Making sense of the Prospect Points Standings

By now, most of you have digested, debated and disputed (the “Three D’s of Prospect Rankings) the newly re-ranked Top 100 Prospects list. You’ve also likely taken a look at your team’s Top 20. But I’m writing today mostly because there does seem to be interest in part of the breakdown story I wrote regarding the “team competition.”

We realized a while ago that just noting who had the most number of players in the Top 100 wasn’t really a robust measure. So we tried to come up with a weighted measurement. As I wrote in the story:

“Does having the most prospects give you the best system? Not necessarily. Presence on a Top 100 list doesn’t speak to depth in a system or where talent is on the organizational ladder. But what if a weighted score was devised so as to look at which system had the most impact or elite talent?

Giving 100 points to the team with the No. 1 prospect, 99 to the team with No. 2 and on down, it turned out it wasn’t the teams with the six or seven names on the list that ranked at the top.”

With that section was a box of the top 10 teams according to these Prospect Points. While the Blue Jays lead all organizations with seven players currently on the list, they actually came in fifth. Here’s the box from the story.

Giving 100 points to the team with the No. 1 prospect, 99 to the team with No. 2 and on down, below are the top 10 teams in terms of “prospect points.”
Preseason Re-ranked
Team Points (*) Team Points (*)
SEA 329 (5) SEA 327 (5)
KC 290 (4) PIT 326 (6)
PIT 276 (4) ARI 321 (4)
ATL 267 (5) STL 320 (5)
ARI 253 (3) TOR 281 (7)
SD 237 (6) KC 277 (4)
TEX 236 (4) TEX 240 (4)
COL 229 (4) BAL 234 (3)
NYY 225 (4) BOS 225 (5)
WAS 206 (4) MIA 222 (3)

*The number in parentheses is the number of Top 100 Prospects the team has.

This has led to two things: 1) People thinking that this was an overall strength of organization ranking. And 2) People wanting to know about all 30 organizations and where they stood.

Let’s start with the first one. While this weighted system is better than just a count of which teams have how many, it’s not really meant to be an organizational strength ranking. It’s a ranking of which teams have the most impact/elite talent in their system currently. Getting more points for having players high up in the top 100 accomplishes that. But there are teams who would argue, rightfully perhaps, that just because they don’t have many players on the list, or many players at the top, that their farm systems are plenty strong.

The extreme example of this is the Chicago White Sox, the only team without a player on the Top 100 currently. The White Sox’s system has been much maligned in recent years for the lack of impact talent, but it’s hard to argue with success. Sure, they’ve made some free agent acquisitions and trades, but their current roster has a lot of homegrown talent on it. And they currently sit atop the AL Central.

So, when perusing the standings for all 30 teams below (answering No. 2), keep in mind that it doesn’t automatically mean that the Mariners have the best farm system in baseball and the White Sox have the worst. It’s just that as of this writing, the Mariners have more impact talent on the farm than others.

Feel free to digest, debate and dispute. (Many thanks to chart and excel spreadsheet guru Jason Ratliff for help with these).

Rank Team # Points
1 SEA 5 327
2 PIT 6 326
3 ARI 4 321
4 STL 5 320
5 TOR 7 281
6 KC 4 277
7 TEX 4 240
8 BAL 3 234
9 BOS 5 225
10 MIA 3 222
11 SD 6 221
12 HOU 5 216
13 CHC 5 202
14 MIN 4 198
15 ATL 3 183
16 CIN 4 182
17 NYM 2 170
18 NYY 4 152
19 WAS 3 134
20 TB 3 108
21 DET 1 90
22 COL 2 87
23 CLE 1 87
24 OAK 4 56
25 LAD 1 52
26 MIL 2 51
27 LAA 1 48
28 SF 2 22
29 PHI 1 18
30 CWS 0 0

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