clearpix.gif (43 bytes)
clearpix.gif (43 bytes)
Big Daddy Baseball League

O F F I C I A L   S I T E   O F   T H E   B I G   D A D D Y   B A S E B A L L   L E A G U E
slant.gif (102 bytes) FTDOTC Special 10-Year Anniversary Edition


clearpix.gif (43 bytes)

July, 2009

The 10-Year Farm Report

Through the years, I have attempted many times to measure or quantify our farm systems. Way back in 2003, I attempted my first-ever "all-time" farm analysis, where I applied subjective ratings (from -1 for a "WORS" to a +5 for an impact player) to every player on our BDBL farm clubs.  At that time, I declared the Madison Fighting Mimes (today's Ravenswood Infidels) to have the best farm system in league history.

People complained, though, that my system was based too heavily on subjective opinion (and those people were right.)  So, in 2004, I embarked upon yet another exhaustive historical study of BDBL farm systems, where I applied the completely non-subjective new stat "win shares" to all players occupying a spot on our BDBL farm clubs.  I then determined that the Wapakoneta Hippos owned the best farm system in league history.  But people complained that not enough time had passed to properly evaluate our farm systems.  They also complained that because some teams made more trades than others, those teams were able to acquire more farm players, and thus rank higher.

So, I dropped the concept.  Until now.  Now that ten full seasons have passed, we have a large enough sample size to properly measure our farm systems.  And I believe I've come up with a completely fair and non-subjective method for evaluating those farm systems.

I began by compiling a list of every player ever drafted as a farm player or acquired as a farm free agent.  This system gives zero credit to the GM who traded for a farm player.  There are some who believe a GM shouldn't get credit for players acquired via trade.  Only the players we had the foresight to acquire in the first place are counted.  However, we're also giving credit to the GM's who acquired a future star and then released or traded him, believing he had no value.  So it's all relative.  No system is perfect.

Next, I had my most trusted and faithful stat-dude, Greg Newgard, append the career WARP3's to each and every one of these players.  This meant that Greg needed to manually look up the career WARP3's of all 1,900 players in this list.  Yes, Greg is an incredible asset to this league.  And yes, I will be buying him several beers at BDBL Weekend.

My goal here is not only to discover which franchise has done the best job of developing a farm system, but to uncover interesting trends throughout the years.  With that in mind, let me start by answering a question that was asked in a FTDOTC article a year ago at this time:

Question: How do BDBL farm drafts break down in terms of professional vs. amateur players, and has this changed over the years?

It's probably no surprise to anyone that as this league has matured, we have elected to choose what is behind door #3 more and more often:

More and more often, as our league has evolved, GM's are opting for players with zero professional experience over those with established minor league track records.  The question is: how many of these virtual lottery tickets have actually paid dividends?

Type # Players Adj WARP3 WARP3/Pl
College 181 342.8 1.89
High school 99 193.2 1.95
International 30 16.7 0.56
Japan 42 169.6 4.04
Minors 1,518 4,987.2 3.29

As you can see, Steve Osborne's strategy of loading up his farm club with Japanese players is a proven winner.  The amateur categories haven't proven nearly as bountiful as selecting from the professional ranks.

The top ten players from each type:


Player Year WARP3 Franchise
Teixeira, Mark 1999 34.6 GLS
Prior, Mark 2001 16.5 AKR
Zimmerman, Ryan 2005 15.8 SCA
Braun, Ryan 2004 14.6 COR
Pedroia, Dustin 2003 13.2 STL
Greene, Khalil 2002 12.3 SAB
Swisher, Nick 2002 11.7 RAV
Tulowitzki, Troy 2005 11.3 CLE
Weaver, Jared 2003 11.1 LAU
Youkilis, Kevin 2002 10.6 SAL

High school:

Player Year WARP3 Franchise
Mauer, Joe 2001 31.6 STL
Beckett, Josh 1999 23.2 CHI
Markakis, Nick 2003 21.6 RAV
Kazmir, Scott 2002 16.6 MAN
Gonzalez, Adrian 2001 16.0 COR
Upton, B.J. 2002 13.4 SAL
Fielder, Prince 2002 12.8 STL
Hermida, Jeremy 2002 9.0 LAU
Danks, John 2003 7.2 BCJ
Kotchman, Casey 2001 7.1 SAL


Player Year WARP3 Franchise
Contreras, Jose 2003 7.7 SCA
Escobar, Yunel 2006 5.9 NAS
Ramirez, Alexei 2008 2.4 GLS
Morales, Kendry 2004 0.7 SAL


Player Year WARP3 Franchise
Suzuki, Ichiro 2001 53.2 MAR
Matsui, Hideki 2002 17.5 BCJ
Saito, Takashi 2006 15.9 KAN
Johjima, Kenji 2005 12.7 SAL
Otsuka, Akinori 2004 11.0 NMB
Matsui, Kaz 2002 11.0 SAL
Matsuzaka, Daisuke 2005 9.1 NAS
Iguchi, Tadahito 2005 7.8 NAS
Iwamura, Akinori 2006 6.3 NAS
Okajima, Hideki 2007 6.0 NMB


Player Year WARP3 Franchise
Pujols, Albert 2001 78.5 STL
Santana, Johan 2003 58.9 RAV
Berkman, Lance 1999 55.0 NHB
Hudson, Tim 1999 49.9 STL
Oswalt, Roy 2001 49.3 ALN
Rollins, Jimmy 2000 44.4 SCA
Webb, Brandon 2003 41.4 CLE
Sabathia, C.C. 1999 41.3 NAS
Soriano, Alfonso 1999 41.0 SAL
Utley, Chase 2001 38.3 CLE*

*Note: Las Vegas also gets credit for drafting Utley in 2003.

The next question is: which franchises have historically gone with that "Door #3" option most often?

Franchise # Players # College # HS # Int # Japan # Amateur % Amateur
SAL 127 42 11 2 7 62 48.8%
LAU 70 19 10 0 1 30 42.9%
MAN 67 12 6 4 1 23 34.3%
COR 75 15 9 0 0 24 32.0%
NMB 80 6 12 2 3 23 28.8%
SCA 74 6 5 5 2 18 24.3%
CHI 54 4 8 0 0 12 22.2%
MAR 127 13 8 2 3 26 20.5%
STL 81 5 5 5 0 15 18.5%
NAS 73 2 0 3 8 13 17.8%
SAB 63 8 3 0 0 11 17.5%
ATL 53 8 1 0 0 9 17.0%
BCJ 86 6 4 0 4 14 16.3%
KAN 76 2 3 1 5 11 14.5%
GLS 45 3 0 1 2 6 13.3%
CLE 99 8 3 0 2 13 13.1%
NHB 50 5 1 0 0 6 12.0%
SYL 53 1 4 0 0 5 9.4%
RAV 107 3 4 1 1 9 8.4%
LVF 57 3 0 1 0 4 7.0%
ALN 93 1 1 3 1 6 6.5%
SCS 75 4 0 0 0 4 5.3%
AKR 98 4 1 0 0 5 5.1%
VIL 86 1 0 0 2 3 3.5%

Boy, is my face red!  Almost HALF of the farm players I acquired over the first ten years were college kids!  I would've bet just about anything that Paulson would have led that category, yet I picked more more than TWICE as many college kids (and one more high school kid!) than the King of Kids!

On the opposite end of the spectrum, it's somewhat of a surprise to discover that the Villanova franchise has taken a gamble on only three amateur players in ten years!  Trivia answer: those three amateurs are Tony Gwynn, Jr., Satoru Komiyami and Shingo Takatsu.

In addition to the type of farm players we've acquired through the years, it's also interesting to see how we've acquired them.  There is roughly a 60/40 split in players acquired through the draft (59%) and through free agency (41%.)  If we did a good job of projecting future performance, then you would expect the players drafted in the early rounds would be move valuable than those drafted in the later rounds.

Round # Players Adj. WARP3 Avg. WARP
1 229 1071.5 4.68
2 219 900.3 4.11
3 196 552.4 2.82
4 160 390.9 2.44
5 122 253.3 2.08
6 71 83.7 1.18
7 53 93.4 1.76
8 27 49.2 1.82
9 17 25.5 1.50
10 6 11.3 1.88

Yep, we did a good job.  Who were the top picks in each round?  Glad you asked.

Round Player Franchise Year WARP3
1 Albert Pujols STL 2001 78.5
2 Johan Santana RAV 2003 58.9
3 Chase Utley CLE* 2001* 38.3
4 Aaron Rowand COR 1999 25.2
5 Brian Schneider STL 2000 20.6
6 Hank Blalock MAN 2000 14.3
7 Michael Young SCA 2000 32.4
8 Austin Kearns LAU 2000 22.0
9 Paul Maholm LAU 2003 10.3
10 Troy Tulowitzki CLE  2005 11.3

* Note: Las Vegas also selected Utley in the 3rd round of the 2003 draft.

Oddly enough, four of those ten players above were eventually released by the teams that drafted them.  Pujols, needless to say, owns the highest career WARP3 of any player ever selected to a BDBL farm club.

Finally, I was hoping to answer the question as to the best farm class in league history.  However, as with the rest of this analysis, there is a clear bias toward the players selected earliest in the league's history (as they've had more time to compile career numbers.)

Year # Draft # FA Total Avg WARP3 Draft Avg. WARP3 FA Avg. WARP3 Total
1999 105 37 142 8.8 9.1 8.8
2000 143 13 156 3.7 5.9 3.9
2001 82 72 154 6.2 4.4 5.3
2002 77 130 207 4.4 4.3 4.3
2003 185 140 325 2.8 3.5 3.1
2004 91 68 159 2.5 2.6 2.5
2005 99 76 175 2.5 1.6 2.1
2006 100 75 175 0.8 1.8 1.2
2007 113 70 183 0.4 0.4 0.4
2008 110 85 195 0.2 0.4 0.3

This is somewhat surprising, given the legendary status of the 2001 farm class.  However, the 1999 class deserves its top ranking, as it included Lance Berkman, C.C. Sabathia, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee, Rafael Furcal, Vernon Wells, Adam Kennedy, Ramon Hernandez and Pat Burrell, among others.  Mark Teixeira, Josh Beckett, Tim Hudson, Joe Nathan, Miguel Cabrera, Jason LaRue and Eric Gagne were also acquired as farm free agents that year.

And now, for the moment you've all been waiting to brag about:

Overall rank Franchise # Players WARP3 Adj. WARP3* Top 30^ Top 30 rank
1 RAV 107 406.6 428.2 389.0 2
2 STL 81 375.0 395.6 395.6 1
3 MAR 127 361.9 384.6 374.1 3
4 CLE 99 350.4 370.0 354.4 4
5 SAL 127 289.8 313.7 289.6 6
6 AKR 98 288.6 300.8 292.5 5
7 COR 75 272.4 282.9 282.1 7
8 ALN 93 265.8 281.3 279.0 8
9 SCA 74 255.4 267.4 267.4 9
10 VIL 86 239.2 258.3 251.9 10
11 LAU 70 236.5 241.2 240.3 11
12 KAN 76 215.8 227.6 221.3 14
13 BCJ 86 210.0 227.1 221.6 13
14 NAS 73 213.5 225.9 224.5 12
15 SCS 75 184.8 199.1 199.1 15
16 LVF 57 177.6 191.8 191.8 16
17 CHI 54 168.8 174.6 174.6 17
18 MAN 67 162.7 170.8 170.8 18
19 GLS 45 154.4 160.4 160.4 19
20 NHB 50 137.1 141.4 141.5 20
21 SYL 53 122.1 130.4 130.4 21
22 NMB 80 105.2 120.3 120.3 22
23 SAB 63 105.5 118.3 118.3 23
24 ATL 53 81.2 97.8 97.8 24

* Note: "Adjusted WARP3" simply excludes negative WARP's.
^ Note: "Top 30" denotes the total WARP3 of the franchise's top 30 prospects.

#1 Ravenswood Infidels
Top 10 prospects: Johan Santana, Vernon Wells, Dontrelle Willis, A.J. Burnett, Nick Markakis, Mark Ellis, Robinson Cano, Alex Rios, Jayson Werth and Tim Lincecum.

Just as I concluded in my first-ever "Historical Farm Analysis," the Infidels franchise has had the most successful farm system in league history.  Oddly enough, the Infidels franchise owns the second-worst average ranking in our annual BDBL Farm Report (with an average ranking of 17.8.)  Hmm...maybe the experts don't know as much as they like to make us think they know!  Of the players listed above, Santana ranked only as high as #51 on Baseball America's top 100 list, Wells reached #12, Willis reached #43, Burnett peaked at #20, Markakis ranked as high as #21, neither Ellis nor Cano were ever ranked, Werth ranked #48 (before falling quickly) and Lincecum was the #11 prospect in baseball in 2007.

#2 St. Louis Apostles
Top 10 prospects: Albert Pujols, Tim Hudson, Joe Mauer, Jason Bay, Matt Holliday, Brian Schneider, John Lackey, Luis Ayala, Jonathan Papelbon and Dustin Pedroia.

That list above doesn't include Prince Fielder, Francisco Liriano or Joba Chamberlain, who will likely join the top ten soon enough.  If you take only the top 30 prospects from each franchise, the Apostles rank #1 in league history.  Pujols alone would carry any franchise's WARP3 total to the top of the ranking, as he owns a WARP3 that is 19.6 ahead of the next-best player on the list (Johan Santana.)  Hudson (49.9) gives the Apostles franchise two of the top five.  Incredibly, of all of those names I just mentioned, all of them except Pujols were traded before they had made much of an impact on the Apostles franchise.  Even Pedroia was traded before he was reacquired last winter.

#3 Marlboro Hammerheads
Top 10 prospects: Ichiro Suzuki, Carlos Zambrano, Orlando Hudson, Milton Bradley, Ryan Howard, Casey Blake, Aaron Cook, Brad Lidge, Joe Crede and Ian Kinsler.

There are interesting stories surrounding many of the players listed above.  Suzuki was expected to be the #1 overall pick in the 2001 farm draft.  I once held both the #1 and #2 overall picks in that draft, but traded the #2 pick to Sharky in a huge multi-player trade.  I announced that Ichiro would be my #1 pick weeks before the farm draft began.  But at the last second, I changed my mind and selected Adam Johnson instead.  The rest is the stuff of BDBL legend.  Zambrano was traded for Mike Trombley, and Howard was traded (along with Scott Olsen) for Aquilino Lopez and Dan Plesac, in two of the worst trades of Sharky Kaminski's career.

#4 Cleveland Rocks
Top 10 prospects: Brandon Webb, Chase Utley, Milton Bradley, Ramon Ortiz, Russ Martin, Jeremy Affeldt, Joe Crede, Freddy Sanchez, Dan Uggla and Rick Ankiel.

Surprise, surprise, surprise!  The worst farm system in BDBL history, according to our annual BDBL Farm Report (with an average ranking of 21.0 out of 24 teams) has owned the fourth-best farm system in terms of actual performance.  Looking at that list above, it's easy to see why.  Aside from Ankiel (ranked #1 by Baseball America in 2000), Ortiz (ranked #28 in 2000) and Bradley (ranked #36 in 2000), none of Cleveland's top ten farm products were ever ranked among the top 80 by BA.  It's difficult to believe today, but in June of 2003, when Brandon Webb had 55 MLB innings under his belt and a 2.45 ERA, he lasted until the second round of the mid-season free agent draft before Stein took a flier on him.  Of course, he was traded the following chapter as part of the disastrous Barry Bonds deal.  BDBL trivia: Ankiel was the first-ever BDBL farm player, selected way back when he was still a pitcher.

#5 Salem Cowtippers
Top 10 prospects: Alfonso Soriano, Grady Sizemore, Aaron Rowand, B.J. Upton, Jeff Zimmerman, Kenji Johjima, Kaz Matsui, Kevin Youkilis, Jeff Francis and Justin Verlander.

Despite my apparent fixation with college players, only two of the players listed above (Francis and Verlander) were selected out of college.  Technically, I could have listed Soriano as a Japanese player, as he played in Japan the year before I selected him (in the second round of the inaugural farm draft.)  If your eyebrow is raised over the fact that Kaz Matsui has a higher career WARP3 than Youkilis, you're not alone.  No stat is perfect, and evidently WARP3 has its flaws.  If I can convince Greg to do all the work for me again for our 20th anniversary, I imagine that Jacoby Ellsbury, Casey Kotchman, Stephen Drew and Alex Gordon will have displaced some of those names in the top ten.

#6 Akron Ryche
Top 10 prospects: Ramon Hernandez, Adam Dunn, Travis Hafner, Rich Harden, Mark Mulder, Mark Prior, Jeff Weaver, David Riske, Cliff Lee and Ryan Church.

Anyone else surprised that the top three prospects to come out of the Akron Pitching Factory are all hitters?  The fact that two of Akron's top three pitching products have spent the vast majority of their careers on the DL shows you how difficult it is to cultivate a pitching staff from the farm club.  DJ Shepard has only selected five amateur players in his GM career: Prior, Stephen Drew, Dustin Ackley, James Darnell and Matthew Shepard (his son.)

#7 Corona Confederates
Top 10 prospects: Mark Buehrle, Aaron Rowand, Juan Pierre, Garrett Atkins, Wade Miller, Nick Johnson, Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Braun, Jayson Werth and Byung-Hyun Kim.

All ten of the players listed above were selected by Paul Marazita, and only Braun was selected after 2002.  Again, it's difficult to imagine a player like Buehrle lasting until the final pick of the first round of the Chapter Five free agent pick-up period, but that's exactly how he was acquired.  Just two years later, he filled the void left by the departed Randy Johnson.  Marazita took full advantage of the fact that most people in the BDBL didn't pay a lot of attention to free agency in the early years of the league, as five of the top ten were acquired as free agents.  The best free agent selected by Ed McGowan to date?  That would be Peter Moylan (career WARP3 of 4.7.)  Of course, Jay Bruce and Cameron Maybin will soon lap Moylan on that all-time chart.

#8 Allentown Ridgebacks
Top 10 prospects: Roy Oswalt, Joe Nathan, Brandon Inge, Jhonny Peralta, Brad Wilkerson, Rocco Baldelli, Felix Hernandez, Andre Ethier, Chad Tracy and John Maine.

Allentown is another franchise that has historically shied away from amateur players, with only one college (Andrew Brackman), one high school (Andrew Miller) and one Japanese (Kaz Ishii) farm acquisition in ten years.  Like his doppelganger, Marazita, Tom DiStefano used the mid-season free agent transaction period to acquire half of his top top prospects.  But the biggest fish he ever caught was Oswalt, snagged with the #3 overall pick in 2001.  Oswalt was one of those rare pitchers who hits the MLB ground running.  He made an impact on the Ridgebacks franchise immediately, and was extremely effective for the next several years, earning a reputation as perhaps the greatest playoffs pitcher in BDBL history.

#9 Southern Cal Slyme
Top 10 prospects: Jimmy Rollins, Jake Peavy, Michael Young, Randy Wolf, Ryan Zimmerman, Octavio Dotel, Reed Johnson, J.J. Hardy, Jose Valverde and Dioner Navarro.

I tend to forget that Jake Peavy was originally a Slyme.  Midway through the 2002 season, the Ridgebacks were on their way to the most dominating season in BDBL history, while the Slyme were heading toward the worst record in the BDBL.  So why on earth would the worst team in the league trade their best prospect to the best team in the league?  Well, at the time, the Ridgebacks needed a left-handed pinch hitter for the playoffs.  Bob Sylvester put first baseman Fred McGriff on the block, and McGriff (who hit .363/.442/.642 in 179 AB for Allentown down the stretch) certainly fit the bill.  To get that bat, Tom DiStefano gave up Vernon Wells, who was a 23-year-old up-and-comer who would finish 2002 with a .275/.305/.457 average in his first full MLB season.  Fair enough, right?  Well...DiStefano also added Chin-Feng Chen, Abraham Nunez, Chad Tracy and Barry Larkin, and got Sylvester to throw in Peavy to make it even.  The rest is history.

#10 Villanova Mustangs
Top 10 prospects: Miguel Cabrera, David Eckstein, Brian McCann, Tony Armas, Henry Blanco, Rod Barajas, Chad Billingsley, Chris Snyder, Jeremy Guthrie and Andre Ethier.

What's that?  You don't remember Cabrera being a member of the Mustangs franchise?  That's because then-GM Eric Zigmund released Cabrera in Chapter Six of 1999 in order to make room on the farm roster for...wait for it...Armando Almanza.  Strange, but true.  Three of this franchise's top ten prospects were acquired during that 1999 season.  But 2004 was also a good year for the 'Nova farm, as McCann, Billingsley, Snyder and Ryan Domit were all acquired in the draft.  (That was the year Tony decided to corner the market on catchers.)

#11 Los Altos Undertakers
Top 10 prospects: Ben Sheets, Austin Kearns, Juan Uribe, Carlos Pena, David Bush, Brett Myers, Oliver Perez, Jared Weaver, Mike Cuddyer and Paul Maholm.

How funny is it that -- after all the bad-mouthing Jeff Paulson has done over the years -- Austin Kearns is this franchise's second-best prospect to date?  Incredibly, despite all the concentration on college and high school kids throughout the years, only two of the top ten came from the college ranks (and none from high school.)  Of course, Justin Upton, Jeremy Hermida and Matt Wieters could change that someday.

#12 Kansas Law Dogs
Top 10 prospects: David Wright, Carl Crawford, David DeJesus, Takashi Saito, Jose Lopez, Juan Rincon, Johnny Estrada, Zack Duke, Ryan Madson and Bobby Crosby.

Some of the players taken ahead of David Wright in the 2002 farm draft: Wily Aybar, Luis Terrero, Brian Sager, Gary Burnham, Mike Gosling, Craig Anderson, Garrett Gentry, Mark Phillips, Allen Baxter, Alex Herrera, Tony Pluta, Joe Thurston, Eric Cyr, Will Smith, Adam Morrissey, Ryo Kumagai, Adrian Burnside, Jesus Cota, Mario Ramos, Tim Hummel and Felix Diaz.  It's hard to believe Wright isn't the best third-round pick in farm draft history (at least, according to WARP3.)  That honor (so far) belongs to Chase Utley.

#13 Bear Country Jamboree
Top 10 prospects: Carlos Lee, Jacque Jones, Hideki Matsui, Kris Benson, Dustin Pedroia, David Bush, Ryan Freel, Josh Willingham, John Danks and Francisco Liriano.

Three of the franchise's top four prospects were selected by infamous BDBL villain Bryan Sakolsky in 1999.  Of the others, only Liriano and Willingham (494 AB for Bear Country in 2007) ever actually played for the Jamboree.

#14 Nashville Funkadelic
Top 10 prospects: C.C. Sabathia, Casey Blake, Brian Fuentes, Kelly Johnson, Josh Hamilton, Joakim Soria, Toby Hall, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Juan Rivera and Dan Wheeler.

The Nashville franchise's top two farm products both came from the inaugural draft of 1999.  Hamilton, Soria and Matsuzaka were all acquired by Steve Osborne.  Osborne's obsession with Japanese players resulted in only two other players with positive WARP3 value: Tadahito Iguchi and Akinori Iwamura.  Incredibly, Marlboro (Ichiro) and Salem (Kenji Johjima and Kaz Matsui) actually squeezed more value out of the Japanese market than Nashville.

#15 South Carolina Sea Cats
Top 10 prospects: Freddy Garcia, Jason LaRue, Jose Reyes, Aaron Harang, Justin Duchscherer, Hank Blalock, Brady Clark, Jon Lester, Oscar Villareal and Dan Johnson.

It's hard to believe LaRue has a higher career WARP3 than Reyes, but he did have a four-year head start.  Not one of the Sea Cats' farm products with a positive WARP3 came from the high school, college, Japan or international ranks.  All were established minor leaguers.  Only 25 players from the Carolina farm system have compiled a positive career WARP3, and only 13 of those 25 make a living hitting the ball.

#16 Las Vegas Flamingos
Top 10 prospects: Chase Utley, Rafael Furcal, Erik Bedard, Chien-Ming Wang, Guillermo Mota, Jake Westbrook, Gerald Laird, Joe Blanton, Alfredo Amezaga and Shawn Chacon.

Eight of the ten players listed above were acquired during the draft, and only one (Westbrook) was picked up in the first round.  Johnny Bo hasn't had much luck with free agency, as only six players acquired as farm free agents have compiled positive career WARP3's: Amezaga, Chacon, Greg Smith, Lance Broadway, Matt Blank and Jason Anderson.  Not exactly a parade of stars.  Bochicchio only took a dip in the amateur pool five times in ten years (including, famously, selecting Toe Nash), and none of those players has yet to produce a positive career WARP3.

#17 Chicago Black Sox
Top 10 prospects: Francisco Rodriguez, Victor Martinez, Josh Beckett, Aubrey Huff, Dan Uggla, Josh Hamilton, Ryan Ludwick, Evan Longoria, Kurt Suzuki and Jason Marquis.

Boy, that list of players above sure seems more impressive than some of the lists above it, yet the Black Sox franchise owns only the 17th most productive farm system in the league's first decade despite an average Farm Report ranking of 7.2.  The main reason is that Chicago's best farm products haven't had enough time yet to build impressive careers.  Give this franchise another decade and they could easily rank at the top of this study.

#18 Manchester Irish Rebels
Top 10 prospects: Miguel Cabrera, Nick Markakis, Matt Cain, Cole Hamels, Scott Kazmir, Hank Blalock, Corey Patterson, Jeremy Hermida, Carlos Quentin and Joe Saunders.

Like the Black Sox above, the Irish Rebels' list of top ten prospects seems a lot more impressive than its ranking.  And again, the reason is that most of these players didn't become successful until the latter half of the league's first decade.  Of the top ten, only Cabrera (2002), Kazmir (2002) and Patterson (1999) were acquired prior to 2003.  Jim Doyle's patented strategy of running his finger down the list of the previous year's first round MLB draft picks resulted in the acquisitions of seven of the top ten above.

#19 Great Lakes Sphinx
Top 10 prospects: Mark Teixeira, Pat Burrell, Justin Morneau, Bobby Jenks, Adam Wainwright, Adam LaRoche, Carlos Marmol, Chris Young (OF), Todd Wellemeyer and Felipe Lopez.

Losing has its advantages: four of the top ten above were selected in the first round of the draft.  Teixeira was famously traded (in exchange for Wes Anderson) while a sophomore in college.  Burrell was this franchise's first-ever farm selection, and Morneau and Wainwright were products of the Dean Ashley scouting system.  That leaves Jenks as Scott Romonosky's most productive farm product.

#20 New Hope Badgers
Top 10 prospects: Lance Berkman, Doug Davis, Gary Matthews, Shaun Marcum, Jody Gerut, Kelly Shoppach, Saul Rivera, Robb Quinlan, Kevin Slowey and Rajai Davis.

Considering that Phil Geisel ignored his farm club for the first six years of this franchise's history, ranking #20 is actually pretty impressive.  Not surprisingly, given the fact that Geisel hardly ever selected free agents during the season, all ten of the franchise's top ten came from the draft.  Marcum, Slowey and Davis were all selected by Tony Badger.

#21 Sylmar Padawans
Top 10 prospects: Jason LaRue, Eric Gagne, Jon Garland, Jason Jennings, Jay Gibbons, Denard Span, Shea Hillenbrand, Scott Downs, Howie Kendrick and Joe Kennedy.

Eight of this franchise's top ten farm products came from the scouting efforts of Mark Ross.  The first round of the farm draft hasn't resulted in very many "hits" over the years.  Gibbons, Downs, Christian Parra, Gary Burnham, Scott Moore, Adriano Rosario, Brendan McCarthy, Michael Durant, Sean O'Sullivan and Andrew Brackman have totaled just 18.6 WARP3 over ten years.

#22 New Milford Blazers
Top 10 prospects: Brad Penny, Chris Young (P), Zach Greinke, Akinori Otsuka, Jack Cust, Hideki Okajima, Yovani Gallardo, Brian Tallett, Micah Owings and Hiroki Kuroda.

It's difficult to tell how many of these players above were acquired by Billy Romaniello, and how many can be credited to Anthony Peburn.  Regardless, it's interesting to note that the top four players (and nine of the top ten) produced by the New Milford farm system are all pitchers.  The Blazers owned the #1 overall farm pick three times in ten years.  Two of those picks were traded, and the other one was used to select Luis Rivas.

#23 San Antonio Broncs
Top 10 prospects: Marcus Giles, Chris Singleton, Khalil Greene, Eric Hinske, Huston Street, Jeremy Hermida, Aaron Hill, Wily Tavares, David Murphy and Brad Ziegler.

Three of the top ten (Giles, Hinske and Hermida) were first-round draft picks.  Greene, Street and Murphy were all selected out of college.  (Note: Murphy was actually acquired twice -- once in 2003 and again in 2006.)  And eight of those ten make a living swinging the bat.

#24 Atlanta Fire Ants
Top 10 prospects: Adam Kennedy, Dan Haren, Ted Lilly, Ricky Nolasco, Jason Frasor, Jeff Francoeuer, Jair Jurrjens, Wily Mo Pena, Blake DeWitt and Mike Darr.

That list above deserves a ranking better than #24.  But given that most of those players were selected after 2003, it's not surprising that Atlanta ranks so low in this study.  The problem is a lack of quantity -- not quality.  Only FIFTEEN players acquired by the Atlanta franchise through the farm draft or through free agency have generated a positive WARP3.  For the mathematically-challenged, that's an average of 1.5 per year.  Given that our farm systems have ranged from five to fifteen players a year over ten years, that is an incredible (lack of) achievement!