FanPost

Blue Jays are 4th in Minor League Organizational Standings

In 2011, the seven domestic minor league affiliates* of the Toronto Blue Jays organization finished with an overall record of 410-356, which is good for a .535 winning percentage, and fourth overall among the 30 organizations. According to the organization standings published by Baseball America, the Rangers had the best record at 390-302 (.564), followed by the Giants (376-320, .540), and Dodgers (374-320, .539). At the bottom of the list were the Mariners (354-409, .464), Brewers (311-379, .451), and Astros (310-448, .409).

Five out of the seven Blue Jays affiliates finished above .500 and qualified for the playoffs (in italics):

Team

Level

League

W

L

%

Las Vegas 51s

AAA

PCL

71

73

.493

New Hampshire Fisher Cats

AAA

EL

77

65

.542

Dunedin Blue Jays

A-Adv

FSL

79

61

.564

Lansing Lugnuts

A

MWL

77

60

.562

Vancouver Canadians

A-SS

NWL

39

37

.513

Bluefield Blue Jays

R

AppL

40

28

.588

GCL Blue Jays

R

GCL

27

32

.458

Overall Minors

 

410

356

.535

Quick points:

  • New Hampshire won the Eastern League championship, and Vancouver won the Northwest League championship.
  • Lansing lost the Midwest League championship series to Quad Cities, and Bluefield lost the Appalachian League championship series to Johnson City. Both champions are affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • Dunedin finished with the most number of wins in the Florida State League, but were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by the Daytona Cubs (Chicago Cubs affiliate), who eventually became the FSL champions.
  • The Blue Jays, Cardinals, Padres, and Yankees organizations had two champions each in 2011. The Cardinals organization may yet get a third championship!
  • The last time a franchise had four affiliates in a league championship series was 2009: San Francisco Giants affiliates Salem-Keizer (NWL) and San Jose (CAL) won the championships, while Connecticut (EL) and the AZL Giants were the runners-up. If you count the Major League team, then the Yankees had three championship teams: New York (MLB), Tampa (FSL), Staten Island (NYP), and one runner-up: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (IL).
  • Out of the 16 domestic minor leagues, 5 champions (EL, NWL, NYP, GCL, CAR) came out of affiliates of AL East teams. The NL West had 4 champions, the AL and NL Central had 3 champions each, the NL East had 1 champion, and the NL West had none.
  • The Blue Jays, Indians, Rangers, and Dodgers all had 5 minor league teams finish at or above .500, the most among all organizations.
  • On the flip side, no team in the Mariners, Astros, and Brewers system finished at or above .500. In fact, if one includes the Major League (arguable) Houston Astros, their entire organization would have a .397 winning percentage (or more appropriately, a .603 losing percentage).
  • The best minor league team were the Arizona League Giants, who finished 41-15 (.732). The worst minor league team were the Arizona League Brewers, who finished 17-39 (.304)--I wonder how many times they played the Giants.

Blue Jays Organization since 2000

The nadir of the past decade came in 2009 (incidentally the year J.P. Ricciardi was relieved), when the Jays' affiliates finished with a .452 winning percentage (312-379), landing the organization 27th overall, ahead of only the Mets and Astros. When Alex Anthopoulos became general manager, he began an aggressive campaign to improve the organization's minor league talent. Under his watch, the Blue Jays organization jumped to 14th overall in 2010 (353-344, .506), and then finally up to 4th this season.

Of course, the Ricciardi era does deserve some credit as they were responsible for the majority of the prospects in the upper minors. The Jays' organization did have some great success in 2004, when their affiliates finished with a .572 winning percentage (New Hampshire were the only champion that season). Just for fun, I've plot the winning percentage of all Blue Jays affiliates in red on the same plot as the Major League Blue Jays' record in blue:

2dtyc2g_medium

It's interesting that one could almost see an "echo" effect between 2000 and 2008, where a drop or rise in winning percentage of the minor league affiliates foretold the fortunes of the big league club a year or two later. I'm sure it is more coincidence than actual causation, but besides that I see no strong correlation between the two plots. If anyone cares to look at the detailed breakdown for every club, the spreadsheet is here.

It is very early, but how do you think the Jays' farm teams will do in 2012? Will we see the Jays' affiliates continue to improve on their record, and rise past 4th place overall? Will the Jays' AAA team finally finish above .500 with some fresh prospects coming up, and hopefully less reliance on AAAers by the big club? (The last team to do that were the 2000 Syracuse SkyChiefs)

*Note: All statistics do not include the unaffiliated Minor League, the Mexican League, nor do they include the foreign affiliated Dominican Summer League and the Dominican Summer League.

Sources:

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