Pirates Rank Third in Keith Law’s Farm System Ratings

Keith Law released his farm system ratings for ESPN Insider subscribers. The Pittsburgh Pirates ranked third on the list, coming in behind the Houston Astros and the Minnesota Twins. The Pirates have previously been the top farm system in the MLB.com and Baseball America rankings. Law included a brief paragraph where he said that everything went right for the Pirates in their farm system this past year. He said that a few players already in the system took huge steps into his overall top 20.

Law’s top 100 comes out tomorrow, so we’ll get to see who those players are. It’s an interesting comment, because he mentions “players”, and Jameson Taillon was already in the top 20 last year. I’d expect Taillon and Gregory Polanco to be in his top 20, but the comment and the previous rankings suggest there could be one more. Perhaps Tyler Glasnow made a huge jump here?

  • That certain retired sportswriter in Pittsburgh has a lot of company in Pittsburgh, there are a lot of not retired sportswriters and tv/radio media sports persons that leave a lot to be desired also when it comes to baseball and the Pirates.

    • And if this Burnett story comes to pass leadoff,you are going to hear and see every loving one of the no-nothing,Ray Shero is god like horde of Pitts sports media people laying into NH,FC and last,but not least,the head cheapskate himself,RN !

  • Andrew,nor do I criticize Silver either. That guy is a math genius as far as I ma concerned actually. His baseball projections were excellent,but his work with political projections was even better. As for my take on Jack Zurendczyk,as I said to the earlier mentioned retired sportswriter,his record as the GM of the Mariners speaks for itself. He might have been better off in sticking to running scouting and developement. There are two different skill sets for the two positions in my eyes.

    • Silver is a decent statistician. That doesn’t make him a “math genius” in my book.

      Regarding the political stuff: I followed the polls and other forecasters, and what he did in 2012 didn’t really impress me that much. Nearly all the reputable polls and poll aggregators pointed toward what was going to happen. Those who didn’t like the predicted results yelled “That’s nonsense!” (and lots of less nice things) loud and long and seemed to dominate the media with that viewpoint … until things were over and what Silver – and others – predicted was seen to be accurate.

      Okay, enough politics, let’s talk baseball!

  • The Cubs could enter into the best prospect discussion if they had anything past their top 6 or 7, but they do have a few blue chippers in their system right now. I would say after this years draft they could pull ahead of the Pirates.

  • CalipariFan506
    January 28, 2014 12:11 pm

    That certain reired Pittsburgh sports writer would use the Brewers as his model franchise for the Pirates.

    • Haha. Law ranked the Brewers dead last.

      • In reading older articles about the Pirates change in ownership I found this from 2007.


        About 13 paragraphs down the author, talks of the Brewers as the new model for small market teams. I also enjoyed the link to a 2007 piece by much acclaimed Nate Silver, that should be a word of warning about the limits predictions, no matter how mathematically sound.

        • I will say Andrew that one thing Nate was wrong on was the topic of franchise valuations. Almost all franchises have have grown in net worth rather than be de-valued as he seemd to think might happen due to a lack of a competitive field.

          • Agreed, I wasn’t criticizing Silver, more the difficulty in predicting the future, I was more referring to his ranking of AL teams. I mean clearly he should have realize the Rangers would get a new owner.

            More I think about that prediction of teams being de-valued, more suspects it looks, I would have thought you need some strong proof to overturn the general trend of increasing team values across all sports. But I have the benefit of hindsight.

        • To be fair, I think the Brewers tried to do it the right way, but things just didn’t work out. Their farm system was overrated, for one thing (Zduriencik’s rep as a scouting director was overblown, too), and they went too far with some of their win-now moves, like trading Lawrie for Marcum. Good plan, mediocre execution.

          • I was looking at this last week, (got in an argument on another blog on whether the “all in” strategy was at fault), combine the Lawrie trade with the Grenkie trade in December 2010, and the Brewers traded their #1, #2, #8,#9 prospects that off-season. Brewers also had a habit of giving large contracts to relief pitchers.

            I went the other way with Jack Z, I think his loss along with Tony Blengino, hurt the Brewers. The Brewers had a fairly impressive group of position players that Jack Z was responsible for, not sure how to square that with the current Mariners situation.

            • Yeah, it’s weird, but Z loaded up on boffo hitters in Mil, then went to Sea and went all-out for defense (like trading for, and then extending, Jack Wilson). He never did well at drafting pitchers in Mil, though, or maybe they were just bad at developing them. That’s still a big problem area for them. Of course, Sea has some very high-upside pitchers now. Meanwhile, Ackley has tanked. We’ll see about Zunino.

  • Jim Duquette is on his ” ( Kendry ) Morales is a PERFECT fit for the Pirates ” again this AM. Not only that,it is all Nutting’s fault,though he didn’t use his name.I soooo would like to call and dispute his theory,but am afraid of losing my temper. Which wouldn’t be a good thing.

    • Maybe they can sign Morales then petition MLB to add the DH in the NL.

      • My thoughts exactly Tim. Being a somewhat argumentive person,I so badly want to call him on it. But after a certain retired Pitts. sportswriter told me I had a high opinion of myself and didn’t know what I was talking about,I am trying to restrain myself.

        • So that was you!

          I think that a certain retired Pittsburgh sportswriter doesn’t understand today’s game – and specifically the way small market teams must operate.

          • Yes indeed,that was me. I felt ashamed for an entire day. Well,actually,no,I laughed and was sort of proud in some strange way. That old man ( who is younger than me actually ) is about as clueless as they come,but I didn’t expect a personal attack as I have never really popped him in his blog,. However,calling his Corey Hart signing laughable must have brought him out of hibernation.

        • That particular reitred/ossified sportswriter is probably still expecting a big bounce-back season from Bob Robertson.

        • Smizik told you that you did not know what you were talking about?

          Did your unintentional irony meter register the event?

      • Please No! On both points.

    • He IS the perfect fit. He’d fit Barajas’ old uniform exactly.

    • Gahh Duquette…Just because they CAN add Morales doesnt mean thay should. Everyone who is doing the “EXTRA TV MONEY” crusade is acting like that money should just be pooped away and don’t even offer suggestions on what should have been done (at least Duquette is actually offering a suggestion though! most don’t!).

      Is the fact that they have that money reason enough to spend it inefficiently (ie. Morales)? Let’s just say that it DID make the 2014 pirates a win better. Thats fine. well then you have this s***ty 1b on the team when the Walkers and Alvarezes start to get expensive and the Alvarezes start to get too slow for 3b and need to play 1b.

      aaaandddd now i’m on my rant… but i might as well keep going just to finish the thought about where the money should go.

      Considering the lack of 3b in the system and an eventual move of Pedro Alvarez to 1b (and/or out of town in a few years), and many factors like health and weight, 3b might be where we get a Russell Martin type “hey we should probably think about paying market value for a FA” signing. Chase Headley, and a hopefully somewhat in-shape Pablo Sandoval hit the market next winter. both have better defense than Alvarez overall (sandoval was bad last year because he was fat and injured. He is reportedly no longer fat nor injured). Assuming they are okay this year (if they’re superstars or something this year, the Pirates wouldn’t and shouldn’t pay for a career year), i feel like they are the type of players worthy of the extra TV money.

      if/when pedro leaves for FA, Panda or Headley can then move down the defensive spectrum to 1b for the last year or two of their deal and be good there, unlike Morales.

  • I always bookmark Law’s Top 100.