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ESPN's Future Power Rankings

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Posted: 3/1/2013 9:07 AM

ESPN's Future Power Rankings 


Jim Bowdern, Keith Law and Buster Olney rank the futures of each team.


The Mets are ranked 23.  Last August they did these rankings and we were 20.

  • 23

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
They've finally decided to rebuild, and you can start to see the makings of a winning team down the road, with Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jon Niese fronting the rotation, and Ike Davis and Travis d'Arnaud supporting elder statesman David Wright in the lineup. They've even cleared enough payroll to become players on the free-agent market again, and could desperately use an outfielder. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
The Mets' outfield is currently comprised of guys who should be fourth outfielders, and they must acquire a passable outfield to support Davis, d'Arnaud and Wright when the team is ready to compete in a couple of years. Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo could be free-agent targets next winter. -- Jim Bowden

The System
It's a top-heavy system that was boosted substantially by the R.A. Dickey trade. It brought a return that accounts for two of the Mets' top three prospects while they wait for the 2011 and 2012 drafts to start to have more of an impact on the system. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

Last edited 3/1/2013 9:08 AM by oct271986

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Posted: 3/1/2013 9:14 AM

RE: ESPN's Future Power Rankings 


Does anyone have the numbers from last year? I'd be interested to see where they think we're worse off now than going into 2012.


17 & 14 = Best Duo In NY Sports
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Posted: 3/1/2013 9:18 AM

Re: ESPN's Future Power Rankings 


1 Cards
2 Rangers
3 Rays
4 Nats
5 Yankees
6 Cubs
7 Reds
8 Dodgers
9 Tigers
10 Red Sox
11 Braves
12 Angels
13 Blue Jays
14 Giants
15 D Backs
16 Athletics
17 Mariners
18 Orioles
19 Padres
20 Royals
21 Twins
22 Astros
23 Mets
24 Phillies
25 Pirates
26 White Sox
27 Brewers
28 Indians
29 Marlins
30 Rockies


Cubs and Astros seem too high to me.   How can Houston be ahead of the Mets?  Where is their version of Wright, Harvey Wheeler and D'Arnaud?  

I would have the Angels and Nats higher.

Last edited 3/1/2013 9:21 AM by oct271986

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Posted: 3/1/2013 9:20 AM

RE: ESPN's Future Power Rankings 



acesfull86 wrote: Does anyone have the numbers from last year? I'd be interested to see where they think we're worse off now than going into 2012.

Last August...

  • 20

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview

David Wright deferred his negotiations with the Mets until the offseason, when both sides will learn a lot about the direction of the franchise. If he signs, he'll probably cost something in the range of $20 million per year. If he doesn't sign, the Mets' offseason will be dominated by the issue of when it would be best to trade him. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma

The biggest dilemma facing the Mets is the situation with Wright. His club option will be picked up for 2013, but with free agency just 12 months away, the Mets either have to sign him long term or consider trading him if they can get a Herschel Walker-type package back.  Conventional wisdom says the Mets should sign Wright because he wants to be there and is truly the type of leader you want to build your franchise around. That being said, GM Sandy Alderson doesn't have a history of showing loyalty to his team's star players, so this will be interesting to watch. -- Jim Bowden

The System

Matt Harvey has already arrived and is exceeding expectations, and Zack Wheeler is not far behind him, giving the team plenty of hope for its future rotation. It has also seen infielders Wilmer Flores and Jefry Marte regain some prospect value, while 2011 first-rounder Brandon Nimmo has impressed in short-season ball. -- Keith Law

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Posted: 3/1/2013 9:45 AM

RE: ESPN's Future Power Rankings 


anyone understand how the ranking system works?  does 4 in Majors mean that they rank the Mets 4th from the bottom out of 30?  and so on?

We can assume that "Finance" is proxy for ownership, but did they say what "Mobility" means?
"Maybe it's time to make some moves."  - Sandy Alderson

Last edited 3/1/2013 9:48 AM by DuffyDyer

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Posted: 3/1/2013 9:49 AM

RE: ESPN's Future Power Rankings 



DuffyDyer wrote: anyone understand how the ranking system works?  does 4 in Majors mean that they rank the Mets 4th from the bottom out of 30?  and so on?

We can assume that "Finance" is proxy for ownership, but did they say what "Mobility" means?
5 categories and a scale of 100, so I'm guessing each score is X out of 20.
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Posted: 3/1/2013 9:56 AM

RE: ESPN's Future Power Rankings 



TNice wrote:
DuffyDyer wrote: anyone understand how the ranking system works?  does 4 in Majors mean that they rank the Mets 4th from the bottom out of 30?  and so on?

We can assume that "Finance" is proxy for ownership, but did they say what "Mobility" means?
5 categories and a scale of 100, so I'm guessing each score is X out of 20.
then why does the chart go up to 30?  and there's no possible way the Mets could rank 18 out of 20 in Finance when everyone knows the team's finances have been a mess in recent years.
"Maybe it's time to make some moves."  - Sandy Alderson
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Posted: 3/1/2013 9:57 AM

RE: ESPN's Future Power Rankings 


4 means 4th worst.  

If you are tops in a given category, you get 30 pts.  2nd best is 29 etc..
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Posted: 3/1/2013 9:59 AM

RE: ESPN's Future Power Rankings 


The better your rank in a given category, the more points you get, and the average point scores from the three voters are available in the bar graphs accompanying each team's section, rounded to the nearest integer. We weighted the categories and then gave each team a score on a scale of 1 to 100, with the score representing a team's percentage of total possible points. (For a detailed breakdown of the methodology used for the Future Power Rankings, click here.)

CATEGORIES

MAJORS (full weight): Quality of current big league roster
MINORS (full weight): Quality and quantity of prospects in their farm system
FINANCE (2/3 weight): How much money do they have to spend?
MANAGEMENT (2/3 weight): Value and stability of ownership, front office and coaching staff
MOBILITY (1/3 weight): Do they have a lot of young, cheap players, or old, immovable guys?
For a full breakdown of the MLB Future Power Rankings methodology, click here.
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Posted: 3/1/2013 10:34 AM

Re: ESPN's Future Power Rankings 


Interesting. So they feel we've got the 4th worst major league roster in the game, the 13th best minor league system, the 12th best financial outlook, the 11th worst management team (Sandy and Co), and the 11th worst "mobility" (despite having only 1 major contract on the books after this season)?

Not really sure I agree with any that (other than the minor league ranking).
__________________________________



"We've got 5 guys better than this?"
.....Jason Bay watching Matt Harvey throw in March 2012.
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Posted: 3/1/2013 10:43 AM

Re: ESPN's Future Power Rankings 



Kooos wrote: Interesting. So they feel we've got the 4th worst major league roster in the game, the 13th best minor league system, the 12th best financial outlook, the 11th worst management team (Sandy and Co), and the 11th worst "mobility" (despite having only 1 major contract on the books after this season)?

Not really sure I agree with any that (other than the minor league ranking).
Yep.
Mets trade away reigning CY Young award winner.
Still have the best pitcher in Baseball.
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Posted: 3/1/2013 10:44 AM

RE: ESPN's Future Power Rankings 



oct271986 wrote: The better your rank in a given category, the more points you get, and the average point scores from the three voters are available in the bar graphs accompanying each team's section, rounded to the nearest integer. We weighted the categories and then gave each team a score on a scale of 1 to 100, with the score representing a team's percentage of total possible points. (For a detailed breakdown of the methodology used for the Future Power Rankings, click here.)

CATEGORIES

MAJORS (full weight): Quality of current big league roster
MINORS (full weight): Quality and quantity of prospects in their farm system
FINANCE (2/3 weight): How much money do they have to spend?
MANAGEMENT (2/3 weight): Value and stability of ownership, front office and coaching staff
MOBILITY (1/3 weight): Do they have a lot of young, cheap players, or old, immovable guys?
For a full breakdown of the MLB Future Power Rankings methodology, click here.
interesting.  I did a rough version of that with 4 categories - ML, MiL, FO & ownership and weighting it 20%/30%/30%/20% and believe it or not I also get the Mets at 23.  of course all the rankings in the 4 categories are very subjective, but I ranked the Mets 23rd in ML, 12 in MiL, 16 in FO and 29 in ownership (beating out Jeff Loria for that title).

fwiw, my top ten were Texas, StL, Rays, Nats, Cinci, Det, NYY, Jays, Atl, & SF.  I had the Cubs at 13 and Hous at 22 just a hair ahead of the Mets.
"Maybe it's time to make some moves."  - Sandy Alderson
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Posted: 3/1/2013 10:47 AM

Re: ESPN's Future Power Rankings 


7 teams acquired better coaching/front office management than us in 1 year? and 4 teams did better than us in turning age into youth?

Yeah. These 'ratings' are clearly FTA. From Their A--es.


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Posted: 3/1/2013 11:00 AM

RE: ESPN's Future Power Rankings 


I can buy us going downward at the ML level after trading RAD (the OF I honestly don't think is too different...stunk last year Duda-Torres-Bay and will stink this year Duda-Cowgill/Kirk-Baxter/Byrd).

I'd argue we should have held steady, if not improved, in terms of management. Stability is there, Sandy had probably his best off-season, and ownership certainly isn't worse off.

I have no idea why we would drop in mobility. Because we signed a franchise player to a franchise player contract? Bay is gone and Santana is right behind him. We have arb and pre-arb players all over the roster.


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Posted: 3/1/2013 11:13 AM

RE: ESPN's Future Power Rankings 


    
  • 16
Oakland Athletics
AL WEST FPR RANK: 3

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
While some have written off their 2012 AL West title as a fluke, their pitching is very much for real. And if Brett Anderson can ever stay healthy, he and Jarrod Parker will be a formidable one-two punch. The issue will always be scoring runs, as both Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick are good -- but flawed -- hitters, and the A's will never have the dollars to sign a big-name bat as a free agent. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
The A's have never had problems developing talent. They have struggled to keep that talent when it starts to get expensive. More than anything, they need to figure out how to get a new stadium in San Jose, Calif., so they can generate more revenue and keep their young stars. -- Jim Bowden

The System
The A's used a lot of rookies in 2012, led by Jarrod Parker and Yoenis Cespedes, leaving the system a little thin after all of the graduations. They did restock with a strong draft, led by Addison Russell, a prep shortstop who raked in two short-season leagues and finished his first pro summer in full-season ball, something almost unheard of for a player taken out of high school.  (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 17
Seattle Mariners
AL WEST FPR RANK: 4

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
By signing Felix Hernandez to a long-term deal this winter, this club is determined to build a winner around him. The Mariners have the pitching talent to do it, but at some point they will need to figure out how to score some runs. Free-agent hitters have long been scared off by Safeco Field, but that could change if run scoring increases in 2013 with the fences having been brought in. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero and Mike Zunino are the makings of a decent lineup, but the M's need to add one big masher. They made a run at Justin Upton this winter, but he vetoed the deal. They will be in the mix for Giancarlo Stanton when the Marlins make him available, and they have the talent to swing a deal. -- Jim Bowden

The System
The Mariners still have starting pitching on the way, maybe not quite as potent a group as they appeared to have a year ago, but still enough that they're looking at a rotation surplus in the near term. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 18
Baltimore Orioles
AL EAST FPR RANK: 5

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
The Orioles gave their fans a taste of what could be a very bright future in 2012, but that future will depend on just how good Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy turn out to be. Assuming Matt Wieters, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis maintain their current level of play through their respective primes, this team could be very dangerous in a couple of years. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
They have a plethora of promising young pitchers, such as Chris Tillman, Zach Britton, Brian Matusz, Kevin Gausman and Bundy, but they all carry question marks.  The O's will have to keep an open eye for an available top-of-the-rotation type starter until a few of those youngsters prove themselves. -- Jim Bowden

The System
The 2012 season saw a big uptick in the value of what they had left in the minors -- Bundy emerged as the minors' best pitching prospect in 2012, while their first pick from last year's draft, Gausman, was one of the hottest names in Florida instructional league in September. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 19
San Diego Padres
NL WEST FPR RANK: 4

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
The Padres have one of the deeper farm systems around and a number of promising young big leaguers. That's the good news. The bad news is that their best player (Chase Headley) will be a free agent after the 2014 season, and will almost certainly walk, and they don't seem to have a superstar on the horizon. The path to contention is there, but GM Josh Byrnes will have to make some tough decisions. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
If July rolls around and the Padres are out of the race, they'll have no choice but to not only listen to offers on Headley as they did last July, but actually trade him for a package of prospects. Their market size will not allow them to pay him what he's presently worth, and his trade value will never be higher. The industry is loaded with teams needing an upgrade at third base including the Yankees, Braves and Dodgers. -- Jim Bowden

The System
The top-ranked organization from last year graduated Yasmani Grandal and Yonder Alonso to the majors while top prospects Joe Ross and Casey Kelly missed large chunks of the year due to injuries, although neither ended up with surgery.  (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 20
Kansas City Royals
AL CENTRAL FPR RANK: 2

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
After years of hoarding prospects, GM Dayton Moore pushed his chips to the middle of the table by trading Wil Myers (and others) in a deal for James Shields and Wade Davis. The Royals' pitching will be much better, but it's a moot point if Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas don't fulfill their promise. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
Shields is signed through 2014, but to give up a prospect the magnitude of Myers and have Shields for only two seasons would be a major mistake. If the Royals can't sign him to an extension, they might have to try to trade him in the offseason before his walk year and they shouldn't expect the same return they gave up to get him with only one year left on his deal. -- Jim Bowden

The System
They're loaded with sleeper/breakout candidates, lots of guys you love when you see them even though you know, objectively, they're fairly low probability. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 21
Minnesota Twins
AL CENTRAL FPR RANK: 3

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview The short-term future of the Twins is bleak, but rival evaluators rave about the tools of some of the top prospects in their system. Many of them will not arrive until 2014 (at the earliest), and at that point it will be up to Joe Mauer to help them usher in a new era of excitement in the Twin Cities. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
The goal for this organization is clear, and that's finding, developing and keeping its starting pitching. As GM Terry Ryan says, "If you don't pitch, you don't play." With that in mind, he will look to move Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau to bring in some more young talent on the mound. -- Jim Bowden

The System
They fared well in the trades of Denard Span and Ben Revere, and they went for upside in the 2012 MLB draft more than they'd done in the previous few seasons. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 22
Houston Astros
NL WEST FPR RANK: 5

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
In the history of the modern game, there has never been a team that has attempted to rebuild in a manner as extreme as the current Astros. They had the No. 1 pick in the draft last year, they will have it this year, and it's likely they will have it again in 2014 and 2015. They have already added a lot of talent via trades, and this team will eventually be a juggernaut. It just might not be until 2018 or so. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
For the Astros to compete in the AL West sometime in the next five years, the key will be who they select in the June draft. They'll likely be targeting a top college arm who they hope can have a quick impact similar to David Price and Stephen Strasburg, two other college pitchers recently taken No. 1 overall. -- Jim Bowden

The System
Their 2010 draft class started to break through this year, their trade of Hunter Pence looks even better a year later, and they managed their bonus pool in the 2012 draft as well as any team. The big league club may be "Plan 9 from Outer Space" bad this year, but at least respectability is on the horizon. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 23
New York Mets
NL EAST FPR RANK: 3

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
They've finally decided to rebuild, and you can start to see the makings of a winning team down the road, with Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jon Niese fronting the rotation, and Ike Davis and Travis d'Arnaud supporting elder statesman David Wright in the lineup. They've even cleared enough payroll to become players on the free-agent market again, and could desperately use an outfielder. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
The Mets' outfield is currently comprised of guys who should be fourth outfielders, and they must acquire a passable outfield to support Davis, d'Arnaud and Wright when the team is ready to compete in a couple of years. Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo could be free-agent targets next winter. -- Jim Bowden

The System
It's a top-heavy system that was boosted substantially by the R.A. Dickey trade. It brought a return that accounts for two of the Mets' top three prospects while they wait for the 2011 and 2012 drafts to start to have more of an impact on the system. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 24
Philadelphia Phillies
NL EAST FPR RANK: 4

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
At some point, things are going to get ugly in Philly, but probably not for another year or two. Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay are still a formidable trio and should keep the Phillies in the wild-card hunt in 2013, but years of trading prospects to stay relevant are going to catch up to them soon. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
If the Phillies are going to compete in the next year or two, they must get some production from their corner outfield spots. If former top prospect Domonic Brown is ever going to help, he needs to shorten his swing, and minor league masher Darin Ruf could help if he can play a passable left field. The Phillies are still trying to figure out their corner outfield positions, a dilemma that will play out during the season. They could end up dealing Brown to the Cubs for Alfonso Soriano if they don't think he'll ever become the 20/20 player they were hoping for. -- Jim Bowden

The System
Years of trades, surrendered draft picks and refusal to give signing bonuses that exceed MLB's recommendations have taken their toll on a system that doesn't look like it'll spit out an average, everyday position player until at least 2015 barring a big step forward from someone like Cody Asche. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 25
Pittsburgh Pirates
NL CENTRAL FPR RANK: 4

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
The Pirates have been rebuilding for more than 20 years, and while they do have one true superstar in Andrew McCutchen, the lack of any other elite players leaves them hoping for a .500 season. Their best hope for winning the NL Central in McCutchen's prime is if top pitching prospects Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon both fulfill their ace potential. Rival officials think that if current GM Neal Huntington is let go, the next GM will be teed up with a foundation for success. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
The Pirates are almost ready to win, but they have to decide if they should wait for Cole and Taillon to develop -- which could take a couple of years -- or if they should trade some of their prospect depth for a player like Chase Headley, who can help them win right now. -- Jim Bowden

The System
The Pirates' system has improved through high draft picks and some tremendous work in Latin America, although those of you who've seen "Pelotero" might find that last part a little hard to swallow. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 26
Chicago White Sox
AL CENTRAL FPR RANK: 4

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
The White Sox never seem to have dynamic position players or exciting prospects, yet they always seem to stay relevant. That could change soon, however, as Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn are both in the decline phases of their careers, and it's unclear who will pick up the slack. New GM Rick Hahn has his work cut out for him. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
A.J. Pierzynski was a rock behind the plate for years on the South Side, but now the club must replace him after letting him sign with Texas as a free agent. Tyler Flowers has long been seen as the heir apparent, but he has struggled in every big league opportunity he has ever had. -- Jim Bowden

The System
The team's selection of two prep players to start its 2012 draft was a great sign the White Sox might not be so reliant on lower-upside/higher-probability college guys under the new draft bonus system, which should help raise their rankings and make the system more productive in the future. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 27
Milwaukee Brewers
NL CENTRAL FPR RANK: 5

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
Unfortunately for Milwaukee fans, this club may have seen the window shut on its current core when Prince Fielder signed with the Tigers. There is a chance the Brewers could compete in 2013, but they'll need Aramis Ramirez and Norichika Aoki to repeat what were surprisingly great years. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
The Brewers tied the Athletics for the best record in the majors after Aug. 20, but the question remains if their young starters will hold on for an entire 162-game schedule. There is no one they can really count on beyond Yovani Gallardo, and that could be an issue for a few years. -- Jim Bowden

The System
It's a system without a ton of upside that's also light on guys who might be above-average regulars at any position on the diamond, the result of some mediocre draft classes and the trades they made to stay in contention over the past few years, including the Zack Greinke deal. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 28
Cleveland Indians
AL CENTRAL FPR RANK: 5

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
By signing Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher this winter, the Indians made themselves more interesting for 2013, but the long-term future of the club is still in doubt. They don't have a reliable starter, and their short-term path to winning involves Trevor Bauer, Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson all pitching like the elite starters their stuff suggests they can be. That's far from a certainty. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma

They need at least two of Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Zach McAllister to become rotation stalwarts for them to move forward because they are not in position to sign any top-quality free-agent starters after their spending sprees on Swisher, Bourn and Mark Reynolds. -- Jim Bowden

The System
The Indians have shortstops galore -- three or four of whom might end up as big league regulars in an optimistic scenario -- and a lot of young pitching that's three or four years away, but short-term help is really limited and they're very light on corner bats who'll have big offensive impact. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 29
Miami Marlins
NL EAST FPR RANK: 5

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
It's hard to write about the Marlins' future because they have shown time and again that they will blow up their team at a moment's notice if it gets too expensive. Rival execs believe they will look to trade Giancarlo Stanton in the next year or so, and he should net a formidable package of prospects whom Miami can look to trade once they get expensive. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
The Marlins must figure out how to win the fans back to a brand-new stadium after a year that featured Ozzie Guillen's insensitive comments and a subsequent fire sale. Stanton is the only reason to watch this club, and the Marlins need to keep drafting well to build a winner around him since we know they won't spend big again on free agents for a while. -- Jim Bowden

The System
In between laughing all the way to the bank, the Marlins' ownership hasn't paid much attention to the farm system over the past few years, spending little on the international market and lowballing its 2012 first-round pick, Oklahoma State lefty Andrew Heaney. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 30
Colorado Rockies
NL WEST FPR RANK: 5

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
Few teams can boast a pair of position players as good as Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, but everything else about this organization is up in the air. Dan O'Dowd still has the title of GM, but former assistant GM Bill Geivett (now a senior VP) oversees the day-to-day operations of the club while still reporting to O'Dowd. It's an unusual arrangement, to say the least. On top of that, the search for consistent pitching -- 20 years and counting -- continues for this organization. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
As Buster noted, the Rockies can't find pitching. They had some success with sinkerballers a few years ago, and their most recent approach has been lower pitch counts to minimize the number of times each pitcher goes through the lineup. A possible Gonzalez deal at the trade deadline for top pitching prospects might even be possible because the situation is becoming that dire. -- Jim Bowden

The System
It was a rough year on the farm for the Rockies, with Chad Bettis and Tim Wheeler missing all or most of the year due to injuries while Tyler Anderson's year started late due to a groin problem. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

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Posted: 3/1/2013 11:14 AM

RE: ESPN's Future Power Rankings 


  • 1
St. Louis Cardinals
NL CENTRAL FPR RANK: 1

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
The Cardinals are sitting in that sweet spot where they have a strong big league club, an elite farm system and plenty of long-term payroll flexibility. This club has a knack for developing excellent role players, such as David Freese, Allen Craig and Matt Carpenter, which allows it to spend for free agents (such as Matt Holliday) when the need arises. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
As Albert Pujols knows, the Cardinals are not afraid to let a superstar walk as a free agent. Adam Wainwright is set to hit the market next winter, and the Cards must decide if they want to sign him to an inflated market deal now or let him test the market. -- Jim Bowden

The System
The Cardinals have the top farm system in baseball heading into 2013, featuring impact prospects up top, plenty of depth in position players and pitching and enough help close to the majors to push them ahead of the Twins, who have as much depth but most of it further away.(Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 2
Texas Rangers
AL WEST FPR RANK: 1

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
For the first time since we started doing the Future Power Rankings, the Rangers are not No. 1. While some may criticize them for allowing core players such as Josh Hamilton, C.J. Wilson and Mike Napoli to walk as free agents, they deserve credit for discipline and sticking to their philosophy of not overvaluing any one player. Even without Hamilton, this team will be competitive for years to come, though it might take a small step back in 2013. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
Elvis Andrus is a free agent after the 2014 season and the Rangers have interest in signing him long-term. However, their early discussions with agent Scott Boras have found the two parties so far apart that the Rangers may have to trade Andrus at some point before the 2014 season and hand shortstop over to Jurickson Profar, arguably the top prospect in the game. -- Jim Bowden

The System
They've got a few valuable, near-in guys in Profar, Mike Olt and the enigmatic Martin Perez, with righty Cody Buckel not too far behind. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 3
Tampa Bay Rays
AL EAST FPR RANK: 1

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
By trading James Shields to the Royals over the winter in order to acquire top prospect Wil Myers, the Rays may have taken a step back for 2013. However, they have plenty of cost-controlled talent to keep them relevant for a few years, and could get an influx of it if they decide to trade David Price before he hits free agency following the 2015 season. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
The Rays must figure out how to get out of their Tropicana Field lease earlier than the agreed-upon 2027. The Rays are willing to pay a fee to the city to get the right to shop other locations in Tampa, and they need to increase their revenue in order to re-sign all of the stars they produce. -- Jim Bowden

The System
They're good, because they have to be. Some setbacks among high-profile prospects this year, like Hak-Ju Lee's mechanical issues at the plate and a few players getting suspended for using weed or speed, were balanced out by the Shields trade, which netted two top-100 prospects and a former one, and strong full-season debuts by a few members of their 2011 draft class.(Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 4
Washington Nationals
NL EAST FPR RANK: 1

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
On paper, the Nats are the best team in baseball right now. And because of a core of young stars led by Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Gio Gonzalez, they are set up for years to come. One thing to watch: Both Strasburg and Harper are represented by Scott Boras, and he never allows his clients to sign extensions before free agency. These two could set some records if they hit free agency in their mid-20s. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
With Strasburg, Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler and Dan Haren, the Nats love their rotation. However, they have little starting pitching depth in the organization, and they could be in serious trouble if an injury or two arises. -- Jim Bowden

The System
I love the Nationals' top five prospects, but after that, there's something of a cliff, although it's at least the result of two productive strategies: the trades for Gio Gonzalez and Denard Span, both of which made the major league club better, and the decision to bet their whole 2012 draft (pretty much) on Lucas Giolito, a No. 1 overall candidate who fell to No. 16 due to well-founded injury concerns.(Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 5
New York Yankees
AL EAST FPR RANK: 2

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
The Yankees' future is up in the air in a way it hasn't been for 20 years. Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda will all be free agents after the 2013 season, and it wouldn't be surprising if this is their last season in pinstripes. The Yankees are going to get under the $189 million luxury-tax threshold for 2014, which will allow them to start spending again. So don't expect them to be down for long (if at all). -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
Cano and Granderson are arguably the Yankees' two best position players, and both are free agents after this year. The Yankees need to figure out if they can (and want to) sign both of them. This was complicated by the broken arm Granderson suffered in spring training that will keep him out until May. -- Jim Bowden

The System
The Yankees' system is top-heavy, with several elite prospects but not a ton of depth, led by the group of position players who started in low Class A Charleston last year that could produce as many as three above-average or better regulars plus several other guys who'll have big league value. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 6
Chicago Cubs
NL CENTRAL FPR RANK: 2

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
In Theo We Trust. This club is undergoing a teardown unseen this side of Houston, but they've rid themselves of pretty much every significant payroll obligation beyond 2014. It's been an encouraging rebuilding effort, though Matt Garza's injury woes will prevent them from extracting full value for him in a trade. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
They have made a lot of strides adding position-player talent to the organization, and now they must add arms. Most of their winter spending was on pitchers, but they don't have a future ace in the pipeline. -- Jim Bowden

The System
They've turned around substantially after trading Paul Maholm, spending lavishly on international free agents (when permitted) and drafting well in 2012, although most of what I like about this system is a good two years away. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 7
Cincinnati Reds
NL CENTRAL FPR RANK: 3

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
This club is very well set up for the next couple of years, with Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman, Mat Latos and Jay Bruce all signed at least through 2014. They are close to surpassing the $100 million mark in payroll for the first time in club history, but as the $225 million deal they gave Votto suggests, they will spend when they need to. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
As Buster said, they are set up well for the next couple of years. Dusty Baker has done a great job there, but he is well into his 60s and is only signed through 2014. The Reds will need to decide if they want to groom a replacement or make a splash with someone from outside the organization. -- Jim Bowden

The System
Billy Hamilton's conversion to center field after he broke the minor league single-season stolen-base record was their big story of 2012, putting him on track to potentially reach the majors this year, especially since the team has no real center fielder on the roster. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 8
Los Angeles Dodgers
NL WEST FPR RANK: 1

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
The Dodgers have made no secret of the fact they are willing to spend a lot of money to put a winning team on the field. In Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp they have two of the best players in the game, and they will be a player for every major free agent there is. In fact, the biggest hole in their lineup is at second base, and a certain Yankees second baseman is set to hit the market next winter. Stay tuned. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
The Dodgers have the talent, and now they must decide if Don Mattingly is the right man to lead this club to the World Series. When his contract wasn't picked up over the winter, Mattingly had to see the writing on the wall: win or else. -- Jim Bowden

The System
The Dodgers put just two guys in my ranking of the top 100 prospects, but had I gone another 40 to 50 names, you would have seen more blue on the list, led by Cuban bonus baby Yasiel Puig, who got only a little playing time this summer before a staph infection that required surgery and knocked him out of the Arizona Fall League. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 9
Detroit Tigers
AL CENTRAL FPR RANK: 1

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
Owner Mike Ilitch has made it clear he wants to win the World Series at all costs, and he has a superstar-laden team that can do just that. The Tigers are where the Phillies were a few years ago, with a roster of stars in their primes but a shallow farm system. In other words, the fans should enjoy the success while it lasts. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
They have Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera both locked up for at least three more seasons, and now must turn their attention to Justin Verlander, who is a free agent after 2014. He wants to finish his career with the Tigers, but he also wants to be the highest-paid pitcher in the game. -- Jim Bowden

The System
Their system has been hit hard by trades and the loss of first-round picks by virtue of signing free agents -- their last top-40 pick was in 2009, and their highest pick in the past two drafts was 76th overall in 2011. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 10
Boston Red Sox
AL EAST FPR RANK: 3

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
By shedding the salaries of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett in last summer's blockbuster with the Dodgers, Boston's front office suddenly gave itself a lot of flexibility. The Sox made a number of midlevel signings over the winter, but none of them cost the club a draft pick or will severely hamstring them down the road. With a number of promising prospects on the way, the Sox are poised to be a force again soon. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
In 2011, Jacoby Ellsbury was an MVP candidate, but he spent most of 2012 on the DL. He'll be a free agent after next year, and in a perfect world the Sox would re-sign him and move him to left field to make room for top prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. Of course, Ellsbury is represented by Scott Boras and will surely chase top dollar, so if the Sox don't want to pay a premium for him, they might have to deal him in July if they aren't going to contend. -- Jim Bowden

The System
A lot went right on the farm for Boston this year, with top prospect Xander Bogaerts making major strides on defense at shortstop, Bradley lighting everyone up with his plate discipline and Matt Barnes and Henry Owens posting very strong full-season debuts. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 11
Atlanta Braves
NL EAST FPR RANK: 2

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
The Braves' identity is changing rapidly: Chipper Jones is gone, and Brian McCann could follow next winter. This is now Jason Heyward's team, and if the Upton brothers can play to their potential and Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy prove they are for real, this team is talented enough to topple the Nats. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
Although the Braves are still trying to find their long-term solution at third base in the wake of Jones' retirement, the bigger issue is behind the plate. McCann is recovering from shoulder surgery and will be a free agent at season's end. Do they sign him long term or hand the future over to top catching prospect Christian Bethancourt? -- Jim Bowden

The System
Atlanta didn't dip much into its farm system to acquire Justin Upton, but its system wasn't strong to begin with thanks to a very weak track record in the draft over the past several years. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 12
Los Angeles Angels
AL WEST FPR RANK: 3

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
Their organizational structure is quite similar to Detroit's: A few high-end (and expensive) stars, not much lineup or prospect depth. The difference is that the Angels' rotation is filled with question marks after Jered Weaver, and even he has seen his velocity drop consistently over the past few years, raising questions about how long he can maintain his current level of performance. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
While the big league team is talented, they don't have a top-of-the-rotation starter in the system, and those are the kind of arms needed to win championships in the tough AL West. They are hoping that Tommy Hanson can recapture the form he showed in 2010 -- when he posted a 3.33 ERA in more than 200 innings for the Braves -- to give them a formidable No. 3 starter behind Weaver and C.J. Wilson. -- Jim Bowden

The System
The cupboard is nearly bare after years of trades, promotions and lost draft picks, with the Angels the only team that didn't have a pick on the first day of the 2012 draft. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 13
Toronto Blue Jays
AL EAST FPR RANK: 3

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
Yes, the trades they made over the winter were designed to "win now," but this club has Jose Bautista, R.A. Dickey, Jose Reyes, Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie, Brandon Morrow, Melky Cabrera and Ricky Romero all signed for at least the next two seasons. They'll be contenders for a while. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
The Blue Jays made a bunch of trades to improve their big league club, but they decimated their farm system in the process. They built their system by spending aggressively in the draft, but they won't be able to do that in the future thanks to the spending limit in the new CBA. Therefore, they will have to be a bit more creative and really nail their top draft picks in order to replenish the farm. -- Jim Bowden

The System
There's almost no one left after the Dickey trade and the deal with the Marlins during their fire sale, although the Jays wouldn't deal top prospect Aaron Sanchez, who has the raw stuff and delivery to develop into an ace if he can develop average or better control. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 14
San Francisco Giants
NL WEST FPR RANK: 2

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
Yes, they've won two of the past three World Series, but that's in the past. The future has plenty of questions, as their farm system is weak and they have invested heavily in some older players. Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner are locked up for the foreseeable future, and while Buster Posey won't hit free agency until after the 2016 season, he is going to set some arbitration records if they don't lock him up soon. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
Tim Lincecum's two year, $40.5 million contract expires at the end of this season, and the Giants have to see if the two-time Cy Young winner can recapture his Cy Young form after his disastrous 2012 season. Even if he is stellar again, that 2012 performance will certainly be a point of discussion at the negotiating table. -- Jim Bowden

The System
Several good starting pitching prospects highlight a system that's very light on bats right now and, after closer Heath Hembree, doesn't have much that's likely to help the major league team in 2013. (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

    

  • 15
Arizona Diamondbacks
NL WEST FPR RANK: 3

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The Overview
GM Kevin Towers has gone out of his way to acquire guys who play the way manager Kirk Gibson played, and has surrendered a lot of high-end talent (Justin Upton and Trevor Bauer) in the process. This is a solid club from top to bottom, but it's rare for a team bereft of superstars to make a deep playoff run, which is what Arizona is trying to do. -- Buster Olney

The Dilemma
Whether Arizona believes it or not, World Series are won by teams with superstars. Last year it was the Giants with Matt Cain and Buster Posey, the year before that it was the Cardinals with Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday. For the Diamondbacks to win a championship they are going to need a middle-of-the-order impact star player who can carry the team during offensive slumps. The D-backs don't consider it a dilemma, but the win-loss record might say differently over the next few years. -- Jim Bowden

The System
Dealing Bauer for 50 cents on the dollar didn't help, nor did failing to get any of Atlanta's top six prospects in the Upton trade, but the Diamondbacks are still very deep in arms and now oddly deep in shortstops who can field but don't get on base.  (Click here for more) -- Keith Law

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Posted: 3/1/2013 11:21 AM

RE: ESPN's Future Power Rankings 


Who would have predicted we'd be ahead of the Phillies and Marlins this time last year?


17 & 14 = Best Duo In NY Sports
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Posted: 3/1/2013 11:27 AM

RE: ESPN's Future Power Rankings 


at first look, I would say they overrated the Cubs MiL system by a fair amount.  and also underrated the Marlins system.  

And the Orioles get no respect coming off a 93 win season.  How in the world are they 13 out of 30 on ML roster?  No way their MiL system is higher ranked than their ML team.

and how are the Mets finances not ranked lower coming off a record payroll decrease?
"Maybe it's time to make some moves."  - Sandy Alderson
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Posted: 3/1/2013 11:58 AM

RE: ESPN's Future Power Rankings 


I think this is a forward looking thing-- so I think the finance is based on the assumption that once the rebuild is complete, the team will get better, and bring in more revenue and spend more...
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Posted: 3/1/2013 12:00 PM

RE: ESPN's Future Power Rankings 


Are they basically equivocating finance with payroll?  If they are, I would bet you would get a different set of opinions on this ranking.  If they are basing finance as the ability to spend money, that is an entirely different thing.
Mets trade away reigning CY Young award winner.
Still have the best pitcher in Baseball.
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