Baseball America rolled out their Top 100 Prospects for 2016 last week along with their ranking of all 30 MLB farm systems. Baseball America takes a holistic look at each team’s farm system, in terms of both star power and organizational depth, to come up with their rankings. More emphasis is placed on teams that have future impact players, rather than on systems that rely on systemic depth.
But what if we were to rank the farm systems by a more brutish method of potential prospect surplus value, using our newly unveiled 2016 Prospect Surplus Values? Will there be a correlation between the two lists? To refresh your memory, here are the values for Top 100 prospects, broken down by both hitter/pitcher and the relative tiers within the 100.
|Tier||2016 Surplus Value|
Now let’s put that information to use by totaling up each farm system.
|Rank||Team||# Players||Total Surplus Value (in M)|
Four teams didn’t even place a prospect in the Top 100, so they have no representative surplus value. The Pirates placed 11th on Baseball America’s farm system rankings and by this method they’re at 10th. This next chart shows each team and how their rankings by surplus value differ from BA’s ranking:
|Rank by BA||Team||Rank by Surplus Value||Difference|
|4||Boston Red Sox||2||2|
|13||Tampa Bay Rays||14||-1|
|14||St. Louis Cardinals||18||-4|
|15||New York Mets||16||-1|
|17||New York Yankees||15||2|
|19||San Francisco Giants||26||-7|
|21||Kansas City Royals||23||-2|
|23||Chicago White Sox||22||1|
|24||Toronto Blue Jays||21||3|
|25||San Diego Padres||20||5|
The Surplus Value method correlates pretty well to the overall Baseball America rankings, with 21 of 30 teams within +/- 2 spots of the BA rankings. The two largest outliers in either direction were the San Francisco Giants, with Surplus Value putting them seven spots lower than Baseball America. The Giants only had 1 player in the Top 100 (Arroyo at #62), so Baseball America is ranking them more on overall systemic depth, rather than star power. Conversely, Surplus Value was five spots higher on the San Diego Padres than Baseball America. With 3 hitters in the Top 100, Baseball America is making more of a statement over the lack of depth behind those three, apparently.
Baseball America has always been fairly explicit in stating that stars matter more than depth in their farm system rankings. This small exercise shows that consciously or unconsciously, they’ve not only been right about that, but also assigning internal monetary values to their decisions, as well.