ESPN ranks Nats' farm system 21st

ESPN ranks Nats' farm system 21st
February 8, 2012, 7:25 pm

Remember all the excitement coming out of 1500 South Capitol St. last week when Baseball America named the Nationals' farm system as the sport's best? Well, another industry authority believes that same farm system rates among the bottom 33 percent.

ESPN.com's Keith Law today revealed his own organizational rankings (NOTE: You need ESPN.com "Insider" access to read the full article) and placed the Nationals a disappointing 21st out of 30 franchises.

How could two independent media outlets have such disparate views of the talent in one team's system? Well, there is one big mitigating factor: Baseball America published its annual Prospect Handbook before the Nationals traded away four prospects to the A's for left-hander Gio Gonzalez. Law compiled his rankings after that trade was completed, and noted so in his write-up...
"This was potentially a top-10 system before the Gio Gonzalez trade, no worse than top 15. But after dealing A.J. Cole, Brad Peacock and Derek Norris -- probably three of the Nats' top 10 guys before the Gio swap -- this system lacks depth."Makes sense. At the same time, Law is insisting he still would have ranked the Nationals no higher than 10th (and perhaps as low as 15th) even BEFORE the Gonzalez trade. That's still well below Baseball America, which suggested the Nats are likely to land somewhere between No. 5 and No. 10 when the magazine publishes its updated rankings next month.

Point is, these rankings are all highly subjective, and they only underscore just how much scouts' opinions on players can vary across the board. One scout's future All-Star is another scout's career minor leaguer.

It's always fun to read these rankings, and perhaps even get excited (or upset) over them. But until these guys' careers actually play out, there's no way to objectively rank them.