First Pitch: Pirates Rated Among the Most Improved Farm Systems

MLB Pipeline put out an article yesterday looking at the farm systems around baseball that improved the most in 2020. It’s a top five list with a nice write-up on how each team improved during the year. The Pittsburgh Pirates ranked third on the list, trailing the Tampa Bay Rays and Detroit Tigers, while finishing just ahead of the Baltimore Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Pirates started their additions before the season started when they added Brennan Malone and Liover Peguero from the Diamondbacks in the Starling Marte trade. They also used money (in the form of bonus pool space) acquired in that deal to sign international prospect Solomon Maguire.

During the season, the amateur draft provided a huge boost to the system with the additions of Nick Gonzalez (first round pick), as well as right-handed pitchers Carmen Mlodzinski, Jared Jones and Nick Garcia among the top three rounds.

In October, the Pirates spent $1.25 M to sign 19-year-old Taiwanese pitcher Po-Yu Chen, their biggest signing of the 2019-20 international signing period.

In the beginning of this month, the Pirates added two high upside arms in the Rule 5 draft, taking Jose Soriano and Luis Oviedo.

Last week, the Pirates acquired right-handed pitchers Wil Crowe and Eddy Yean in the Josh Bell trade.

If you look at that list of additions, it’s an impressive group, which is also dominated by right-handed pitchers. That’s from a system that already had pitchers like Quinn Priester, Cody Bolton, Tahnaj Thomas, Braxton Ashcraft, Michael Burrows, Santiago Florez and Max Kranick as top right-handed starters in their system. That’s in addition to Cristopher Cruz, Gilberto Alcala and Roelmy Garcia being three of their top players signed during the 2019-20 signing period. There is legit talent among right-handed pitchers in this system and it’s possible that their first round draft pick in July could be a top-of-the-rotation right-hander as well…

**Last week we released a 27-page free preview of the 10th Anniversary Prospect Guide. The preview is already a bit dated with the trade, but the final version of the book will have Crowe and Yean in the top 50.

You can download the free preview of the 10th Anniversary Prospect Guide here.

Be sure to purchase your full copy of the book at our shop. This year sees the return of a limited amount of print copies of the book, including exclusive covers featuring Mitch Keller and Ke’Bryan Hayes.

The 10th Anniversary Prospect Guide returns to print! We are releasing two variant covers this year, featuring Mitch Keller and Ke’Bryan Hayes. Visit our shop to order these extremely limited items!