Topic of the week: the M's farm system. Terrible, terrible, terrible, says everybody not from Seattle. Take it easy there can'cha, sez Dipoto. Let's take our usual SSI-eccentric look at whether he might be right, and if not, how much it would matter anyway. Hey, we got a 25-man roster. It's young, not old. Do you even need any sub-flooring in Tacoma?
The HeraldNet contains the factual information that baseball's #1 minors ranking service -- Baseball America -- thinks that Jerry Dipoto runs the worst amateur system in either the American or National Leagues.
Jerry Dipoto responds so colorfully and hyperbolically that he would put Dr. Detecto to shame:
“Our prospect system has been the most productive prospect system in baseball for the last two years,” he said. “We’ve produced a 25-homer everyday first baseman (Ryon Healy, acquired in a trade for prospects), a .300-hitting everyday shortstop (Jean Segura, acquired in a trade for Mariners-developed young major leaguers), three everyday outfielders who have some degree of impact in a large degree of ways (Mitch Haniger, acquired in the same deal with Segura; Ben Gamel, acquired in a trade for prospects; Guillermo Heredia, who came up in the Mariners system after signing from Cuba). We’ve finished off the development of what we think is one of the best catchers in the Major League Baseball (Mike Zunino). We developed a 24-year-old closer (Edwin Diaz) who’s among the best in the league, have five guys who sit next to him and pitch the sixth, seventh and eighth innings on any given nights (trade acquisitions James Pazos, David Phelps and Nick Rumbelow, homegrown product Dan Altavilla), and 60 percent of our starting rotation (Mike Leake and Marco Gonzales, acquired for prospects, and homegrown Adam Moore).
That’s a lot of productivity from a farm system in two years.”
:: blinks :: Yeah. Way more than anybody else got in those two years, that's for sure.
- 2 star infielders.
- 3 star-TING outfielders.
- Where did that Zunino thing come from, somebody help a Doc out?
- A closer.
- 5 big time relievers.
- 3 legit starting pitchers.
That being what Dipoto's minors produced, because he traded guys (like Taijuan Walker, Ketel Marte, and so forth) for them and that's where he's got them graded.
HOW DO I QUIBBLE WITH THEE? LET ME COUNT THE WAYS, DEPT.
:: shrug :: It's not even a debate that gets started with me, really. Our farm system produced Taijuan Walker in the last two years, did it? (He debut'ed in 2013, same year Mike Zunino did. That was 5 years ago LAST year.)
And I think we took our socks and shoes off during our player count when we started giving ourselves credit for relievers and starters. (Mike Leake by the way was a salary dump, by the way, an interesting one to jump on, but not exactly comparable to watching Noah Sydergaard come up off your AAA roster and donate enough 97-MPH fastballs to hit the 3-WAR mark.)
Now, it's true that Dipoto has cast his sparkly eyes about the land -- no snark intended; Dipoto really does have sparkly eyes -- and he has picked himself out a double-handful of ML-ready players he believes in. Ben Gamel, Marco Gonzales, Mitch Haniger, the contract extention on Jean Segura, that SP-RP conversion on Edwin Diaz was killer ... Dipoto has a lot of 24-27 year old players who have given him an athletic team. What's more, they're catching the ball. Their team fielding WAR was #3 last year; also, their park-adjusted Defensive Effeciency Rating was #6 in baseball. Not that it resulted in a bunch of 14-game winners that I noticed.
Problem is, Jerry's total, utter confidence and total, utter lack of results are hitting me wronger and wronger. Especially that interlude where he told us, "You know you don't EVER want to get caught spending money in free agency, but boy, when a free one like Otani comes a long, you just watch our stuff." That whole bit was so chickenfeathers you couda.... we're getting too wound up here.
To paraphrase Clint Eastwood... "frankly, sir, you're beginning to bore the stuffing out of me."
Let us interrupt our own little story with a chess anecdote, and then pull a string if we can: