State of the organization

I try not to get to philosophical when I write. You don’t follow baseball to understand yourself better—that’s what your shrink is for.

So when I drop quotes on you like “you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been,” don’t be shocked that it’s from a movie like “Hitch,” not an epic poet like Homer.

But it’s dawned on me that many of the fans who want to know where their team is going frankly don’t know where they’ve been —or at least don’t know where their organization has been or even where it is are right now. So before I spend any more time talking about prospect development, rising stars, or what’s “next,” it’s time to make sure everyone is up to speed on where their organization is right now.

And because I know you’re too busy to read a full-blown diatribe on every organization, I’ll keep each update to one sentence. You can thank me later.


Atlanta Braves: As much pitching depth as any team in the majors, led by the new Big Three of Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado and Arodys Vizcaino.

Florida Marlins: For an organization reliant on young, inexpensive talent, the graduation of Mike Stanton left them without much of it.

New York Mets: Lots of prospects near the majors, but where is the impact talent?

Philadelphia Phillies: Domonic Brown and a ton of young pitchers make up a system with remarkable depth considering what they’ve traded away in the past two years.

Washington Nationals: Exit Strasburg, enter Bryce Harper, although the Nats got much more than just one big bat in this year’s draft.

Chicago Cubs: Surprising depth both at the plate and on the mound means the latest rebuilding project on the North Side may not take as long as expected.

Cincinnati Reds: A nice mix of international talent like Yorman Rodriguez with college draft picks like Yasmani Grandal and Yonder Alonso gives the Reds system balance and impact.

Houston Astros: Still rebuilding a system decimated by a disastrous 2007 draft, but 2010 did see the emergence of some potential impact players, led by pitcher Jordan Lyles.

Milwaukee Brewers: Once a hitter-producing machine, the Brewers system now is barren of impact bats but has depth in its stock of solid arms.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Increased spending on top-flight arms has made the Pirates system relevant again, but everything worth mentioning is still years away.

St. Louis Cardinals: They may have drafted Zack Cox this year, but outside of that, who’s going to help Albert Pujols and Co. score some runs?

Arizona Diamondbacks: Trades and extra draft picks have given the D-Backs good depth, and the return of Jarrod Parker will certainly help.

Colorado Rockies: They’ve spent freely in the first round the past few years, and now have the impact arms to show for it.

Los Angeles Dodgers: The only top talent they have near the majors is Dee Gordon, and he is still very raw.

San Diego Padres: They can’t afford to have Donavan Tate bust like so many of their recent first-round picks, including their failure to sign this year’s pick.

San Francisco Giants: The legitimacy of Brandon Belt’s season will say a lot about the state of their system.


Baltimore Orioles: The system is weak thanks to graduations to the majors, but the progression of Manny Machado will be fun to watch.

Boston Red Sox: Too many of their highly regarded prospects aren’t developing as expected, which is making the aging process of veteran players that much harder to deal with.

New York Yankees: Their only impact bat in the minors has no position to play in the majors.

Tampa Bay Rays: Despite constant graduations to the majors, the Rays system remains deep year after year.

Toronto Blue Jays: New GM Alex Anthopoulos has rebuilt the Jays’ system, now complete with pitching depth and international players.

Chicago White Sox: Thanks to drafting college guys who graduate to the majors quickly, the Sox system is not deep, but at least they keep hitting on those picks.

Cleveland Indians: The trades of CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, and Victor Martinez returned no cornerstones for the team’s future.

Detroit Tigers: What they lack in depth, they make up for in high-end talent, thanks to the freedom to spend in the draft year after year.

Kansas City Royals: The Royals have possibly the deepest system in the majors, especially when it comes to pitching.

Minnesota Twins: There’s not much high-end talent here outside of Aaron Hicks, but Kyle Gibson should help soon.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Even without Mike Trout, the Angels system would have everything you could want—major league ready bats, power arms, depth—but having the minors’ best prospect is a nice cherry on top.

Oakland A’s: The A’s system looked a lot deeper this time last year, but the speed bumps of Michael Taylor (in the minors) and Chris Carter (0-for-and-counting in the majors) have left some serious question marks.

Texas Rangers: Still as much pitching depth as any organization in the majors, but the lack of impact first-rounders the past two seasons will catch up with them eventually, won’t it?

Seattle Mariners: Dustin Ackley and Michael Pineda should help the Mariners bounce back sooner than their major league record would indicate.

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Nick Steiner
12 years ago

Re: Cardinals, I think that Colby Rasmus and Matt Holliday might be of help.  They now have 3 players in the top 20 in wOBA:

12 years ago

At the major league level, yes.  Rasmus and Holliday would be the “and Co.” in “Albert Pujols and Co.” 

What I’m commenting on in the article is the state of each team’s minor league farm system, and in the Cardinals case, they have very little in the way of impact bats ready to join them in St. Louis.

Nick Steiner
12 years ago

Wow, eggs on my face.  To be honest, I only read the intro and skipped to the Cardinals.  To be fair, it wasn’t clear from that that this was only about the minors wink