In an ideal world, every MLB draft pick and amateur free-agent signing would develop as hoped and go on to make an impact at the big league level.
But that's simply not how things play out.
For small-market teams, finding young, cost-controlled assets is the key to remaining competitive on a budget, while big-market clubs can more readily afford to trade prospects when opportunities arise and then plug holes with free-agent signings.
Still, the in-house talent pipeline is a necessity for any team to win a title.
With that in mind, what follows is a look at how all 30 MLB franchises stack up based on homegrown talent. Teams were initially ranked based on the number of homegrown players on the 40-man roster, then shuffled from there based on the amount of high-level talent.
Before we dive into the rankings, some quick clarification:
- Who qualifies as homegrown? To be considered homegrown, a player must have been drafted by an organization or signed by it as an amateur free agent and subsequently developed in its minor league system.
- What about international free agents? International players who entered the league with significant professional experience were not included. That means players such as Shohei Ohtani, Jose Abreu, Yuli Gurriel and Seiya Suzuki didn't help their respective teams' ranking.
Make sense? Let's get to it.
30. Texas Rangers
40-Man Roster: 9/40
Key MLB Players: RHP Joe Barlow, LHP Brett Martin
The Rest: RHP Demarcus Evans, C Sam Huff, LHP John King, RHP Yerry Rodriguez, RHP Nick Snyder, OF Leody Taveras, RHP Ricky Vanasco, RHP Jonathan Hernandez (60-day IL), RHP Jose Leclerc (60-day IL)
The outlook improves here once top prospects Jack Leiter, Josh Jung and Cole Winn reach the big leagues, but for now, the Rangers have the thinnest collection of homegrown talent of any team in baseball. Their ongoing inability to develop pitching is particularly troubling, though Leiter and Winn could help buck that unfortunate trend.
29. Miami Marlins
40-Man Roster: 8/40
Key MLB Players: LHP Trevor Rogers, 3B/OF Brian Anderson
The Rest: RHP Edward Cabrera, 1B/OF Jerar Encarnacion, C Nick Fortes, LHP Braxton Garrett, RHP Jordan Holloway, RHP Cody Poteet, RHP Sean Guenther (60-day IL)
Left-hander Trevor Rogers finished runner-up in NL Rookie of the Year voting last year with a 2.64 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 133 innings, but he's off to a rocky start over his first three outings of the new season. Brian Anderson is the team's longest-tenured player, though he too is struggling out of the gates in 2022.
28. Arizona Diamondbacks
40-Man Roster: 8/40
Key MLB Players: C/OF Daulton Varsho, RF Pavin Smith
The Rest: 1B/3B Drew Ellis, RHP Luis Frias, C Jose Herrera, OF Jake McCarthy, IF Geraldo Perdomo, RHP Ryan Weiss
The D-backs have found a piece to build around in Daulton Varsho, though it remains to be seen whether he'll settle in at catcher, take over in center field or continue to bounce around defensively. However, beyond his solid early contributions, this roster is extremely thin on homegrown talent.
27. Oakland Athletics
40-Man Roster: 10/40
Key MLB Players: C Sean Murphy, 1B/OF Seth Brown, IF/OF Chad Pinder, RHP Lou Trivino, 2B Nick Allen, RHP Daulton Jefferies, LHP A.J. Puk
The Rest: C/IF Jonah Bride, RHP Wandisson Charles, IF/OF Jordan Diaz, RHP Jorge Juan, OF Mickey McDonald
The Athletics gutted their roster in the weeks following the offseason lockout, and that included trading away homegrown stars Matt Olson and Matt Chapman. What's left is a shell of the former roster, but there are some potential long-term pieces, including catcher Sean Murphy and recently promoted middle infielder Nick Allen. The star power has undoubtedly taken a significant downturn, though.