Scout’s Take: Good Farm System Should Not Be a Minor Issue

Going into the 2019 season, the Mets are the 29th ranked organization in almost every opinion poll of minor league systems. Not one prospect is rated as a “Level-1” or a ranking that projects a prospect to be given the best chance to be a major league star. Last year they were ranked 27th. This spells big problems for the Metropolitans in the foreseeable future. Not only does it make it harder for them to find a player ready to play in the big leagues but devalues what they could offer in possible trades, for someone available who could help them now.

There are some names that will surface, like left-handed pitcher David Peterson who was drafted No. 20 overall out of the University of Oregon last June. Also there is 19 year old Venezuelan shortstop Andres Gimenez, who they signed in 2016 for a little over $1 million. The talk is he is an average to slightly above average defender, doesn’t strike out a lot and although he makes contact is not projected to hit for power. To me that eliminates third base at the big league level and with the signing of Todd Frazier for the next 2 years and with Amed Rosario being the shortstop of the future, Gimenez could become someone who could be included in a trade one day for that missing piece of the puzzle.

That’s their top two prospects right now. They don’t have a single prospect in the top 100 in baseball. Rosario and Dominic Smith were the only two in that elite group last year. Moving them up to the big leagues has now dropped the Mets to one above the bottom of the farm system rankings. There is always some drop off in a minor league system once prospects get promoted to the big leagues. The Mets’ mistake was not backing up their system with a new crop of talent. The Mets systems already lags behind two division rivals. The Braves have 8 players in the top 100 and are ranked as the number1 organization in baseball. The Phillies have 6 in the top 100 and listed as #6 overall, not to mention the so-called dysfunctional Miami Marlins who are also in the market for a replenished farm system. The Mets need to start finding some diamonds in the rough soon.

Amateur baseball has gotten so competitive today with the kids promoting themselves by sending ball clubs videos and scheduling work outs with scouts from all teams. There are no secrets anymore out there when it comes to prospects. It has come down to who can draft the best. Some clubs are better at it than others. Scouts have to make a good case to their scouting director and cross checkers to get their prospect picked. Pool money and where they slot a player becomes as complicated as any Wall Street or mega corporate decision made today.

Teams are finding it easier to build a strong minor league system today through the use of trades. They like the fact that if they can trade one quality major leaguer and get 3 top prospects in return, they can change the future of their organization faster. In essence they are using the scouting skills of another club to find prospects. Mind you that their own pro scouts are out there everyday watching and evaluating the minor leagues of targeted teams who may need that one guy you have who can bring them a championship. The major league scouts are the ones who study what team needs a player at what position. Major league scouts usually cover two teams and whoever they play in a series. 

The whole process is like a well choreographed dance. We have seen the Yankees execute this new process of acquiring young prospects to near perfection. The Braves and White Sox have also gone this route in a positive way. That doesn’t mean teams can’t do it without mega trades. The Astros and Dodgers have built from within to great success.

No matter how a team builds, it requires a great deal of knowledge and a little bit of luck. Jim Thome was picked in the 13th round by Cleveland in 1989 and is headed to the Hall of Fame. The Astros drafted Mark Appel number 1 overall in 2013 and after only 5 years he is out of baseball, never getting any higher than AAA ball.

The Mets have quality people in their scouting and player development departments. Maybe it’s time to rub “Uncle Leo’s” bald head for some luck.

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