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Unofficial Sickels Farm System Rankings

Unofficial Sickels Farm System Rankings

PostPost #1 by Esskay » January 11th, 2011, 12:02 pm

For two years now I've been using John Sickels' grades to create farm system rankings. I assign a (relatively arbitrary) point value to each grade, and add up the values for the grades of the players in each system. Now that Sickels has finished his grading, I have this year's results.

Point values:
A: 40
A-: 30
B+: 26
B: 15
B-: 8
C+: 2
C: 0

First, this was a very strong year in the minors. The average farm system got 156 points, 20 more than last year (avg 136) or 2009 (avg 137). There were 13 straight A's awarded, the most ever by Sickels. 572 prospects got grades of C+ or better, far more than the last three years (504, 519, 504). I don't have an explanation - maybe someone would like to point it out to Sickels himself? It did seem like Sickels was somewhat more generous to this round of draftees than he has been to new pros in the past.

Second, the Royals system is something else. Under my system, they got 341 points. It's the highest score ever, and only the second farm system to even get over 300 - the previous highest score was 307 (2008 Rays).

Third, there's more disparity between the top and bottom than there has been in the past.

The Orioles were near the bottom, at #25. I was a bit surprised that Avery and Hoes didn't manage to get a B-, but it wouldn't have made much difference (bumped up two spots, ahead of the Mets). Here's the list, with point values.

01. KAN: 341
02. ATL: 254
03. TAM: 252
04. TOR: 235
05. CLE: 223
06. CIN: 196
07. NYY: 196
08. MIN: 186
09. TEX: 180
10. LAA: 180
11. COL: 180
12. SDP: 173
13. CHC: 173
14. PHI: 157
15. WAS: 147
16. SEA: 137
17. LAD: 136
18. ARI: 129
19. BOS: 127
20. PIT: 123
21. STL: 121
22. DET: 120
23. NYM: 114
24. OAK: 105
25. BAL: 100
26. SFG: 99
27. CHW: 89
28. HOU: 72
29. FLA: 67
30. MIL: 64
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Re: Unofficial Sickels Farm System Rankings

PostPost #2 by Jordan Tuwiner » January 15th, 2011, 11:53 pm

Nice job, Esskay. Your rankings match up pretty well with these rankings posted over at Minor League Ball.

http://www.minorleagueball.com/2011/1/7 ... m-rankings

The Royals system is absolutely stacked. One can only hope the O's system has a similar explosion...
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Re: Unofficial Sickels Farm System Rankings

PostPost #3 by Esskay » January 16th, 2011, 6:54 am

The Wang list misranks the Padres, turning their 3 B+ prospects into straight B's.

The big difference between the two methods of turning Sickels' grades into lists is, of course, the Wang-derived values split pitchers and hitters (such that 'A' hitting prospects are 2.5x more valuable than 'A' pitchers), and my list doesn't treat pitchers and hitters differently. As a result, teams with more value bound up in their pitching are ranked higher on my list.

Examples: Braves (#3 for me, #4 with Wang values), Rangers (#9/#12), Seattle (#16/#21). (The Braves placement has changed since I made my list before the Matt Garza trade. TAM is now #2 with 278 pts.)

The other big difference is the value of 'B' pitching prospects. My values give 'B' hitters and pitchers about 1/3 the value of an 'A' prospects and 1/2 the value of an 'A-' prospect. Wang's numbers follow this closely on the hitting side but nowhere near as closely on the pitching side (where a 'B' pitcher is worth about 2/3 of an 'A' pitcher). This effects teams whose value is mostly in their 'B'-ranked pitching:

Example: Pirates (#20/#18).

Given the close match (in general) between the two lists, and given the wide separation between the top and bottom of the lists, it makes sense I think to create tiers. A rough estimate would be something like:

Tier 1: The Best
Royals (no one comes close this year)

Tier 1a: The Best if the Royals were normal
Tampa
Atlanta
Toronto
Cleveland

Tier 2: Good
Cincinnati
New York (AL)
Minnesota
Texas
Los Angeles (AL)
Colorado
San Diego

Tier 3: OK
Philadelphia
Washington
Seattle
Los Angeles (NL)

Tier 4: Weak
Arizona
Chicago (NL)
Boston
Pittsburgh
St Louis
Detroit
New York (NL)

Tier 5: Poor
Oakland
Baltimore
San Francisco
Chicago (AL)

Tier 6: The Dregs
Houston
Florida
Milwaukee

Performing a similar series of cuts on the Wang-derived list, Texas would drop a tier, Seattle would drop one, the Cubs would move up a tier, San Francisco would move up one, the Mets would drop one, and the White Sox would drop one. Doesn't seem like a major difference.

Finally, the O's farm system got 149 pts last year and would have ranked in Tier 3 (OK), which would have been a lot bigger, as last year had fewer teams at either extreme end. The system has gotten weaker by something like an A- and a B. We graduated an A, a B+, and a B last year.
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