What does having the #1 farm system mean?  Conclusion

We finish up this little series by compiling the team numbers to get a range of what we can expect from our farm system in the coming years.  We will then look at a couple of case studies to see how the Royals would need to supplement their Top 10 prospects to put together a team that could make the playoffs.

First, here are the #1 ranked farm systems for each year:
Team
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Year 5
Year 6
Year 7
2001 White Sox
1.8
4.1
3.6
10.5
6.2
7.9
8.6
2002 Cubs
3.7
13.9
9.1
9.0
5.4
3.5
3.5
2003 Indians
3.9
13.0
20.0
22.8
22.6
19.9
19.6
2004 Brewers
0.3
1.8
3.6
17.6
13.2
10.6
16.5
2005 Angels
3.0
3.7
5.0
11.5
14.6
4.0
--
2006 D-Backs
2.7
2.9
13.3
7.3
13.6
--
--
2007 Rays
-0.1
4.1
13.3
12.6
--
--
--
2008 Rays
4.8
14.1
15.0
--
--
--
--
2009 Rangers
6.4
5.7
--
--
--
--
--
2010 Rays
2.5
--
--
--
--
--
--
Average
2.9
7.0
10.4
13.0
12.6
9.2
12.1

 

Now here are the #1's for the last ten years and numbers 1-3 included for the last five:

Team
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Year 5
Year 6
Year  7
2001 White Sox
1.8
4.1
3.6
10.5
6.2
7.9
8.6
2002 Cubs
3.7
13.9
9.1
9.0
5.4
3.5
3.5
2003 Indians
3.9
13.0
20.0
22.8
22.6
19.9
19.6
2004 Brewers
0.3
1.8
3.6
17.6
13.2
10.6
16.5

2005 Angels

3.0
3.7
5.0
11.5
14.6
4.0
--
2006 D-Backs
2.7
2.9
13.3
7.3
13.6
--
--
2006 Dodgers
4.3
12.4
14.4
15.7
7.4
--
--
2006 Marlins
6.6
5.8
6.9
8.9
10.7
--
--
2007 Rays
-0.1
4.1
13.3
12.6
--
--
--
2007 Rockies
8.5
9.8
16.6
17.2
--
--
--
2007 D-Backs
4.1
9.5
21.1
21.5
--
--
--
2008 Rays
4.8
14.1
15.0
--
--
--
--
2008 Red Sox
7.7
5.5
8.9
--
--
--
--
2008 Reds
5.8
11.3
20.8
--
--
--
--
2009 Rangers
6.4
5.7
--
--
--
--
--
2009 Marlins
4.6
7.4
--
--
--
--
--
2009 A's
5.6
8.1
--
--
--
--
--
2010 Rays
2.5
--
--
--
--
--
--
2010 Rangers
1.9
--
--
--
--
--
--
2010 Indians
1.9
--
--
--
--
--
--
Total
4.0
7.8
12.2
14.1
11.7
9.2
12.1

 

It's interesting that the numbers actually start to trend up a little bit in the second chart from the first.  Two possible reasons come to mind.  First it could be, as I mentioned in an earlier article, I think prospect evaluation has gotten better in the past several years.  Second, there has been a lot of really good talent to come along.

In looking at some of the playoff teams this year, a team needs (depending on luck and how good the division is) about 45-50 WAR to make the playoffs.  One thing I didn't hit on in the series is that the 2010 Reds, for example, got 20.8 WAR from their 2008 Top Ten but they also got additional WAR from players either outside the Top 10 or added to the system later. Here's a list of other players who contributed in 2010 who were in the Cincinnati farm system:

Travis Wood--2.2 WAR

Ryan Hanigan--2.2 WAR

Chris Heisey--1.3 WAR

Mike Leake--1.1 WAR

Paul Janish--1.0 WAR

Aroldis Chapman--0.7 WAR

Total: 8.5 WAR

(and their are a bunch of guys who had fractional +/- WAR but I won't got into all that)

Let's do the same thing with this year's Tampa Rays team--players not on the 2007 Top 10:

David Price--4.3 WAR

James Shields--2.2 WAR*

John Jaso--2.5 WAR

Total: 9.0 WAR

*Shields had been up for half of 2006 so he could be excluded if you want to be strict

One more, let's look at the 2010 Rockies from players outside their 2007 Top Ten (I know the Rockies didn't make the playoffs but I see them as a good example for the Royals to aim for:

Jhoulys Chacin--3.0 WAR

Seth Smith--1.7 WAR

Esmil Rogers--1.4 WAR

Jonathan Herrera--0.7 WAR

Manny Corpas--0.4 WAR

Total: 7.2 WAR

 

So what can Royals fans hope for from their farm system in the coming years?  Get ready for a bunch of assumptions as I will try to sketch what it would need to look like for the Royals to be a playoff worthy team (45-50 WAR).  The best case scenario is that by 2013 or 2014 the Royals Top 10 matches with some of the best teams listed above and they are putting out 20 WAR a year from 6 players on their Top 10 list.  And let's also assume that we have 4 other players--either outside the Top 10 or perhaps from the 2011 draft who add another 7 WAR a year.  That brings us to 10 players/27 WAR and we'll estimate the salary for those players at $7 million.

Perhaps the Royals can put out a $75 million payroll for this team.  The Royals would have $68 million to spend on 15 players who would need to find around 18-23 WAR to think about making the playoffs.  Some of that WAR could come from players on the current roster: Greinke, Butler, Soria, Gordon, Hochevar, Dejesus, Aviles, and Kaaihue (those players totaled 16.7 WAR last year--but obviously predicting what they are going to do in 3 years in impossible and many of those names would need to resigned) or some of that WAR could come from trading those players.  But clearly, signing some free agents is also going to be needed to supplement the prospects. 

This wraps up our little series.  I'm anticipating that the Royals Top 10 will be up there with the very best of the past decade when it comes to Top 25 and Top 50 Prospects.  That is a good thing--and that is before a possible Greinke trade.  My hope is that, as the prospects rankings roll in, we will have a little perspective as to what it means to the Royals going forward although I'm sure people are going to see what they want to see in this little exercise. Thanks for reading and I should start my Royals prospect rankings in a couple of weeks.

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