Keith Law released his 2011 MLB organizational rankings today at ESPN and for one local team that has run atypically dry on the free agent market this offseason, the future looks bright when examining its young talent. For the other local franchise, one who's been bargain hunting all offseason, the future looks pretty much as dim as it has in recent memory.
Law ranked the New York Yankees' entire minor league system as his ninth-best:
Gary Sanchez had a tremendous debut season, Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman got healthy, and Manny Banuelos saw his stuff tick up and they're backed up with a lot of back-end starter depth. They rival Toronto for the best catching depth in the minors and took a couple of intriguing guys later in the 2010 draft, one of whom I'll discuss Friday.
The prospect guru was not so kind in assessing the New York Mets' organizational youth, which he tabbed 26th:
Earth to Fred Wilpon: This is what a strict adherence to slot recommendations will buy you. Parsimony has its price.
Law did not mention Jesus Montero in his quick take on the system, but there's no doubt that as one of the best hitters in the minor leagues (and one with a tremendous ceiling), he played a huge factor in this ranking (to go along with Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez at the catcher spot). The pitching trio of Banuelos-Betances-Brackman also remains formidable, though neither looks to be ready to debut in the big leagues at the start of the season.
The Mets, on the other hand, have absolutely no hitter with the potential and major-league readiness as Montero in their system right now. They've also continuously drafted players based on slot, taking no chances on higher-talent players for "safe bets" and its currently hurting the depth of the system. Ike Davis and Jon Niese were the notable graduates from last year (though neither has a "star" ceiling), but Wilmer Flores and Matt Harvey (with Jenrry Mejia no longer considered a rookie) headline the class now. Some middle-tier prospects (and injury-prone ones like Fernando Mertinez) will need to make strides this year to boost the organization's minor-league standing.