Continuing our division by division series of Farm System Values, the NL East is now up to bat. As a refresher, here again are Victor Wang's surplus values for the different classes of prospects:
|Top 10 hitting prospects||$32.5M|
|Top 11-25 hitters||$22.3|
|Top 26-50 hitters||$20.8|
|Top 51-75 hitters||$12.6|
|Top 76-100 hitters||$11.1|
|Top 10 pitching prospects||$13.5|
|Top 11-25 pitchers||$14.2|
|Top 26-50 pitchers||$14.2|
|Top 51-75 pitchers||$10.8|
|Top 76-100 pitchers||$8.7|
|Grade B pitchers (as graded by Sickels)
|Grade B hitters||$4.9|
|Grade C pitchers 22 or younger||$1.9|
|Grade C pitchers 23 or older||$1.3|
|Grade C hitters 22 or younger||$0.62|
|Grade C hitters 23 or older||$0.45|
...and here is the graph illustrating the total surplus values for each farm system in the division:
Note: B and C grade prospects are taken from John Sickels' Top 20's published at his blog. Occasionally John changes a grade between the time he publishes his top 20's and his annual book. It is also likely that some C grade prospects at lower levels were left off the Top 20's. In my mind, neither issue should have that large of an affect.
Random comments on each system:
Nationals, $58.41M: Bowden was just bad for the Nats on so many levels. Take for instance not signing their first round pick, Aaron Crow over a mere $900K. Jim Callis of BA said Crow would have likely placed in the top 40 had he signed, meaning an extra $14.2M of surplus value for Washington. RHP Jordan Zimmermann is the only player that made BA's Top 100. Drafted out of a D III school in the 2nd round of the '07 draft, he's not a classic, flame-throwing pitching prospect, but he has a four-pitch mix and sharp command. Washington's next best prospects are OF Michael Burgess, a kid with old player skills, and Ross Detwiler, who despite having good "stuff" posted a disappointing 4.94 tRA in A-ball last year. Whoever becomes Washington's new GM has a tough row to hoe. Stephen Strasburg will be a good start.
Mets, $83.43: While he's no future ace, I'm pretty sure Jon Niese could out-pitch Freddy Garcia and Tim Redding this season if given the opportunity. I am not sure what this says for the Mets' ability to draft, but Brad Holt was picked after 1st rounders Ike Davis and Reese Havens, yet holds a $3.2M value advantage over both prospects combined. (Sickels is no fan of Davis) What the Metropolitans lack in their ability to draft, they make up for in international scouting (Jose Reyes, anyone?) - 50% of their farm system value comes from two Latin American players, both under 20 years of age. Fernando Martinez held his own as a 19 year old in AA, hitting for a .346 wOBA. Flores hit well in rookie ball, but his expected ETA at the earliest is 2012.
Now let's look at the top three systems graphically -
Total Surplus Value: $95.59. This is a pretty healthy system. Dominic Brown is still mostly projection, but has star talent. There are high ceiling players in the system who could take a big step forward this upcoming season, but for now the lion share of the Phillies' value lies with players that may not necessarily have superstar potential but project to be solid regulars.
Total Surplus Value: $144.35M. I've already wrote at length about the impressive depth of outfield talent the Braves have, but check out that pitching depth - $45.5M worth of B grade pitchers, and then they also have Tommy Hanson, the 2nd ranked pitching prospect in the game, as the icing on the cake. The Braves could have rated even higher, but used some their impressive minor league depth to land Javier Vazquez this winter.
Total Surplus Value: $147.96M. The Marlins hitting depth is astounding, with five top 100 position players worth a surplus value of $100.8M. With this impressive farm system, the Marlins should field a solid team for years to come; too bad no one will care. I can't say I blame Florida fans - why get attached to future stars like Cameron Maybin or Mike Stanton when they eventually will be moved to organizations that actually give a flip?
Summing up, the Braves and Marlins are loaded with ridiculous talent. Atlanta will utilize it for the good of their fans, Loria will use it to line his pockets. The Mets have some impressive high-ceiling Latin players who could either boom or bust and are a few years away. The Phillies should be good for a while and the Nationals should suck for a long time. Dropping Bowden and adding Strasburg are moves in the right direction but rebuilding could take a while.
Next up: The AL Central.