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Bill James on the Indians

By sstorm Published: March 2, 2010

Bill James is at it again, using complex mathmatical equations to tell us baseball fans how good or bad our teams are.

James' latest project - the Young Talent Inventory - ranks the quality of young talent on each of major league baseball's 30 teams. His results won't tell Tribe fans something they don't already know, as the rebuilding Indians ranked near the bottom at 26th.

In the just-released Bill James Gold Mine 2010, the Indians dropped like a rock from a respectable seventh last year to 26th.

Here are James' rankings of the Young Talent Inventory of all 30 teams with last years ranking in parentheses:

1. Tampa Bay Rays (3)
2. Colorado Rockies (8)
3. Minnesota Twins (1)
4. Arizona Diamondbacks (2)
5. Boston Red Sox (10)
6. San Francisco Giants (22)
7. New York Yankees (29)
8. Texas Rangers (19)
9. Chicago White Sox (25)
10. Florida Marlins (4)
11. Los Angeles Dodgers (13)
12. Philadelphia Phillies (20)
13. Atlanta Braves (9)
14. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (11)
15. Kansas City Royals (5)
16. New York Mets (16)
17. Chicago Cubs (26)
18. Seattle Mariners (18)
19. Milwaukee Brewers (6)
20. Baltimore Orioles (24)
21. Oakland A’s (12)
22. Toronto Blue Jays (28)
23. Washington Nationals (23)
24. St. Louis Cardinals (14)
25. Pittsburgh Pirates (17)
26. Cleveland Indians (7)
27. Cincinnati Reds (15)
28. Detroit Tigers (27)
29. San Diego Padres (21)
30. Houston Astros (30)

According to James, the formula "begin(s) by assigning to every player in major league baseball an “Inventory Value” based on his age and major league performance. We figure two scores for every major league player, an “Established Value Score” and a “Youth Score”, then we put these together into a “Youth/Value Score” or Inventory Value."

In addition, Inventory Value Scores were also given to the 50 players designated by Major League Baseball in January as the best prospects in the game.

The following list is the 20 “most valuable properties” among young players in the majors with their ages in parentheses. Tribe fans will quickly note there aren't any Indians on the list.

1. Felix Hernandez, Seattle (23)
2. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee (25)
3. Hanley Ramirez, Florida (25)
4. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee (25)
5. Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco (22)
6. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco (25)
7. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay (23)
8. Justin Upton, Arizona (21)
9. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit (26)
10. Nick Markakis, Baltimore (25)
11. Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers (24)
12. Dustin Pedroia, Boston (25)
13. Zack Greinke, Kansas City (25)
14. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington (24)
15. David Wright, New York Mets (26)
16. Joe Mauer, Minnesota (26)
17. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado (24)
18. Adam Lind, Toronto (25)
19. Jair Jurrjens, Atlanta (23)
20. Mark Reynolds, Arizona (25)

I don't know what this means except the Indians have a long way to go to return to contending. And if all this is based on youth - the cornerstone of rebuilding - that must mean it's time to trade more of our top players. Grady Sizemore, you're up next, buddy.

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