Baseball America has posted their updated rankings of the top farm systems in baseball and the Pittsburgh Pirates still top the list. The Pirates were ranked 11th overall in 2012 and they moved up four spots for the 2013 list.
Baseball America had seven Pittsburgh Pirates players in their top 100 prospect list. Earlier in the off-season, we heard that the Pirates were the top ranked system according to Baseball America, but that could have changed in the off-season depending on what teams did up to this point. The Pirates remained at the top though, three places ahead of the division rival Chicago Cubs and six spots ahead of the St Louis Cardinals. The Cincinnati Reds came in at #17 and the Milwaukee Brewers were one spot from the bottom, which is where most rankings place them.
John Manuel mentions that Willy Garcia is a sleeper prospect with high ceiling potential, if he controls the strike zone. That is a big issue with Garcia, who has power, excellent defense, a plus arm and decent running speed, but he doesn’t take walks and strikes out too much. He was the only player in the Pirates farm system to strike out over 100 times more than he walked last year and it wasn’t even close. Garcia had 23 walks and 154 strikeouts. Both of those numbers went the wrong way from his 2013 season in West Virginia, which wasn’t good to begin with and it is also a bad sign. Moving up to Altoona will be a big test for Garcia, who will start the season as the everyday right fielder. It is important to point out that he will play this entire season as a 21-year-old, so he will be among the youngest players in the Eastern League all season.