Keith Law posted his ranking of the 30 MLB farm systems on Wednesday morning and he has the Pittsburgh Pirates rated right in the middle of the pack, taking the 16th spot. Law calls them a system on the rise due to recent trades and abundance of young international players who have yet to debut in the U.S.
The Pirates have ranked all over the place in farm system rankings in the recent past, with Baseball America rating them low (#22 in the 2020 mid-season rankings) and Fangraphs rating them very high. MLB Pipeline’s last update had the Pirates ranked 16th overall before the trades of Josh Bell, Jameson Taillon and Joe Musgrove brought in a surplus of talent. They had a late December article after the Bell trade that called them a system on the rise. We should see more updated rankings soon before Spring Training gets into full swing, so an averaging of rankings will give us a much better idea.
Among NL Central clubs, the Pirates rank second to the St Louis Cardinals (#11) for Law. The Cincinnati Reds are #17, followed by the Chicago Cubs (#26) and Milwaukee Brewers (#28). The Pirates rank eighth among all NL clubs.
Not sure if the timing was just coincidence, but Baseball America just released their updated farm system rankings and they have the Pirates moving all the way up to 13th overall, nine spots ahead of the rankings mentioned above. For BA, the Pirates rank second to the Cardinals (#12) among NL Central teams and sixth among all NL teams. They have the Cubs (#15) ahead of the Reds (#17) and the ranking for the Brewers is the same as Law, coming in at the 28th spot. In case you’re wondering, the Oakland A’s and Washington Nationals rank as the two worst teams for both sources. BA notes that the Pirates have a lot of upside talent, which adds a lot of risk while also adding a lot of potential reward.