Several years ago, the Arizona Diamondbacks had one of the most productive farm systems in baseball, with enough successful prospects, from Carlos Gonzalez and Brett Anderson to Justin Upton to Max Scherzer, to make up most of the lineup and rotation for a successful team. Yet the most the team was able to accomplish was a single trip to the playoffs, getting swept by the Rockies in the 2007 NLCS after a 90-win season that actually saw Arizona allow more runs than it scored.
Today, the Kansas City Royals are in a similar position with a farm system near unanimously considered the best system in baseball. Third baseman Mike Moustakas and first baseman Eric Hosmer have taken giant leaps forward; catcher Wil Myers destroyed the Midwest and Carolina leagues 19 years old; and between Mike Montgomery, John Lamb, Danny Duffy, Chris Dwyer and others, the Royals have enough pitching prospects to come out looking good, even if elbow and shoulder problems eventually bring down a few. And that's not even considering the prospect haul from the Zack Greinke trade.
However, simply having a great player-development apparatus in place won't win divisional titles. As Jerry Crasnick noted Tuesday, the D-backs are now in a midst of a culture change after a number of those top prospects failed to pan out. K.C. general manager Dayton Moore has done an excellent job rebuilding a rather moribund organization, but there's still a lot of work to do when we talk about success at the major league level, and he can learn a little something from the D-backs failure to turn their great farm system into a consistently strong team. So, what will Moore and the Royals need to do to transition the franchise from rebuilding to built?