Recent Posts

Ranking Farm Systems By Prospect Surplus Value Method

Austin Meadows, although ranked lower than Tyler Glasnow, provides more potential value to the Pirates' system.

Austin Meadows, although ranked lower than Tyler Glasnow, provides more potential value to the Pirates’ system.

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
Hitters #1-10 $73.5M
Hitters #11-25 $62.0M
Hitters #26-50 $38.2M
Hitters #51-75 $22.4M
Hitters #76-100 $20.6M
Pitchers #1-10 $69.9M
Pitchers #11-25 $39.0M
Pitchers #26-50 $29.8M
Pitchers #51-75 $16.5M
Pitchers #76-100 $15.6M

Now let’s put that information to use by totaling up each farm system.

Rank Team # Players Total Surplus Value (in M)
1 LAD 7 $271.70
2 BOS 5 $252.10
3 TEX 5 $230.50
4 HOU 7 $215.20
5 WAS 5 $212.80
6 MIN 6 $200.10
7 ATL 7 $193.50
8 COL 6 $181.50
9 PHI 5 $169.40
10 PIT 4 $159.80
11 MIL 4 $150.60
12 CIN 6 $141.50
13 CLE 5 $129.10
14 TB 4 $114.30
15 NYY 3 $97.00
16 NYM 3 $82.00
17 CHI 3 $81.20
18 STL 1 $69.90
19 OAK 2 $68.00
20 SDP 3 $65.40
21 TOR 1 $62.00
22 CWS 2 $54.70
23 KC 2 $53.80
24 ARI 2 $36.20
25 DET 1 $29.80
26 SFG 1 $22.40
27 BAL 0 $0.00
28 LAA 0 $0.00
29 MIA 0 $0.00
30 SEA 0 $0.00

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
1 LA Dodgers 1 0
2 Houston Astros 4 -2
3 Atlanta Braves 7 -4
4 Boston Red Sox 2 2
5 Washington Nationals 5 0
6 Colorado Rockies 8 -2
7 Texas Rangers 3 4
8 Philadelphia Phillies 9 -1
9 Milwaukee Brewers 11 -2
10 Minnesota Twins 6 4
11 Pittsburgh Pirates 10 1
12 Cincinnati Reds 12 0
13 Tampa Bay Rays 14 -1
14 St. Louis Cardinals 18 -4
15 New York Mets 16 -1
16 Cleveland Indians 13 3
17 New York Yankees 15 2
18 Oakland A’s 19 -1
19 San Francisco Giants 26 -7
20 Chicago Cubs 17 3
21 Kansas City Royals 23 -2
22 Arizona Diamondbacks 24 -2
23 Chicago White Sox 22 1
24 Toronto Blue Jays 21 3
25 San Diego Padres 20 5
26 Detroit Tigers 25 1
27 Baltimore Orioles 27 0
28 Seattle Mariners 28 0
29 Miami Marlins 29 0
30 LA Angels 30 0

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.

About Kevin Creagh (289 Articles)
Nerd engineer by day, nerd writer at night. Kevin is the co-founder of The Point of Pittsburgh. He is the author of Creating Christ, a sci-fi novel available on Amazon.

3 Comments on Ranking Farm Systems By Prospect Surplus Value Method

  1. Harry Schade // February 17, 2016 at 4:51 PM //

    TPOP has become my favorite site to visit. All the articles are thoughtfully done, and the writers analyses are high quality. Keep up the great work.

    • Kevin Creagh // February 18, 2016 at 7:33 AM //

      Wow. That’s very high praise and I’m pleased to hear that. Keep spreading the word and thanks for reading!

  2. I had to check the Angels system a couple times to see if it is this bad. They only have one player graded at 55. The Cubs, by comparison, have nine.

Comments are closed.