Hey, I’m not above using some of the
tricks tactics I used as an online marketer to get you here. My apologies to O’s fans, because I am most definitely taking advantage of the the DC-Baltimore provincialism to get some more folks to read this.
As the headline says, Keith Law has released his ranking of the 30 farm systems and Washington has come in at #21, four spaces behind the Baltimore system at #17, three spaces behind Boston at #18, eleven spaces behind the Yankees at #10. If you have a particularly good memory, you may remember that Mr. Law ranked DC at #19 a year ago.
The article (which is behind the ESPN paywall) cites the following for his ranking:
This was potentially a top-10 system before the Gio Gonzalez trade, no worse than top 15. But after dealing A.J. Cole, Brad Peacock and Derek Norris — probably three of the Nats’ top 10 guys before the Gio swap — this system lacks depth.
I’ve asked Mr. Law via Twitter if this is because he thinks the departed, along with the 2011 “graduates,” (Espinosa and Ramos) are better than the 2011 draftees. So far, he hasn’t responded, but I don’t take that personally. Law has a habit of retweeting his responses to queries that often rubs people the wrong way. Consequently, he may be confused by a legitimate question among the folks needling him. If/when he replies, I’ll certainly update this post.
My initial reaction was to be bothered by this, but Law is no different than a lot of prospect gurus in valuing youth. And I myself have been on record about the Nats needing to diversify their portfolio by drafting more JuCo and HS players. So if Law were to respond by saying there’s a lack of 19-, 20-, and 21-year-olds in the system, we’d be in agreement.
Ultimately, I think rankings like these are like the reverse Bell Curve when it comes to students campaigning for a better grade — fans of the teams in the Top 5 (A- or A’s) or Bottom 5 (D- or F) are going to make the most noise. Most of us can concede that the “#1” ranking from BA in the prospect book (printed prior to the Gio Gonzalez trade; I promise you I don’t have that as a macro in my blogging software) was inflated, so I think the converse may be true here: That maybe Law is underrating the system as much as BA may have been overrating it.