Although it is not a surprise given comments he made mid-year in 2014, it’s still very cool to see: ESPN’s Keith Laws says the top farm system in baseball belongs to the Chicago Cubs.
I won’t spoil the beans on where Law ranks the rest of the systems of note – it’s a premium article, so you’ll have to subscribe to see it all – but I will say that the Braves are shockingly high, the Pirates have fallen back a bit, and the Cardinals are only middle of the pack. Ranking farm systems is a tricky thing, subject to preferences on ceiling versus certainty, but, still. It’s interesting to see the Cardinals that far down, though I still feel very sad about what happened to Oscar Taveras, which undoubtedly impacted their ranking.
As for the Cubs, it doesn’t sound like Law thought it was a particularly close call, and he includes this jaw-dropper: “[the Cubs have] the strongest collection of top-shelf hitting prospects I can remember since I started working in baseball.”
It also sounds like Law believes the Cubs have quality arms down in the system, with a specific mention of Duane Underwood.
All in all, it makes for a very interesting and smile-inducing read. Law’s various individual player rankings will roll out over the next few days, and it’ll be interesting to see how he ranks the Cubs’ prospects, especially when read in conjunction with his belief that they’re the top group in the minors.
Other top farm system rankings will likely not come out until closer to the season, with some publications opting instead to go from individual team prospect lists to overall top 100s, before turning to farm systems as a whole.
Now, if you missed it, you can peruse yesterday’s discussion of just how much having the top farm system actually means.