For years, the Philadelphia Phillies have been held back by their farm system, or lack thereof.
But there’s change in the air in Philadelphia; Baseball America‘s 2022 organizational talent rankings came out this week (subscription required), and for the first time in years, the Phillies have improved.
Here’s how they’ve ranked over the last five years:
This year, they’ve improved to 23 out of 30, which isn’t an insignificant jump.
After years of depreciation, the Philadelphia Phillies farm system is finally improving
However, within the National League East, the Phillies rank fourth, only finishing ahead of the Washington Nationals, who got the 26th spot. Within the division, the Mets ranked the best at 16, followed by the Marlins at 20, and the Braves right ahead of the Phillies at 22.
Baseball America noted that the Phillies have had “underwhelming talent coming through the pipeline” for “years,” which is harsh, but true. Hopefully, those tides begin to turn with the restructuring of the player development side of the organization, in particular, with the hiring of Preston Mattingly and Anirudh Kilambi.
Things can turn quickly in baseball. The Mariners currently have baseball’s #1 farm system, after ranking dead-last in 2018. This year, the Chicago White Sox fell from 20th to 30th.
If the Phillies want to be a postseason team again, they need a flourishing farm system. Heck, forget flourishing; they need to get to functioning. Having talent waiting in the wings will mitigate the damage of players getting injured, and the existence of viable prospects will enable them to make intelligent trades rather than desperate ones, stop overspending on underperforming players, and build from the ground up.
This organization has a long way to go before their farm system is considered impressive, but this is an encouraging sign of progress.