Pittsburgh Pirates: Baseball America 2020 Mid-Season Update

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates have added a lot of talented prospects over the last six months.  Here is where the new guys rank on Baseball America’s updated list.

When Neal Huntington was let go by the Pittsburgh Pirates, one of the main reasons was because of his lack of success from the minor league system.  Early on in his tenure with the Bucs, he built up a really strong farm system and it led to three straight playoff runs.  However, in his later years, he struggled to find talent in the draft and flopped on some trade.

When the Pittsburgh Pirates fired Huntington, the system ranked in the middle of the pack in terms of overall organizational rankings.  While there were many teams lower than the Bucs, the issue is that a small market team like the Bucs always needs to have a top-ranked system.  The Tampa Bay Rays operate this way and have had a lot more success over the last 10 years.

With the hiring of Ben Cherington, the assumption was he would come in here and fix the farm system.  This is something that he did with the Red Sox and Blue Jays.  He got to work right away and made a significant trade by sending Starling Marte to the Diamondbacks.  Coming back in the trade were Liover Peguero and Brennan Malone, both of who ranked as top 10 prospects in the Diamondbacks system.  He also added talent via the 2020 MLB Draft.

Baseball America (subscription required) has put out their midseason 2020 list.  This list is updated from earlier this year and includes team’s draft picks, so where are some of these new prospects ranked?  Here is the updated Top 10:

  1. Nick Gonzales, SS/2B
  2. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B
  3. Oneil Cruz, SS
  4. Liover Peguero, SS
  5. Cody Bolton, RHP
  6. Tahnaj Thomas, RHP
  7. Carmen Mlodzinksi, RHP
  8. Quinn Priester, RHP
  9. Brennan Malone, RHP
  10. Ji-Hwan Bae, SS/2b

Typically, players move up and down the list but without a minor league system, it is hard to really judge if a player is developing or not.  Still, it is great to see some of the new faces grab such high spots in the Pittsburgh Pirates system.  It shows that not only are they acquiring top-end talent, but talent that was better than what was already here.  Four of the team’s top 10 prospects have been added during the 2020 calendar year.

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The team is in good hands with Ben Cherington.  He is adding the right, upside talent.  There will need to be some patience, but Cherington is the right guy to build the farm system.  Hopefully, he has the parts to develop it, something the previous regime struggled with toward the end.