Originally posted on The Nats Blog old  |  Last updated 1/28/12

One of my favorite books of the year, Baseball America's Prospect Handbook, came out earlier this week. In my opinion, it's one of the most valuable books for a baseball fan to own each year because it gives you not just the skinny on not just he up-and-comers from around the league, but it also provides an unbiased view of the prospects of the team you care about most.

Unlike the team's PR Department and the local media, who often give unrealistically optimistic views to fans of the real ability of the players down on the farm, Baseball America's scouts tell fans the truth about the realistic potential of the young men who have been sold to fans as the future of their franchise.

This year's edition of the Prospect Handbook held a bit of a surprise for Nats fans. A surprise with a catch. The Nationals were named by Baseball America as having the No. 1 overall farm system in Major League Baseball, however, the rankings were created prior to the December trade which brought Gio Gonzelez to Washington. That deal included four of the club's to 15 prospects, Brad Peacock (3), A.J. Cole (4), Derek Norris (9), and Tom Milone (13), the departure of whom, would clearly have cost the club their No. 1 position in the league's organizational rankings.

While on the cover it may seem disappointing that the team was forced to gut their minor league system in order to gain a No. 2/3 starter, in many ways its a positive representation of the shift in philosophy since 2007. That year the Nationals finished dead last in Baseball America's organizational rankings. It was a farm system created by the Jim Bowden regime, and one that lacked not only depth, but also strength at the front end of their talent pool. To be able to move that far up the organizational rankings in just five years, especially when you consider the large amount of young talent that is already at the major league level, and therefor not counted in this ranking, shows just how good a job Mike Rizzo has done at building and developing their young talent.

Perhaps even more impressive, is how strong their system still is despite the Gonzalez trade. John Sickles, one of the internet's aficionados on MLB prospects,  put out his organization rankings this week as reflected after the trade. The Nationals still ranked in the top half in his rankings, coming in at No. 14 overall. That ranking could potentially go up very quickly as well when you think about the massive talent pool the team brought in in their most recent draft. It is likely that the prospect status of pitchers like Alex Meyer and Matt Purke will rise quickly after a year of production in the minor leagues.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Redskins GM injures hand punching wall in frustration

Report: Aldon Smith checks into rehab

McCarthy discusses 'urgency’ to win another title with Rodgers

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

Storyline from 'Ballers' plays out in Cowboys preseason camp

Texas A&M creates a very sexist version of their fight song for women

Brown, Marshall are apparently serious about their car bet

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker