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Summarizing BA's League-Top 20 Lists

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When Baseball America ranked the top 20 players in each minor league, no team in MLB had more of its players appear on those lists than the Phillies.

BA's top 20 in each of the 16 affiliated leagues, by organization
BA's top 20 in each of the 16 affiliated leagues, by organization

Yesterday Cormican published an update on Phillies prospects as we head into the postseason:

It was a good year for the system with a bunch of breakouts, some great new pieces from trades and some top prospects continuing to produce. This is reflected very well in the Baseball America Rankings of top 20 prospects in each league, which are thoroughly littered with current Phillies Prospects and recent grads of the system.

This piece can be considered the Appendix to Cormican's update, where we summarize BA's top 20 lists.

Baseball America ranked the top 20 prospects in each of the 16 affiliated leagues. They also ranked the Independent League, but we'll ignore that for our purposes here.

So 320 total names were listed, however 30 of those players were listed in more than one league. In order to do a clean count by organization, I counted only the higher league for these players, leaving a total of 290 names.

In addition, trades weren't fully accounted for in the lists. For example Nick Williams, Jake Thompson, and Jorge Alfaro were all listed with Texas (and Nick Pivetta with Washington), and I've moved them to the Phillies for these counts. These trades were noted correctly:

Sean Manaea from Rockies to A's
Jeff Hoffman from Blue Jays to Rockies
Michael Fulmer from Mets to Tigers
Domingo Santana from Astros to Brewers

However if there were any other trades where the players weren't moved, the players are shown with their old teams.

By Level

With the sausage making out of the way, the table below shows the following:

- total players listed for each organization, and by level
- the columns to the right apply points to each level to come up with a weighted number: 1 for Rookie, 2 short A (A-), 3 for A, 4 for A+, 7 for AA, 8 for AAA. Note the jump from A+ to AA -- obviously arbitrary.

Takeaways:

1) With 17, the Phillies had more players make BA's top 20 lists than any other MLB team. Only four of the 17 came in July trades, so they would have had a high number regardless.

2) The Phillies had 8 players ranked in the top 20 in AA and AAA leagues -- more than any other team, with only the Astros close (7).

3) Weighing by level gave the Phillies the most of any team, just ahead of the Red Sox.

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And for the visually inclined, the graphical view:

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By Quartile, or "Quality"

Obviously it makes a difference whether a player is ranked in the top of the top 20, or near the bottom. Lots of the Phillies' ranked players were near the bottom, but even so, with 7 in the top 10 of their respective leagues, only three teams had more (Cubs, Astros, Rockies) -- look for the end of the light blue bar below.

If we apply a simple point system (4 points for being in the top 5, 3 for 6-10, 2 for 11-15, 1 for 16-20), the Phillies would have the second most points in MLB, behind only the Red Sox.

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By Position

With the exception of left-handed pitcher, the Phillies were represented fairly well at every position:

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This is all obviously just a numbers exercise and highly unscientific, so it warrants a huge grain of salt. But it should be at least indicative of the health of a team's farm system.