On Monday morning, Keith Law from ESPN ranked all 30 farm systems in baseball. He has the Pittsburgh Pirates ranked 15th overall.
After the trading deadline last year, a lot of questions came up about the strength of the minors for the Pirates. They traded away two top ten prospects in Shane Baz and Taylor Hearn, while also including a top 30 prospect in Sherten Apostel. That was after numerous players throughout the top 50 prospects list lost their prospect status during the regular season. Although I didn’t know other farm systems well enough to actually give a rank, I said that the Pirates had the feel of a middle of the road farm system. They still had multiple top 100 prospects in the game and they had enough depth that there were still decent prospects who didn’t make our updated mid-season top 50.
Keith Law had the highest rankings for three Pirates among all top 100 prospects lists that were revealed recently. He was very high on Ke’Bryan Hayes, while also ranking Travis Swaggerty well ahead of every other list. Law notes in his article that he considers all things when ranking the farm system, such as top 100 players, quality depth and overall depth. Some sources will focus more on high-end depth, to the point that one great prospect can significantly change their farm system ranking.
Law had the Pirates ranked 15th last year as well. That ranking was followed shortly by Baseball America ranking them 16th overall. This current ranking from Law places the Pirates eighth among all National League teams and second to the Cincinnati Reds among NL Central teams. The Cardinals have a top 20 system, while the Brewers and Cubs are both near the bottom.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.