The New York Yankees gutted their farm system at the 2022 trade deadline by sending so much pitching away while the Boston Red Sox, under Chaim Bloom, were rising up the rankings after rededicating themselves to their own farm. Or, at least ... that's what everyone was screaming about last summer?
Don't tell that to the fine folks at MLB Pipeline, though, who see the AL East prospect landscape a little bit differently.
Pipeline dropped their official preseason system rankings on Wednesday, and the Yankees' blurb served as an almost hilariously spot-on piece of evidence that their system is working. New York ranks 13th, after ranking 12th midseason and 13th prior to the 2022 season.
In this case, stasis is good, considering names like Ken Waldichuk, Hayden Wesneski and Luis Medina left last summer.
Yankees Rank in Top Half of MLB Pipeline's Top 30 Farm Systems; Red Sox Don't
Pipeline's Yankees writeup is almost a plug-and-play of last year's assessment; the system is still top-heavy and position player-focused, with Anthony Volpe, Jasson Dominguez and Oswald Peraza leading the way. The Top 30 is mostly arms, though, with many different names subbing in for Waldichuk/Wesneski/JP Sears. Welcome Richard Fitts and Drew Thorpe! Somewhere along the way, after Matt Blake's defection, the Yankees became the Guardians, drafting a new wave of pitchers every year, giving them a bit of additional velocity, and letting the magic happen.
That also explains why the Red Sox got the bump backwards despite a solid year of player development for their minor-league offensive standouts. Marcelo Mayer played exactly as most anticipated he would after the Sox stole him with the fourth overall pick, despite him being a 1-1 talent. Cedanne Rafaela emerged out of nowhere, while Miguel Bleis became everyone's projectable darling. 2021 breakout Nick Yorke scuffled, but there were more than enough bats here to go around.
Unfortunately, the Sox can't crack the whole "pitching depth" thing, an issue that seemingly dates back to the '70s. After graduating Brayan Bello, their farm is topped by Bryan Mata (recovering from Tommy John) and Brandon Walter (a somewhat non-descript lefty who was also hurt last year). That's not going to cut it, and that's why the Sox slid from 14th pre-2022 to 11th midseason to 16th now.
Cue the angry comments from Red Sox Nation claiming that expert appraisals of their system just don't count because they know better. Every prospect-obsessed fan base falls in love with their personal favorites every single year, clamoring for more national coverage of their guys, only for most of those guys to stall out and go silently into that good night. Bottom line? The Sox can bash, but they're several arms short. Same deal at the big-league level. Same deal almost every season.
Hopefully, the Yankees' crown jewels on offense can eventually match or exceed the Sox over the course of the next decade, while Richard gives them Fitts. Both New York and Boston are in the middle of the pack, but it was Boston's stated goal to escape that middle by now. Unfortunate to see they were unable to do so.