Blue Jays continue to struggle in farm system rankings, receive failing grade from MLB

”Clubs that fare well in the system rankings tend to fare well on the diamond.”

MLB: Spring Training - Philadelphia Phillies at Toronto Blue Jays
MLB: Spring Training - Philadelphia Phillies at Toronto Blue Jays / VIEW press/GettyImages

The new MLB Pipeline farm system preseason rankings were released this weekend, and for the third season in a row, the Blue Jays farm system is ranked bottom third in baseball.

Toronto’s farm system was ranked as high as seventh ahead of the 2021 season, but has seen a precipitous fall since then to 24th in the latest update. Tellingly, none of their top prospects in that ranking have panned out as major leaguers, including Nate Pearson (No. 10 overall in the 2021 ranking), Austin Martin (No. 22), Jordan Groshans (No. 46) and Simeon Woods Richardson (No. 87).

Since then, the only significant additions to Toronto’s MLB roster from the Blue Jays farm system are Alek Manoah, Alejandro Kirk, Davis Schneider and Bowden Francis, who looks like he may break camp as the 5th starter this spring. Of course, Martin and Wood Richardson were traded for rotation stalwart José Berríos in a winning trade, and top prospect Gabriel Moreno was moved in a “win now” move for Daulton Varsho.

Certainly the top tier of the Jays’ farm system looks elite, with consensus top prospect Ricky Tiedemann looking like he will contribute to the major league roster at some point in 2024; and, despite all being among the first round of cuts from Dunedin, Alan Roden (No. 6 on Jays Journal’s top 30), Chad Dallas (No. 19) and Damiano Palmegiani (no. 16) could all also figure as injury replacement call-ups at some point this year, as could other top prospects like Orelvis Martinez (No. 3), Addison Barger (No. 4) and Leo Jimenez (No. 7).

A major concern though is that farm system rankings can be a precursor to postseason success, with MLB insiders Sam Dykstra, Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo writing that “clubs that fare well in the system rankings tend to fare well on the diamond. Organizations with an abundance of highly rated talent on the way usually translate that into winning.”

So to see AL East peers like the Baltimore Orioles rank 1st overall for a sixth consecutive ranking — including midseason updates — points to a very competitive division that won’t get easier with Toronto’s weak farm system. The Tampa Bay Rays rank 6th, the New York Yankees are 11th and the Boston Red Sox sit at 14th.

At some point, Toronto’s front office will have to start asking questions about their player development staff.