Umm, the D-Backs are good

File this under the random wanderings of my mind…

You may question the title of this post, since Arizona finished under .500 last year(though that was good for 2nd in the paltry NL West) and lost 111 games in 2004, but I’m talking more about their farm system. It is absolutely, positively chock full o’ talent.

Back in 2002, Baseball America ranked the D-Backs organization as No. 23 in terms of talent. It inched up to No. 21 in 2003. Then there was a leap to No. 13 in 2004. Last year? Arizona held steady at No. 13. This year, they’re all the way up to No. 4…and that ranking was determined before No. 1 pick Justin Upton signed. (Programming note: Be sure to tune in to Around the Minors on MLB Radio today at 2 p.m. ET, when Jim Callis from BA and Baseball HQ’s Deric McKamey hop on to talk about the top prospects in the game)

What made me think of this now? Well, I’m knee deep in research for my Top 50 prospects rankings (stay tuned to for a new, exciting fan participation element to the rankings) and there are future Diamondbacks all over the rankings. Without divulging anything, it’s looking like there could be 6 D-Back prospects in the Top 50 this year. That’s just astounding…and a testament to the work of scouting director Mike Rizzo and his staff. Most of the talent has come in via the draft, though there’s certainly been some international signings and trades that have helped as well.

The D-Backs have gone through many incarnations in their brief existence, from a high payroll, veteran-laden team to one relying on Baby Backs. The flow of talent now getting ready to come to Arizona from its own system means it should be able to sustain success for the long-term. (Programming note No. 2: Also on Around the Minors today, South Bend — the Diamondbacks’ Midwest League affiliate and likely home for Justin Upton in 2006 — manager Mark Haley will join us to talk about trying to defend the Silver Hawks’ Midwest League title and what it’s like managing in a system that seems to really be on the right path in terms of scouting and player development)


Hey, what do you think about the Yankees farm system? I know there are quite some talent in the lower A class teams, but overall would you rate them average, below averge or above?

I’d probably say they’re about average. A lot depends on what happens with the talent you mention at the lower levels. They’re very thin up top (kind of like my head), with Eric Duncan being the guy. Philip Hughes will join him soon, but they’ve certainly got some intriguing talent in the lower levels. That team in Charleston could be a lot of fun to watch.

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