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Tigers dead last in ESPN's farm system rankings

Keith Law of ESPN has published his annual organization rankings, and he has the Tigers dead last among the 30 major league baseball clubs.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN's Keith Law has come out with his annual organization rankings, and he rates the Detroit Tigers system dead last among the 30 major league baseball organizations. In fact, Law says, "I don't think it's even particularly close". In the video clip that accompanies the rankings, Law gives his rationale for the last place ranking.

Nick Castellanos is starting in the major leagues. Five of the other top ten prospects from the 2014 rankings have been traded. Two more prospects have had surgery. That doesn't leave the Detroit Tigers' organization with much of a farm system heading into the 2015 season.

The Tigers, Law explains, have used their top prospects to trade for major league talent, both during the season and in the off season. This is a point that can not be argued. The club dealt their top starting pitching prospect in Jake Thompson and their top relief prospect in Corey Knebel to get Joakim Soria. They traded Eugenio Suarez and Jonathon Crawford for Alfredo Simon. Willy Adames was dealt in the trade for David Price, and Robbie Ray in the trade for Shane Greene.

Consider the fact that the Tigers were without a first round draft pick for three consecutive seasons, a consequence of signing Victor Martinez, Jose Valverde, and Prince Fielder, and that doesn't leave much of a foundation upon which to build a farm system.

Law does give the Tigers praise for drafting Derek Hill, a center fielder, in the first round in the 2014 draft. but is quick to point out that Hill is just 18 years old, and probably four years away from the major leagues.

I'm guessing that you won't find too many Tigers' fans upset with this last place ranking. The team has used the talent acquired in the various trades in recent years to win four consecutive division titles, three of them resulting in a trip to the final four teams in the playoffs.