The Pittsburgh Pirates farm system is in a pretty good place entering the 2023 season. Whether or not any of these players make substantial impacts, only time will tell.
Prospects are a fundamental aspect of baseball and a key component in building successful teams. Any fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates need to understand this is a major part of the Organization's process. In essence, prospects are young players in the minor leagues who have yet to make their mark in the major leagues. They are assessed by their skills, potential, and overall talent, and ranked by experts in the industry based on their performance and progress.
The importance of prospects is evident in their potential to contribute significantly to a team's success and their value as trade assets. The Pittsburgh Pirates, a team that has struggled in recent years, place particular importance on developing their prospects. The team's philosophy is centered on building a strong foundation of young players, focusing on their development, and ultimately building a successful team for the long term.
Yesterday, MLB Pipeline released their National League Central 2023 Prospect Rankings. The Pittsburgh Pirates were posted with 2022 first-round selection Termarr Johnson in the #1 spot. Check out our post on the site for more on the updated rankings.
However, rankings do not mean everything but rather a pure suggestion to fans about which prospects experts think will work out. More often than not these players do not make substantial impacts at the Major League level. Instead, they are forgotten about and replaced by new names and rankings. So let's take a look back at the 2013 MLB Pipeline rankings for the Pittsburgh Pirates, specifically the Top 5 at the time:
The group was led off by two pitchers who are still having success at the Big League level elsewhere. Gerrit Cole was the #1 prospect for the team followed by Jameson Taillon at #2. Both had successful careers with the Pirates, but both would also be traded away before their team-controlled years were finished. Cole would be traded to Houston prior to the 2018 season while Taillon would go to the Yankees before the 2021 season. With the Pittsburgh Pirates Taillon had a career ERA of 3.67 through 82 appearances while Cole posted a 3.50 ERA in 127 appearances.