Doug Gray at RedsMinorLeagues.com has compiled minor league valuations for every MLB franchise using John Sickels's preliminary prospect rankings (his Mets rankings are here), research by Victor Wang, and surplus value calculations by Erik Manning at Beyond the Boxscore. Click for original post.
Only C+ prospects or better were included in the calculations Doug has done. As you can see from the chart, the Mets' system ranks thirteenth overall, just behind the Royals and immediately ahead of the Reds. Not surprisingly, the Indians -- who have dealt C.C. Sabathia, Cliff Lee, and Victor Martinez over the past two seasons -- have the highest-valued farm system in baseball. The A's, who are notorious prospect-mongers, rank second overall.
The Mets' prospect grade breakdown is as follows.
- B+: two hitters (Wilmer Flores, Fernando Martinez), one pitcher (Jenrry Mejia)
- B: one hitter (Ike Davis), one pitcher (Jon Niese)
- B-: one hitter (Reese Havens), two pitchers (Kyle Allen, Jeurys Familia)
- C+: three hitters (Ruben Tejada, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Jefry Marte), two pitchers (Brad Holt, Eric Niesen)
The gist of Victor Wang's research to arrive at prospect-type valuations is this.
- A certain type of prospect (top-ten hitter, top-ten pitcher, 11-25 hitter, etc.) can generally be expected to have some particular value in his first six years as a big-leaguer.
- A comparable free agent could be expected to have a similar value in those six seasons.
- The prospect could be expected to make some below-market amount of money.
- The free agent could be expected to make market-level money.
- The value of the prospect is therefore something like the amount paid to the comparable free agent over those six years less the amount paid to the prospect over the same timeframe.
Read the Beyond the Boxscore post for a more expansive explanation of the methodology here. The salient point is that while the grades used are preliminary and the valuations themselves very forecast-y (i.e. there are lots of variables, predicting the future is difficult), anyone describing the Mets' farm system as 'barren' or 'devoid of talent' clearly hasn't looked closely enough. They're not a top-ten farm system but they're not woeful, either. Average or slightly above > bad.