There has been a lot of talk about the talent in the Phillies system and how it stacks up against other teams. So I decided to take a look at two things, where does the talent come from, and what kind of talent is it. For this exercise I purely used my Baseball America Prospect Handbook to have the same set of evaluators on each team. For teams, I have used a sample size of 10, the five teams in the NL East and BA’s Top 5 farm systems. I have adjusted for trades so these lists are slightly different than how they appear in the handbook. I looked at the data to see if there were any trends that showed how to build a good farm system that the Phillies might be missing on.
How They Rank:
These ranks are from the BA handbook before the RA Dickey trade
6. Red Sox
Where the talent comes from:
Baseball America nicely includes with each of their Top 30s how the talent was acquired into the organization.
What kind of talent is it:
In the book, BA includes what it calls its “BA grades”. They are a 20-80 scale number of the type of player you can project at this point, and a risk grade. Jim Callis has stated that he views each risk denomination as worth about 5 points of projection grade.
I went into writing this article, hoping to find a trend in where talent is acquired, that would show something that other teams do differently. It turns out there really isn’t a trend whether your talent comes from international signings, the draft, or trades. I then looked at the risk in the system, and that does not seem to be a huge indicator either. It turns out that the answer is obvious, the ranking of a system is entirely based on the ceiling of the players in the system, especially players with 60+ ceilings. I know this didn’t turn out with anything profound or new other and reinforced that the system lacks in high end talent or safety. The good news is that 15 out of the top 30 have been acquired in the past 2 years and the system does have upside.
Another observation is that the Phillies do go heavy on the high school talent which does put a lot of risk in the system but it does put some upside that can show up after a few years. The Phillies have lacked in international talent due to their conservative spending, but it remains to be seen how the new spending limits will affect things (the Phillies have already spent close to the cap).