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joedav01

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: March 05, 2008, 10:25:41 PM

1. Tampa Bay Rays

Last Year's Ranking: 1

Why They're Unchanged: Evan Longoria's full-season debut went even better than expected, and they added No. 1 overall pick David Price to the system.

Strengths: Yes. There are just tons of prospects everywhere, as 20 of MLB's 30 teams don't have one prospect ranked higher than Tampa's fifth-rated player.

Weaknesses: It's hard to figure out what to do with all of this talent. Seriously, they're not just No. 1, they're No. 1 by a mile.

Outlook for 2009 Ranking: Unchanged. Even with Longoria in the big leagues, the Rays have more than enough talent to remain at the top, and once again, they have the first overall pick in June.
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Man o man is it going to be a fun ride over the next decade or so with this team. They are absolutely LOADED!


LFO

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#1 : March 05, 2008, 10:37:08 PM

I would expect the Rays would be #1, since usually the worst team gets the best picks.  10+ years of ineptitude should result in a farm system chock full of talent.

Now here is to some hope that it pans out and gets them somewhere.

And hopefully the new stadium works out.  The Trop sucks!

Pirate Zone

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#2 : March 05, 2008, 10:54:14 PM

It's all gonna come down to PITCHING once again as usual.  :-


joedav01

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#3 : March 05, 2008, 11:02:16 PM

It's all gonna come down to PITCHING once again as usual. :-

Which is a good thing for us.  The Rays are ridiculously loaded with pitching prospects.  It is absurd, many publications have said they actually have too many pitchers in the system and will have to trade some away at some point. 


joedav01

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#4 : March 05, 2008, 11:19:34 PM

I would expect the Rays would be #1, since usually the worst team gets the best picks. 10+ years of ineptitude should result in a farm system chock full of talent.


This is not really true in baseball.  The MLB draft does allow the worst teams to pick first, but a lot of the top prospects hire Scott Boras as their agent and the smaller market teams shy away from his clients many times as they will ask for ridiculous signing bonuses.  So many times teams like the Pirates draft a kid they know they can sign and the top talent falls to a big market team.

Secondly. Teams that lose free agents get 1st and 2nd round compensatory picks.  So normally the big market teams that sign a lot of free agents every year and also lose a lot every year, get a ton of compensatory picks.  For example, 2 years ago when the Rays drafted Evan Longoria with the #3 pick in the draft, they did not get to pick again until pick #58 and the Red Sox picked 5x between the Rays 1st 2 picks.

Also baseball has the highest bust factor in the draft.  Many of these kids are drafted right out of high school based on potential. Pitchers have a very high injury rate too. So many of the best young pitchers get injured long before they make it to the big leagues.

Baseball farm systems are built with great scouting and having a great program and instructors throughout your minor league system.  This is why under the old ownership, the Rays never even had their farm system rated in the top 10 despite having high 1st round picks. Many of their picks were busts like the Dewon Brazelton's of the world.  The scouting was lousy and the talented kids weren't getting the right training to help them develop.

Here is the 2008 Baseball America ranking of farm systems.

1. Rays
2. Red Sox
3. Reds
4. Rangers
5. Yankees
6. Dodgers
7. Rockies
8. Braves
9. Nationals
10. Angels
11. Mariners
12. Padres
13. Cardinals
14. Marlins
15. Diamondbacks
16. Orioles
17. Mets
18. Twins
19. Indians
20. Cubs
21. Brewers
22. Phillies
23. Giants
24. Royals
25. Blue Jays
26. Pirates
27. A’s
28. White Sox
29. Tigers
30. Astros

Look at all those big market teams at the top.  Great farm systems cost a lot of money to build. The Pirates rank 26th.  How scary is that for them. The Yankees and Red Sox are in the top 5 because they can afford to sign any player, they get tons of compensatory picks every year and they can afford the best facilities and coaches.

When the new ownership for the Rays took over and they invested 10's of millions of dollars into building acadamies in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic people thought it was a waste of money and they should spend that on a bullpen.  If you don't have a presence in latin America, you are never going to compete.  We also have Japaneese scouts now that help us find players like Akinori Iwamura and Shinji Mori (who sadly blew out his shoulder his 1st spring here)

So I hope this helps you understand.  The baseball draft is 50 rounds.  And great systems are not build solely on 1st round picks. It takes a lot of money and a concerted effort to be ranked that high and it is nothing to be scoffed at. 

Teams that reach the # 1 ranking on this list usually have a very high success rate in the 2-3 years following. The Rays are on the verge of making an unprecidented run as the #1 team 3 years in a row if they hang on to that ranking this year, which they should easily do.  This ownership has not shyed away from the big bonus guys, hence us drafting Longoria and Price their 1st 2 drafts.  The Rays are going to be very good for a long time. 


Pirate Zone

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#5 : March 05, 2008, 11:28:49 PM

It's all gonna come down to PITCHING once again as usual. :-

Which is a good thing for us. The Rays are ridiculously loaded with pitching prospects. It is absurd, many publications have said they actually have too many pitchers in the system and will have to trade some away at some point.

Yeah but I was talking about good pitching jd77.


joedav01

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#6 : March 05, 2008, 11:34:46 PM

The Rays don't have good pitchers in their system. They have GREAT pitchers.

Kazmir lead the AL in Strike outs at age 24 and was the best pitcher in baseball statistically in the 2nd half of 2007.

James Shields lead all of MLB starters in K/BB ratio. He K'd over 180 and only walked in the 30's.  That is a mind blowing #.

Matt Garza was rated the #1 pitching prospect in all of baseball 2 years ago and posted a 3.69 ERA last year in his first full season in MLB.

That is the top 3 of their rotation today.  And David Price will probably be in that rotation by the end of the year.  That is 4 guys who are good enough to be #1 starters in the same rotation.  Behind them they have Jake Mcgee and Wade Davis coming, both are to 15 prospects in all of baseball.  They have Jeff Niemann a top 100 prospect who has a shot to make the team this year too.  Those are just the high end guys who are on the MLB team now or close.  There are a ton of guys at every level of the system that Baseball America is high on.



LFO

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#7 : March 06, 2008, 07:42:46 PM

I would expect the Rays would be #1, since usually the worst team gets the best picks. 10+ years of ineptitude should result in a farm system chock full of talent.


This is not really true in baseball.  The MLB draft does allow the worst teams to pick first, but a lot of the top prospects hire Scott Boras as their agent and the smaller market teams shy away from his clients many times as they will ask for ridiculous signing bonuses.  So many times teams like the Pirates draft a kid they know they can sign and the top talent falls to a big market team.

Secondly. Teams that lose free agents get 1st and 2nd round compensatory picks.  So normally the big market teams that sign a lot of free agents every year and also lose a lot every year, get a ton of compensatory picks.  For example, 2 years ago when the Rays drafted Evan Longoria with the #3 pick in the draft, they did not get to pick again until pick #58 and the Red Sox picked 5x between the Rays 1st 2 picks.

Also baseball has the highest bust factor in the draft.  Many of these kids are drafted right out of high school based on potential. Pitchers have a very high injury rate too. So many of the best young pitchers get injured long before they make it to the big leagues.

Baseball farm systems are built with great scouting and having a great program and instructors throughout your minor league system.  This is why under the old ownership, the Rays never even had their farm system rated in the top 10 despite having high 1st round picks. Many of their picks were busts like the Dewon Brazelton's of the world.  The scouting was lousy and the talented kids weren't getting the right training to help them develop.

Here is the 2008 Baseball America ranking of farm systems.

1. Rays
2. Red Sox
3. Reds
4. Rangers
5. Yankees
6. Dodgers
7. Rockies
8. Braves
9. Nationals
10. Angels
11. Mariners
12. Padres
13. Cardinals
14. Marlins
15. Diamondbacks
16. Orioles
17. Mets
18. Twins
19. Indians
20. Cubs
21. Brewers
22. Phillies
23. Giants
24. Royals
25. Blue Jays
26. Pirates
27. A’s
28. White Sox
29. Tigers
30. Astros

Look at all those big market teams at the top.  Great farm systems cost a lot of money to build. The Pirates rank 26th.  How scary is that for them. The Yankees and Red Sox are in the top 5 because they can afford to sign any player, they get tons of compensatory picks every year and they can afford the best facilities and coaches.

When the new ownership for the Rays took over and they invested 10's of millions of dollars into building acadamies in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic people thought it was a waste of money and they should spend that on a bullpen.  If you don't have a presence in latin America, you are never going to compete.  We also have Japaneese scouts now that help us find players like Akinori Iwamura and Shinji Mori (who sadly blew out his shoulder his 1st spring here)

So I hope this helps you understand.  The baseball draft is 50 rounds.  And great systems are not build solely on 1st round picks. It takes a lot of money and a concerted effort to be ranked that high and it is nothing to be scoffed at. 

Teams that reach the # 1 ranking on this list usually have a very high success rate in the 2-3 years following. The Rays are on the verge of making an unprecidented run as the #1 team 3 years in a row if they hang on to that ranking this year, which they should easily do.  This ownership has not shyed away from the big bonus guys, hence us drafting Longoria and Price their 1st 2 drafts.  The Rays are going to be very good for a long time. 

Of course it is about scouting and resources, which is why big market teams can still have good farm systems.  But either way the more chances you get to pick players at the top, the more you are going to eventually have work out.  It's simple law of averages. 


Of the Rays top prospects, I'd be interested to see how many were 1st round picks.  I know Longoria, Price were .  Niemmen was I believe.  Delmon Young and Upton were. 

You say it is other picks that make it strong, but at the same time you are anchored by these top picks, Price and Longoria.  Before that it was Young and Upton.  All were high first round picks.

You are correct though that prospects are a crapshoot.  Which is why being ranked high in the farm systems doesn't always mean a whole lot.  Odds say most of the guys won't ever pan out to be above average players. 

I do the the Rays will have a lot of good ones though, for the record.  I think they have enough young pitching that they can afford to have several bust and they really just need a couple to pan out. 

joedav01

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#8 : March 06, 2008, 08:31:37 PM

Here are the Rays top 30 prospects according to Baseball America.

1. 3B Evan Longoria(AAA)
2. LHP David Price(A+)
3. LHP Jake McGee(AA)
4. RHP Wade Davis(AA)
5. SS Reid Brignac(AAA)
6. OF Desmond Jennings(A+)
7. RHP Jeff Niemann(AAA)
8. RHP Jeremy Hellickson(A+)
9. OF Ryan Royster(A+)
10. RHP Chris Mason(AAA)
11. LHP Glenn Gibson(A)
12. RHP Juan Salas(MLB)
13. C John Jaso(AAA)
14. RHP Alex Cobb(A)
15. RHP Eduardo Morlan(AA)
16. RHP Josh Butler(A+)
17. RHP Nick Barnese(SS)
18. LHP James Houser(AAA)
19. RHP Heath Rollins(A+)
20. RHP Matt Walker(A+)
21. RHP Mitch Talbot(AAA)
22. C Mike McCormick(A)
23. RHP Will Kline(A)
24. RHP Wade Townsend(A+)
25. OF Fernando Perez(AAA)
26. C Nevin Ashley(A+)
27. OF Justin Ruggiano(AAA)
28. 1B Rhyne Hughes(AA)
29. 3B/1B Joel Guzman(MLB)
30. OF D.J. Jones(SS)

Of those guys only Longoria, Price, Niemann and Townsend were 1st round picks. 

James Shields was a 26th round pick and is one of the best young pitchers in MLB just as an extreme example. Oh and Carl Crawford was also not a 1st round pick.  He was a 2nd round pick.  ;D


LFO

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#9 : March 07, 2008, 12:00:44 AM

One could argue that the Rays top 4 prospects of the last say 4 years were all #1 picks, disagree?


And yes, of course you find guys in other rounds, it is bound to happen.  But my point was if you pick in the top 3 or 5 so often you SHOULD get at LEAST 5 great players over a 10 year span.....and the Rays have. 

I mean, what round was Piazza taken?  But that is not the point. 

I can't wait to go to Rays games this year though, it is going to be fun.

As for Shields, promising, but I will hold off judgment until he does it for another year.

joedav01

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#10 : March 07, 2008, 05:11:26 PM

Shields put up roughly a 180/30 K to BB ratio last year and a sub 4 ERA pitching in the AL East.  You don't fake that.  His change up is one of the best pitches in all of baseball.


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#11 : March 07, 2008, 05:16:10 PM

He's going to have more eyes on him as well as tape and hitters seeing him more.  I think it's valid to say let's see if he can continue.  I think can though because of his demeanor on the mound and his competitiveness.

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#12 : March 08, 2008, 12:29:45 AM

He's going to have more eyes on him as well as tape and hitters seeing him more.  I think it's valid to say let's see if he can continue.  I think can though because of his demeanor on the mound and his competitiveness.

Exactly.  There have been many "1 hit wonders' so to speak in MLB.  I am not necessarily doubting Shields just saying I will withhold judgment on him until he has another successful season at least.  It is no different than I do with any player.

Hell, I caught hell for saying calm down about Clayton after year 1 in Tampa, yet who is laughing now?

Not saying Shields is Clayton, just saying it takes more than 1 good year to start calling someone an ace or all-pro player. 
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