A great idea here from Baseball America, which looked at the total records for all minor league affiliates, and totaled them under each organization. While it has always been true that winning and losing games is not the most important part of the minor league process – that’d be player development – it’s still (1) a fun thing to follow, and (2) a very thin indicator of overall system quality. I say “very thin” because you’ve got to keep in mind: while the organizations with the best players will likely win a lot of games, a good minor league player is not necessarily the same thing as a good prospect, and sometimes the organization’s development goals will run counter to actually winning games.
All that said, the Cubs came in 7th this year, at 361 and 330. Interestingly, the next four teams above the Cubs in the standings – the Twins, Red Sox, Cardinals and Rangers – are all reputed to have excellent farm systems. And then the top two teams, the Diamondbacks and Mets, are sometimes thought of as more middle-of-the-road.
Any meaning there? Eh, probably not. Some say the Pirates have the strongest farm system in baseball, and their record – 343 and 420 – is tied for second to last in all of baseball.
Another seemingly random tidbit? Most organizations have six affiliates in the United States (including the Cubs), but four of the eight that have seven teams finished in the top eight in the standings. Again, any meaning there? Eh, probably not. It just stood out to me.
All in all, I’m glad to see the Cubs having winning teams in the minors, particularly given the prospect depth in the system (which is to say, the Cubs’ teams are mostly manned by legit and fringe prospects, rather than minor league journeymen or organizational types). Playing consistently in a winning culture can’t hurt as these guys move up toward the big leagues, so I say why not enjoy the winning? As I said before, as a thin indicator of overall system quality, it’s nice to see. After all, better players will win more games over a large enough sample size. And, all things equal, it’s more desirable to have better players in the farm system, right?
Check out BA’s full list here, and see if anything else jumps out at you.