Keith Law released his annual ESPN farm system rankings this afternoon, and he still does not consider the Rays favorably.
This season the Rays are above .500, jumping up to the 14th organization in baseball after consecutive years ranking the club at No. 23 on his list. The link is behind the paywall, but his thoughts are both brief and full of contradiction.
A quietly deep system, light on potential stars but full of potential regulars and back-end starters. These are the types of players the Rays will never be able to afford in free agency in their current market.
"Quietly deep" is a better endorsement than last year's remark of there being "some talent" but this is still not a high view of the organization that supposedly is full of major league "regulars."
Law's rankings have doubled to include four Rays in his Top-100, pending release later this week, but apparently that's not enough to claim significant star power. Time will tell if Blake Snell, Brent Honeywell, Taylor Guerrieri, Willy Adames, Daniel Robertson, Jake Faria, Richie Shaffer or Jake Bauers can prove him wrong.
Furthermore, is Law describing back-end starters as "the types of players the Rays will never be able to afford in free agency in their current market"? Mat Latos just signed for $3 million with the White Sox yesterday.
I'll take a 14th overall ranking, but I wish we had more explanation from a list that garners both respect and attention from many in baseball.
Previously: Keith Law ranks Rays farm system 23rd for 2015