Pre-Draft Farm System Rankings Are Now Live

© Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

All 30 Top Prospect lists are now in the books. They spanned roughly 260,000 words of analysis and opinion regarding roughly 1,500 prospects and the systems they occupy, plus the tool grade components on The Board. Thanks to Kevin Goldstein, Brendan Gawlowski, and Tess Taruskin for their help, to Sean Dolinar for building the tools that allow me to produce these lists with such detail by removing a huge part of the technological burden, and to managing enabler editor Meg Rowley, who edited every word of every list and with whom I’m lucky to share enough pathological traits to make this all possible.

Every word of those write-ups is cemented on The Board’s 2022 Report section, which is now set in stone on the site for future reference. As players are traded and drafted over the next few weeks, or if their Future Value grade changes throughout the rest of the season, those alterations will be found in the 2022 Updated option on the dropdown menu. Players who graduate (i.e. lose rookie eligibility within this season) will move from the 2022 Updated page to the 2022 Graduates page, which already includes the players who have played enough this season to move off the prospect end of things. This is accessible through the Seasonal tab on The Board, though the default for the Seasonal tab at the moment takes you to the Futures Game rosters, so until next week you’ll have to use the dropdown to access the graduates.

That brings me to the Farm System Rankings, which are now live on the site. Readers have a couple of different options in this area. First, there are the live farm system rankings, viewable through the 2022 Updated drop down. These will fluctuate and change shortly after players are drafted, traded, or graduate, or move as they around the org lists. For instance, the Rays are currently ranked first, but they’ll drop to seventh as soon as Shane Baz graduates, which could be after his next start. This contradiction exists in farm rankings: a young player is good enough to get significant playing time at the big league level, and the result of this is the team falls in the system rankings. Folks who can feel the dissonance there should look at the farm rankings from the 2022 Report page, which includes Julio Rodríguez, Adley Rutschman, Bobby Witt Jr. and other recent graduates in the math that generates the rankings. The aim for the future is to enable you to toggle recent graduates on and off when you’re looking at the live rankings, giving you more of a “young players” ranking than one that only cares about prospect-eligible players. At some point, the calculations should be dictated by what the players are and not what I forecast them to be, and figuring out how and when to transition from one to the other in this hybridized prospect/pre-arb (maybe?) assessment is a thing we need to nail down.

Based on where they are on the current rankings, how much draft capital they have, and their pre-deadline posture as sellers, I’d guess that Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Arizona will be the top three systems after the trade deadline, with Cincinnati a dark horse candidate to climb into that area if they get a huge haul for Luis Castillo. I’d consider some of the teams who have among the most listed prospects and who also have a strong developmental track record — such as the Dodgers, Red Sox and Guardians — to reinsert themselves into that top tier within the next year, just through the sheer volume of opportunities they have to make players better.

I’ll continue to update the pro lists over the next several weeks, with contenders and likely deadline buyers my priority, since they’re the ones most likely to move prospects. For right now though, there will be updated draft rankings and a mock draft on the site this week, followed by the migration of those players to the pro side of the lists shortly after the draft. Be on the lookout for that stuff and thanks for your continued support of FanGraphs.

Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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1 year ago

Thanks, Eric! Congrats on getting all the prospect lists done, must be a good feeling.