Baseball America Ranks Pirates as 11th Best Farm System

One day after Keith Law posted his farm system rankings, Baseball America puts their list out and they have the Pittsburgh Pirates slightly lower than Law. They rate the Pirates as the 11th best farm system(subscription required), three spots below yesterday’s ranking.

While BA does have them ranked lower, they still say that the Pirates have a strong farm system. They like the Pirates depth at shortstop and John Manuel named Jordan Luplow as a breakout candidate. Luplow had a .957 OPS in the second half last year, so you could say that he already started to breakout. If he’s able to handle third base going forward, then he could be a legit top 10-20 prospect in the system next year. Luplow had 51 extra-base hits in 2015 and posted a 59:67 BB/SO ratio. So the signs are there for a solid overall player, especially if his lower offensive numbers early in the year were related to learning a new position.

The rest of the NL Central ranks in the 9-20 range, with Brewers(9th), Reds(12th), Cardinals(14th) and Cubs 20th.

Baseball America will release their top 100 prospects list tomorrow, with the top 50 being announced on MLB Network at 9pm.

  • how did we go from like the 2nd-4th best to 8th-11th without graduating anyone other than Polanco in the last two years?

  • I will take top 10 or in this case 11 any time because it is all subjective and in the end it is what you produce not your rank. If they are around 10 and they produce 4-6 guys that contribute this year I don’t think anyone cares about a ranking. Depth is important and we know they have that. I think of college football recruiting and how many hard working 3 star kids become 4 & 5 star guys in the end and how many elite athletes fizzle because they never learned to work as hard or had the chip on their shoulder. I’m an Ohio State Football guy and I think of the guys like AJ Hawk and Antoine Winfield…these are less heralded guys that exploded because they outworked everyone else. This is a roundabout explanation but the more mid to high level prospects you have that work their ass off the better chance you have to produce guys that contribute…the Pirates if anything have built a system with depth…and overtime that pays huge dividends not only in guys who contribute but also guys you can trade for usable pieces…as we have seen already. Still, with the impact talent they seem to have, I don’t see why they are 5-10, but I have a pretty myopic view of their system.

  • Are we slipping due to our lack of recent spending in international signings?

    • Bucs are slipping in BA’s eyes because they don’t have as many prospects with sizzle as they did a few years ago. Hanson has lost his, Taillon also. And the recent draftees have less than they used to because the FO has changed focus from sizzle to meat and potatoes.

      Note that BA calls their rankings Talent rankings, not Farm System rankings.

  • Who is this 21 year old converted pitcher the pirates are trying out today… tweet from earlier today?

    • I hope to have a story soon, so that’s why I withheld the name in the tweet. He played college ball in Southern Cal, originally from Mexico. Did decent as an outfielder, though he’s small and had zero power. Went back home to Mexico, tried out as a pitcher for a Mexican League team and the Pirates started following him then. First I heard of him was in November. They couldn’t sign him until he signs with a team from Mexico though(That’s rule #1 for Mexican players, you don’t want to break). He got signed last month in Mexico and now he is at the Pirates academy in the Dominican holding a tryout. The Pirates are also looking at a 15-year-old kid from the same team right now, who also went to the Dominican. He can’t be signed until July though due to his age. The older kid throws 93-95mph

      • Does the older kid being from Mexico count against their international pool, or is that invalid as he went to college but was undrafted? Never heard of that happening before.

        • I believe it will be the international pool because I’ve never seen a kid signed out of the Mexican League not count as an international signing. The Pirates should have some bonus pool room let on the international side by our estimate, so it shouldn’t be a problem

          • Since he went to us college, wonder why signing into an independant league wouldn’t have been a better route and also not bit into the I pool.

            • He may want to play in Mexico during the winter, and summer if it doesn’t work out in affiliated ball in the US. Since he is from Mexico, they won’t let him play if he decided to forego the traditional route of signing. In essence, he would be blackballed if he went the route you suggested. Like I said, if you’re from Mexico and want to sign with an MLB team, you sign with a team from Mexico first, no questions asked.

      • Thank you John. Great information. You guys do a great job on this site. Well worth every penny spent.

  • From Keith Law’s chat:

    Brendan: I noticed you have Kevin Newman at 23, and I haven’t seen him in a top 100 list anywhere else. I know you don’t look at any other lists when making your own, but just curious as to what stands out to you the most. Thanks!

    Klaw: Well, you could ask those other folks why a true shortstop who’s a 65 runner, rarely strikes out, and has a strong history of hitting for average (at U of A and two summers on the Cape) isn’t a top 100 prospect. I think that’s a pretty valuable asset myself.

    • BuccosFanStuckinMD
      February 12, 2016 9:24 am

      The question is…is Newman a true shortstop? I think the jury is still out on that one. I do agree he offers speed and is a good contact hitter….beyond that, not so sure what all he has to offer as a prospect – especially if he doesn’t stay at SS.

      • My take watching him is that his SS capability is good, as he’s Jordy Mercer capably – however the speed isn’t as strong in play and the contact that he makes is weak contact. I don’t see those attributes playing up.

    • Is he really a 65 runner though? I haven’t seen him up close but he seems more like a 55 runner that is aggressive and smart. A 65 runner is pretty special but I understand some guys’ skills can play up. But I would think maybe he would play up to a 60…65 is getting into a special area.

  • One thing I like about all the position players getting ranked is the K/W ratios. Of course they will strike out more as competition gets better, but putting bat to ball is where it’s at.

  • I’m not sure I trust that ranking. As I stated yesterday, they have the Cubs #20.

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