John Sickels at Minor League Ball has released his farm system rankings, and has the Pittsburgh Pirates ranked fifth. Sickels started ranking systems last year, and had the Pirates 12th in his original rankings. He noted in a disclaimer that he takes a balanced approach, considering high-end impact and overall depth. Last year the knock on the system was the lack of depth.
This time around Sickels noted that the system is improving rapidly. He lists the strengths as high upside pitching arms with depth to back up the big three arms. As for weaknesses, he points out that the big investments in high school pitching haven’t paid off, and that more hitting depth would be helpful. Hard to argue with any of the points he made.
The four teams ahead of the Pirates were St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Texas.