Baseball America ranked the farm systems of all 30 Major League teams on Tuesday afternoon and the Pittsburgh Pirates were rated seventh overall. They were ranked first overall last year and seventh back in 2013. The drop is partially due to Gregory Polanco graduating from last year’s group and most of their talent being in the lower levels.
The Pirates are fourth among National League teams on that list and second in the NL Central behind the Chicago Cubs, who are rated first overall. Two weeks ago, MLB Pipeline named the Pirates the fourth best farm system.
Back in February, five Pirates players were listed among BA’s top 100 prospects. That list doesn’t include Nick Kingham or Alen Hanson, who have both made other top 100 lists. You can see the average rankings here of the Pirates prospects among the various top sources.
The Pirates should rank well again next year, as many of the top prospects likely will still be eligible for the list. That depends on how fast Hanson, Kingham and Jameson Taillon make it to the big leagues. In the unlikely event that all three use up their prospect eligibility, then that would hurt the rankings next year, barring multiple breakout performances from players outside the top ten.