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Figuring out where the Dodgers farm system ranks in MLB

Cincinnati Reds v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Kiley McDaniel at ESPN unveiled his farm system rankings for 2022 on Friday, giving us another data point on the general feel of where Dodgers prospects stack up with the rest of MLB.

McDaniel ranks the Dodgers as the eighth-best farm system in baseball. He uses surplus dollar value — based on a 2018 formula at FanGraphs from Craig Edwards, who now works at the MLBPA — of the future value of each prospect based on the 20-80 scouting scale.

“Their international program is undoubtedly top-notch, producing half of their top dozen prospects, and their domestic scouting group is almost annoying at how often it takes players I didn’t like much and proves me wrong,” McDaniel wrote.

Seven Dodgers players have been named on top-100 prospect lists so far this season, including five on McDaniel’s list at ESPN earlier this week.

Diego Cartaya, widely considered the club’s top prospect, just turned 20 and is still a few years away. Of this group, pitchers Bobby Miller and Ryan Pepiot have been mentioned specifically by Andrew Friedman as potential contributors to the majors in 2022. Of the others, Miguel Vargas might hit his way into a late-season call-up, and Eddys Leonard was added to the 40-man roster in November.

Last year’s top two Dodgers prospects, Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray, were both major league ready, and were traded to the Nationals in July in the deal that brought Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to Los Angeles.

But where the Dodgers seem to stand out, even with recent trades and other prospects reaching the majors, is volume. McDaniel rates 19 Dodgers prospects with over a 40 future value, a figure exceeded by only three teams — the No. 3-system Pirates (21 players), No. 2 Rays (20), and No. 9 Guardians (20).

Of the four national rankings released so far, Baseball America also ranked the Dodgers eighth. Keith Law at The Athletic was on the high end, ranking them first, while Baseball Prospectus was on the lower end, having the Dodgers No. 17, noting, “Graduations and deadline deals have hurt the depth.”

The two extremes balance out, and we have an average ranking to date of 8.5, meaning the Dodgers have a farm system roughly in the top third of MLB. That feels about right to me.