Q:If Shohei Ohtani signed with the team with the worst farm system in baseball, how much would he bump up their ranking all by himself?
Bryan Ramsey, Chicago
BA:Now that Ohtani has announced that he will sign with the Angels, we’ve tweaked this question for a second pass at it (we looked at what he would to for the Marlins in our first look). The Angels ranked 30th in our organizational talent rankings when the Prospect Handbook came out in 2017, 2016 and 2014. (A later trade moved the Marlins to 30th last year by the time we released the org talent rankings on the Internet).
Even without signing Ohtani, the Angels weren’t going to rank 30th this year. Drafting multi-faceted outfielder Jo Adell and solid seasons by promising young outfielders Jahmai Jones and Brandon Marsh would have given the Angels a system that ranked in the 20-25 range when the offseason began. That already would have been Los Angeles’ best ranking since 2013, when the Angels ranked 18th.
But since the offseason started, the Angels have signed ex-Braves shortstops Kevin Maitan and Livan Soto and now they have added Ohtani. Adding Maitan, who ranked among the Top 100 Prospects in the game last offseason, and Soto, a toolsy young shortstop, would have been significant additions in their own right. But they get pushed far into the background by the Angels winning the once-in-a-lifetime lottery of landing a potential front-of-the-rotation starter (and power hitter) at the acquisition cost of a middle-of-the-first round pick. And he will begin his career playing for the major league minimum. He won’t hit free agency until after the 2023 season at the earliest.
With these additions, the Angels now have a system that is firmly in the middle of the pack. A back-of-the-napkin estimate is that they will rank somewhere around right around 15th when our organization talent rankings are put into the 2018 Prospect Handbook. Ohtani by himself would help the club climb five to seven spots in the rankings. That’s how valuable someone who is the top prospect in the game can be to a farm system.