Arizona's Recent Production Stands Alone
We rate systems based on the talent they've produced
As an accompaniment to our annual organization talent rankings—which rate teams based on the current minor league talent on hand—we've rated each system based on the talent that has passed through it in the last three years, considering both prospects who graduated to the big leagues and those used in trades. A team gets credit only for players who spent time in its system, so some foreign imports (Daisuke Matsuzaka), Rule 5 picks (Joakim Soria) and trade acquisitions who went straight to the majors (Jair Jurrjens) weren't considered. Players such as Chris Tillman, who were dealt by one organization and reached the big leagues with another, were credited to both.
Arizona ranks significantly ahead of the rest of the pack after integrating Miguel Montero, Mark Reynolds, Justin Upton and Chris Young into its lineup and using Brett Anderson, Carlos Gonzalez and Max Scherzer in trades. The Diamondbacks produced quantity to match their quality, with several complementary players such as Emilio Bonifacio, Ross Ohlendorf and Gerardo Parra.
2. RED SOX:
Boston has developed an MVP (Dustin Pedroia), a major league stolen-base champ (Jacoby Ellsbury), pitchers with ace (Clay Buchholz) and closer (Daniel Bard) potential, and plenty of trade fodder (most notably, Nick Hagadone and David Murphy).
The good news is that Atlanta has come up with its No. 1 starter and shortstop for the long term in Tommy Hanson and Yunel Escobar. The bad news is that the Braves gave up Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and Matt Harrison in the Mark Teixeira trade.
Texas started to shore up the top of its lineup with Julio Borbon and Andrus and its rotation with Derek Holland and Tommy Hunter last year. The pitching would be in even better shape if the Rangers hadn't traded John Danks and Edinson Volquez.
The wheeling and dealing A's got more out of the trade market than any organization over the last three years, starting with Brett Anderson and Carlos Gonzalez in the Dan Haren deal, and developed homegrown players like Andrew Bailey and Kurt Suzuki.
Few clubs ever bring up as many impact prospects in one year as Cincinnati did in 2008, when it promoted Homer Bailey, Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto and Joey Votto.
The system has contributed mightily to consecutive division titles, with Clayton Kershaw and James Loney playing key roles in Los Angeles and Carlos Santana and Josh Bell bringing back Casey Blake and George Sherrill in trades.
Troy Tulowitzki and Ubaldo Jimenez helped Colorado reach the World Series as rookies in 2007 and continue to get better. Dexter Fowler and Chris Iannetta join Tulowitzki to give the Rockies an enviable up-the-middle core.
Philadelphia has aggressively traded prospects Michael Bourn, Adrian Cardenas, Kyle Drabek, Jason Knapp and Michael Taylor to land Brad Lidge, Joe Blanton, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. Carlos Ruiz and J.A. Happ have carved out complementary roles on the Phillies.
Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes contributed to the 2009 World Series championship and are just beginning to deliver on their potential. New York loaded up for a title defense by using prospects Austin Jackson and Arodys Vizcaino to get Curtis Granderson and Javier Vazquez in offseason trades.
Evan Longoria quickly has become one of the game's elite players, while Jeff Niemann and David Price have deepened an already strong pitching staff.
Ryan Braun and Yovanni Gallardo are the cornerstones around whom Milwaukee is building. Matt LaPorta was the key to the 2008 trade for C.C. Sabathia, which led to the Brewers' first playoff berth in 26 seasons.
San Francisco introduced a two-time Cy Young Award winner (Tim Lincecum), an all-star closer (Brian Wilson) and the author of a no-hitter (Jonathan Sanchez) in 2007, but hasn't been as successful with position players.
Likewise, Minnesota has been successful at producing pitching with Nick Blackburn, Matt Garza, Jose Mijares and Kevin Slowey, and came up with a quality center fielder in Denard Span.
Detroit has no regrets about going way over MLB's slot recommendations to sign Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller (that combo turned into Miguel Cabrera via trade) and Rick Porcello. Jair Jurrjens was a nice find in Curacao, but the Tigers gave him away for Edgar Renteria.
Seattle's two best recent player-development successes are Adam Jones and Chris Tillman—both part of the Erik Bedard trade with Baltimore. In the last year, the Mariners have traded former first-rounders Jeff Clement, Brandon Morrow and Phillippe Aumont to land Jack Wilson, Brandon League and Cliff Lee.
17. BLUE JAYS:
Rebuilding Toronto does have hope for the future, as Adam Lind blossomed in 2009 and Brett Cecil, Ricky Romero, Mark Rzepczynski and Travis Snider showed flashes of promise.
After bringing little talent of note to the majors in 2007-08, Baltimore unveiled Nolan Reimold, Chris Tillman and Matt Wieters last year, and unheralded rookie Brad Bergesen posted a 3.43 ERA in 19 starts.
19. WHITE SOX:
Gordon Beckham is far and away the best player Chicago has developed recently. The White Sox dealt away the only guy who might challenge him (Chris Carter)—along with many other prospects.
St. Louis graduated star-in-the-making Colby Rasmus to the majors last year and traded sweet-swinging Brett Wallace to get Matt Holliday. Other than that, the Cardinals have generated mostly role players.
Chris Coghlan won the 2009 National League rookie of the year award, but Florida is still waiting for Cameron Maybin, Chris Volstad and Sean West to make good on their potential.
Decay in San Diego's farm system led to a front-office makeover after the 2009 season, which saw the Padres bring promising Kyle Blanks and Mat Latos to the majors.
Cleveland has produced its share of solid players, but the only difference-makers are Asdrubal Cabrera and maybe Matt LaPorta—both of whom arrived via trades. The best truly homegrown player to join the Indians in the last three years is Jensen Lewis.
Billy Butler is taking steps toward becoming a star, but Alex Gordon and Luke Hochevar were supposed to be much better than they've shown so far.
Los Angeles has as much homegrown flavor as any contender, but most of those players arrived in the big leagues long ago. Erick Aybar is the only recent addition, though Brandon Wood should finally get a chance to play regularly in 2010.
Pittsburgh would rank last if Andrew McCutchen, and to a lesser extent, Rajai Davis hadn't broken out last year.
Geovany Soto regressed terribly in his encore to his rookie-of-the-year season, but he's still the best player Chicago has produced in the last three years. The surprising Randy Wells would rank second.
Washington hopes it has found most of its future rotation in Colin Balester, Ross Detwiler, John Lannan and Jordan Zimmermann—but Balester, Detwiler and Zimmermann have gone 8-22, 5.40 in the big leagues so far.
Hunter Pence is far and away the highlight for Houston, with Bud Norris well back in his rearview mirror.
New York hasn't developed a single solid big leaguer in the last three years. Mike Pelfrey, Daniel Murphy and Bobby Parnell come the closest.