On Wednesday morning, Baseball Prospectus released their rankings of the farm systems around baseball. They had the Pittsburgh Pirates ranked sixth overall. You can see their reasoning and rankings here. This is the fourth list of farm system rankings we have mentioned here this off-season.
Baseball America was the toughest on the Pirates, ranking them 11th overall. Both MLB Pipeline and Keith Law ranked the Pirates eighth overall. Averaging out the four lists, that would give the Pirates an average ranking of 8th place(technically 8.25).
That’s a strong overall rating and the fact that they made the top 11 for everyone, shows that everyone agrees they have one of the better farm systems. How does it rank against other NL teams, and more specifically, the NL Central foes?
Here’s a list of each NL system with their three rankings and average ranking. MLB Pipeline only ranked the top ten farm systems, so I didn’t include them here, but added them below in the summary. Since their ranking of the Pirates was the same as the average ranking, it doesn’t affect this list. I was going to list each source next to ranking, but I realized it doesn’t really matter for this exercise, since all of them are weighted the same.
Brewers- 5, 9, 10= 8th place average finish
Cubs- 4, 12, 20 = 12
Reds- 12, 12, 14= 12.67
Cardinals- 14, 19, 19= 17.3
Rest of the NL
Dodgers- 1, 1, 2= 1.3
Braves- 1, 2, 3= 2
Rockies- 3, 6, 7= 5.3
Phillies- 4, 6, 8= 6
Nationals- 5, 13, 15= 11
Mets- 15, 16, 21= 17.3
Padres- 18, 20, 25= 21
Giants- 19, 21, 25=21.67
Diamondbacks- 22, 24, 24= 23.3
Marlins- 29, 29, 29= 29
So averaging out the lists, the Pirates would rank tied for best among NL Central teams with the Brewers. Since the Brewers were one spot below the Pirates on MLB Pipeline’s top ten, that makes them both 8.25 average finishes. They would trail the Dodgers, Braves, Rockies and Phillies among all NL teams. None of those four teams would be hurt by including MLB Pipeline’s rankings, as the Dodgers were first, immediately followed by the Braves, with the Rockies fourth and Phillies seventh.
The conclusion is that among prospect experts, the Pirates have the 8th/9th best farm system in baseball, depending on where you want to put the Brewers. They are at the top of their division, and tied for fifth among NL teams.