The Pittsburgh Pirates have built up an impressive farm system since Ben Cherington took over, but it could get even better over the next year.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have built up one of, if not the most impressive farm system in all of baseball. FanGraphs currently ranks them #3, only being surpassed by the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles.
These two franchises, along with the Pittsburgh Pirates, are the only farm systems who have a value over $300 million, with the Pirate farm system being valued at an impressive $345 million. Arizona’s system comes in a distant fourth place with a system valued at $291 million.
Though over the next year, we’re looking at a farm system that could develop even further. While the Pirates probably won’t be making any large trades within the next year unless a team decides to overpay for Jacob Stallings, they’ll have a good position in next year’s draft. However, I’m looking more at the prospects the Pirates have in the low minors.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have a handful of prospects who are 20 or younger, 22 to be exact. That makes up about 36% of FanGraphs’ prospect rankings. Now many of those players aren’t high ranking prospects. Among the 20-and-younger group, only Brennan Malone, Hudson Head,Bubba Chandler, Liover Peguero, and Quinn Priester have a FV of at least 45. Most fall into the 35-40+ FV range.
For example, their second-round pick in 2020, Jared Jones, has had a solid season at A-Ball Bradenton. He’s only 20, but you’re looking at a guy who could be in that 45-50+ FV range within the next year. The aforementioned Bubba Chandler is already seen as a 45-FV prospect. Though extremely young at just 18-years-old, a full season of playing time in 2022 could skyrocket his prospect status.
The same could be said for the likes of Owen Kellington, Lonnie White Jr., Anthony Solometo, and Braylon Bishop. All are very young guys who aren’t very high ranking, but a full year of playing time where they’re able to show off and refine their stuff under the tutelage of professional baseball coaches could lead to them climbing the prospect boards.
This could also be said about the Pirates’ more notable international prospects. Shalin Polanc is only 17-years-old. Rodolfo Nolasco will turn 20 in late-September. Po-Yu Chen will be 19 for the rest of the season. His birthday is on the October 2nd. This trio of internationally signed prospects all have a ton of raw talent that needs refined, but if refined, could lead to them being pretty decent prospects.
There are also the prospects the Pittsburgh Pirates received in trades. Maikol Escotto is only 19 and was part of the Jameson Taillon deal. He’s shown a ton of promise throughout his brief minor league career. Joaquin Tejada has barely had any professional time. He was part of the return for Tyler Anderson. Eddy Yean and Hudson Head haven’t excelled at their level, but have shown they have the talent to be productive players and potentially good prospects.
All of the players I’ve talked about so far have not played more than 100 games in a single minor league season yet. They haven’t gotten a full season to show off what they can do, improve across the summer, and potentially get promoted to higher levels of the minor leagues.
Even when the Pittsburgh Pirates have prospects graduating, they should still maintain a strong farm system for the next handful of seasons. Next year, they could see a handful of prospects lose prospect status. However, you have the likes of the players we’ve talked about today, as well as other noteworthy prospects like Carmen Mlodzinski, Santiago Florez, Ricky DeVito, Nick Garcia, and Endy Rodriguez taking over those spots. Though it may even see improvement as all the players we’ve taken a look at today have extremely high ceilings.