Kiley McDaniel recently released his top 100 prospects list over at ESPN Insider. He had six Pittsburgh Pirates on that list, so that was a good sign for today’s list, ranking the farm systems. McDaniel has the Pirates as the fourth best system in all of baseball, moving up seven spots from last year’s ranking. Two previous farm system rankings had the Pirates 13th and 16th, though both noted that they were a system on the rise.
McDaniel’s article is for subscribers only, but the free preview explains how he came up with his rankings, so you can at least check out that part if you don’t subscribe to ESPN Insider. In the write-up for the Pirates, he notes that they have done well in their trades and in the draft under Ben Cherington, adding a lot of lower level talent that should keep the Pirates among the top five farm systems next year. Most of their talent is below Double-A and they won’t lose many players graduating to the majors, with Ke’Bryan Hayes being the top prospect who won’t be eligible beyond this year.
This high ranking put the Pirates second among National League teams to the Miami Marlins. The rest of the NL Central ranks 18th (St Louis Cardinals), 19th (Cincinnati Reds), 22nd (Chicago Cubs) and 29th (Milwaukee Brewers). The Pirates ranked second to the Cardinals in the previous two farm system rankings. The Tampa Bay Rays are first on the ESPN list and the Washington Nationals are last, just like on the other two lists.