Cubs’ Farm System ranked #18 based on projected dollar value

It’s no secret that the Cubs have put in a ton of work on the farm system, almost as much as the new sportsbook at Wrigley, and those efforts are starting to pay off. Recent trends in pitching acquisition, whether through the draft or trades, have balanced an organization that had become a bit heavy on position players.

They now have much greater depth than we’ve seen in some time, and it’s expected that those insights will begin to form the core of a new competitive race very soon.

By at least one measure, however, the Cubs still aren’t even in the top half of baseball. ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel at the Cubs’ farm ranked #18 (subscription track) with $215 million in future excess value, or a grand total of “how much a team would pay to acquire more than six years of player control before free agency”. If that’s a little hard to fathom, think of it as adding up the expected quality projections of all prospects at the big league level.

The big knock on the Cubs seems to be that they don’t have a number of elite-level players waiting in the wings. Brennen Davis has yet to return from a procedure to relieve a nerve impingement in her back and Brailyn Márquez has been ruled out for the season after a shoulder cleanup, which led to questions about whether he’ll pitch again for the Cubs. As McDaniel said, “impact talent is still a year or two away.”

Far be it from me to argue with someone whose whole job is based on lead coverage, but I don’t think using FanGraphs projections to put a monetary value on leads paints a very accurate picture. And I know McDaniel does it that way for the sake of continuity and not getting very subjective here, I just can’t believe there are 17 systems with more talent than the Cubs have amassed.

Among this group are the Pirates (No. 4, $291 million), the Reds (No. 9, $273 million) and the Cardinals (No. 15, $232 million). If you really want to feel sick, the Dodgers (No. 6, $285 million) and Yankees (No. 8, $276 million) are in the top 10.

The good thing is that it doesn’t matter what these rankings say, because projected value doesn’t determine actual production. Not only that, but other teams don’t look to FanGraphs to determine which prospect(s) they would target in a trade for one of their own or for a young big leaguer. The Cubs will have to start buying at some point, which is where that depth will really come in handy.

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