In Which I React To FanGraphs Organizational Rankings

How can I put this delicately...

I care less about where FanGraphs ranked the Astros organization than I do about T.J. Steele's five tools.

Rankings are, by their very nature, subjective. You can wrap them in stat-filled "weightings" and the like all you want, but it comes down to a judgment call in the end. And, suprrise, surprise, the writers at FanGraphs don't think too highly of Houston.

In fact, they ranked the Astros dead last in the Organizational Rankings they released the other day. Last in present talent, last in future talent, last in front office talent. At least Drayton got a bump, as the Astros were listed as No. 23 in payroll size. Even that was a negative, since so much of the budget is filled with Roy Oswalt's payment, Carlos Lee and spare parts like Bill Hall and Clint Barmes.

Let's just take a step back for a minute, because the main two parts of this argument that don't ring true are the present talent and the general malaise about Ed Wade and Co. I'm not surprised about that last one, since FanGraphs and other internet hot spots not populated by Astros fans take swipes at Eddie all the time. After trying to defend him for the past couple of years, I'm not going to do that. The bottom line in this business is you have to win games. That's what separates Wade from Gerry Hunsicker and Andrew Friedman. Wade hasn't won consistently.

Has he assembled a pretty good scouting team? Yes. Has he signed anyone to crippling, long contracts? No (not even Brandon Lyon's contract counts as that). Has he traded away veterans for prospects to help a thin system? Yes, and he even got two Top 100 prospects in one deal. So, what's the beef? Right, wins and losses.

The Astros figure to win somewhere less than 80 games this season, so obviously they're terrible. Wade's been on the job a while now and hasn't righted the ship, so he's terrible. New ownership would be well-served to clean house in the front office to fix the problems, right? Except the problems aren't in the front office, they're on the field.

Specifically, they were a product of a very, very weak farm system and not enough big league talent. Does that mean they have the least talent in the league? Nope. Ask yourself: who's got more big-league talent right now, Pittsburgh or Houston? Arizona or Houston? Kansas City or Houston? I'm biased, but I'm sure the Astros have more talent than those three. Depending on how the season goes, they might even have more talent than the Mets.

But, subjectively, an outside fan might not see that, when the likes of Hunter Pence, Wandy Rodriguez and Michael Bourn are underrated. That's why the Astros can be ranked behind a bad Pirates team or a Kansas City squad looking towards 2013. Houston chose to put a competitive team on the field and is being penalized for it.

That's why I don't care about what FanGraphs thinks about this team. They ranked the Florida Marlins as the No. 27 organization and that front office as No. 19. Oh, and they ranked the Mariners in the Top 10 last season. Look where that got them.

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