Anyways, I just read an article at the Atlanta Journal Constitution website about the current condition of the Braves farm system. A lot of people have a lot of opinions about the matter, but let's get a few things clear about farm systems.
- Everyone has 1 or 2 Top 50 prospects, so don't get too excited when it happens. Do the math. If every team has a draft pick in the first round every year, and there are less than 50 total teams, then chances are pretty good that one of those draft picks will show up in the top 50 prospects over a three year period.
- The Braves have developed as many great pitchers over the past 2 decades as most of the other MLB teams. You can argue that Glavine was "developed" in the Braves system, but Smoltz and Maddux were both acquired via trade or free agency. To be honest, there are at least 5 other teams out there that have developed more pitching talent in their farm systems than the Braves have in the last 10 years.
- Teams on a budget will always be a disappointment to fans most of the time. Yes, of course low budget teams can be competitive and occasionally win a division, league, or even the World Series, but the teams that make annual trips to the Fall Classic do so with deep pockets. The great Braves teams of the mid to late 90's were not based around young farm talent. They were based around a select core of highly paid stars in the prime of their careers.
- Do NOT let your team trade away young farm talent for middle-of-the-rotation aging starters (ala Javier Vazquez). If you must trade away young talent, do so either for big name talent, or young talent that plays a different position. The Braves did neither of those things, and lost a talented young catcher in Thomas Flowers, and will have little to show for it come early April, and even less to show for it by 2010.
- Jordan Schaffer and Tommy Hanson are 4-star prospects AT BEST. Schaffer is really more of a 3-star prospect. And I won't waste your time or mine explaining my views on Hanson. If Frank Wren knows anything about prospects, he'll trade Hanson this off season for a talented young third baseman to replace Chipper "Old Bones" Jones in the next few years. Remember: sell high, and Hanson's stock will never be this high again.