ESPN's Keith Law reveals a variety of personal rankings of baseball's prospects annually, including a full set of ranking of the sport's 30 organizations in terms of farm system talent. In his 2012 version, released on Wednesday, he ranks the Chicago White Sox as the worst farm system in baseball.
For many White Sox fans, this likely doesn't come as a surprise. The South Siders have routinely been considered one of the weakest organizations in baseball in terms of farm system talent, primarily because of ownership's refusal to spend significant money on young talent. Law explains it thusly:
And they're not particularly close to No. 29, either. When you don't spend money in the draft, you're not going to fare well in anyone's organizational rankings. The new collective bargaining agreement, which clamps down on teams' ability to acquire premium talent in the draft through higher bonuses, was the result of a long-standing effort by White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who wanted to force other teams to play by his rules.
The White Sox have acquired numerous prospects through trades this offseason, but they still have a stunning lack of talent given the market they play in. Among the players acquired since last season are pitchers Nestor Molina, Simon Castro, Jhan Marinez and Pedro Hernandez, as well as infielder Osvaldo Martinez. Molina and Castro are among the team's top prospects now, but there's a stunning lack of depth. Relief pitcher Addison Reed is essentially the organization's consensus top prospect.