The Pittsburgh Pirates farm system has gone from one of the best in baseball to the middle of the road. Part of the issue is the lack of high end starting pitching talent in the system.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are banking on their new regime, led by Ben Cherington, to come in and get the organization back on track. The Pirates are a small-market team, this means they need to be building up the farm system through the draft, international signings, and trades to have sustained success. It is imperative that the team gets back to having one of the best farm systems in baseball if they want to compete.
Even more so, the Pittsburgh Pirates need to find some elite-level pitching prospects. As one could see this offseason, teams pay big money for starters. Not just top arms like Gerrit Cole, but even above average arms like Zack Wheeler fall out the Pirates’ price range. The best way for the Bucs to find higher-level arms is through their own farm system.
The Bucs do not have any top-end elite pitching prospects in their minor league system right now. Between trading away arms like Shane Baz and Tyler Glasnow, to more bat focused drafts, the team is lacking any high-graded pitchers. This was highlighted even more so this week by MLB Pipeline.
The prospect site MLB Pipeline has started to post their top 10 prospects at each position. Yesterday was the top 10 right-handed starters while today the top 10 left-handed starter’s list was released. The Pittsburgh Pirates did not have a single pitcher on either list or any player named “as an up and comer” to pay attention to.
Unfortunately, Neal Huntington did not leave much pitching in the minor league system. In turn, this has set back the whole organization. Now a pitcher like Mitch Keller has an opportunity to still live up to the hype, but after him, the team’s next top pitching prospect would be Quinn Priester, the Bucs first-round pick in 2019. Priester was taken out of high school and likely has at least three-to-four years before making his big league début.
Priester could very well make this list down the road. He has a first-round pedigree, the build of a workhorse, and is already receiving positive reports from scouts. The fact that they only have one real notable pitching prospect at this point needs to change. Hopefully, the new regime can find some ways to bring in more quality pitching prospects to expedite the restocking process. The team has multiple drafts picks this year and a few valuable trade chips that they could use to bring back some arms.