Keith Law has his organizational rankings up at ESPN.com, and not surprisingly, he has the Ranger system ranked #1, primarily on the strength of their pitching prospects.
One of the other teams that jumped out at me, in Law's rankings, was Milwaukee:
Eric Arnett and Jake Odorizzi do offer some hope on the mound, but both are probably a few years off.
With Tom Hicks on his way out, it is worth remembering that, in the eyes of the D/FW media, Hicks' Original Sin was firing the beloved (and vastly overrated) Doug Melvin.
Melvin, folks said, was a great g.m. who got a bad rap from Hicks and was wrongly run out of town, rather than being allowed to implement his plan to rebuild in Texas, like Jon Daniels was eventually allowed to do.
The problem with this, of course, is that Melvin's farm systems in Texas were lousy. His drafts were poor. Part of the reason the Rangers were so bad in the first part of the Aughts was because, under Melvin's stewardship, the farm system was almost dry.
Doug Melvin got the Rangers teams of the late 90s to the playoffs by taking the talent he inherited from Tom Grieve, and then making some savvy moves to get additional pieces in place to get the team over the hump. But building a farm system, and putting in place a system to give you a pipeline of young talent? That wasn't Melvin's thing here.
And it doesn't appear to be his strength in Milwaukee, either. Law has the Brewers at #26, and while Milwaukee has had two winning seasons in seven year while Melvin has been in place, a lot of the talent that led to those winning seasons (Prince Fielder, Ben Sheets, Corey Hart, J.J. Hardy) was already there when Melvin got there. Melvin had three top 5 picks his first three years in Milwaukee, and those picks garnered Rickie Weeks (mild disappointment), Mark Rogers (bust), and Ryan Braun (big success).
And now he's got a .500 team with a bad farm system and some nice young pieces in the majors, but not the type of talent level that you'd look at as being a serious playoff contender.
Tom Hicks was a lousy owner for the Rangers, and he did a lot of bad things.
Firing Doug Melvin, though, wasn't one of them.