Jonathan Mayo's look at Eddie's Farm underscores how far the System has to go, but sees some light in the midst of fog and darkness.
"That's always an ongoing process. You're never where you want to be and you're never as bad as people think you are. From a prospect standpoint, guys are starting to go through the system. At every level, we feel we're making progress."
What's the major-est problem?:
"If you look throughout, the depth, it's going to take time to improve the depth. We feel happy with the prospects, though, how they're progressing and where they are in the development process."
MLB.com's Pre-season Organizational Prospects of the Year: Jason Castro / Jordan Lyles:
The prediction was that the 10th overall pick in the 2008 Draft would excel in his first full season, proving he was worth the high selection while playing across two levels. That was pretty much spot on as Castro split the season between Lancaster and Corpus Christi before heading to play for Team USA's gold medal-winning team in the IBAF World Cup. Castro hit a combined .300 with a .380 OBP and .446 SLG over 119 games.
It seemed like a tossup between young guns Lyles and Ross Seaton, but while Seaton was solid, Lyles was even better. Pay no attention to the win-loss record -- Lexington hit just .237 as a team. Instead, look at his 3.24 ERA, his 167 strikeouts (fourth overall in the Minors), his 10.39 K/9 rate and his extremely low walk rate (38 in 144 2/3 IP).
MLB.com's Post-season Selections: Koby Clemens / Jordan Lyles:
Critics will say Clemens isn't a prospect, that prior to this season, he'd done nothing of note offensively, that his 2009 season was a product of one of the most extreme hitter's parks in Minor League baseball. That might be true, but it's impossible to look past what Clemens did, still at age 22, in the California League. Friendly confines or not, Clemens hit .341 overall with 22 homers and 121 RBIs. His .620 slugging percentage was second best in all of the Minors. He was fourth in batting average, tied for third in doubles and led all of the Minors in RBIs. And he hit pretty well on the road, too. He'll need to prove himself at the next level, but he's definitely worth watching in '10.
More on Lyles:
The numbers mentioned above made him an obvious choice for this honor. His season didn't start out all that well, with a 5.00 ERA after his first four starts. From there, though, he was pretty consistent, with monthly ERAs of 2.48, 3.18, 3.86 and 2.89 before finishing off with a one-run start in September. That he did that in his first full season at the age of 18 makes it even more exciting to see what he does for an encore.