Baseball America has released their organization rankings for the 2019 season. Where did the Pittsburgh Pirates rank on the new list?
Every year, Baseball America releases multiple types of prospect lists. It is one of the best sites to find great detail about prospects in baseball, including the Pittsburgh Pirates system. Baseball America does things such as top 100 prospect lists, top 10 organization prospects, and draft analysis.
However, they recently released their organization rankings for the entire league. This list puts in order of what teams have the best farm system based on Baseball America’s scouting and rankings.
This is important because it does a good job of showing what teams may be set up best for the future; answering what team has the best prospect depth in the minors. This is important for not only developing major league homegrown talent, but also for potential trades.
Also, it can show how valuable a team’s prospects are. For instance, a player ranked 10th for a lower rated organization is not as valuable as another team’s 10th ranked prospect because they have a stronger farm system. It shows just how valuable a team’s minor league system should be viewed.
For a long time under General Manager Neal Huntington, the Pittsburgh Pirates consistently ranked inside the Top 10, and for a few years inside the Top five, systems in baseball. However, with the team’s success in the earlier part of this decade, and last season’s busy trade deadline, the team has seen their ranking drop.
On this year’s Organizational Rankings by Baseball America, the Pittsburgh Pirates rank at number 18 overall. With 30 teams in Major League Baseball, this puts the Bucs in the lower half of the league. Here is what Baseball America had to say on the Pittsburgh Pirates system:
"“It’s a top-heavy system, with a core group of players who could be average regulars to stars. Beyond them, the lack of depth in the organization gets revealed quickly.”"
As mentioned earlier, this is partly because of the team’s recent departures due to trades like Austin Meadows, Shane Baz, and Taylor Hearn. Meadows and Baz were top five prospects last, year while Hearn was inside the top 10, so the team lost major value there.
Still, this is not very encouraging, especially for a team that has to build through the farm system. However, there are reasons for optimism that the farm system can get back to being one of the better in baseball.
First off, they have a lot of very young talent that could take strides this year. Players like Ji-Hwan Bae, Osvaldo Gavilan, Juan Pie, Yordi Rosario, Tahnaj Thomas, Michael Burrows, and Cody Bolton are all young prospects (among many others) who could take major steps this year in terms of prospect status.
Also, the Pittsburgh Pirates have a chance to bring in a few top quality prospects in the draft this year. The team has the 18th pick in this year’s draft. However, they also have the 38th pick for failing to sign Gunnar Hoglund in the Competitive Balance Round A last year. Also, on the first day, the team will have their second round pick at number 58 overall and a Competitive Balance B pick at number 73 overall. The team has a good chance to bring in some quality prospects with four picks on day one.