Baseball analysis and database site FanGraphs has updated its MLB farm system rankings ahead of the July amateur draft and early August trade deadline. This is a dynamic ranking in real-time, which will obviously change as rookie eligibility status, trades, and draft picks impact the rankings for teams like the Toronto Blue Jays.
They amalgamate the Future Value (FV) grade changes of the top prospects in an organization to come up with their live ranking and assign dollar values to those FVs to rank the farm system.
For example, the Tampa Rays currently have the top-ranked farm system on their model, with 59 prospects generating an FV of $316 million (an average of $5.4 million per prospect). What’s nice about this analysis tool, as per FanGraphs, is that these rankings will fluctuate and change shortly after players are drafted, traded, or graduate, or move as they around the org lists. As per Fangraphs, “for instance, the Rays are currently ranked first, but they’ll drop to seventh as soon as Shane Baz graduates, which could be after his next start.”
Where does the Blue Jays Pre-draft Farm System Rank?
The Blue Jays farm currently ranks 22nd, and that includes top prospect Gabriel Moreno within the equation. The 35 Jays’ prospects they project an FV for are valued at $137 million, or $3.9 million per prospect.
The farm has been used in big trades since 2020, with former top prospects like Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson being moved to acquire Jose Berríos, starter Kendall Williams moved in the Ross Stripling trade, Alberto Rodriguez traded for a month of Taijuan Walker, and Riley Adams for Brad Hand at the trade deadline last year. More recently, 2021 first-round pick Gunnar Hoglund, Kevin Smith, Zach Logue and lefty Kirby Snead were also packaged for Matt Chapman back in Spring Training.
What’s concerning longer-term is that the Blue Jays AL East peers have top ten farm systems, with Tampa first, Baltimore fourth, Boston fifth, and New York ninth while the Jays sit so far back in the rankings.
Implications from these Rankings?
These rankings pose a few dilemmas:
1) Should the Jays’ front office decide to be buyers before the August 2nd trade deadline, there’s a good chance their prospect pool will diminish further post-trade deadline.
Surely top prospects like Jordan Groshans, Orelvis Martinez, Otto Lopez, Leo Jimenez and Miguel Hiraldo could be moved to acquire MLB players for a playoff push this year? Would that make sense given the current team is an improbable World Series contender?
2) The Blue Jays have twenty-two picks in the upcoming MLB amateur draft set to begin on July 17th.
According to MLB.com, the Jays have $8,367,700 to spend on picks, the 16th-largest bonus pool in this draft. They’ll pick at #23 and #60 in the first two rounds, then at #77 (compensation for losing Marcus Semien) and #78 (compensation for losing Robbie Ray) in the FA compensation round, with 18 more picks from rounds three to twenty.
Without top picks in any of those rounds or a top ten bonus pool, there might not be much of a boost to the farm system rankings post-draft?
3) If/when Gabriel Moreno graduates, the Blue Jays’ pre-draft farm system ranking would fall to 26th with an FV of only $80 million.
More concerning is that there aren’t many pitchers in the system, with 19-year-old LHP Ricky Tiedemann the highest-ranked at an FV of 45. But he’s only pitching in High A-ball and is not seen contributing at the major league level until 2026 per Fangraphs.
The once highly-touted righty Adam Kloffenstein appears to have regressed at age 21 and is no longer in the Jays’ top ten prospect list as he works to avoid big innings in AA-ball in New Hampshire.
Assuming the Jays fall further out of the Wild Card race over the next few weeks, perhaps it makes more sense for the front office to channel their inner Tampa Rays and realize value for their pending free agents by trading Ross Stripling and David Phelps? Or moving players with only one more season of team control like Teoscar Hernández, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Matt Chapman and Adam Cimber?
Those players could certainly bring back MLB-ready prospects and more farm system talent should the Blue Jays management decide to sell at the trade deadline, and reload for a playoff push in 2023 and beyond.