While the news has been relatively sparse this winter for the Pirates in regards to acquisitions for the major league roster, the Pirates’ minor league system has generated a lot of buzz for its strength and depth. Baseball America ranked the Pirates’ farm system as the best in baseball in their recently released 2014 Prospect Handbook. There are two things that should be noted that makes this ranking even more impressive. First, Gerrit Cole has already graduated to the majors and no longer has prospect status. Secondly, the Pirates have been trade deadline buyers the past three seasons. Talented prospects Robbie Grossman and Dilson Herrera have exited the system in trades.
The Pirates collected more accolades earlier this week when MLB.com released their updated top 100 prospect list. The following six Pirates made the list:
Nick Kingham apparently just missed the cut.
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) January 24, 2014
I’m extremely high on Kingham. Some have suggested Kingham could be dealt to the Mets to acquire 1B Ike Davis. No way would I do that deal. Personally I feel Nick Kingham is going to be better than Jameson Taillon. I see Taillon being a much higher injury risk than Kingham.
The Pirates’ farm system has created a strong foundation that should serve them well moving forward. Travis Sawchik wrote on the Trib Bucco Blog about how having a top ranked farm system correlates with qualifying for the playoffs. It will be interesting to see how the Pirates leverage their bounty of prospects. Having a strong major league a team and a strong minor league system at the same time has the Bucs positioned to be contenders for the NL Central along with the Cardinals for the foreseeable future. But the competition for the supremacy of the division is about to get a little more crowded. The Cubs are an organization on the come. They placed seven prospects in the MLB.com top 100 prospect list. The Cubbies also have the financial resources to outspend the other NL Central Division teams. So keep an eye on Chicago. They may be down now, but they won’t be there for long.