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    Default Anyone with Insider?

    Where does Keith Law have our system ranked?

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    Default Re: Anyone with Insider?

    A somewhat disappointing 21st (though I personally like the number 21.) - there's discussion of it over at BD:

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2011/1/26/...ional-rankings
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    Default Re: Anyone with Insider?

    Here's what he has written for the Pirates:
    21. Pittsburgh Pirates
    This system consists of a few high-end prospects, including three teenage power arms, followed by a dropoff. The big investment in prep arms in 2009 hasn't yielded any major prospects yet, although it's early.
    That sentence really doesn't say much of anything useful, but that's how the entire list is.

    There really isn't much to any of the writeups that makes you feel like it should be a pay article. It's hard to get any sense of how far apart any of the teams are too. If you look at the Mariners at 10 and the Tigers at 25 the writeups don't make them sound very different.
    Last edited by jnn123; Jan-26-2011 at 11:17 PM.

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    Default Re: Anyone with Insider?

    Quote Originally Posted by jnn123 View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Here's what he has written for the Pirates:


    That sentence really doesn't say much of anything useful, but that's how the entire list is.

    There really isn't much to any of the writeups that makes you feel like it should be a pay article. It's hard to get any sense of how far apart any of the teams are too. If you look at the Mariners at 10 and the Tigers at 25 the writeups don't make them sound very different.
    21 is sort of a bummer but I guess when you lose your 3 of your best/better bats in the system as we did (Tabata, Alvarez, Walker) it does deplete you some.
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    Default Re: Anyone with Insider?

    As it has the past two years, this complements my annual Top 100 list of prospects. This ranking includes only players who are still eligible for the Top 100 prospects ranking -- that is, players who still retain rookie status for 2011.

    A system that recently "graduated" a number of top prospects -- Florida and San Francisco are two recent examples, with Buster Posey, Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison -- will rank lower on this list because I'm considering only what is currently on the farm. It's a snapshot look rather than a look back over a year or two of farm productivity. So if you see a team at the bottom, it might be because its system recently graduated or traded good prospects in the past year. Of course, it also will reflect teams that just haven't done a very good job of stocking the system.

    Within each system, I considered the entire list of prospects but gave much more weight to top prospects -- particularly high-impact prospects -- than to organizational depth based in average to fringe-average prospects. I also considered how much major league value each organization is likely to produce the next few years. So a system with high-impact prospects who are relatively close to the majors ranks high even if the system lacks depth in second- and third-tier prospects. Of course, a couple of impact prospects plus organizational depth is ideal. With that all clear, on to the list:

    1. Kansas City Royals
    About a month or so after Dayton Moore took over as the Royals' GM, he told me that he was alarmed to find how little pitching inventory he had in his new farm system and that addressing that vacuum would be a major priority for his front office. The phrase "Mission Accomplished" has acquired an ironic connotation of late, but if anyone could use the phrase earnestly to describe his own efforts, it would be Moore, as the Royals have arms coming out of their ears.

    That's particularly impressive when you consider that Kansas City's top two prospects are bats, and there are some solid position player prospects further down in the system. But what truly sets the Royals apart, and not just this year but from prospect lists of years past, is their stable of left-handed pitchers. Southpaws are harder to find and valued very highly by most front offices, meaning the Royals have promising arms for their own use as well as a hoard for future trades if they find themselves in the running for a playoff spot. They've acquired those arms every which way they could -- mostly through shrewd drafting (Mike Montgomery in the sandwich round, Chris Dwyer in the fourth, John Lamb in the fifth), but also through trades and on the international front, where they've become major players since Moore took over. And Kansas City will add another impact player with the fifth pick in this year's draft, and probably will graduate only one or two prospects to the majors before we reach 2012. It's to the credit of Moore, the Royals' amateur scouting staff (led by J.J. Picollo after two solid drafts by Deric Ladnier after Moore took over), their international scouts and player development that a farm system that was a borderline laughingstock has, inside of five years, turned into the toast of baseball.

    2. Tampa Bay Rays
    Probably second even before they dealt Matt Garza, they're now No. 2 with a bullet and not far behind Kansas City for No. 1. They're absolutely loaded, with top-end talent near that of K.C., but not the extensive depth of prospects the Royals have. The Rays have focused on arms and impact bats in the middle of the field, mixing in the occasional corner bat (Josh Sale), but mostly recognizing that replacement level is so low right now for certain positions and roster spots that there's still some hidden value to be found. They also boast more picks in the first three rounds of the 2011 draft than any other club, so look for the prospect-rich to get richer.

    3. Atlanta Braves
    Those top three Latino arms keep marching to the big leagues, and the Braves will produce at least two other rookies who'll spend all or most of 2011 in Atlanta in regular roles. They have a knack for getting good signing useful players off the waiver wire and scrap heap and getting good young talent back in deals, including Arodys Vizcaino as a sort of throw-in to the Javier Vazquez trade.

    4. Toronto Blue Jays
    A year ago, I wrote that the Jays might have ranked last without the talent infusion from the Scott Rolen and Roy Halladay trades. In the past 12 months, they saw a few in-house guys take steps forward, traded for another impact prospect in Brett Lawrie and had another solid draft, to the point that I left some likely big leaguers off their Top 10 for lack of room. The organizational turnaround in the year-plus since Alex Anthopoulos took over as GM has been impressive.

    5. Philadelphia Phillies
    Their low-A club in Lakewood, N.J., was as loaded with tools prospects as any club in the minors; you could dream on four or five of its hitters, at least three of its starters, and even a 'pen guy or two. And the Phillies keep stuffing the system with that sort of high-upside player despite one of the smaller draft signing budgets around. This after all the deals to help secure their enviable starting rotation.

    [+] EnlargeMike Trout
    Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PresswireThe Mighty Trout.

    6. Los Angeles Angels
    They have the top prospect in baseball in Mike Trout, a catcher and reliever who should help the big club in 2011, and a ton of depth in A-ball and short-season, including a very promising haul from the 2010 draft led by infielder Kaleb Cowart and right-hander Cam (son of Steve) Bedrosian. I know Angels fans aren't happy with the team's offseason, but there's a lot of help on the way.

    7. Minnesota Twins
    A sneaky-good system, it's not loaded with big names but boasts a few impact guys and a ton of depth. This is more than just the Twins' usual assortment of strike-throwing fourth starters and speedy outfielders, a testament to good drafting and some major investments in the international arena, where they've been as aggressive as any club.

    8. Cincinnati Reds
    I had said in the 2009 season that they would start to compete in 2011 as the young talent reached the majors. Well, it got there faster than I expected, and they started what should be a long run of contention, bolstered by the next two waves of prospects. They have above-average prospects in the middle of the diamond and a number of big-tools teenagers from Latin America down in the low minors.

    9. New York Yankees
    Gary Sanchez had a tremendous debut season, Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman got healthy, and Manny Banuelos saw his stuff tick up and they're backed up with a lot of back-end starter depth. They rival Toronto for the best catching depth in the minors and took a couple of intriguing guys later in the 2010 draft, one of whom I'll discuss Friday.

    10. Seattle Mariners
    Top-heavy with Dustin Ackley and Michael Pineda and strangely light on international talent below that, even though that is a historical strength for the club. The Mariners have a couple of possible fast-moving relievers, led by Stephen Pryor and Tyler Burgoon, who could make an impact in the next 24 months.

    11. Boston Red Sox
    The Sox traded away their top two prospects for Adrian Gonzalez, but boosted on the back end with three first-round talents added in the 2010 draft (their actual first-rounder, Kolbrin Vitek, plus Anthony Ranaudo and Bryce Brentz). As usual, their low-minors teams were strong, with the Greenville rotation quietly loaded with intriguing arms.

    12. Texas Rangers
    The top-ranked system the past two years, the Rangers used up a lot of that talent to win the AL pennant this year, either on their roster (Neftali Feliz, Mitch Moreland, Derek Holland) or in the Cliff Lee trade (Justin Smoak, Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke). Still very strong in Latin America, they were more slot-conscious than usual in the 2010 draft.

    13. Arizona Diamondbacks
    I admit to liking this system more than most, but I loved their 2009 draft haul and several of those players had strong full-season debuts. Jarrod Parker's promising return in instructional league -- with velocity as good as ever and improved lower-body strength -- is also a factor in putting them in the top half of farm systems, given that he's their one impact prospect who might see the majors this year.

    14. St. Louis Cardinals
    Extremely top-heavy, followed by a lot of extra-guy depth -- fifth starters, quality relievers, fourth outfielders, a few of whom will take steps forward and become solid-average big leaguers. A very productive Day 1 in the 2010 draft boosted them.

    15. Colorado Rockies
    It was a tough year in 2010 for three of their top four prospects, as well as talented but chronically hurt Hector Gomez, but I still believe very strongly in Tyler Matzek's future, and it sounds as if Christian Friedrich is good to go for 2011.

    16. San Diego Padres
    Moved up at least a half-dozen spots after the Adrian Gonzalez trade, which made up for an unsigned top pick in 2010 and the continued struggles and bad reports on 2009 first-rounder Donovan Tate. Like Arizona and Milwaukee, San Diego will benefit from having an extra pick in the 2011 draft, one that features one of the top college pitching classes in memory and a potent high school crop to boot.
    [+] EnlargeJason Kipnis
    Peter Aiken/Getty ImagesJason Kipnis is a bright spot for the Tribe.

    17. Cleveland Indians
    Cleveland finally broke out of its slot-or-bust financial strategy in the 2010 draft and took some fliers on guys whose stock fell after tough springs. Within the system, the Tribe's top arm, Hector Rondon, went down and had to have Tommy John surgery, but right-hander Jason Knapp (acquired in the Cliff Lee trade) returned from a shoulder injury and Jason Kipnis established himself as one of the top second-base prospects in the game.

    18. Oakland Athletics
    Their top two hitting prospects had disappointing seasons, although Chris Carter recovered in the summer and earned a call-up. There's a fair amount of position player depth here but very little pitching, with command lefty Ian Krol the only arm I have among their top 10 prospects.

    19. Washington Nationals
    This represents a ton of progress since Mike Rizzo took over as GM. He inherited a farm system that couldn't begin to fill the major league team's needs. Ownership opened its wallets beyond the first pick in August, adding three more players in the team's Top 10.

    20. Chicago Cubs
    A top-10 system before the Garza trade, the Cubs probably would place more guys in the 101-150 range than any organization except the Royals. They're loaded with high-floor players who have the potential to be above-average or better big leaguers but aren't there yet. Considering all the picks they've given up to sign free agents, it's remarkable how strong the system still is after the giant trade with Tampa Bay.

    21. Pittsburgh Pirates
    This system consists of a few high-end prospects, including three teenage power arms, followed by a dropoff. The big investment in prep arms in 2009 hasn't yielded any major prospects yet, although it's early.

    22. Los Angeles Dodgers
    Almost every major prospect in this system regressed this year, led by Chris Withrow, who lost his command and then his velocity by August. On the positive side, the Zach Lee signing was huge for them.

    23. San Francisco Giants
    Consider that they graduated two critical members of the 2010 World Series-winning roster. As a whole, they've been very productive near the top of the draft despite rarely going over slot, but the lauded 2008 draft class below Buster Posey took a collective step back in 2010.

    24. Baltimore Orioles
    This group was probably the most surprising ranking to me as I went through the process. The O's have produced a ton of potential impact players who no longer qualify here -- including Brian Matusz, Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, and Chris Tillman -- but the system at this moment is two Top 30 prospects and no one else I'd put in my Top 150. The lack of international talent in the system stands out.

    25. Detroit Tigers
    Detroit landed a first-round talent -- top-half in my opinion -- in the sandwich round with Nick Castellanos, giving them two high-ceiling impact guys at the top of the system, but much of their minor league depth is in power relief arms.

    26. New York Mets
    Earth to Fred Wilpon: This is what a strict adherence to slot recommendations will buy you. Parsimony has its price.

    27. Houston Astros
    The Astros are slowly getting better through the draft and some dabbling in Latin America, but it sure would have been nice to see them get more in return for Roy Oswalt.

    28. Chicago White Sox
    It was hard to get to 10 names for this system, but it will produce at least two players who'll help the major league club try to win the AL Central this year.

    29. Florida Marlins
    The Marlins graduated Logan Morrison and Mike Stanton, leaving two good-not-great prospects in the system and not a whole lot else to excite you. Their top prospect, Matt Dominguez, has a major question around his bat, and their top draft pick from 2009, Chad James, had a so-so year and missed time in 2010 with a sore shoulder.

    30. Milwaukee Brewers
    The first organization to fail to place a single prospect on my Top 100 list since I first produced these rankings in 2008 ... although landing Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke is a pretty good excuse. Even before those trades, however, their system as a whole wasn't strong, with a lot of pitchers failing to progress once in the system. They might need one of those arms -- Wily Peralta, perhaps, or Amaury Rivas -- to increase his value this spring for a possible July trade.

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    Default Re: Anyone with Insider?

    On his top 100 prospects the only Pirates to make the list are Jameson Taillon at 30 (4 spots behind Manny Machado) and Tony Sanchez at 62. Luis Heredia makes the list of 10 players who just missed.

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    Default Re: Anyone with Insider?

    I had the insider for years and just felt there wasn't enough there to justify paying for it. As for Keith Law, I've read his stuff for a long time and I'm just not that impressed. He's talked ad nauseum how Smoak is better than Alvarez, and so on and so forth. He's wrong just as often as he's right, just like everybody else. I can read info out there just as bad as his for free.

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    Default Re: Anyone with Insider?

    20. Chicago Cubs
    [HIGH-LIGHT]A top-10 system before the Garza trade, the Cubs probably would place more guys in the 101-150 range than any organization except the Royals.[/HIGH-LIGHT] They're loaded with high-floor players who have the potential to be above-average or better big leaguers but aren't there yet. Considering all the picks they've given up to sign free agents, it's remarkable how strong the system still is after the giant trade with Tampa Bay.
    I swear I was told for days about how ****ty the Cubs system was and the prospects that they gave away for Garza were crap in the "Kipper vs. Those ****ed off we don't follow the Cubs footprints"
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    Default Re: Anyone with Insider?

    Here's his top 10 for the Pirates:

    1. Jameson Taillon, RHP (30)
    2. Tony Sanchez, C (63)
    3. Luis Heredia, RHP
    4. Stetson Allie, RHP
    5. Rudy Owens, LHP
    6. Jeff Locke, LHP
    7. Justin Wilson, LHP
    8. Bryan Morris, RHP
    9. Starling Marte, OF
    10. Zack Von Rosenberg, RHP

    I think Baseball America might be the only place who had more than 2 position players in the top 10 (d'Arnaud was 10th there). I think Law has generally been down on Morris compared to BP and BA.

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    Default Re: Anyone with Insider?

    And here are his top 100 writeups on the 2 Pirates:

    Taillon was the top high school arm in the 2010 draft by a pretty healthy margin -- when you sit at 93-97 mph and flash better as an 18-year-old with a starter's build, you're probably going to be the best prep pitcher in your draft class. Taillon is very physically advanced for a teenager, with a workhorse build and stuff to match, as his 83-87 mph slider has good tilt and gives him a swing-and-miss pitch right out of the chute.

    In high school, he had a tendency to overthrow by rushing through his delivery, pulling himself offline, flattening out his fastball, and making his slider finish up in the zone instead of down and away from right-handed hitters. The rushing is fixable, and even if he loses a little velocity, he can pitch at 92-95 and still project as an ace. He'll also have to develop his changeup, a pitch he didn't need often in high school, and he'll have to work on general command and make better use of his height to drive the ball down in the zone. He's raw in a number of ways, but the pure stuff and physicality are extremely exciting.
    Sanchez's regular season ended early when he took a pitch off the jaw, but he returned to action in the Arizona Fall League and showed no fear in the batter's box. He had a few hiccups with throwing in the AFL but it doesn't appear to be a permanent issue for him, and he's steadily improved his blocking and receiving skills.

    At the plate, he's firmed up his front side since signing with Pittsburgh, but needs to work on keeping his weight back; when he does so, he's got above-average raw power and would have a chance to hit for average at the same time, making him a fringe All-Star at that position. He's an extremely hard worker who ended up at Boston College without a scholarship but improved his body to the point where he not only made the team, but became its best player. I wouldn't bet against him at this point.
    He has been slowly getting higher and higher on Sanchez as time goes by. I think on the day of the draft he called him a backup catcher, now he's a borderline All Star.

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    Default Re: Anyone with Insider?

    Quote Originally Posted by jnn123 View Post
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    And here are his top 100 writeups on the 2 Pirates:





    He has been slowly getting higher and higher on Sanchez as time goes by. I think on the day of the draft he called him a backup catcher, now he's a borderline All Star.
    I was going to mention that. It seems like the reviews for Sanchez keep continuing to get better. For a while he was rated as a defensive catcher with an average bat and now he's getting mention of having above average power and hitting.
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