What Have They Done Lately
To accompany our annual organization talent rankings, we're also rating each farm system based on the talent that has passed through it since the end of the 2007 season. That includes both prospects graduated to the big leagues or used in trades, as well as those lost via waivers or the Rule 5 draft. A team gets credit only for players who spent time in its system, so some trade acquisitions (Austin Jackson), foreign imports (Alexei Ramirez), Rule 5 picks (Darren O'Day) and trade acquisitions who went straight to the majors aren't included. Players dealt by one organization who reached the majors with another, such as Brett Anderson, are counted with both.
No organization has produced more recent talent than Cincinnati, which rode it to its first playoff appearance since 1995 last year. Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs powered their lineup, while Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and Travis Wood made major contributions in the rotation. The Reds also used prospect Zach Stewart as the key piece in a 2009 trade for Scott Rolen that worked out better than anticipated.
Tampa Bay has introduced two superstars in Evan Longoria and David Price, not to mention two rotation pieces (Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann) and starters at catcher (John Jaso) and shortstop (Reid Brignac).
Andrew Bailey, Trevor Cahill and Cliff Pennington are homegrown products, but Oakland has profited more from trades, with Brett Anderson, Daric Barton, Carlos Gonzalez and Gio Gonzalez in deals for Dan Haren, Mark Mulder and Nick Swisher, though they should have held onto Carlos Gonzalez.
4. RED SOX.
Daniel Bard is Boston's closer in waiting, Clay Buchholz finished third in the American League in ERA last year and Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie are ready for expanded roles after putting injuries behind them. The Red Sox also have been active in the trade market, most recently giving up Top 100 Prospects Casey Kelly and Anthony Rizzo to land Adrian Gonzalez.
Colby Rasmus and Jaime Garcia are keys to St. Louis' future, and the system also has churned out several useful relievers, such as Kyle McClellan, Jason Motte and the since-traded Luke Gregerson and Chris Perez. The Cardinals stole David Freese for Jim Edmonds, and used Brett Wallace to get Matt Holliday.
Texas got Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus in a five-player package for Mark Teixeiera. The Rangers signed and developed Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter and Mitch Moreland, and converted Rule 5 draft pick Alexi Ogando from an outfielder to a pitcher. They wouldn't have advanced to their first World Series without having Justin Smoak on hand to trade for Cliff Lee.
Brett Anderson, Carlos Gonzalez and Max Scherzer were all traded. Anderson and Gonzalez went to Oakland for Dan Haren, who was dealt to the Angels last year.
Florida's lineup should be set for awhile with Chris Coghlan, Logan Morrison, Gaby Sanchez and Mike Stanton arriving in the last two seasons. Chris Volstad is the best pitcher the Marlins have produced recently.
Jason Heyward and Tommy Hanson are the next-best thing to the Rays' Longoria/Price combination on this list. Martin Prado and Jonny Venters have greatly exceeded expectations.
Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey played major roles as the franchise won its first World Series since 1954. Sergio Romo and Pablo Sandoval contributed as well.
Brett Gardner has added speed to New York's lineup, while Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson have done solid work out of the bullpen. The Yankees have relied on their system more for trade fodder, using Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy, Ross Ohlendorf, Jose Tabata and Arodys Vizcaino to get Curtis Granderson, Damaso Marte, Xavier Nady and Javier Vazquez.
Clayton Kershaw and Carlos Santana would have formed baseball's most dynamic young batter—if Los Angeles hadn't included Santana in the Casey Blake trade to save cash.
Geovany Soto was Chicago's first homegrown all-star position player in 22 years, and Starlin Castro is the next in line. Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells have upgraded the rotation, as did using Chris Archer and Hak-Ju Lee in an offseason deal for Matt Garza. Casey McGehee has been a revelation after joining the Brewers via waivers.
Stephen Strasburg gave a glimpse last summer at a bright future. The Nationals also have added Tyler Clippard, Ian Desmond, Drew Storen and Jordan Zimmermann in the last two years.
Pittsburgh hasn't stopped the losing yet, but it did beef up its lineup with Andrew McCutchen in 2009 and Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata and Neil Walker last year.
16. WHITE SOX.
Chicago's high points have been the quick ascent of Gordon Beckham and the conversion of Sergio Santos from failed first-round shortstop into a pitcher. The White Sox aren't shy about trading prospects and have spun Chris Carter, Gio Gonzalez, Daniel Hudson and Clayton Richard into Edwin Jackson, Jake Peavy, Carlos Quentin and Nick Swisher.
Milwaukee gave up Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain and the cream of its farm system (Brett Lawrie, Jeremy Jeffress, Jake Odorizzi) in trades for Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum. John Axford and Zack Braddock were nice bullpen finds last year.
Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta eased into the rotation a year ago, and the Orioles could be on to something if Matt Wieters and Chris Tillman fulfill expectations.
Mat Latos swiftly became San Diego's ace, and Chase Headley and Max Venable are two of its better hitters. A rebound by Kyle Blanks would help the lineup, as would have holding onto David Freese (traded for Jim Edmonds).
Philadelphia has aided its current run by trading Michael Bourn, Carlos Carrasco, Travis d'Arnaud, Kyle Drabek, Anthony Gose, J.A. Happ and Jonathan Vilar to get Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Brad Lidge and Roy Oswalt.
21. BLUE JAYS.
Toronto graduated Brett Cecil, Ricky Romero, Mark Rzepczynski and Travis Snider to the majors in 2009, but has little to show for 2008 or 2010.
Carlos Santana was an exceptional pickup for Casey Blake, and Cleveland still hopes for a payoff for the Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia deals with Carlos Carrasco and Matt LaPorta. The best homegrown player? Jensen Lewis.
What looked like a stacked system hasn't produced, with only Peter Bourjos and Kevin Jepsen recently emerging in Los Angeles. Sean Rodriguez, Tyler Skaggs and Alex Torres yielded Dan Harena and Scott Kazmir in trades.
Minnesota keeps winning by producing a useful big leaguer a year (Denard Span, Brian Duensing, Danny Valencia) and a host of complementary players. The Twins dealt Wilson Ramos to fill a bullpen hole with Matt Capps last summer.
Ian Stewart and Dexter Fowler have yet to break out as stars, but still could. Jhoulys Chacin and Seth Smith could shine with more playing time in 2011.
After a drought, New York's system finally showed signs of productivity last year with Ike Davis, Jon Niese and Josh Thole.
Rick Porcello and Ryan Perry raced to the majors. Detroit wasted Jair Jurrjens by trading him for Edgar Renteria.
Houston hopes Jason Castro, Chris Johnson and Bud Norris can be building blocks in its rebuilding effort.
Michael Saunders and Chris Tillman are the most promising players to pass through the system in the last three years, but neither has earned regular big league time.
Kansas City has the game's best farm system—and worst track record since '07. Mike Aviles is the biggest success, and former No. 1 pick Luke Hochevar has been a disappointment.