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:

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