The Oakland Athletics farm was 18th best out of the 30 MLB teams in Keith Law's system rankings, released today in his ESPN Insider column (subscription required). Up from 26th in 2015, Law rated the A's prospects acquired in trades over the last year favorably.
Law will place two A's farmhands in his Top 100 prospects, to be released on Thursday. There's more depth than before, saying, "They have a bunch of guys in the 101-150 range of prospects[.]"
One thing I noticed from Law's list is the overall weakness of farm systems in the AL West. While the Rangers rank ninth following their division title, the Astros were only one spot ahead of the A's at #17 (though that's mainly due to graduations of major league contributors like Carlos Correa).
Below the A's are the Mariners at #28 and the Angels dead last at #30. If you love schadenfreude, you'll love Law's note on the Angels, "I've been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I've ever seen."
It's an encouraging rise up the list even before the A's pick sixth in this summer's draft with Baseball America estimating a $10 million bonus pool. This is up from their $5.4 million pool in 2015, when they selected 20th and also traded away their competitive balance round pick in the low 70s with more than $800k in pool money. So far the A's front office has resisted the temptation this year to move top prospects to acquire major league pieces, and I foresee continuing improvement if the only farm players they lose are ones that get promoted to the major league club.