Baseball America Ranks the Pirates as Having the 11th Best Farm System

Baseball America released their updated farm system rankings on Wednesday morning. They have the Pittsburgh Pirates ranked as the 11th best farm system.

We have seen the Pirates do better in two earlier farm system rankings. ESPN had them slightly better as the ninth best system, while The Athletic had them ranked sixth overall.

Baseball America last updated the rankings in August after the draft signings were completed. The Pirates ranked ninth back then. Not much has changed in the system since then, though the Pirates did add two of the top internationals signings back in January, when they signed Raymond Mola and Jun-Seok Shim. BA recently ranked Shim as the 18th best prospect in the system.

The Pirates rankings have dropped a lot since this time last year for BA. They were ranked third back then, but that included Oneil Cruz and Roansy Contreras as top 100 prospects, as well as some lesser top 30 prospects in the system who graduated throughout the year, such as Jack Suwinski and Cal Mitchell. The 2022 draft was unable to off-set those losses at the top, despite adding Termarr Johnson.

BA has the Pirates third among National League Central teams, trailing the Cincinnnati Reds (eighth) and St Louis Cardinals (ninth), while placing just ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers (13th) and Chicago Cubs (16th).

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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You don’t get to be the Pittsburgh Pirates unless you have mediocre people running the show, so why should any results from their work be great when the people making the decisions are less than great. Of course, even a blind nut can find a squirrel occasionally.


I think its becoming clear that Cherington’s built a mediocre system when the Pittsburgh Pirates only shot at meaningful baseball is by having a top 5 system year in and year out.


Probably not the right place to rehash the Fangraphs rankings 😉


Fangraphs likes their depth not their upside. When you’re picking top 5 for half a decade and all you have is depth you’re doing it wrong. Ben sucks at his job.


That’s not really what FG has in their rankings

See the comments to the article linked below


You’re giving them credit for other farms graduations but not their own so this is just wishcasting. It’s a middling farm with not a single 60. A failure for Cherington.


By your earlier standard (5 years in the top 5), they were third at the beginning and middle of last year

This year they will start out in the top 5 and likely bump to first by the re-grade

So they just need to keep up the good work for three more years 🙂


Keep on hoping and wishing bro


As much as I believe their evaluations are best, hasn’t some work come out recently showing BA has better rankings as judged on big league outcomes?

Worth considering.


I wouldn’t read too much into this particular ranking for obvious reasons, but I would expect us to be further along than where some of the other ranking systems have us. Fortunately, there’s still a lot of upside in the system that hasn’t had time to develop, guys that have been injured, etc where we could see these rankings improve. We’re probably also looking at least two more drafts of top fifteen picks as well.


I hate the whole concept of tanking, but if you do it, then you better do it well. The very worst is tanking and not getting it right. We’ll see if that’s the case with Cherington and staff. I think our prospects are underrated by BA, but it’s spring and I’m leaning optimistic.


I think it’s worth noting that BA isn’t underrating individual prospects relative to other outlets, in fact they may be the highest.

Their approach to ranking system quality is what differs.

FanGraphs and Kiley reward quantity whereas BA specifically focuses on top-end quality. The differences in approach highlight the kind of system Pittsburgh has built as much if not more than the prospects themselves.


Yet FG’s will have the Pirates at #1 and depth isn’t helping there


I think we ought to wait til the actual rankings come out before continuing this one, again.


Well FG’s has already published their Top 100+ and that basically solidifies the following …


No they won’t, Jim Bob.


So, they’re saying that all of this gushing that the Pirate announcers have been doling out on these Spring telecasts is just hype?

Who knew??


For the fourth straight year, I’m “enjoying” hearing Greg Brown tell us how there is a new vibe in spring training! “You can just feel it!”

Can we hope that whatever the new broadcast model is, that our broadcasters won’t feel the need to constantly promote the current administration?

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I likened it to “Best shape of their life” comments. I chuckled thinking about how vets like Ben Gamel would say in interviews all of last spring, “People are underestimating us”. Yes, Ben. Totally underestimating yinz lol


I’m not bothered or insulted by the 11th rating whether it’s accurate or not. As Dreker notes, in 2022 the Pirates ‘graduated’ a number of prospects to the majors. These players come from the more easily rated upper layers of the minors, creating some holes in the system. The Pirate minor league system is not a perfect assembly line. I doubt any system is perfect, though the Cardinale are impressive (I suspect it has more to do with development than anything else). Except for ‘high’ draft picks and highly rated international signees, players in the lower minors are difficult if not impossible to accurately assess. The Pirates have a plethora of prospects at these lower levels, and whether a few or many reach their assessed potential will affect the team and ratings in several years, not now.

Last edited 28 days ago by adicesa14

Good grief.


Good grief at…a mediocre ranking? List overload? Let’s play some real damn games already? All of the above?


Five years of tanking and they can’t even maintain a top system in their own goddamn division.

Five years of advantageous draft position and they’re still producing less than St Louis.

Just total grift, up and down.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Which is rather funny considering Oneil existed in the system upon GMBC’s hire. Roansy wasn’t really considered the “headliner” in the Jamo deal. The other graduations were really more fringe guys. I give them credit for Jack, cause he was an afterthought in most cases. As a whole, through countless trade dumps and top of draft picks, it feels they should have a much higher regarded system at this point. I’m totally ok with where it’s ranked and think it’s fair, but also that it’s underwhelming.



On the one hand, Oneil and Roansy and Endy and even Ortiz are proof that you’re bound to have a few really good prospects matriculate out of a large set of interesting ones.

On the other hand, the rankings show that they’ve been no more successful at generating a quantity of good prospects than other orgs who haven’t sold out the entire organization for half a decade with the sole intent of accumulating and developing these types.

Seems, uh, suboptimal.


Pretty much feeling the same. And while their ranking is lower here than at other outlets, the overall feel of their system is on depth than stars. You look at teams like Baltimore and Arizona that looks like they could be brimming with stars and I don’t see the same thing here. Potentially solid regulars, yeah. But other than Oneil…nah not seeing potential game breakers.


Can we trade international signing money or prospects to St Louis for one of there scouts or developmental coaches? Five years of tanking plus however many years of trading away anyone decent but Reynolds (yet).


Calm down! You might have yourself a stroke or something…. Hate to see the obituay written by a family member….”Died ranting at the keyboard about the Pirates…..again….” That is what one of my kids would write if I died that way, lol!


Wait, he’s already died once doing this?


Lol! If he had died ranting at the keyboard would have made for an embarrassing obit. I know my kids would make fun of me even in death. 🙂

Last edited 28 days ago by robertkasperski

i promise you’re more worked up about my post than I was writing it


LOL! Not worked up in the least so I guess we are all good. Just was a bit worried about you for a brief moment 🙂


Let’s revisit this list in 5 years and have a good laugh at just how wrong they are.


Yeah, pretty much all rankings are in the eye of the beholder. I always figure that as long as you are not in the bottom 5 of any list, you are ok. These minor league rankings are a lot like the NFL draft rankings of players. Mel K. has gotten insanely rich over coming up with his lists that are usually massively wrong. Amazing how many people lose sleep over such things.

Wilbur Miller

Not being run like the 2016 Dan Duquette/Buck Showalter (and farm director Brian Graham) O’s is a classic, Pirate-y low bar.


I think the O’s FO from that period is fairly easy to dunk on. But Buck is awesome.


pssst!!!! I know Brian…… 🙂

Wilbur Miller

I don’t necessarily put a lot of weight on these rankings, especially not BA’s these days. This FO, though, hasn’t shown the ability to come up with top-level players. I just watched a game where the Orioles had Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson and Jackson Holliday all appear. For some reason, this FO always falls short of acquiring/producing players like that.

It’s kind of a general theme with this franchise. Even when they try to do things right, somehow second-best (or third- or fourth- or fifth-) always has to do. You see it in everything single aspect, and at every level, of the franchise.


While I agree that some of what this front office has done is cause for concern, I want to see how some of these drafts work out before we write the book on their success/failure. It’ll be a decent while before we know how the 2021 draft works out, for example. A big developmental year from some guys like Solometo or White alters this discussion greatly.


While it is definitely true that the pirates have not “hit” in the draft in way too long, Jackson Holliday and Gunnar have yet to show that their careers will be better than termarr and, let’s say, Quinn Priester. They have more hype but that isn’t what actually counts. The new regime gets to graduate a few drafts before I think we should assume this will continue.


For that matter, who is to say Rutshcman is going to be better than Davis. Defensively he likely will, and while he does have a good bat, it would not surprise me to see Davis wind up the better one on the offensive side of the ball.


Care to make a wager on this? Adley vs. Davis for offense their first five years in the league? Cause I’ll take Adley.


No, but I don’t think you have to wait till all of those guys have either been in the bigs for five years or completely washed out at AA to realize this organization is stuck in neutral with development.


Pirates have also failed to hamstring the team financially by signing a high SO% player to a top of market long-term deal like the Orioles did with Chris Davis.

Take the good with the bad I suppose.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I think back to the post-ASB series Altoona had with Bowie. Curve were right there up top in the standings. The Baysox then took 5 of 6, out scoring the Curve 56 to 25. It was then I really took notice of, “The O’s upper level prospects are head and shoulders above the Pirates at the moment”


Yeah man lotta good that’s gotten them.


I knew my comment would strike a nerve with you.


Like the guy yesterday faulting san diego for not hording shitty prospects.

I’m sure I’m no different in your eyes, but I just do not get what makes some of yunz giddy.

Last edited 28 days ago by NMR

It’s the mentality of the tri-state area – we don’t deserve nice things.

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