Baseball America released their article that ranks the farm systems on Wednesday afternoon. Earlier in the day, we posted an article for the top 100 prospects list from Fangraphs, which included an average ranking for the top prospects for the Pirates based on five top 100 lists. That list showed that Baseball America had the toughest ratings for the top prospects of the Pirates. Their placement of the farm system among all 30 clubs reflects those prospect rankings.
BA was the only one of the five prospect rankings we used (MLB Pipeline, Fangraphs, Baseball Prospectus and Keith Law) that had just three Pirates make their top 100. Two of those other lists had five Pirates. Keith Law had four in his, then ranked the Pirates as the 15th best farm system.
As for BA’s other rankings in the NL Central, the Pirates were third after the Cincinnati Reds (#8) and St Louis Cardinals (#10), but well ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers (#25) and Chicago Cubs (#29). The Pirates rank eighth among all NL clubs. BA had the Pirates 16th last year before they graduated numerous top 30 prospects in the system and traded away others at the trade deadline.
The two farm system rankings we have seen so far seem like the right range for the Pirates. Between the prospects that graduated to the majors and the ones they traded, the system took a hit last year. There is a lot of high upside potential at the lowest levels right now, but that won’t translate into high farm system rankings until that potential is shown on the field. Luckily for the Pirates, much of their top talent is already in the upper levels, so that will give the farm system time to replenish.