but prospects are very rarely traded for each other anyway.
The other thing that I did with Sickelsí top 20 lists was to give no credit for C prospects. One reason is that these players are all long shots, but the other reason is that with a cutoff of the top 20 players youíre not going to get a good comparison from one organization to another. One organization might go 30 deep with C or better and another might only go 22 deep. For instance, the Diamondbacks had 18 players that were a C+ or better and 2 C players in their top 20. On the other hand the Mets only had 9 players with a C+ or better, with 11 players getting Cs. Itís not likely that the Mets had too many more C prospects, but itís likely that the Diamondbacks did and they would not get credit for that going just on the top 20. (Note Ė there were 7 teams that had at least 20 C+ or higher ranked players so if they had C+ players beyond the top 20 theyíd be getting shortchanged a bit. The teams are Giants, Braves, Twins, Brewers, Dodgers, Indians, and Marlins.)
Onto the rankings!
Team Total Diamondbacks 89 Dodgers 86 Marlins 83 Angels 76 Twins 76 Indians 76 Giants 70 Braves 67 Brewers 67 Devil Rays 67 Athletics 62 Orioles 59 Red Sox 59 Astros 58 Rockies 58 Rangers 54 Cubs 53 Cardinals 53 Royals 52 Blue Jays 51 Tigers 49 Yankees 48 Mariners 47 Pirates 47 Padres 47 Phillies 43 White Sox 42 Nationals 40 Reds 38 Mets 32
One thing to consider with these rankings is trading. The Marlins would have been in the middle of the pack if they didnít have their fire sale this offseason. So while theyíre in the top tier of prospects their major league team is going to be awful this year. The Phillies ranked low, but would have been even lower if they didnít make the Thome trade where they picked up a couple pitching prospects from the White Sox.
On the other side of things several teams weakened their minor league system to acquire players to help them now. The Mets are a prime example, trading just about everyone they could with the exception of Milledge to get Delgado and LoDuca. As mentioned already, the White Sox weakened their farm system to acquire Jim Thome and Javier Vazquez, the Red Sox traded a few prospects to the Marlins for Josh Beckett, and the Braves parted with Andy Marte to get Edgar Renteria. To a lesser degree the Jays weakened their system when they traded away Zach Jackson. If they had held onto him they would have ranked 16th, but wouldnít have Lyle Overbay.