There has been a good deal of discussion about how good or bad the farm system is. Missing from that discussion is much in the way of comparison. Looking at the far from satisfying 2009 draft is a starting point. Below is an overview of the top half of that draft including current playing levels and some illustrative statistics.
My take is that drafting baseball players is really, really hard (unless you're picking first and Strasburg is available). There were players taken after Tony Sanchez that might turn out to be better (e.g., Wheeler and Turner). There were players taken after Sanchez who have a good chance to be worse (e.g., Hobgood and Matzek). I would also note that Aaron Crow, who is doing a nice job for the Royals in high-leverage relief situations, was brutal as a starter in AA and AAA. Also note that Dustin Ackley, whom I would have taken in a heartbeat instead of Sanchez, was an above average hitter and fielder last year. This year he's a below average hitter and fielder (but I won't say anything about SSS).
I plan to do some more comparisons going forward. Here are the numbers:
|Taken||Team||Player||POS||From||Level||AVG or ERA||OBP or FIP|
|4||Pirates||Tony Sanchez||C||Boston College||AA||0.263||0.359|
|5||Orioles||Matt Hobgood||RHP||HS||Rotator cuff|
|6||Giants||Zack Wheeler||RHP||HS||AA Mets||1.75||2.97|
|8||Reds||Mike Leake||RHP||Arizona State||MLB||5.97||4.90|
|14||Rangers||Matt Purke||LHP||HS||Extended ST|
|15||Indians||Alex White||RHP||NC||MLB 1 Game||2.84||2.32|