Ranking each farm system by trade value

If you’re a serious baseball fan, you’ve probably seen a few farm system rankings from major outlets like Baseball America and Fangraphs. Here at BTV, we use our valuation estimates to do similar lists – to rank each system by trade value. It’s a way to assess how much prospect capital each team’s front office has to work with in their portfolio.

We look at it two ways: first, a list based on each team’s top 30 prospects, which shows us a deep perspective of each system as a whole; then, a list focused solely on each team’s top 10 prospects, so we can see the extent to which teams are top-heavy.

Farm system rankings by asset value of each team’s Top 30 prospects (values in $Ms):

  1. Rays: 391.6
  2. Padres: 375.3
  3. Braves: 329.6
  4. Twins: 299.8
  5. White Sox: 286.3
  6. Dodgers: 270.2
  7. Orioles: 267.1
  8. Tigers: 259.2
  9. Marlins: 252.5
  10. Giants: 249.1
  11. Athletics: 240.5
  12. Indians: 232.3
  13. Cardinals: 225.0
  14. Blue Jays: 224.1
  15. Mariners: 222.5
  16. Diamondbacks: 213.2
  17. Angels: 201.2
  18. Royals: 198.5
  19. Pirates: 183.6
  20. Yankees: 183.2
  21. Rockies: 182.4
  22. Astros: 177.6
  23. Nationals: 172.0
  24. Reds: 168.0
  25. Mets: 167.6
  26. Phillies: 167.5
  27. Rangers: 164.4
  28. Cubs: 147.8
  29. Red Sox: 120.3
  30. Brewers: 83.3

As has been the case for a while, the Rays and Padres are still the dominant systems – they have more prospect capital than they know what to do with. As a result, we’ll likely see both teams start to move some of that capital for roster crunch reasons (and taking some underpays as a result of reduced leverage, since every other team knows they need to move ‘em or lose ‘em). The Rays already started this process at the deadline, moving Nick Solak for a reliever and Jesus Sanchez for a reliever and back-end starter.

You might be surprised to see the Orioles at No. 7 – after all, it wasn’t long ago that they were near the bottom. They got a big boost from Adley Rutschman, and have seen the value of some prospects appreciate, like DL Hall and Grayson Rodriguez. It’s a similar story for the Giants, who benefit from Joey Bart’s appreciation, drafting Hunter Bishop, and three younger prospects who are also appreciating a bit.

You can also see that some rebuilding teams are starting to gain momentum. In addition to the Orioles, the Tigers are moving up gradually due to both appreciation and draft picks like Riley Greene, and the Marlins are showing life thanks to trade acquisitions and drafting.

Some farms are weaker due to graduations, like the Blue Jays (Guerrero and Bichette having become major leaguers).

At the bottom, the Brewers have taken over the No. 30 slot from the Red Sox, who are at least starting to see some appreciation from guys like Tristan Casas and Bobby Dalbec. But Milwaukee has very little left after Keston Hiura’s graduation, and if they continue in win-now mode, they’re looking at some dark days ahead once their window closes.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox, and new top exec Chaim Bloom, have their work cut out for them to restock; the Rangers are in trouble as well – they have holes on their major league roster and very little to work with on the farm; the Cubs at least saw some life from top prospects Nico Hoerner and Miguel Amaya, but it’s a pretty bare system overall; and it’s a similar story for the Phillies – they may need to spend more free agent money on the MLB team, because there’s little help coming from the farm.

Now let’s focus on the top end.

Farm system rankings by asset value of each team’s Top 10 prospects (values in $Ms):

  1. Rays: 333.8
  2. Padres: 315.9
  3. Braves: 292.6
  4. Twins: 244.4
  5. White Sox: 243.2
  6. Orioles: 227.7
  7. Dodgers: 223.4
  8. Tigers: 223.2
  9. Giants: 213.7
  10. Athletics: 203.1
  11. Mariners: 201.5
  12. Marlins: 197.7
  13. Cardinals: 181.5
  14. Blue Jays: 176.7
  15. Angels: 171.4
  16. Indians: 171.2
  17. Royals: 165.9
  18. Diamondbacks: 162.2
  19. Pirates: 154.6
  20. Nationals: 149.9
  21. Rockies: 145.2
  22. Astros: 139.3
  23. Reds: 138.6
  24. Mets: 137.8
  25. Phillies: 134.3
  26. Cubs: 118.8
  27. Yankees: 115.9
  28. Rangers: 102.1
  29. Red Sox: 87.3
  30. Brewers: 52.2

You’ll notice that a few teams drop in this view. What that shows is that they have less top end, but more middle. The Yankees, for example, have no top prospects in the Top 50 by most outlets. They have a few next-tier guys like Deivi Garcia and Jasson Dominguez, and lots of young lottery tickets (their process seems to be to spread their bets across a variety of young talents, particularly with Latin American players; most of them bust, but occasionally one turns into Luis Severino or Domingo German – it’s similar to the music business, where record companies sign 10 bands, knowing one will turn into a superstar that pays for the other nine who don’t). 

We should note that each team has a long tail of players whose values are in the low single digits or less, and those lists of 1s and 2s don’t move the needle at all.

So by and large, the rankings are similar, because the majority of the overall prospect capital in each system comes from each team’s Top 10. That’s where the future impact major leaguers are, and therefore where the bulk of the value lives.

About the Author

John Bitzer

John Bitzer

Founder and editor of baseballtradevalues.com
2 Comments
  1. Matthew Swinkey

    I think it would be cool to see a total organizational value ranking, with MLB assets + prospects.

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