When Chaim Bloom was hired, one of the biggest points in his favor by those applauding the hiring was that he would do great work to bolster the farm system. It should go without saying, of course, that the end goal for any organization should certainly not be to have the best farm system possible, but that is a major step toward the ultimate goal in today’s league, which is to actually win at the major-league level. And on that front, Bloom is doing the job. (Though to put everything on Bloom’s shoulders, good and bad, would be an oversimplification.) After coming in at number 20 in Baseball America’s preseason farm system rankings, the Red Sox have landed at number nine in the latest update, which was released Monday morning.
The Red Sox still only have three players in BA’s top 100, which is about how many you’d expect from each club if it were evenly distributed. But the big difference between now and the last few years is that the talent is at the higher end. All three prospects — Triston Casas, Jarren Duran, and Marcelo Mayer — fall in the top 40 prospects in all of baseball. And while those are the only top 100 names, other players like Tanner Houck, Gilberto Jimenez, Nick Yorke, and Brayan Bello, among others, are getting more national recognition.
It is very clear that the system has taken a jump forward this year, both due to new additions like Mayer, who was the team’s first round pick last month, as well as due to breakouts from guys like Duran and Bello. That said, I would opine that the jump from 20 to nine is a bit misleading. It was pretty clear that some players on the Red Sox had started to take jumps forward compared to the national perception of them before the season started — Duran and Yorke jump immediately to mind — but the lack of minor-league ball in 2020 made it hard for these outlets to make major adjustments at that point.
That’s not to criticize places like BA, of course — making major moves on a player based almost exclusively on the word of said players’ organization wouldn’t make a lot of sense — but rather to point out that the preseason rankings were rather incomplete. But how the Red Sox got there is less important than actually being here.
And again, this is not the end goal. This is a good step in the right direction, as this year on the whole has been both in the minors and with the big-league club, but now comes the hard part. Farm systems can be used in a number of different ways, whether it be by waiting to promote players or trading players away for more immediate help. It’s a fine line to walk, figuring out which players are best to stay in the organization and which should be dealt. But you can’t make those decisions until you get the players. The Red Sox, at least according to Baseball America, are now in a better position to make those kinds of decisions than two-thirds of the league.