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FanGraphs ranks D-backs farm system 7th in baseball

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Two years ago, it seemed impossible.

Despite making the playoffs in 2017, the Arizona Diamondbacks weren’t set up well for the future. They had baseball’s worst farm system according to ESPN.

It got better in 2018, rising to the No. 26 rank. But the D-backs failed to make the playoffs after a late-season collapse.

This year, while the product on the field has teetered on the edge of the team being a buyer or seller, the future is starting to look brighter. Much brighter.

Earlier in the year, the D-backs soared up ESPN’s rankings. Now, FanGraphs has the D-backs’ farm system ranked seventh-best in baseball, and for them, it’s all about the depth.

FanGraphs evaluates prospects by assigning them a number called future value, which essentially projects how good a player is going to be. Its maximum is 70.

Only one prospect in baseball, per the site, has that maximum number assigned to him: Tampa Bay’s Wander Franco.

Only three players have a future value of 65. Future values of 60 are more common.

Perhaps the D-backs ranking of seventh is the cut-off for those numbers.  Arizona is the first team on the ranking to not have a prospect with a future value greater than or equal to 60.

Instead, they possess talent that ranks closer to the next tier. The D-backs have five prospects with a future value of 50. They are one of five teams in baseball with five or more players assigned to that number.

Despite not having upper-echelon talent, the depth adds up.  The D-backs ranking of seventh is based on how much money they’re projected to owe their farm system down the line, which is calculated from FanGraphs’ future value metric. That number totals $250 million.

FanGraphs ranks shortstop Jazz Chisholm as the D-backs’ best prospect, with a future value of 55. Three batters are given a future value of 50: catcher Dalton Varsho, and centerfielders Alek Thomas and Kristian Robinson. Two pitchers, Jon Duplantier and Taylor Widener, also are given that evaluation.

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