On Monday morning, Keith Law from ESPN ranked all 30 farm systems in baseball. He has the Pittsburgh Pirates ranked 15th overall.
After the trading deadline last year, a lot of questions came up about the strength of the minors for the Pirates. They traded away two top ten prospects in Shane Baz and Taylor Hearn, while also including a top 30 prospect in Sherten Apostel. That was after numerous players throughout the top 50 prospects list lost their prospect status during the regular season. Although I didn’t know other farm systems well enough to actually give a rank, I said that the Pirates had the feel of a middle of the road farm system. They still had multiple top 100 prospects in the game and they had enough depth that there were still decent prospects who didn’t make our updated mid-season top 50.
Keith Law had the highest rankings for three Pirates among all top 100 prospects lists that were revealed recently. He was very high on Ke’Bryan Hayes, while also ranking Travis Swaggerty well ahead of every other list. Law notes in his article that he considers all things when ranking the farm system, such as top 100 players, quality depth and overall depth. Some sources will focus more on high-end depth, to the point that one great prospect can significantly change their farm system ranking.
Law had the Pirates ranked 15th last year as well. That ranking was followed shortly by Baseball America ranking them 16th overall. This current ranking from Law places the Pirates eighth among all National League teams and second to the Cincinnati Reds among NL Central teams. The Cardinals have a top 20 system, while the Brewers and Cubs are both near the bottom.