Baseball America updated their farm system rankings on Thursday morning to reflect the changes in each system after the draft and trading deadline. The Pittsburgh Pirates now rank 14th overall on their updated list.
The NL Central is closely bunched up in the new rankings, except for the Chicago Cubs. The Milwaukee Brewers rank the highest at eighth overall. BA calls them a near-elite farm system, or as they separated them into groups, the Brewers would be in their third tier. They are followed by the Cincinnati Reds at #11 in that same tier, which ends with them. The next tier includes the Pirates one spot behind the St Louis Cardinals. The Chicago Cubs are all the way down at #28 in a small group called the bottom of the barrel.
MLB Pipeline also ranked their top farm systems, although they stopped at the top ten. Their list also had the Brewers eighth overall. They are the only NL Central club in the top ten as well, so at least the top ten is very similar to Baseball America. Beyond that they didn’t give any clues as to where the Pirates would rank. Pipeline had three Pirates (Austin Meadows, Mitch Keller and Shane Baz) in their mid-season top 100 prospects list. If they were higher on Kevin Newman, Cole Tucker or Ke’Bryan Hayes, then maybe the Pirates would get a more favorable rating.
Coming into the season, the Pirates were ranked as one of the best systems in baseball, but that was when their prospects included Tyler Glasnow and Josh Bell. Since most people who rank farm systems factor in impact talent far more than they consider depth, then losing two of the top prospects in baseball is going to knock the system down.
We compared the system now to the preseason in a recent article and showed that the top of the system for the Pirates is weaker, but the depth is stronger, making the entire system overall slightly stronger. It’s a small difference though, which got a little bit of help at the trade deadline, but not enough to make much of a difference. For a team to be ranked highly, they are going to need impact prospects. Basically, Josh Bell helps your system a lot more than adding ten players like Oneil Cruz would, but ten players like Cruz would make you a much deeper system.
The Pirates will need players like Shane Baz, Steven Jennings, Calvin Mitchell, Braeden Ogle, etc to start to look like top 100 prospects before the system gets rated higher again, unless there is farm system addition by MLB roster subtraction in this upcoming off-season.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates shutout the Cincinnati Reds by a 6-0 score on Thursday night. The Pirates will now take on the San Diego Padres for three games and send Ivan Nova to the mound tonight for his 22nd start. He faced the Padres last week and allowed four runs over five innings. Nova put up a 6.28 ERA in five July starts. The Padres will counter with lefty Travis Wood, who faced the Pirates in his only start with the Padres and allowed two runs over six innings last Friday.
In the minors, Nick Kingham goes for Indianapolis, looking to continue a recent run of success. In his last two starts, he has allowed one run over seven innings in both games. He didn’t walk a batter in either start. Bradenton had a rain out yesterday, so they will play a doubleheader today. Bret Helton will start one of the games. Domingo Robles is scheduled for Bristol. Oddy Nunez will be activated from the West Virginia disabled list today to start tonight’s game. He last pitched on July 24th. Ike Schlabach goes for Morgantown. He allowed four runs over 3.2 innings in his last game, after giving up one run over 24 innings in his previous two starts.
MLB: Pittsburgh (52-56) vs Padres (48-59) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Ivan Nova (3.75 ERA, 17:84 BB/SO, 136.2 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (59-52) @ Louisville (44-66) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Nick Kingham (4.42 ERA, 22:69 BB/SO, 73.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (57-52) @ Trenton (73-36) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Austin Coley (2.88 ERA, 26:89 BB/SO, 112.2 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (60-45) @ Florida (36-64) 5:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Bret Helton (3.12 ERA, 25:68 BB/SO, 86.2 IP) and TBD
Low-A: West Virginia (49-57) vs Delmarva (49-58) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Oddy Nunez (3.59 ERA, 26:76 BB/SO, 85.1 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (25-18) vs State College (24-19) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Ike Schlabach (2.38 ERA, 10:29 BB/SO, 41.2 IP)
Rookie: Bristol (9-32) @ Kingsport (16-24) 6:30 PM
GCL: Pirates (12-22) vs Blue Jays (23-11) 12:00 PM
DSL: Pirates (27-25) vs Astros Orange (19-30) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here is Stephen Alemais with the walk-off single in extra innings scoring Will Craig
8/3: Angel German and Oneil Cruz added to West Virginia roster. Jordan Jess promoted to Bradenton. Nick King assigned to Morgantown.
8/3: Eury Perez traded to Miami Marlins for cash.
8/2: Gregory Polanco activated from disabled list. Jordan Luplow optioned to Indianapolis.
8/2: Wade LeBlanc placed on Bereavement List. Dovydas Neverauskas recalled from Indianapolis.
8/1: Oddy Nunez and Blake Cederlind placed on disabled list. Oneil Cruz and Angel German assigned to West Virginia.
8/1: Adrian Valerio activated from disabled list.
8/1: Stephan Meyer assigned to West Virginia. Hector Quinones assigned to Bristol.
7/31: Tony Watson traded to Los Angeles Dodgers for Oneil Cruz and Angel German
7/31: Seth McGarry traded to Philadelphia Phillies for Joaquin Benoit and cash
7/31: Brandon Waddell activated from disabled list. Miguel Rosario assigned to Bradenton
7/28: Jordan Luplow promoted to Pittsburgh Pirates. Edwin Espinal promoted to Indianapolis. Jordan George promoted to Altoona.
7/28: Austin Meadows assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.
7/27: Logan Hill placed on disabled list. Justin Maffei assigned to Altoona.
7/27: Steven Brault optioned to Indianapolis.
7/25: Connor Joe activated from Altoona disabled list. Justin Maffei assigned to Indianapolis.
7/25: Jonathan Schwind assigned to Morgantown.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Eight former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus an unfortunate transaction of note. On this date in 1917, the Pirates put first baseman George Kelly on waivers, losing him to the Giants. He did not do well for the Pittsburgh, but the Pirates weren’t good back then, so they would have been better off holding onto Kelly. By 1920, he led the league in RBIs and averaged over 100 per season from 1920-25. He also lead the league again in 1924. During that streak, the Giants played in four straight World Series. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973.
Former players born on this date include:
Steve Bieser, 1998 outfielder.
Ruben Rodriguez, caught two games in both the 1986 and 1988 season, his only Major League experience. Pirates signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 1981.
Bill Schuster, shortstop for the 1937 Pirates. Made his debut as pinch-runner during a late season call-up, then played both games of a doubleheader at shortstop during his brief time with Pirates. Those were his only three games with the team.
Homer Blankenship, 1928 pitcher. Had a 5.82 ERA in 21.2 innings for Pirates. Pitched with his older brother Ted on the 1922 White Sox.
Cliff Lee, catcher during the 1919-20 seasons. Pirates put him on waivers prior to the 1921 season and he ended up hitting .322 with 17 homers for the Phillies that year.
Paddy O’Connor, catcher for the 1909 champs. He played for the team from 1908-10, backing up George Gibson.
Lew Moren, pitcher for the 1903-04 teams. Late season call-up for 1903 World Series team, did not pitch in series.
Jake Beckley, Hall of Fame first base, played for team in 1888-89, then again from 1891 until 1896. For the Pirates, he was a .300 hitter in 950 games, driving in 664 runs and scoring 701 times. He is fourth all-time in triples. You can read a full bio for Beckley here.