On Friday we saw Baseball America and ESPN release their farm system rankings. The two sources were pretty close with their rankings, too. Baseball America placed the Reds farm system 11th in baseball, while ESPN had them ranked 10th.
One thing that ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel offered with his rankings that Baseball America didn’t was a more precise “valuation”. Along with the actual ranking, McDaniel used a dollar value that’s assigned to each organization for “surplus value” that’s derived based on the future value grades given to prospects in a farm system based on how similarly rated players wound up performing in the past. You can read a lot more on that topic here if you would like to.
Here’s how the 30 teams in baseball stacked up.
I’ve put the Reds in red on the chart. There’s a big drop off after the top team, then a drop off after the next two, and then the next two. But the gap between the teams rated 6th and 12th is the same as the gap between 5th and 6th. That group of teams is bunched together quite well. The decline from 6th through the 23rd spot is gradual from team to team before you get another decent sized drop off near the bottom of the list.
As for Cincinnati’s farm team value – they’re sitting at $237,000,000 in “surplus value”. That’s $134,000,000 behind the top team in the game. It’s also $171,000,000 ahead of the team in the 30th spot.
The Reds farm system is in the “good, but not great” range. And given all of the guys that have exited the farm system in the last two seasons, that’s pretty impressive. There’s some correlation between the strength of a farm system and future winning, but it’s not a guarantee, either, especially once you get beyond the first few spots. Cincinnati has gone from 100 losses to a winning record in a short period of time and it’s largely been on the back of the farm system providing young talent to the big league club. We’ll have to see if those guys take another step forward in 2024, and how the prospects continue to develop in the minors – where they will likely get more time than the class before them did.