*BA provides an optimistic view on how our #1 farm system stacks up to past #1 farm systems this decade.*
I know that you haven't analyzed all 30 teams yet, but it's clear to everyone who reads Baseball America that the Royals have the best farm system in baseball. Assuming that they don't trade any of their prospects before BA does its organization rankings, how would Kansas City stack up against the other No. 1 systems from the last 10 years.
The Royals are enduring their 15th losing season in the last 16 years, but they finally have some realistic hope for the future. Kansas City has three of the game's best hitting prospects in third baseman Mike Moustakas, first baseman Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers, and the top collection of lefthanded pitching prospects with John Lamb, Mike Montgomery, Chris Dwyer and Danny Duffy. Beyond those guys, the Royals also have a number of other intriguing farmhands, including righthander Aaron Crow and third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert.
Right now, Kansas City is the favorite to occupy the top spot when we unveil our next talent rankings in the 2011 Prospect Handbook. Let's take a quick look at the last 10 No. 1 organizations, all of whom reached the major league postseason within four years of that ranking, and their Top 100 Prospects:
2001 White Sox: Jon Rauch (No. 4), Joe Borchard (23), Joe Crede (36), Matt Ginter (44), Dan Wright (61).
2002 Cubs: Mark Prior (2), Juan Cruz (6), Hee Seop Choi (40), David Kelton (45), Bobby Hill (48), Nic Jackson (68), Carlos Zambrano (80).
2003 Indians: Brandon Phillips (7), Victor Martinez (16), Cliff Lee (30), Travis Hafner (46), Jeremy Guthrie (70).
2004 Brewers: Rickie Weeks (5), Prince Fielder (10), J.J. Hardy (19), Brad Nelson (48), Manny Parra (69), Mike Jones (84).
2005 Angels: Casey Kotchman (6), Dallas McPherson (12), Erick Aybar (39), Jeff Mathis (67), Kendry Morales (76), Brandon Wood (83).
2006 Diamondbacks: Justin Upton (2), Stephen Drew (5), Conor Jackson (17), Carlos Quentin (20), Chris Young (23), Carlos Gonzalez (32), Dustin Nippert (67).
2007 Rays: Evan Longoria (7), Reid Brignac (17), Jeff Niemann (35), Jacob McGee (37), Elijah Dukes (79), Wade Davis (97).
2008 Rays: Evan Longoria (2), David Price (10), Jacob McGee (15), Wade Davis (17), Reid Brignac (39), Desmond Jennings (59), Jeff Niemann (99).
2009 Rangers: Neftali Feliz (10), Justin Smoak (23), Derek Holland (31), Elvis Andrus (37), Taylor Teagarden (73), Max Ramirez (84), Martin Perez (86).
2010 Rays: Desmond Jennings (6), Jeremy Hellickson (18), Wade Davis (34), Matt Moore (35), Reid Brignac (54), Tim Beckham (67), Alex Colome (68).
The Royals stack up very nicely against their predecessors. Moustakas, Hosmer, Myers, Lamb and Montgomery all will appear in the upper half of our 2011 Top 100 list, and the only top-ranked organization with more firepower was the 2006 Diamondbacks, who claimed six of the top 32 spots.
While the Twins are clearly the class of the American League Central, they're not a juggernaut. The Indians are rebuilding, and the Tigers and White Sox need to do the same. With the talent they have on the way, the Royals could be the second-best team in the division by 2012 and legitimate contenders the following season.