The Pittsburgh Pirates new Front Office has prioritized improving the farm system. Their top draft pick from 2020 is already receiving high rankings.
Last night, MLB Pipeline released their “mid-season” prospect rankings for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the rest of Major League Baseball. These updates were to their overall top 100 prospects and the top 30 prospects for each organization. The biggest changes come due to the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft.
The Pittsburgh Pirates saw their 2020 Draft make a big impact on their overall rankings. Although, MLB Pipeline is still being somewhat conservative in their rankings for the Bucs. As of now they only have three prospects ranked in the updated top 100. Meanwhile, FanGraphs has five prospects ranked in their top 100 (Liover Peguero is ranked 103), so it is interesting to see the difference of how evaluators judge risk amongst prospects.
The biggest change came to the Pittsburgh Pirates top overall spot. Entering the season it was right-handed pitcher Mitch Keller. After Keller graduated last week, third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes became the number one overall prospect.
In the update, MLB Pipeline has placed 2020 first-round pick, Nick Gonzales, as the team’s top prospect. They actually have him ranked at number 41 overall. Interestingly enough, Miami Marlins third overall pick Max Meyer is ranked at number 42. One can see the Pittsburgh Pirates got really good value with the seventh overall pick.
The other two top 100 prospects are ones who were on the list to enter the year. Obviously, Ke’Bryan Hayes is still ranked in the top 100 coming in at number 46 overall. Then the team’s top power-hitting prospect, Oneil Cruz, is at number 72. The team’s top pitching prospect is Quinn Priester, who ranks at the team’s number four prospect, but did not get on the top 100 list.
Overall, the Pittsburgh Pirates have four draft picks to appear on MLB Pipeline’s new Top 30 list. Outside of Gonzales, 31st overall pick Carmen Mlodzinski comes in ranked as the team’s number eight prospect. Jared Jones, the team’s second-round pick, ranks at number 12 and third-round pick Nick Garcia is at number 17.
Still, some of the rankings are not what I would expect. Oneil Cruz likely has the highest ceiling in the farm system, which one could argue should make him the top prospect in the organization. Also, Tahnaj Thomas ranks at number 15 when he has the stuff to be a top five or six prospect in the system.
Of course, a big issue is that there is not a Minor League season. A player like Thomas could have really shown off his dominant stuff and made a significant jump in his development. So some prospects are not getting a boost to their rankings like they normally would. Keep in mind that these rankings do not mean everything.
Overall it is good to see four draft picks rank inside the Top 20, which shows that Cherington is bringing in talent. Cherington has actually brought in six of the team’s top 20 prospects in his short time here already. While the team may be struggling on the field, they definitely look to have some promising talent coming through the system.
Pirates Top 30 at MLB Pipeline