Hard to believe we’re just 12 days away from the BlueClaws opener on April 9th. Today’s entry takes an overview of the Phillies farm system, which Baseball America recently ranked as the 12th best in all of baseball. The significance here is the improvement, as the last five years the Phillies, in these same rankings have been very stagnant, finishing between 20th and 22nd each year.
The write-up in their annual Prospect Handbook notes that “Philly fans will have to just boo the Eagles because the Phils should be good for a while.”
Remember too, the Phillies system is very solid as it is now, but in the last few years it has been used to bring in help for the big league club.
“That’s what we’re here for,” said Steve Noworyta, Phillies Director of Minor Leagues. “We tell the guys, ‘there’s 29 other teams looking at you.’ We have to help out the big league club for us or get someone in here who can help out the big league club.”
Last year, both AA-Reading and AAA-Lehigh Valley had the worst records in their respective leagues, a sign that that much of the talent was isolated in the lower levels. Lakewood, for example, won their league title in 2006, Clearwater in 2007. The BlueClaws also fielded near-playoff teams in both 2007 and 2008. That talent is now making it’s way to the higher levels and these clubs should be more competitive this season.
One other important note…last year the Phillies had six picks in the top 110 and four of the first 71. They were not very active in free agency and were able to accumulate selections unlike in years past. This most recent offseason, the signing of Raul Ibanez means they will send their first-round selection to the Mariners.
Other rankings: Texas 1st, Yankees 15th, Mets 17th