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Friday, March 24, 2023

MLB 26-and-under power rankings: Which clubs have the best young players?

A team’s farm system can take a huge hit when a star player like Julio Rodríguez or Michael Harris “graduates,” but that doesn’t make those players magically way older — they just aren’t prospects anymore. J-Rod and Harris, now certified big-league stars, will play 2023 at 22 years old, the same age as (or younger than) many of the top prospects still eligible for your top-100 list of choice. With more and more of the game’s best players arriving in MLB at such an early age, it feels incomplete to assess a team’s future outlook by strictly looking at how good their prospect-eligible players are or project to be.

This limitation inspired the following project from the FOX Sports MLB staff ahead of the 2023 season: rank every team based on its 26-and-under talent. We’re counting down from 30 to 1 in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.

No. 10 St. Louis Cardinals
No. 9 San Diego Padres
No. 8 Tampa Bay Rays
No. 7 Los Angeles Dodgers
No. 6 Seattle Mariners
No. 5 Toronto Blue Jays
No. 4 Cleveland Guardians
No. 3 Baltimore Orioles
No. 2 Atlanta Braves
No. 1 ??? (It’s Houston!)

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2023 at 03:53 PM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rankings

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: March 24, 2023 at 05:51 PM (#6121302)
Addresses some of the issues raised in the MLB top 30 thread. I only looked at the Cubs (#24) but the writeup was pretty thorough and breaks it into several categories. The Cubs writeup doesn't discuss drafting at all, just the players and occasional hints about development practices. Also the Cubs seem to have a new "GM" (i.e. asst GM) who used to head Cleveland's pitching development so that's a good track record.

Anyway, it's more along the lines of what bbc and cfb seemed to want, closer to what I want, probably still missing that aspect that it's a very good thing to churn out those 1.5-3 WAR players and useful pitchers even if they're not at all exciting to write about.
   2. bookbook Posted: March 24, 2023 at 06:45 PM (#6121307)
You can tell it has been awhile, because I’m the first person to appreciate the irony of Fox naming the Mariners as the #6 organization for players under 26.
   3. kirstie819 Posted: March 25, 2023 at 07:10 AM (#6121329)
First up is the Jetboil Flash Lite Stovetop Kettle. This lightweight stovetop kettle is designed to be used with Jetboil stoves and is made of lightweight aluminum. It has a capacity of one liter and weighs just 6 ounces.
   4. The Duke Posted: March 25, 2023 at 09:29 AM (#6121331)
I'm surprised the Padres rank so high. It's basically all Tatis and Soto. That's not really how I would define strength. It's just two guys.
   5. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: March 25, 2023 at 10:07 AM (#6121334)
Re 4: Yeah, but it's the right two guys.

You won't find the Tigers high on this list, cuz in order to have "the best young players', you technically have to have "players".
   6. Walt Davis Posted: March 25, 2023 at 03:05 PM (#6121348)
#4: That's a synopsis of the writeup. #9 is not exactly stratospheric and any system that had actually produced FTj and Soto would be rather proud of itself. (Of course they didn't produce Soto but they got him.) They do point out that Grisham is still just 26, Campusano is still promising and there are a few other former prospects still around and one kid on the farm who may be top 10 by season's end if he can stay healthy. Anyway, I assume Tatis, Soto, Grisham project to something like 13 WAR this year -- the question being whether a Tatis projection has any value.
   7. sanny manguillen Posted: March 26, 2023 at 11:50 AM (#6121365)
The Pirates sit at #13 here. Is that just a death sentence, considering for the last five years they've dealt everything of value for prospects? Their plan doesn't seem to include acquiring significant major League talent, unless it would be a trade from a position where they've doubled up on prospects. So - are they just treading water now until it's time to sell off the next generation?
   8. Walt Davis Posted: March 26, 2023 at 02:56 PM (#6121374)
The methodology tilts towards ML talent -- they award up to 30 points, 10 each for big league hitting and pitching, 5 each for prospect hitting and pitching. The Pirates get 6 of 10 on big league hitting which might be a bit low (Cruz, Hayes, Suwinski) but they also give them 5 on big league pitching which seems too high. They like the hitting prospects (4 of 5) and the pitching is OK too (3 of 5).

Will Pitt ever spend money either on keeping their young players with big long-term buyouts or signing FAs? Probably not under current ownership but they did tie up Hayes and it is nice to see McCutchen in Pitt again.

On the methodology (and these lists in general), I wonder if we need to think of pitching differently than hitting. There's the rare phenom but most pitchers don't start having any impact until 23-24 at the earliest. You're unlikely to have much important under-27 pitching talent on your roster and pitchers tend to age/develop differently. So maybe under-30 for pitchers. Or to the extent that these lists are intended to identify the future contenders, maybe just rate on the three categories of pre-ML, pre-arb and pre-FA. Granted, that can easily veer off into $/WAR but the important aspect is control -- that the O's had control of a 25-yo Machado didn't matter a whole lot given he was FA at the end of the year while 26-yo Hayes would still be 4 years from FA even without his buyout.
   9. JoeC Posted: March 26, 2023 at 09:03 PM (#6121411)
You can tell it has been awhile, because I’m the first person to appreciate the irony of Fox naming the Mariners as the #6 organization for players under 26.

I guess I'd lost touch, I didn't realize that Cameron actually works for them now! Oh, the BBTF thread that would have been. I suppose there probably actually was a BBTF thread for it... sure is, nothing too exciting though.
   10. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: March 27, 2023 at 12:42 PM (#6121446)
It hurts to see Houston at #1, but it's hard to argue. Although a few guys are too old for this list, they've recently developed four good starters, Yordan Alvarez, two excellent all-round players (Bregman and Tucker), and the World Series MVP.

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