Garcia made his Winter debut on Friday

Pirates Still Top Farm System in Baseball America’s Updated Rankings

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.

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John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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  • Lee Young

    I’d LOVE to see Garcia break out, but I ain’t holding my breath. Very few ‘low BB/High K’ guys make it to the majors. There are exceptions, but…

    • John Dreker

      He seems to be a popular pick as a sleeper because he is a four tool player and very young. He needs to show improvements in his walks and cut down on Ks, but AA is usually where the marginal prospects top out and he is going to be in that group if he doesn’t become more selective. One reason I wasn’t higher on him besides the obvious, is that he played Winter ball this year and got into just one game for the big club. The rest of his time was spent in their version of the minor leagues. Legit prospects can usually get in a little playing time at the stage he is at, guys like Hanson and Polanco last year were coming off their WV season and saw some time, Junior Sosa and Jose Osuna got in their playing time this year, but Garcia didn’t. Might not be a big deal, just something I noticed besides the BB/K rate.

      • lonleylibertarian

        I loved the day I spent at Pirate City this spring – will do at least two – maybe three days there next year…

        One guy that caught my eye was Jose Osuna – he seems bigger than what he is listed at in the PP book and just looks like a beast – any update – news on him out of spring training?

        I sort of envision him as a viable 1st base option in two or three years

        • John Dreker

          I really liked Osuna when I saw him with WV in 2012, had a lot of good at-bats and really drove the ball well. Tim saw him in Bradenton a lot last year and said he looked lost, so I guess we will find out this year whether he is legit or not. He was very young for the FSL last year, so you can’t get too down on him just yet

          • lonleylibertarian

            Will be interesting to see if he can turn things around – the numbers last year did not look good – but he is young and still has time – problem would seem to be that a good year puts him on Rule 5 radar

            • John Dreker

              I think if he starts off good, he could move up mid-season and get some AA experience, so you would then get a chance to see if he can handle upper level pitching.

  • Mayer Seidman

    Doesnt it say a lot that within literally a few years the Pirates’ farm system jumped significantly in the rankings? Obviously it helps when top draft picks pan out expectedly. However, I think the rankings are a huge testament to their ability to pick well in the later rounds and their development of players as well.

  • Nathan Swartz

    Where would the 2011 class have ranked had we signed Brown and Turner?
    Cole, Bell, Glasnow, Holmes, Creasy, Brown, and Turner would have been a rediculous haul.
    I think, even when they don’t sign a guy, it speaks highly that they at least were correct in the talent they identified.

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