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Oh, how a bounceback year from Rowell, Erbe and Beato (combined with another big year from Spoone) would elevate us...

Fingers are crossed.

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I think that these type of rankings are a good first step, but what I'm really more interested in is rankings that incorporate all young talent in the organization, regardless of whether they are technically a rookie or not.

Talented young players are valuable because they can be paid well below-market salaries and they are likely to improve, not because they have fewer than 150 major league at-bats.

For example, the Yankees and Red Sox are ranked ahead of the Orioles, but how would they rank if you included the following players in the rankings?

Orioles: Jones, Markakis, Loewen, Albers, Moore

Yankees: Hughes, Cano, Melky

Red Sox: Pedroia, Lester, Papelbon (I'm excluding Dice-K since he's not cheap)

I'm inclined to think that we close the gap on the Red Sox somewhat, but probably less so on the Yankees.

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That's a very encouraging report from BP. I feel this will be a hugely important year for our farm system. For the first time in a long time, most of our best prospects will be at Frederick and above, with quite a few at Bowie or Norfolk. How our prospects do at those levels will say an awful lot about the timetable for the Orioles to become competitive. Personally, I'm as interested in the minor leagues this year as I am in the Orioles.

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This is a nice ranking and one I'm more comfortable with given how the Cubs were ranked - not meant as a knock on the Cubs, but we've analyzed that system to death and I believe we should be a few notches above them.

I agree with Frobby. This is a big year for the system. Our quality players are no longer in the way lower minors or hurt. They are are Frederick, Bowie and Norfolk and there are a lot of them with major league potential, IMO. Any quality prospect on these teams could be a strong year and half or less from player in the majors.

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What's sad is that eleven of those teams have made the playoffs in past 5 years. And four of those teams have reached a World Series.

So my conclusion is they either blew their load getting to the playoffs, or had a hard time keeping key guys around to sustain their organization.

Lots of teams are good for a little while and then they're not.

A huge part of what goes wrong is getting out-of-balance about the present and the future.

Getting good and staying good is the really hard part. You gotta keep both the present and the future in balance.

That's what I want the O's to do, which is why I don't care all that much about how quickly they get good.

I want them to do it in a top-to-bottom way and maintain it. So far, so good.

A lot of this good stuff is Flanny's fault. I'm glad we got AM, I think we're lucky to have him, and I think maybe Flanny was in over his head a little bit. But a lot of this good stuff is his fault. He had the system up to being in the middle of the pack, which was very important progress, given the mess he started with. Because of Flanny, AM started with a hole that was halfway filled in already. Now, it's supposedly 2/3 filled in, with some of that being this past year's draft choice decisions, which happened on Flanny's watch. We'll see how it turns out, but when you count last year's draft, then it's fair to say that Flanny got the hole *more* than half filled in.

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A lot of this good stuff is Flanny's fault. I'm glad we got AM, I think we're lucky to have him, and I think maybe Flanny was in over his head a little bit. But a lot of this good stuff is his fault. He had the system up to being in the middle of the pack, which was very important progress, given the mess he started with. Because of Flanny, AM started with a hole that was halfway filled in already. Now, it's supposedly 2/3 filled in, with some of that being this past year's draft choice decisions, which happened on Flanny's watch. We'll see how it turns out, but when you count last year's draft, then it's fair to say that Flanny got the hole *more* than half filled in.

I think what you say here is true. The real question is whether, in 4-1/2 years, Flanny should have been able to fill that hole even further than he did. He made a number of good hires, got the AAA team to Norfolk, made some progress on the issue of having the minor league spring training site apart from the major league site (though the FAA has now mucked that up). He didn't do enough to enhance international operations, in Latin America or elsewhere. He had at least one major misadventure with the draft (Townsend), and may have been a bit slow to recognize some of the weaknesses in the scouting staff.

I'd give Flanny a B- or C+ for his work at the minor league level. He did walk into a really terrible situation, as was documented by our own Tony Pente in his seminal 2002 article, "An Organization In Need of Change." I wish that article was still available on the site somewhere, because it explained in great detail the state of disarray the farm system was in at the time. Flanny surely left things in much better condition than he found them.

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I wonder where we would rank if they did it by position. Such as outfielders, middle infielders, catchers, and pitchers? I would have to believe that our pitching would be at least in the Top 5 and our catching would be No. 1 due to Weiters.

Except for Weiters the O's up-the-middle prospects are frankly abysmal.

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I think what you say here is true. The real question is whether, in 4-1/2 years, Flanny should have been able to fill that hole even further than he did. He made a number of good hires, got the AAA team to Norfolk, made some progress on the issue of having the minor league spring training site apart from the major league site (though the FAA has now mucked that up). He didn't do enough to enhance international operations, in Latin America or elsewhere. He had at least one major misadventure with the draft (Townsend), and may have been a bit slow to recognize some of the weaknesses in the scouting staff.

I'd give Flanny a B- or C+ for his work at the minor league level. He did walk into a really terrible situation, as was documented by our own Tony Pente in his seminal 2002 article, "An Organization In Need of Change." I wish that article was still available on the site somewhere, because it explained in great detail the state of disarray the farm system was in at the time. Flanny surely left things in much better condition than he found them.

We each have Flanny on a different clock. He wasn't the GM until he was the GM, and I think it's not right to hold him responsible for the time Beattie was GM. So, I don't think it's right to say 4.5 years, I think that's unfair. IMO, that's like holding the 3B-coach or the bench-coach responsible for decisions the manager makes. IMO, his years in the #2 slot were mainly on-the-job training, more like an intern than being in charge.

I have two issues with Flanny:

1. He either didn't know how, or couldn't convince PA, to improve the some of the big overall organizational things.

2. He either didn't know how, or couldn't convince PA, to make wise moves at the ML level.

No way for me to know how much was him vs. PA. But I agree it goes in his record regardless. He did leave things better than he found them. Over the by-now-famous last 10 years, there's not many guys you can say that about. He bucked a powerful trend. I'm not giving him an A, but I'll maybe give him more than a C+. Won't know until a couple years from now. I'll base it mainly on his time as the GM, not on his time as GM-in-waiting.

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I agree with this to some extent, but I am really conflicted here. I'll start out by saying I am a huge Joe Jordan fan and part of me believes his hiring alone justifies a B grade for Flanny.

But I have two reservations. First, as mentioned above, it's taken about six months for AM to put major plans in place and start executing those plans in terms of building out an international operation. Whether Flanny knew how to do this or not, whether he allocated the budget $ or not, whether he was able to convince PA to put funds here or not, does not matter. It did not happen and AM has made huge progress in a limited time.

My second point pertains to the 2004 draft. It sucked. Our FO was in disarray regarding who to pick, what type of player, etc. PA reportedly was involved. It was a disaster and we have virtually no one from that draft. IMO, the issue below does not speak to whether DeMacio or Jordan could "outdraft" the other or not. Frankly, I do not see that as relevant to this conversation. My point is the following:

While acknowledging that DeMacio blew many picks prior to 2002, he appears, in retrospect, to have had more than respectable drafts in 2002 and 2003.

Does anyone believe that the overall farm system would have more talent in it if DeMacio had been left to his own devices from 2004-2007 versus what Jordan has provided in 2005-2007?

Again, I am a huge Joe Jordan fan and, I truly do not believe (or intend for) the above question reflects on him at all. But I think it is an interesting question. And if you look at those 02 and 03 drafts and believe the organizational talent would be greater today, how can you give Flanny even respectable grade?

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Does anyone believe that the overall farm system would have more talent in it if DeMacio had been left to his own devices from 2004-2007 versus what Jordan has provided in 2005-2007?

Again, I am a huge Joe Jordan fan and, I truly do not believe (or intend for) the above question reflects on him at all. But I think it is an interesting question. And if you look at those 02 and 03 drafts and believe the organizational talent would be greater today, how can you give Flanny even respectable grade?

What month/year did Flanny take over the GM spot from Beattie?

What month/year did Flanny replace DeMacio with Jordon?

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