MLB Teams With Most Homegrown Talent

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This morning, Craig Miller from The Ticket did a segment regarding the amount of homegrown talent the Texas Rangers have on the field. Afterwards, he tweeted a link to a slideshow found on Bleacher Report that ranked the Rangers as 16th in baseball in homegrown talent. This slideshow was created by a Bleacher Report author, and while it showed diligence to look up all the players that are still on the teams that originally drafted them, there was no real basis for the ranking order provided. Instead, the ranking was ordered subjectively using the author’s opinion. If you want to find it, I’m sure it’d be at the top of a Google search for “Paula Deen’s Home Cooking” (they pay big bucks for that efficient SEO over there at BR).

This isn’t a slideshow, and it isn’t an SEO-optimized-traffic-generating piece of work, but at the least, I can say there is some reasoning to the rankings I am going to provide to you.

This seems like a large undertaking to look at each team’s roster and determine how each player came to be on that team. Thanks to the golden age of the internet, large undertakings like this have already been done and I can now just re-organize and regurgitate the information to you, and all it took was about 45 minutes of effort in Excel.

All the below data came from Baseball Prospectus and MLB Depth Charts, who have done the amazingly tedious task of keeping up with each team’s 40-man roster. You can find all the gory details at this page.

The data is as of March 26th, 2013. You’ll notice that several teams don’t have 40 players on their 40-man rosters, whether more or less because we are still in Spring Training.

The first set of data we will look at is purely homegrown talent — players that were drafted in the Rule 4 draft and are on their team’s 40-man roster. 

. Rank Team Roster Total June Draft Free Agent International Free Agent Non-Drafted FA Purchase Rule 5 Trade Waivers June Draft % of Total
. 1 STL 39 23 4 2 0 1 0 9 0 59%
. 2 LAA 36 16 8 2 0 1 0 7 2 44%
. 3 MIL 42 17 12 2 0 2 0 5 4 40%
. 4 KC 40 16 4 3 0 0 1 14 2 40%
. 5 MIN 40 16 9 4 1 0 1 6 3 40%
. 6 CIN 40 16 5 7 2 0 0 9 1 40%
. 7 WAS 38 15 7 5 0 0 0 10 1 39%
. 8 SF 38 15 8 5 0 0 0 6 3 39%
. 9 NYM 39 15 4 10 0 0 1 5 4 38%
. 10 PHI 40 15 10 5 0 0 1 8 1 38%
. 11 PIT 41 14 5 1 0 0 0 20 1 34%
. 12 COL 41 14 5 8 0 0 0 13 1 34%
. 13 MIA 39 13 5 2 0 0 1 15 3 33%
. 14 LAD 40 13 10 3 0 1 0 13 0 33%
. 15 ATL 37 12 6 3 1 0 0 10 5 32%
. 16 TEX 41 13 7 6 0 1 2 10 2 32%
. 17 BAL 39 12 4 3 1 0 3 11 5 31%
. 18 CHC 40 12 10 8 0 0 1 8 1 30%
. 19 BOS 41 12 12 3 1 1 0 12 0 29%
. 20 SD 42 12 5 5 0 0 1 17 2 29%
. 21 NYY 43 12 9 10 0 1 1 8 2 28%
. 22 TOR 43 12 6 2 0 0 0 20 3 28%
. 23 CWS 40 11 9 3 0 1 1 12 3 28%
. 24 DET 37 10 10 8 0 0 0 9 0 27%
. 25 TB 40 10 9 4 0 0 0 16 1 25%
. 26 CLE 42 10 6 2 1 0 1 20 2 24%
. 27 ARI 39 9 7 4 0 0 1 17 1 23%
. 28 SEA 40 9 8 9 0 0 1 14 0 23%
. 29 HOU 39 7 6 3 0 0 3 14 6 18%
. 30 OAK 42 5 4 4 0 1 0 25 3 12%
As you can see, 32% of the members of the Rangers 40-man roster were original Texas draftees, which ranks them 16th in Major League Baseball. The Bleacher Report article previously mentioned had ranked them at the exact same spot, though not using the same process. The St. Louis Cardinals have essentially lapped the rest of baseball, with 59% of their 40-man roster having been drafted, signed, and developed with St. Louis. The next closest is the Los Angeles Angels, 15% below the Cardinals. At the other end of the spectrum is the Athletics, with only five members of the 42 on their roster having been drafted by Oakland.

While that is the literal definition of “homegrown”, in today’s age of the game I think it also makes sense to include international free agent signings as being “homegrown”, particularly considering that most of these signees are at the same age or younger than Rule 4 picks when they are inked. The Rangers are higher on this list, which is no surprise considering their well-established presence in the Latin markets. 

. Rank Team Roster Total June Draft Free Agent International Free Agent Non-Drafted FA Purchase Rule 5 Trade Waivers June Draft + Int’l FA % of Total
. 1 STL 39 23 4 2 0 1 0 9 0 64%
. 2 NYM 39 15 4 10 0 0 1 5 4 64%
. 3 CIN 40 16 5 7 2 0 0 9 1 58%
. 4 COL 41 14 5 8 0 0 0 13 1 54%
. 5 WAS 38 15 7 5 0 0 0 10 1 53%
. 6 SF 38 15 8 5 0 0 0 6 3 53%
. 7 NYY 43 12 9 10 0 1 1 8 2 51%
. 8 LAA 36 16 8 2 0 1 0 7 2 50%
. 9 MIN 40 16 9 4 1 0 1 6 3 50%
. 10 PHI 40 15 10 5 0 0 1 8 1 50%
. 11 CHC 40 12 10 8 0 0 1 8 1 50%
. 12 DET 37 10 10 8 0 0 0 9 0 49%
. 13 KC 40 16 4 3 0 0 1 14 2 48%
. 14 TEX 41 13 7 6 0 1 2 10 2 46%
. 15 MIL 42 17 12 2 0 2 0 5 4 45%
. 16 SEA 40 9 8 9 0 0 1 14 0 45%
. 17 ATL 37 12 6 3 1 0 0 10 5 41%
. 18 SD 42 12 5 5 0 0 1 17 2 40%
. 19 LAD 40 13 10 3 0 1 0 13 0 40%
. 20 MIA 39 13 5 2 0 0 1 15 3 38%
. 21 BAL 39 12 4 3 1 0 3 11 5 38%
. 22 PIT 41 14 5 1 0 0 0 20 1 37%
. 23 BOS 41 12 12 3 1 1 0 12 0 37%
. 24 CWS 40 11 9 3 0 1 1 12 3 35%
. 25 TB 40 10 9 4 0 0 0 16 1 35%
. 26 ARI 39 9 7 4 0 0 1 17 1 33%
. 27 TOR 43 12 6 2 0 0 0 20 3 33%
. 28 CLE 42 10 6 2 1 0 1 20 2 29%
. 29 HOU 39 7 6 3 0 0 3 14 6 26%
. 30 OAK 42 5 4 4 0 1 0 25 3 21%
Noticeably lower on these lists than you may expect is Tampa Bay. The Rays are often thought of as one of the premier teams in generating production of their prospects at the big league level. Some of the Rays best players are their own draft picks, like David Price, Evan Longoria, Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson, and Desmond Jennings, but what we can see here is that the Rays make up for in quality what they don’t get in quantity.

Before I close, I’ll include two more tables for you, one being teams with the highest percentage of players acquired via free agency, and the other is through trades. 

. Rank Team Roster Total June Draft Free Agent International Free Agent Non-Drafted FA Purchase Rule 5 Trade Waivers Free Agent % of Total
. 1 BOS 41 12 12 3 1 1 0 12 0 29%
. 2 MIL 42 17 12 2 0 2 0 5 4 29%
. 3 DET 37 10 10 8 0 0 0 9 0 27%
. 4 PHI 40 15 10 5 0 0 1 8 1 25%
. 5 CHC 40 12 10 8 0 0 1 8 1 25%
. 6 LAD 40 13 10 3 0 1 0 13 0 25%
. 7 MIN 40 16 9 4 1 0 1 6 3 23%
. 8 CWS 40 11 9 3 0 1 1 12 3 23%
. 9 TB 40 10 9 4 0 0 0 16 1 23%
. 10 LAA 36 16 8 2 0 1 0 7 2 22%
. 11 SF 38 15 8 5 0 0 0 6 3 21%
. 12 NYY 43 12 9 10 0 1 1 8 2 21%
. 13 SEA 40 9 8 9 0 0 1 14 0 20%
. 14 WAS 38 15 7 5 0 0 0 10 1 18%
. 15 ARI 39 9 7 4 0 0 1 17 1 18%
. 16 TEX 41 13 7 6 0 1 2 10 2 17%
. 17 ATL 37 12 6 3 1 0 0 10 5 16%
. 18 HOU 39 7 6 3 0 0 3 14 6 15%
. 19 CLE 42 10 6 2 1 0 1 20 2 14%
. 20 TOR 43 12 6 2 0 0 0 20 3 14%
. 21 MIA 39 13 5 2 0 0 1 15 3 13%
. 22 CIN 40 16 5 7 2 0 0 9 1 13%
. 23 COL 41 14 5 8 0 0 0 13 1 12%
. 24 PIT 41 14 5 1 0 0 0 20 1 12%
. 25 SD 42 12 5 5 0 0 1 17 2 12%
. 26 STL 39 23 4 2 0 1 0 9 0 10%
. 27 NYM 39 15 4 10 0 0 1 5 4 10%
. 28 BAL 39 12 4 3 1 0 3 11 5 10%
. 29 KC 40 16 4 3 0 0 1 14 2 10%
. 30 OAK 42 5 4 4 0 1 0 25 3 10%
. Rank Team Roster Total June Draft Free Agent International Free Agent Non-Drafted FA Purchase Rule 5 Trade Waivers Trade % of Total
. 1 OAK 42 5 4 4 0 1 0 25 3 60%
. 2 PIT 41 14 5 1 0 0 0 20 1 49%
. 3 CLE 42 10 6 2 1 0 1 20 2 48%
. 4 TOR 43 12 6 2 0 0 0 20 3 47%
. 5 ARI 39 9 7 4 0 0 1 17 1 44%
. 6 SD 42 12 5 5 0 0 1 17 2 40%
. 7 TB 40 10 9 4 0 0 0 16 1 40%
. 8 MIA 39 13 5 2 0 0 1 15 3 38%
. 9 HOU 39 7 6 3 0 0 3 14 6 36%
. 10 SEA 40 9 8 9 0 0 1 14 0 35%
. 11 KC 40 16 4 3 0 0 1 14 2 35%
. 12 LAD 40 13 10 3 0 1 0 13 0 33%
. 13 COL 41 14 5 8 0 0 0 13 1 32%
. 14 CWS 40 11 9 3 0 1 1 12 3 30%
. 15 BOS 41 12 12 3 1 1 0 12 0 29%
. 16 BAL 39 12 4 3 1 0 3 11 5 28%
. 17 ATL 37 12 6 3 1 0 0 10 5 27%
. 18 WAS 38 15 7 5 0 0 0 10 1 26%
. 19 TEX 41 13 7 6 0 1 2 10 2 24%
. 20 DET 37 10 10 8 0 0 0 9 0 24%
. 21 STL 39 23 4 2 0 1 0 9 0 23%
. 22 CIN 40 16 5 7 2 0 0 9 1 23%
. 23 PHI 40 15 10 5 0 0 1 8 1 20%
. 24 CHC 40 12 10 8 0 0 1 8 1 20%
. 25 LAA 36 16 8 2 0 1 0 7 2 19%
. 26 NYY 43 12 9 10 0 1 1 8 2 19%
. 27 SF 38 15 8 5 0 0 0 6 3 16%
. 28 MIN 40 16 9 4 1 0 1 6 3 15%
. 29 NYM 39 15 4 10 0 0 1 5 4 13%
. 30 MIL 42 17 12 2 0 2 0 5 4 12%
I find this sample of data interesting, and helps to paint a picture of the philosophies of each individual organization. Perhaps the greatest moral of the story is that if ever you are curious about something, there are far better sources of information than Bleacher Report.

Peter Ellwood is a Senior Staff Writer for Shutdown Inning. You can email him at Peter.Ellwood@shutdowninning.com or reach him on Twitter @FutureGM

Peter Ellwood

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