Organization Reports Begin
CUBS WIN! This was definitely one of the great weekends in baseball history, marked with some great Marlin and Red Sox wins, and the Cubs first postseason series win in 95 years. Baseball is on a huge upswing, and I think we'll remember the Division Series as more fun than the World Series.
One quick divisional series note: I think Pudge's great series likely sealed his fate to stay a Marlin, and Jose Cruz should land on the free agent market as a result of his horrid play.
The next three weeks I will do organziational reports, in order of my rankings. These reports will include organization records, prospect rankings, draft performance, and my own analysis. Today, I'll debut with the Brewers and Blue Jays. Enjoy...
#1 Organization- Milwaukee Brewers
Overall Minor League record: 322-365 (.469)
Awards and League Recognitions
Top 5 Draft Picks Performance
I believe the Brewers are taking the same path the Minnesota Twins did five years ago, letting prospects take over the field. This Milwaukee organization has prospects at every position, along with more than enough pitching depth. They are also starting to take the OBP-approach to drafting, as seen by the high OBP and BB/K ratios of their top five draft picks. It's also interesting to note that the club's first five picks were all hitters, as Melvin has realized drafting pitchers is simply a crapshoot.
While the organization didn't finish .500 as a whole, the center of attention should be on the AA and low-A franchises. The Southern League Huntsville team was solid all-around, housing prospects Brad Nelson, J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart, Dave Kynzel, Mike Jones, Ben Hendrickson, Luis Martinez, and Ben Diggins. The Midwest League Beloit team was solid as well, and Prince Fielder, Richie Weeks, Anthony Gwynn, and Manny Parra were the big names there. Much of the team's prospects will debut in 2004, and the team should be completely prospect-laden in 2005.
Next year will be a transition season for the club, mixing veterans while trying to incorporate youngsters. This season the club discovered Scott Podsednik, Dan Kolb, and Matt Ford, all of whom play roles in the future. There are many rumors the team will deal Richie Sexson in the offseason, largely to make room for Brad Nelson and later Prince Fielder. Oft-injured Geoff Jenkins will stay, as the organization's one weakness seems to be corner outfielders. Ben Sheets will make a large amount of money next year, and must prove why he was drafted before Barry Zito.
By finishing the Major League season with a 68-94 record, the Brewers will have either the fifth or sixth pick in the 2004 Amateur Draft. The team will likely target advanced pitchers and corner outfielders, two areas of need. I love the way they've drafted the last five years, which is a great sign for Bud Selig and company.
Look for the team to debut Mike Jones, J.J. Hardy, Dave Krynzel, Corey Hart, and Brad Nelson next season, possibly topping Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in the NL Central. But, this team's future will be in 2007, long after Prince Fielder succeeds. It's also interesting to note that much of the club's success will be after Bud Selig leaves the Commissioner Office and regains control of the organization. Conspiracy? I think not.
Top 12 Prospects
#2 Organization- Toronto Blue Jays
Overall Minor League Record: 370-327 (.591)
Awards and League Recognition
Top 5 Draft Picks Performance
The Jays youth movement has already begun at the Major League level, with Josh Phelps, Orlando Hudson, Eric Hinske, Vernon Wells, and others leading the way. The team lacks pitching at the Major League level, and locking up Roy Halladay and Kelvim Escobar have become top priorities as a result. As was the team's pitching-laden draft, drafting four hurlers with their top five picks.
An interesting note is the team's top three prospects, Guillermo Quiroz, Alexis Rios, and Dustin McGowan are not the types of players Riccardi would normally employ. But it was the former front-office that liked catchers (Werth, Cash), athletic high school outfielders (Stewart, Wells), and high-school pitchers (Halladay). These three players are the future of this team, while Riccardi is quick to point to his prospects, like Russ Adams and Jason Arnold.
Riccardi pointed to 2004 as an important season for his club, as it will likely be the team's final with slugger Carlos Delgado. The lineup will likely start to mix in prospects Kevin Cash, Gabe Gross, and Arnold, while placing their hopes on the shoulders of Delgado, Wells, and Halladay. It's unlikely this team will compete next year, probably falling behind the high-spending Orioles. But once their host of young pitching hits the Majors, watch out.
Top 12 Prospects
That's all for now folks...