Daily Distractions: How long does it take to rebuild a farm system?

Baseball America is expected to bestow the St. Louis Cardinals with the mantle of Best System in Baseball, eight years after BA had St. Louis ranked dead-last, 30th among the 30 teams. (BA doesn’t typically announce its rankings until late March/early April, but that article explains what to expect and why.)

Folks who spend more time thinking about prospects than major-league players — you know who you are – tend to forget that organizational rankings are nothing more than opinion polls. Titles such as “top organizational prospect” are opinions, not facts.

But I think there’s some significance to the Cardinals’ turnaround to the Dodgers, who ranked sixth, 23rd, 21st, 11th and 24th the last five years (in order) in BA’s annual list. Last March, BA wrote: “If OF Alfredo Silverio hadn’t had a breakout season in 2011, it would be hard to pinpoint a Los Angeles position prospect with much upside—and he could miss the first two months of the season after an offseason auto accident. [Frank] McCourt hasn’t spent on the draft or the international market, severely weakening the system.”

Guggenheim Baseball Management has spent liberally on the major-league product, but team president Stan Kasten has gone out of his way to state the importance of rebuilding the Dodgers’ farm system. That can’t be done overnight, but how long will it take? Eight years might be reasonable in an age of international signing restrictions and draft restrictions that favor lower-revenue teams.

That’s a topic for a longer story on a different day, but definitely good food for thought.

Some links to start your work week:

• Fan voting begins today for the L.A. Sports Awards. The categories include Moment of the Year for 11 Southern California college and pro teams, including the Dodgers. Which “moment” highlighted 2012 for the Dodgers? Your choices are Guggenheim Baseball Management purchasing the team; a roster overhaul that included contracts for Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, and trades for Brandon League, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Hanley Ramirez; or Gonzalez homering in his first at-bat. (To vote, you must enter your name and email address first.)

• Following up on the latest crazy Ronald Belisario news from last week: For now he isn’t playing for his team in Puerto Rico, only practicing.

• The A’s extended manager Bob Melvin’s contract by two years.

<strong><a target=Enzo Hernandez” width=”217″ height=”300″ />• RIP Enzo Hernandez, briefly a Dodger.

Bruce Chen will become the first major leaguer to play for China in the WBC. Chen, who is of Chinese and Panamanian descent, played for Panama in the 2007 WBC.

• There are two Baseball Halls of Fame in Cooperstown, Joe Posnanski blogs. Fortunately, they don’t double up on admission costs (yet).

• Creating an all-star team based on the best players who never received a single Hall of Fame vote, the team looks better than you might think.

• Fangraphs crunches the numbers — baseball, not business — to answer the question, is rebuilding worth it? (Spoiler alert: It’s not.)

• Scientists recently discovered that this is the catchiest song of the last five years. I hear Empire of the Sun is a fantastic live show but I’ve never ponied up to find out for myself:

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