Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

Baseball Prospectus Ranks the Pirates With the Number Three Farm System

Baseball Prospectus has Cody Dickson as a breakout candidate in 2014. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

Baseball Prospectus has Cody Dickson as a breakout candidate in 2014. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

Baseball Prospectus is the next outlet to rank the Pittsburgh Pirates with a top three farm system. The outlet released their farm system rankings this morning, putting the Pirates third behind the Twins (1) and Cubs (2). The Pirates have been ranked in the top three in all of the main ranking lists. Baseball America and Jonathan Mayo of had them number one. Keith Law also had them third.

BP had good things to say in their brief write up. They called Josh Bell and Cody Dickson breakout candidates for the 2014 season. They said that West Virginia is a must-see affiliate, which seems to be an annual thing. BP points out that West Virginia will likely see Austin Meadows, Reese McGuire, Harold Ramirez, and Cody Dickson at the start of the 2014 season. I’d also add that it’s likely that Buddy Borden, JaCoby Jones, Wyatt Mathisen, Jin-De Jhang, and Adam Frazier could end up at the level. It’s hard to get an accurate projection at this point, but West Virginia will once again have a few of the top prospects in the system, and a ton of talented guys who have the chance to give the team their third system breakout prospect in three years (previously Tyler Glasnow in 2013, Alen Hanson/Gregory Polanco in 2012).

The most encouraging thing was that BP pointed out that the Pirates will likely lose Jameson Taillon and Gregory Polanco as prospects this year, but have strong enough depth that the Pirates should be a top three farm system “for years to come”.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • leefoo

    Tim…I loved that last paragraph!

  • WTM

    I’d bet on Dickson to go to Bradenton if the Marauders’ rotation wasn’t looking so overcrowded. I still think that’s where he’ll end up. Frazier, too.

    • Tim Williams

      We talked about this the other day. A lot of question marks with Bradenton. Glasnow, Holmes, Creasy, Hafner, Heredia, Borden, Dickson all options for the rotation. Plus returning guys like Rowland and Sampson.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Dickson/Borden would start in West Virginia for the first few months, kind of like Cumpton/Waldron did several years ago. Of course I could also see Heredia starting back in West Virginia, with one of those college arms starting in Bradenton. Or Hafner in long relief and both college arms in the rotation.

  • deacs

    Is it too early to ask for the breakout prospects? Do you need to be down there a little longer?

    • Tim Williams

      I don’t usually have the breakout prospects until around when games begin. Sometimes later. Basically when I get a chance to see who looks good.

  • CalipariFan506

    There is no reason to put Heredia in A+ over a college kid like Dickson. Dickson is 3 years older, leave Heredia in A until somebody from Bradenton gets promoted mid season.

    • deacs

      Agreed. I see no reason to push Heredia until they start the promotion train. Which is always fun because once one pitcher gets promoted then you get to speculate who’s next.

  • elgaupo

    Why couldn’t Glasnow go to Altoona? It’s not like a hitter.

    • Tim Williams

      Glasnow will probably start in Bradenton and finish in Altoona, much like Kingham and Taillon the previous two years.

    • Ian Rothermund

      Yeah, I mean a hitter goes from seeing worse pitchers in one level to better pitchers in the next, while pitchers go from seeing worse hitters in one level to….oh wait.

  • smurph

    I was not a NH fan until recently. Let’s face it. Some of the veterans he signed and tried to revive were miserable failures. But all you have to do is to look at the worst farm system in all of baseball when he took over, transformed into a top 2 or 3 system in 5 1/2 years. Very impressive.

    • Sean Epstein

      Not only was it the worst system in baseball 5+ years ago but it was so bad that, other than Cutch, I remember it being written that no one else in the Pirates top 10 prospects would have ranked in the top 30 of just about any other club. What NHL has done is truly remarkable.

      And the fact that we have had high first round picks helps slightly but that really matters only in the first round.

    • meatygettingsaucy

      One only needs to look at a farm system like the Angels or Milwaukee and realize that was close to what NH had when he got here. Six years later, it’s crazy all the talent we have.

  • CalipariFan506

    Another reason not to rush Heredia is innings. He needs a solid year of 120 as an intermediate step forward.

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