The guys over at Sons of Roto have been hosting Blog Wars for a handful of years now, and this is my second year involved. I ended up in fourth place last year — not too bad, I know. But considering I held first place by a sizable margin from April through August, the fourth place finish takes on a truly bitter taste. My pitching collapsed down the stretch, and I watched helplessly has my ratios ballooned. Alas, I flew too close to the sun on the wings of Lance Lynn. Should’ve seen it coming…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (1) | 2011 (14) | 2010 (24) | 2009 (21) | 2008 (10)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [98-64] NL East
AAA: [70-74] International League – Syracuse
AA: [64-78] Eastern League – Harrisburg
A+: [64-75] Carolina League – Potomac
A: [82-55] South Atlantic League – Hagerstown
A(ss): [46-30] New York-Penn League — Auburn

Graduated Prospects
Bryce Harper (OF); Steve Lombardozzi (Util); Tyler Moore (OF)

The Run Down
A little more than a year ago, this Washington Nationals system was regarded as the best in the game. Then a trade with Oakland sent a handful of prospects out west, their top draft pick went down with a broken ankle, and Bryce Harper graduated to the bigs. What’s left, now, is a system that’s filled to the brim with risky, oft-injured prospects. There is almost nothing here that I would consider safe. Top overall prospect Anthony Rendon is an exciting, high-impact guy, but he’s yet to play a full season as a pro. Top pitching prospect Lucas Giolito tossed only two professional innings before being shut down for Tommy John surgery. He won’t pitch again ’til 2014. The rest of the top ten seem to be rehabbing from their third labrum operation, or their twelfth precautionary arthroscopic elbow surgery. This is not among baseball’s top 20 farm systems at the moment, but thankfully for Washington fans, the Nationals have a young and talented collection of talent at the big league level already.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For those of us who prefer our fantasy baseball leagues to mirror our fantasy football leagues, there are weekly H2H formats. Sure, H2H is a poorer measure of fantasy skill than rotisserie — weekly snapshots of baseball statistics are hardly indicative of a team’s overall value. But the one-on-one element of H2H provides owners with weekly closure, and adds quite a bit to the competitive nature of the fantasy game. Simply put, H2H is fun. One way to stay ahead in these weekly formats is to maintain a flexible roster and stream two-start pitchers. So every Saturday in-season, we’ll be providing a glimpse at the upcoming week’s two-start landscape.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (2) | 2011 (15) | 2010 (2) | 2009 (1) | 2008 (4)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [93-69] AL West
AAA: [69-75] Pacific Coast League – Round Rock
AA: [80-60] Texas League – Frisco
A+: [74-65] Carolina League – Myrtle Beach
A: [74-65] South Atlantic League – Hickory
A(ss): [28-48] Northwest League — Spokane

Graduated Prospects
Yu Darvish (RHP); Robbie Ross (LHP); Michael Kirkman (LHP)

The Run Down
This Rangers system is stacked. I could’ve gone 20 deep here, and I’d still be listing guys with bigger upside than most systems feature at the back-end of their top tens. One guy I had a hard time not listing here is 2012 first-rounder Lewis Brinson. Consider him #11 for now, but Brinson has the type of explosive athleticism that could carry him to the top of this list in a year’s time (that’s assuming guys like Profar and Olt graduate, of course). There are other youthful, high-upside types, too, in Jorge Alfaro and Joey Gallo. And as we know, there’s a slew of high-impact potential at the upper reaches of the organization. I’ve been outspoken about the St. Louis system being the best system in baseball for fantasy purposes and otherwise, but this Texas Rangers system is not far behind.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (3) | 2011 (1) | 2010 (16) | 2009 (11) | 2008 (24)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [72-90] AL Central
AAA: [83-61] Pacific Coast League – Omaha
AA: [58-81] Texas League – Northwest Arkansas
A+: [66-74] Carolina League – Wilmington
A: [68-72] Midwest League – Kane County (SAL Lexington beginning 2013)

Graduated Prospects
Will Smith (LHP); Kelvin Herrera (RHP); Everett Teaford (LHP)

The Run Down
The Royals traded away a decent chunk of their upper-levels talent in the James Shields deal with the Rays. Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, and Mike Montgomery are all gone, and what’s left is a very young system. It also happens to be a very good system. But with youth comes risk. There’s as much upside here as there is in any other organization — numbers 1-10 below are all capable of bringing significant value to fantasy owners — and there are some college arms that should move quickly. But for the most part, this farm system is unproven. Unless Yordano Ventura is converted to relief, I don’t see much fantasy value pushing through until 2014. Even so, this group will be a lot of fun to watch in the upcoming season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (5) | 2011 (23) | 2010 (28) | 2009 (26) | 2008 (20)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [81-81] NL West
AAA: [81-63] Pacific Coast League – Reno
AA: [69-71] Southern League – Mobile
A+: [64-76] California League – Visalia
A: [67-73] Midwest League – South Bend
A(ss): [36-40] Northwest League — Yakima (Hillsboro beginning 2013)

Graduated Prospects
Patrick Corbin (LHP); Bryan Shaw (RHP)

The Run Down
The Diamondbacks entered the off-season with one of the most impressive collections of 25-and-under talent in the game. With the departures of Justin Upton and Trevor Bauer, however, that youthful core took a major hit in the high-impact department. One of Arizona’s motives in those trades was adding low-risk depth, and in that regard, they did quite well — Didi Gregorious and Nick Ahmed are premium defenders up the middle, Zeke Spruill is a safe bet to max out his potential, and Brandon Drury is a 1B with upside. Unfortunately for us, though, these changes make the D’Backs organization a tad less exciting for fantasy purposes. But that doesn’t mean this system is void of fantasy intrigue. There’s actually plenty of immediate-impact potential here with guys like Tyler Skaggs and Adam Eaton. There’s long-term excitement, too, with prospects like Archie Bradley and Stryker Trahan.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (5) | 2011 (4) | 2010 (19) | 2009 (19) | 2008 (25)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [73-89] AL East
AAA: [79-64] Pacific Coast League – Las Vegas (IL Buffalo beginning 2013)
AA: [61-81] Eastern League – New Hampshire
A+: [78-55] Florida State League – Dunedin
A: [82-55] Midwest League – Lansing
A(ss): [46-30] Northwest League — Vancouver

Graduated Prospects
Anthony Gose (OF); Moises Sierra (OF); Drew Hutchison (RHP)

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (6) | 2011 (5) | 2010 (22) | 2009 (15) | 2008 (5)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [95-67] AL East
AAA: [84-60] International League – Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
AA: [79-63] Eastern League – Trenton
A+: [65-70] Florida State League – Tampa
A: [73-63] South Atlantic League – Charleston
A(ss): [30-45] New York-Penn League — Staten Island

Graduated Prospects
Cody Eppley (RHP)

The Run Down
It was an interesting 2012 for this Yankees system, as high-impact bats (see Austin and Williams) took huge steps forward, while a slew of promising pitching prospects (see Campos, Banuelos, Hensley) were held up because of injury, or risk thereof. The Yankees also watched helplessly as the wheels completely fell off of the once highly-touted RHP, Dellin Betances. What’s left is a system that appears out of balance in favor of hitting. But that’s not to suggest there’s no hope for the arms — both Jose Campos and Manny Banuelos bring front-of-the-rotation potential if they’re able to stay on the field. Sure, the health factor makes the pitching depth incredibly uncertain here, but there are plenty of systems who are worse off with regard to starting pitching. And even if all these dudes have their arms fall off this summer, Yankees fans can rest assured that big league acquisitions will keep New York at (or near) the top of the AL East.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (7) | 2011 (6) | 2010 (17) | 2009 (14) | 2008 (3)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [97-65] NL Central
AAA: [51-93] International League – Louisville
AA: [68-70] Southern League – Pensacola
A+: [72-68] California League – Bakersfield
A: [60-78] Midwest League – Dayton

Graduated Prospects
Zack Cozart (SS); Devin Mesoraco (C)

The Run Down
Cincinnati is coming off of a 97-win season, and while it’s tough to expect that kind of success on a year-to-year basis, I really don’t see much regression out of the Reds this season, or for the next few seasons either. The pitching depth that Cincy has accumulated in their farm system is outstanding — there are high-impact arms at every level, and there’s plenty of fantasy intrigue given that most of these young pitchers are of the lots-o-whiffs variety. The bats of this system are a little less appealing, but not completely lacking. Jesse Winker is a young player with a huge ceiling at the plate, and Henry Rodriguez is ready to make an impact in the fantasy game at 2B as soon as there’s an opportunity for him. Oh, and there’s also this Hamilton dude. He’s a big time slugger, or something.

Top Ten Prospects

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (8) | 2011 (8) | 2010 (20) | 2009 (29) | 2008 (13)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [76-86] NL West
AAA: [56-88] Pacific Coast League – Tucson
AA: [60-80] Texas League – San Antonio
A+: [69-71] California League – Lake Elsinore
A: [69-71] Midwest League – Fort Wayne
A(ss): [47-29] Northwest League — Eugene

Graduated Prospects
Yonder Alonso (1B); Yasmani Grandal (C); Anthony Bass (RHP); Brad Brach (RHP); Dale Thayer (RHP)

The Run Down
Pitching depth is the best asset of this San Deigo farm system. From the upper levels down to the complex leagues, the Padres’ farm is flush with quality arms. There are high-ceiling arms, and there are safe, high-floor guys, too. That sort of depth is hugely important — strength in numbers usually prevails in the volatile practice of developing pitchers. This top ten, however, is headlined by hitters. Rymer Liriano, Jedd Gyorko, and Austin Hedges all bring high-impact upside for the fantasy game, and Gyorko could be providing plenty of value this season. It might not be the best system in baseball, but it’s a damn good one. We can look forward to this San Diego organization churning out fantasy-relevant talent in bulk for the next few years.

Please, blog, may I have some more?