Wow … are there some interesting changes this year.
First, though, in case you care, here are last year’s rankings.
The Overall Picture
With all the activity lately—draft class adjustments, and IFA numbers and UMEBA minor League Free Agents running amok, the first real question is “how does the overall collection of prospects look?”
The answer is: overall, probably pretty good. Where 2043 saw the systems get a bit drained at the top, 2044’s status looks to pretty much have held serve. The number of top prospects is roughly the same, but there has been a bit of an uptick on “55” and down. How relative ratings affect this is hard to say, but the numbers are the numbers:
All right, let’s get into looking at our individual teams. Here are the obligatory set of charts.
Big shout out to shoeless in Sacramento (which really should be a Rom Com remake, right?). Though they were already in the mix toward the upper third of the pile, the results of the Mad Popes’ “fire sale” to date has made a pretty major impact on the chart. Shoeless has the top rung whether you look at Overall Rank or Top Rank.
A Look Through the Divisions
Johnson: Atlantic - I’ll start here because the JLA has two of the more interesting improvements in the league, as well as three big losers. First, we have to note that trades made by GM Brett Golden have merged with solid draft selections to see the Cougars bump from #26 last year up to #8 on the chart. That’s some bass. The second mover and shaker is probably no surprise, either, that being the Hurricanes of Jacksonville. Jacksonville’s top end isn’t quite as solid as Charlotte’s, but it’s organization is getting thick in the middle, which, if combined with a little cash at FA times might bode well for the future.
But look at Atlantic City, Brooklyn (whose every metric says Ben Heurong’s read is right—the Robins’ time is now), and Rockville. All three took major hits to their farm system rankings. I’d say Rockville’s comes mostly from unloading a lot of kids into the parent club recently, so this may not be a big deal to them. Time, will, of course, tell.
Frick: Heartland - We’ll look at the Heartland next, mostly because of Nashville and Louisville. Both moved up in these overall rankings, but in considerably different ways. I’m thinking the Bluebird’s shift from 18th to 5 is solid, but the Sluggers standing is interesting because it is so middle and bottom heavy. Whereas Nashville’s six blue chippers show well on the wTop score, Louisville is all about the middle and bottom end. It’s a swamp of prospects, I guess, which is essentially Shaw throwing crap on the wall to see what sticks.
Omaha continues a steady march up the charts. Yellow Springs continues its recent downward trend. Chicago remains pretty danged solid up and down the chain. It’s an interesting little snapshot because the bottom of the division all falling, one wonders if that’s an indicator of cracks in the Heartland’s domination of the Frick League. Twin Cities in particular may be suffering from a window closure due to all those Pitching injuries, as the farm system continues to drain.
Johnson: Frontier – The Boise Spuds are still the big rutabaga on campus, to mix you veggies, but the Aztecs are looking for the lead. They jump from #20 to #10. Vegas, Phoenix, and Calgary all took negative actions, but sit in the middle of the pack. Edmonton remains toward the bottom of the pack, but admittedly has a scattering of youngsters who could make a difference. Perhaps they aren’t in too bad of shape.
Perhaps the most interesting team on the Frontier chart is Wichita, a team which Nigel Laverick has been trying to whip into shape, and has been ever-so slowly ramping up. They too a small step forward this year. So, um, slow and steady wins the race? San Antonio rebounded from last year’s drop—which perhaps is a little foreshadowing to Frontier competition that the club might be in the process of building a JUGGERNAUT. (hehehehehehe)
Frick: Pacific – We’ve already mentioned Shoeless’s work in Sacramento, but there is good news up and down the Pacific ranks, as no team other than Long Beach took any serious backward steps. The Surfers farm system is, well, barren. Empty. Bad. Dunno, but there’s probably a reason Stephen hit the FA market like a banshee this last winter.
And on the positive side, Vancouver joins Sacramento as a big mover, jumping from #21 to #10. Another tough year means probably another solid pick net year, that could push them further up. Certainly possible the Mounties could bounce back from their woes semi-soon.The Stars also took a step up, but I think that almost had to happen. Greg Smothers has his work cut out for him. This is kind of the problem with my statement above. The Pacific didn’t really regress far, but the fact is they were already at the bottom of the pile—so they really didn’t have a lot to fall off from. At the end of the say, Pacific teams fill the numbers 25, 27. 28, 29, 30, and 32 slots in the league ranks.
I've got the UMEBA done, too, but just ran out of time today...so we'll hit them tomorrow!