Baseball America Top 100 ‘23: 5 Red Sox

billy ashley

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The biggest weakness for the farm, imo, is that beyond the top core guys, there aren't many folks who profile as major league contributors in the upper minors (outside of relievers and swingmen, which AAA is rich with).

Worcester Prospects:

Likely major leaguers:
  • Cedanne Rafeala. Lots of volatility in projections. Could be a starting position player if he improves his approach. Probably profiles as an excellent bench piece
  • Kutter Crawford. Swingman, reliever. Maybe backend starter
  • Wincowski. See above
  • Mata. Likely reliever due to injuries.
  • Walter.Best SP bet of the bunch. Profiles back end. Possible reliever.
  • Chris Murphey. Less exciting Crawford
  • Kelly. Interesting relief arm
  • Ort. Depth RP

Interesting Projects:
  • Valdez. Can't profile as a regular but does enough well to watch
  • Hernandez. If he can catch even a little, the bat might be good enough to sneak into a semi regular role one day

That's really about it for AAA. It's possible that there's not a single SP or starting caliber position player among the team.

I still think the system is solid, based on the lower minros, however.
 

Chainsaw318

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“Clear starting pitcher” is a very couched term as well.

There are a bunch of guys in the system higher up (Crawford, Winkowski, Murphy, Mata, Whitlock, Houck) who, if they don’t stick as starters, likely have bullpen use, but aren’t sure things. I get that it may be better if those questions were already answered, but like that most of these guys have a role if they can’t cut it as starters.

Same for some of the lower guys, like Park, Gonzalez, Perales.

Interesting question if you would prefer to have guys who are either starters or nothing (Groome, Seabold) or a bunch of the guys the Red Sox currently have, who have questions, but also a fall-back role?
 

Rovin Romine

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I find farm evaluations that do not include recent "graduates" to be inherently silly. They actively discount the youngest, longest-controlled players who are the entire point of the minors.

I mean, should we be worried we don't have a strong 1B prospect at AAA?

That's really about it for AAA. It's possible that there's not a single SP or starting caliber position player among the team.
It's also possible there is. Bello. . .no wait, we can't consider him. Because sports-writer categories.

Anyway, personally I also like Mata's chances:
https://soxprospects.com/players/mata-bryan.htm
https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=mata--000bry&type=pgl&year=2022
 

BaseballJones

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Great point @Rovin Romine

We had one of the best 1b prospects in the sport, which helped grade the Sox' farm system highly. But he "graduates" and now is their young, cost-controlled 1b of the present and forseeable future, hopefully mashing 30+ homers a year for the better part of a decade to come. They don't NEED a 1b prospect anytime soon. They should always be looking to develop prospects, and maybe Casas flames out. But developing prospects and graduating them (thus losing them from the farm system) is precisely the point.

Same with Bello, though obviously there is more than one starting pitcher spot on the MLB roster, so they need to churn out more SP prospects than 1b prospects.
 

geoflin

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I agree with the last 2 posts and raise a related question. Should Niko Kavadas' value in the farm system rankings be affected in any way because Casas is now in the majors hopefully blocking him and is not included in the farm system? I don't believe that it should but if Casas is successful doesn't that at least slightly lower Kavadas' value?
 
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TimScribble

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Kavadas struggled in his promotion. I think that’s the biggest factor on him right now. If he succeeds, he could be the DH in the same lineup as Casas.
 

gehrig

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I don't think you want to play Niko much at 1B no matter what happens with his bat and Casas'. He's pretty rough in the field.
 

Rovin Romine

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Fishy1

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Which promotion?

https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=kavada000nik&type=bgl&year=2022

No guarantees with prospects, but it looks to me like he had a terrible 5 games to close out his year, rather than running into a wall as soon as he's exposed in a new league. That's allowed.
Here's his slash lines. He does seem to me to have really struggled at AA. I don't really care about the batting average in 100 PA, but the 40% K rate is worrisome, and frankly his K rates at A ball levels have always been a little worrying. There's no doubt the guy can work a count and get a walk or that he has plenty of pop. I like him as a prospect for those reasons. It's the guys who strikeout a lot and don't walk at all that don't have any wiggle room. 60647

Here's Casas, for comparison. His peak strike-out season was actually in A ball, and he seems to have made adjustments to his approach since then, whereas Kavadas is striking out more and walking less as he progresses. That all could change, of course!
60648
 

AlNipper49

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Granted, the promotion numbers have a fairly small sample size. The big knock on him is his age. He was 4+ years older than a lot of the kids that he was facing. AA is usually when they start seeing a consistent rotation of more mature / better / major-league-ready players. It remains to be seen how accurate that is.
 

TimScribble

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He also played in the Arizona Fall League and had a 40% K rate as well.
 

Fishy1

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Granted, the promotion numbers have a fairly small sample size. The big knock on him is his age. He was 4+ years older than a lot of the kids that he was facing. AA is usually when they start seeing a consistent rotation of more mature / better / major-league-ready players. It remains to be seen how accurate that is.
I totally agree. I don't want to draw any conclusions yet -- it's possible he shows out next year, blasts the cover off the ball, and has a K% around 25%. But the K-rate at AA is something to watch next year. 40% is beyond bad.
 

Rovin Romine

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Here's his slash lines. He does seem to me to have really struggled at AA.
I think we're agreed on all but the above. There, I'd say 100 PAs are just not enough to draw a definitive conclusion any which way. He only faced the pitching staff of 5 teams, and there's a clear chunk of very bad games to finish off the season. Maybe Somerset figured out something that anyone can exploit and is unfixable. Maybe he had a bad stretch or was injured. Who knows? But tightly clustered swing results (one way or another) in a SSS make an analysis even more uncertain.

Aug 18 to Sep 14, 2022: 69 AB, 17 hits, 16 BB, 32K.

Sep 15 to Sep 22, 2022: 21 aB, 2 hits, 1 BB, 14K.
 
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JM3

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If someone values Niko, I'd be happy to trade him. Not particularly optimistic about his hitting profile/age/defense combo.

I am slightly more optimistic about Binelas because he's younger & has slightly more defensive ability (low bar). They both have alarming strikeout rates, though.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Here's his slash lines. He does seem to me to have really struggled at AA. I don't really care about the batting average in 100 PA, but the 40% K rate is worrisome, and frankly his K rates at A ball levels have always been a little worrying. There's no doubt the guy can work a count and get a walk or that he has plenty of pop. I like him as a prospect for those reasons. It's the guys who strikeout a lot and don't walk at all that don't have any wiggle room. View attachment 60647

Here's Casas, for comparison. His peak strike-out season was actually in A ball, and he seems to have made adjustments to his approach since then, whereas Kavadas is striking out more and walking less as he progresses. That all could change, of course!
View attachment 60648
Not sure if I should respond to this here or elsewhere, but just looking at Casas (SSS caveat) time in MLB last season is really encouraging. His BABiP normalized to roughly. 280-.300 will create an impressive bump in his BA and SLG- I'm thinking of this in Fris' Player A/Player B situation. He could be a dominant middle of the order bat as soon as this season.

Does anyone know how to adjust BABIP to a "normal" rate and the corresponding change to the expected batting lines?
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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If someone values Niko, I'd be happy to trade him. Not particularly optimistic about his hitting profile/age/defense combo.

I am slightly more optimistic about Binelas because he's younger & has slightly more defensive ability (low bar). They both have alarming strikeout rates, though.
Agreed on this. Kavadas is exciting like how Dalbec was exciting.
I'm not bullish on Binelas but think he's more likely to change his approach and reduce his K% at this point.
 

Fishy1

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I think we're agreed on all but the above. There, I'd say 100 PAs are just not enough to draw a definitive conclusion any which way. He only faced the pitching staff of 5 teams, and there's a clear chunk of very bad games to finish off the season. Maybe Somerset figured out something that anyone can exploit and is unfixable. Maybe he had a bad stretch or was injured. Who knows? But clustered swings (one way or another) in a SSS make an analysis even more uncertain.

Aug 18 to Sep 14, 2022: 69 AB, 17 hits, 16 BB, 32K.

Sep 15 to Sep 22, 2022: 21 aB, 2 hits, 1 BB, 14K.
Fair enough. I think we might be disagreeing about qualifies as struggling. I suppose if you can struggle in 100 PA, I would think striking out 40% of the time would qualify, but YMMV. I totally agree in principle, though -- I don't want to be overeager in drawing any conclusions about 100 PAs.
 

walt in maryland

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“Clear starting pitcher” is a very couched term as well.

There are a bunch of guys in the system higher up (Crawford, Winkowski, Murphy, Mata, Whitlock, Houck) who, if they don’t stick as starters, likely have bullpen use, but aren’t sure things. I get that it may be better if those questions were already answered, but like that most of these guys have a role if they can’t cut it as starters.

Same for some of the lower guys, like Park, Gonzalez, Perales.

Interesting question if you would prefer to have guys who are either starters or nothing (Groome, Seabold) or a bunch of the guys the Red Sox currently have, who havelis questions, but also a fall-back role?
Shouldn't really include Houck and Whitlock on this list. They're established major leaguers. And I'm not sure I agree that ANY pitcher is a "starter or nothing."
 

billy ashley

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I like Kavadas a lot but I don't think anyone is credibly arguing he's an important prospect. He's a top 20 guy in this system, with an interesting skill set and serious questions about his ability to make contact in the high minors. If he answers those questions, he's a fascinating DH prospect (if there is such a thing). If not, he's an org guy. Everyone knew he'd hit in the lower minors. He exceeded expectations there. He, like most prospects, looked really bad in AA during his small sample this past year. As many have pointed out, the delta between high A and AA is an all-time high due to the consolidation of leagues, and fallout from covid.

I think we have to wait and see how he does this entire season against advanced competition before knowing which outcome is more likely. No one should be trading for him. Furthermore, Boston should not be trading him unless someone sees him as an everyday DH right now (which remains to be seen).
 

Rovin Romine

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Fair enough. I think we might be disagreeing about qualifies as struggling. I suppose if you can struggle in 100 PA, I would think striking out 40% of the time would qualify, but YMMV. I totally agree in principle, though -- I don't want to be overeager in drawing any conclusions about 100 PAs.
The 40%K rate is a totally fair point, and yes, I'd agree it qualifies as "struggling" overall. But how did that 40% rate come about?

His slash line for the first 21 games (skipping the final 5 games) is: a weirdo .246/.402/.377/.779. But the K rate there was 32/87, for 26%
And the BB rate was 15/87, for 17%

So. . .if Kavadas did something like that over all 26 games, we'd probably not have huge reservations but we'd also not make any predictions, good or bad. Looks like he's being a bit cautious in taking more walks rather than swinging for power. New level, etc.

Yet the final 5 games have a 63% K rate. (Not a typo.) 14Ks in 22 ABs. Which includes a 5K game in the last game of the season.

By pointing that out, I don't mean to discount or ignore what he actually did in those final 5 (out of 26) games. Nor do I mean to suggest his "true talent level" is the first chunk, second chunk, or both. I think the sample is just too small. Like if someone came to me in Aug and said "You have foreknowledge of his AA jaunt - do you trade high on him now?" . . .I'm honestly not sure if any result (beyond completely one-sided catastrophic) in 100 AA ABs should affect that decision.

But the "struggle" thing is interesting and mostly why I responded to your post. I suspect if he had done poorly in the first 5 games, we might be tempted to say he struggled but adjusted for the final 21. If he did poorly in the last 5 (which he did) we might be tempted to say he was tired, or injured for the final 5. Or someone had figured out how to exploit his swing. . .which may or may not be able to adjust. Humans like our narratives. But often you just have to put an "undecided" pin in it and move on.
 

Rovin Romine

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I like Kavadas a lot but I don't think anyone is credibly arguing he's an important prospect.
I'm not. He's power-bat prospect. If he adjusts his upside is a DH (as you say.) But he's an interesting player and there may be there's a ML team out there (even the Sox) that really can use the best version of himself as a hitter.

PS - a nice blog post on Kadvas and the AFL: https://bloggingtheredsox.com/2022/11/07/red-sox-niko-kavadas-ending-arizona-fall-league-stint-on-strong-note/
 
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JM3

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His slash line for the first 21 games (skipping the final 5 games) is: a weirdo .246/.402/.377/.779. But the K rate there was 32/87, for 26%
And the BB rate was 15/87, for 17%
32 K's in 87 PAs is a 36.8% K rate.

If I'm mathing right, I think it would be 26 K's in 87 PAs for a 29.9% rate, though, if he had 14 in the last sample & 40 total.

ETA: ugg all the math is off. I think it's 77 PAs if the last sample has 22 ABs (+1 walk since he had 16 on the season), which would mean 26 K's in 77 PAs for a 33.8% K Rate (& 15 BBs in 77 PAs is a 19.5% rate).
 
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johnlos

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Not sure if I should respond to this here or elsewhere, but just looking at Casas (SSS caveat) time in MLB last season is really encouraging. His BABiP normalized to roughly. 280-.300 will create an impressive bump in his BA and SLG- I'm thinking of this in Fris' Player A/Player B situation. He could be a dominant middle of the order bat as soon as this season.

Does anyone know how to adjust BABIP to a "normal" rate and the corresponding change to the expected batting lines?
I dunno that there's a real way but here's a simple model:
-His 3 stops in the minors his BABIP was .300/.323/.323. Pretty consistent so round them to ~.315.
-Formula is (H - HR)/(AB - HR - K + SF). 2022 MLB his 15 hits gave him a .208 BABIP. 5 more hits would have put him at .313, right at career norm.
-5 hits raises his .197/.358/.408 slash line to .263/.411/.544 (assuming his 31 TB in 15 hit rate continues)
-However, the SLG is an outlier, which is due to his lucky HR/FB rate (16% in minors, 26% in his cup of coffee, so subtract 2 HRs to get to ~16%).
-So after accounting for BABIP and HR/FB regression to the mean he's at .237/.389/.439.

Steamer next year has him at .247/.351/.451. So probably just easier to look at Steamer next time ;)
 

OCD SS

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Keith Law has put out his team by team rankings for mL systems and he has the Sox in at 23.

Edit: his criticisms seem to boil down to not many advanced position prospects (where we’ll be down to Mayer and Rafaella once Casas graduates) and very little pitching, most of which has relief risk.
 
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jon abbey

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Keith Law has put out his team by team rankings for mL systems and he has the Sox in at 23.

Edit: his criticisms seem to boil down to not many advanced position prospects (where we’ll be down to Mayer and Rafaella once Casas graduates) and very little pitching, most of which has relief risk.
I take his rankings less seriously than any of the others, they always seem very capricious and often poorly researched.

Here’s another farm system ranking that came out today that has BOS 11th:

https://www.prospects1500.com/milb/2023-mlb-farm-system-rankings/
 

soxhop411

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Keith Law has put out his team by team rankings for mL systems and he has the Sox in at 23.

Edit: his criticisms seem to boil down to not many advanced position prospects (where we’ll be down to Mayer and Rafaella once Casas graduates) and very little pitching, most of which has relief risk.
I take his rankings less seriously than any of the others, they always seem very capricious and often poorly researched.

Here’s another farm system ranking that came out today that has BOS 11th:

https://www.prospects1500.com/milb/2023-mlb-farm-system-rankings/
Agree 1000 % with @jon abbey
he had the sox as the 20th ranked system last year. He is really saying our system got worse from last year?
https://theathletic.com/3112765/2022/02/07/mlb-2022-farm-system-rankings-keith-law-grades-all-30-teams-on-prospects-with-the-dodgers-at-no-1/


I dont buy it

MLB.com Rankings from last year
11. Boston Red Sox
2022 preseason rank: 14
2021 midseason rank: 12
2021 preseason rank: 24
2020 midseason rank: 25
https://www.mlb.com/news/farm-system-rankings-2022-midseason

FG had us 9th last year
https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board/2022-in-season-prospect-list/farm-ranking?sort=-1,1&type=100&filter=&pos=&team=
 

grimshaw

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A bit of cold water on the ranking of the system is that fangraphs had 18 Sox guys at 40+ FV by the end of the season after Casas and Bello were brought up. 40+ and up FV is a projection for a floor of a bench guy/low end regular, and ceiling of franchise player. Not just a cups of coffee.

You have to trim Noah Song, Connor Seabold, Tyler McDonough, Gilberto Jimenez, and (probably) Ronaldo Hernandez off the list. Thad Ward and David Hamilton are also on that list with the former possibly being offered back, and the latter being buried now. So there has been quite a bit of turnover, a few by graduation and a lot of dudding out.

Law is weird with the Sox but I still think they are better than his rankings indicate because of the steps up Bleis and Rafaela took, Jordan more than handling high A at age 20 and Yorke looking better this fall. They also have guys like Zack Kelly and Kutter Crawford - post prospects but potential contributors.
 
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jwbasham84

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Not to defend Law in any way, he's a putz, but if we do graduate two of our best prospects, Bello and Casas, of course our system just got weaker. I by no means agree we are in the bottom third of the MLB, but we should be worse than last year graduating our best pitching prospect and one of our best position prospects. That is aside from the players lost in Rule 5 draft etc..

Edit: grimshaw beat me to the rule five losses..
 

Merkle's Boner

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Yeah, I obviously don’t know much about any other teams’ farm systems, but once you get beyond Casas, Mayer, Rafaela, and Bleis, our system seems to really fall off. The hope is that some of the teenagers, specifically Romero, Roman Anthony, and Perales, take big steps forward this year. I’m not holding my breath on many of the others being major contributors at the big league level.
 

Pozo the Clown

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Keith Law has put out his team by team rankings for mL systems and he has the Sox in at 23.

Edit: his criticisms seem to boil down to not many advanced position prospects (where we’ll be down to Mayer and Rafaella once Casas graduates) and very little pitching, most of which has relief risk.
Here's what Law wrote in the article:
"Their group of position-player prospects is probably in the upper half of farm systems, but their group of pitching prospects is one of the weakest. They might not have a future MLB starter anywhere on their full-season rosters; the best of those candidates all have huge reliever risk, at least. They lost one guy from their top-100 group last year, as Nick Yorke, their shocking first-round pick in 2020, hit just .232/.302/.365 in High A. He’ll turn 21 in April, though, and has time to recover."

...[Law] had the sox as the 20th ranked system last year. He is really saying our system got worse from last year?"
Perhaps just worse by comparison to other systems.
 

HangingW/ScottCooper

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I'm not usually one to agree with Law, but outside of Bello who do we have for minor league arms that would crack an MLB rotation in 2 years? Maybe Mata or Walter as a #4 or #5?
 

gammoseditor

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I like Keith Law and he is one of the main reasons I have a subscription to the athletic. Putting together a top 100 list is a ton of work and I think he does a good job and his write ups are good. But to also have one guy responsible for top 20 prospect lists for every team then rank each team is kind of insane. The Red Sox system is built on depth and it’s the type of system I would expect an individual responsible for so much to underrate.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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How relevant is the depth, though? Guys like Downs, Ward and Seabold were lost for little to nothing in return- and German likely. Hernandez was exposed and unclaimed. I don’t think the depth guys really matter all that much, they have little value.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I dunno that there's a real way but here's a simple model:
-His 3 stops in the minors his BABIP was .300/.323/.323. Pretty consistent so round them to ~.315.
-Formula is (H - HR)/(AB - HR - K + SF). 2022 MLB his 15 hits gave him a .208 BABIP. 5 more hits would have put him at .313, right at career norm.
-5 hits raises his .197/.358/.408 slash line to .263/.411/.544 (assuming his 31 TB in 15 hit rate continues)
-However, the SLG is an outlier, which is due to his lucky HR/FB rate (16% in minors, 26% in his cup of coffee, so subtract 2 HRs to get to ~16%).
-So after accounting for BABIP and HR/FB regression to the mean he's at .237/.389/.439.

Steamer next year has him at .247/.351/.451. So probably just easier to look at Steamer next time ;)
Thanks. Pretty optimistic outlook for him in either scenario. I'll take your OBP and Steamers SLG and optimistically combine it for rookie of the year .840 OPS and I'd guess around 25 HR's. :banana:
 

gammoseditor

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How relevant is the depth, though? Guys like Downs, Ward and Seabold were lost for little to nothing in return- and German likely. Hernandez was exposed and unclaimed. I don’t think the depth guys really matter all that much, they have little value.
At year end fangraphs had 61 Red Sox prospects with a grade. That was 3rd in baseball. Historically if you have enough prospects with low grades some of them will turn into something. They aren’t worthless just because the vast majority of them do not pan out.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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At year end fangraphs had 61 Red Sox prospects with a grade. That was 3rd in baseball. Historically if you have enough prospects with low grades some of them will turn into something. They aren’t worthless just because the vast majority of them do not pan out.
I don’t think they are worthless, they just have limited value. They don’t seem to be able to be traded for much if any return and it’s hard to keep them all due to roster constraints. Nice to have them but they don’t really move the needle in terms of system rankings, IMO.
 

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Agree 1000 % with @jon abbey
he had the sox as the 20th ranked system last year. He is really saying our system got worse from last year?
Also dinging the Sox for Yorke's fall out of the top 100.

I like Keith Law and he is one of the main reasons I have a subscription to the athletic. Putting together a top 100 list is a ton of work and I think he does a good job and his write ups are good. But to also have one guy responsible for top 20 prospect lists for every team then rank each team is kind of insane. The Red Sox system is built on depth and it’s the type of system I would expect an individual responsible for so much to underrate.
KLaw has also always been someone who prefers ceiling & impact over depth (and he's pretty upfront about it). Frankly, that makes a lot more sense for a team like the Sox where a prospect is going to have to be really good to even get the chance to struggle at the MLB level, and even then he better get on track pretty fast. Prospects who are hanging around as "depth" either need to have loud tools/ upside, or people (say, around here) are wondering why their roster spot wasn't upgraded over the off-season.

I don't think KLaw is necessarily right about the Sox farm system's overall rank, but I do think it's interesting as a good counterpoint to conventional wisdom, and it reflects how some posters around how expect the farm system to function.
 
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Jimbodandy

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Also dinging the Sox for Yorke's fall out of the top 100.

KLaw has also always been someone who prefers ceiling & impact over depth (and he's pretty upfront about it). Frankly, that makes a lot more sense for a team like the Sox where a prospect is going to have to be really good to even get the chance to struggle at the MLB level, and even then he better get on track pretty fast. Prospects who are hanging around as "depth" either need to have loud tools/ upside, or people (say around here) are wondering why their roster spot wasn't upgraded over the off-season.

I don't think KLaw is necessarily right about the Sox farm system's overall rank, but I do think it's interesting as a good counterpoint to conventional wisdom, and it reflects how some posters around how expect the farm system to function.
Thanks for writing this the way that you did. It's a great review of how Law looks at things a little differently and the value that it brings. It's another great data point.

High ceiling prospects are way more valuable than average prospects. That doesn't mean that the depth that we've acquired or the particular high ceiling prospects that we've brought in don't have huge value. Some of them might be HOF guys. It does mean that we haven't moved up on the "how many HOF potential players do you have" metric, and he's probably not wrong.
 

gammoseditor

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Also dinging the Sox for Yorke's fall out of the top 100.



KLaw has also always been someone who prefers ceiling & impact over depth (and he's pretty upfront about it). Frankly, that makes a lot more sense for a team like the Sox where a prospect is going to have to be really good to even get the chance to struggle at the MLB level, and even then he better get on track pretty fast. Prospects who are hanging around as "depth" either need to have loud tools/ upside, or people (say around here) are wondering why their roster spot wasn't upgraded over the off-season.

I don't think KLaw is necessarily right about the Sox farm system's overall rank, but I do think it's interesting as a good counterpoint to conventional wisdom, and it reflects how some posters around how expect the farm system to function.
I don’t disagree with that. But my bigger problem is Law, as part of his job description, needs to have an opinion on over 600 players and balance rankings across 30 teams. On top of that he covers the draft as well. His job responsibilities are insane for one person and sites that have a bigger staff are going to do a better job of ranking depth.
 

jon abbey

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I don’t disagree with that. But my bigger problem is Law, as part of his job description, needs to have an opinion on over 600 players and balance rankings across 30 teams. On top of that he covers the draft as well. His job responsibilities are insane for one person and sites that have a bigger staff are going to do a better job of ranking depth.
This is all quite true, but I think Kiley McDaniel does it himself for ESPN currently and IMO is way way way better at it.

Law was better pre-Covid but he hasn't been able to travel much since plus he doesn't really seem to put in the same level of effort as he used to, as happens to many/most people as the years doing the same thing pile up.
 

Rovin Romine

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KLaw has also always been someone who prefers ceiling & impact over depth (and he's pretty upfront about it). Frankly, that makes a lot more sense for a team like the Sox where a prospect is going to have to be really good to even get the chance to struggle at the MLB level, and even then he better get on track pretty fast. Prospects who are hanging around as "depth" either need to have loud tools/ upside, or people (say, around here) are wondering why their roster spot wasn't upgraded over the off-season.

I don't think KLaw is necessarily right about the Sox farm system's overall rank, but I do think it's interesting as a good counterpoint to conventional wisdom, and it reflects how some posters around how expect the farm system to function.
Shrug. Sure, prospects with potentially high ceilings are valuable, either for direct graduation or to trade for better fitting players (given the needs of the moment.) Anderson Espinoza for Drew Pomeranz.

But having middling prospects to deal (or perhaps see blossom) can also result in value to the club. We traded four guys for Kimbrel - most can only name one.
 

Big Papa Smurph

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Kiley McDaniel of ESPN, ranks the Red Sox farm system at number 14 (behind paywall)

Last year: 16th, $209.5 million
Top-100 prospects: 3

The top of the system -- Marcelo Mayer and Triston Casas -- did what was expected and continued moving up the list. Beyond that, last season was a mixed bag for Red Sox prospects.

Here's what happened to prospects Nos. 3-11, in order: Nick Yorke was downgraded due to a tough season in which he was a bit unlucky with outcomes, Jarren Duran graduated but still hasn't found much big league success, Jeter Downs went to the Nationals on waivers, Gilberto Jimenez and Wilkelman Gonzalez went unpicked in the Rule 5 draft after up-and-down seasons, Jay Groome was traded to the Padres in the Eric Hosmer salary dump, Ronaldo Hernandez was outrighted off of the 40-man roster, Chris Murphy was fine but nothing more in the upper minors, and Noah Song was selected in the Rule 5 draft by the Phillies.

While that stretch of the list wasn't very good, there were a handful of breakout campaigns (Miguel Bleis, Ceddanne Rafaela, Blaze Jordan, Eddinson Paulino) of players who now move into that range in the team rankings along with some players added in the draft (Mikey Romero, Roman Anthony, Cutter Coffey) who also belong up there. Given how things are going at the big league level, the Red Sox need a strong next wave of players coming behind Casas and Mayer. More steps forward from this group are crucial.
 
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Shrug. Sure, prospects with potentially high ceilings are valuable, either for direct graduation or to trade for better fitting players (given the needs of the moment.) Anderson Espinoza for Drew Pomeranz.

But having middling prospects to deal (or perhaps see blossom) can also result in value to the club. We traded four guys for Kimbrel - most can only name one.
Sure, but you still have to have at least that one guy who’s close enough to MLB to provide production at the minimum salary and also with a chance to blossom, and the Sox don’t have that. They have Dalbec & Duran, who I think if anyone else thought they had value would be gone already. Rafaella might not be a bad corollary for Margot, except with more hype and without being blocked by a better player (JBJ).
 

Rovin Romine

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Sure, but you still have to have at least that one guy who’s close enough to MLB to provide production at the minimum salary and also with a chance to blossom, and the Sox don’t have that. They have Dalbec & Duran, who I think if anyone else thought they had value would be gone already. Rafaella might not be a bad corollary for Margot, except with more hype and without being blocked by a better player (JBJ).
So. . .assuming ML teams will just never-ever trade for younger prospects who are higher ranked or have upside like Mayer/Yorke, are you saying that players like Casas, Bello, Mata, etc. have no trade value?

And this really circles back to the flaws with Law's approach. He's a sportswriter. He (and his industry) draws arbitrary lines in the sand so they can produce rankings. But I am morally certain the Sox, while speaking sports-industry-jargon during press conferences, actually view their roster as a continuum that includes young cost-controlled contributing players alongside minor league players who may graduate to the ML club. . .instead of some kind of weird entity ("the farm") that exists apart from some kind of unknowable ML roster and must be evaluated on some set of completely isolate and artificial criteria.
 

OCD SS

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So. . .assuming ML teams will just never-ever trade for younger prospects who are higher ranked or have upside like Mayer/Yorke, are you saying that players like Casas, Bello, Mata, etc. have no trade value?
Do you really think this is what I meant, or really even follows from my what I wrote?

And this really circles back to the flaws with Law's approach. He's a sportswriter. He (and his industry) draws arbitrary lines in the sand so they can produce rankings. But I am morally certain the Sox, while speaking sports-industry-jargon during press conferences, actually view their roster as a continuum that includes young cost-controlled contributing players alongside minor league players who may graduate to the ML club. . .instead of some kind of weird entity ("the farm") that exists apart from some kind of unknowable ML roster and must be evaluated on some set of completely isolate and artificial criteria.
And yet Law's approach is exactly the same as pretty much every other publication listed that is providing farm system rankings (unless there is a publication I'm unaware of that provides modified rankings that account for talent under 25 that may have just graduated - I think FG used to add in recent graduated talent, but they didn't change the system rankings). The only reason to single Law out is because he ranked the Sox so low, but he's looking at the same pool of players as everyone else.

I already said that I don't really agree with Law (mostly for the reasons mentioned by @jon abbey), but I think there's value in assesing Law's critique, and his focus makes a little more sense for a team like the Sox IMO. They can hoard a lot of depth that might help them through a season, but that winds up looking like Seabold and company making a lot of starts and they can wind up with a lot of 45 FV guys clogging the 40 man who other teams aren't going to give much for...
 

scottyno

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I already said that I don't really agree with Law (mostly for the reasons mentioned by @jon abbey), but I think there's value in assesing Law's critique, and his focus makes a little more sense for a team like the Sox IMO. They can hoard a lot of depth that might help them through a season, but that winds up looking like Seabold and company making a lot of starts and they can wind up with a lot of 45 FV guys clogging the 40 man who other teams aren't going to give much for...
Isn't Law's criticism that they don't have depth not that they're hoarding mediocre depth? His rating surely can't be based on the top of the rankings, since there's no way a system with 3 in the top 40 and 4 in the top 75 can be that bad unless you think they have nothing beyond those guys.