When it comes to baseball in general and prospects specifically I spend a disproportionate amount of my time reading about the Pirates. While I've probably ingested a novellas worth of writing about Starling Marte I imagine I've barely read enough about Gary Brown to fill a few pages. I try to keep that in mind when comparing the Pirates prospects and their system as a whole to other teams as I obviously have a bias.
While I share some of the concerns about the Pirates system that others have expressed on this site, I also like a quite a few things, particularly relative to where it was four years ago. It's difficult for me to objectively assess its status as relates to the other 29 teams however. To compensate for the bias I know I have I tend to feel like wherever I think it should rank, it's probably at least a little lower. So perhaps when is said and done maybe 15 or so?
However I was reading Jason Parks most recent article on Baseball Prospectus this afternoon (I believe it's subscriber only):
The article is primarily dedicated to naming the players with the best tools. Who has the best speed, power, hit tool, arm, etc. But at the end of the article he lists ten teams who are candidates for the Best Farm System Award and what do you know the Pirates were among those ten.
Later in the day I was sure there must have been some sort of qualification I'd missed. I was fairly surprised that an objective writer would consider them to potentially be Top Ten system, perhaps because I was being cautious in my own evaluation to compensate for that aforementioned bias. So I sent him a tweet, just to make sure I'd read it currently, here's the tweet and his response:
Now what does this actually mean? These things are fluid so maybe when he makes his list in a few months the Pirates drop a little. Obviously the system is no better or worse based on how one person evaluates it. I'll be curious to see if he feels similarly come 2012 and other if other prospects writers feel the same. Even if the Pirates have a consensus Top Ten system, a positive step forward from where they've come, there are obviously no guarantees but it's still exciting to read and gives me a small bit of additional hope for the years to come.