Actual baseball games are starting today, but that doesn't mean the prospect talk is stopping.
Baseball America continued their extensive offseason rankings today by ranking every organization's farm system, from 1 to 30. The Brewers come in 8th, despite placing six players inside of their recently-released Top 100 prospects list. If you have a subscription, you can read their full analysis of the Brewers' system here. If you don't, you can still see the raw list here.
While the Brewers' ranking might seem a little low to some after months of hyping Milwaukee's system as one of the best in baseball, managing editor JJ Cooper explains BA's methodology when it comes to how they go about slotting teams in this list.
1) When it comes to the BA org talent rankings, we generally emphasize top prospects (which combine impact+lower risk) over depth.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) February 24, 2017
2) That's why an org like the White Sox ranks 4th, when their depth wouldn't compare to the Padres (9th). Depth+top 15 prospects=Braves at 1— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) February 24, 2017
3) But depth is important too. Phillies (6th) have some close to MLB talent, but what also stands out is depth of future big lgrs in system— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) February 24, 2017
So in Baseball America's eyes, "deepest system" doesn't necessarily mean "best system," since they value star power over a collection of guys who figure to at least be Major League regulars. Cooper did have some nice things to say about the Brewers, though:
Deep system. I could argue our No. 9 Brewers prospect (Erceg) could be their No. 1 prospect next year. https://t.co/an5cXxWvp9— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) February 24, 2017
Even if you're disappointed about the Brewers being ranked 8th instead of somewhere in the Top 5 (and as we talked about with the individual player rankings, maybe you shouldn't be, since the difference between 8th and 3rd or 5th or 10th probably isn't that big), it's still impressive how quickly David Stearns & Co. have been able to turn around the state of the farm system.
Just two years ago, Baseball America had them ranked as one of the 10 worst minor league systems in the league, and now they're Top 10. Three years ago, they were ranked 29th and had a decent claim to dead last. In 2011, after the trades for Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, they were 30th.