H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY
Jim Callis names the Pirates' farm system the eighth-best in baseball, behind the Cardinals, Mariners, Marlins, Rangers, Red Sox, Rays and Twins. (The Diamondbacks, at No. 9, would have bumped the Pirates down a spot if they hadn't traded Trevor Bauer.)
The Bucs' system is clearly well above average. Obviously, though, we can argue about whether eighth is a good enough showing for a team that went bonkers in the draft from 2008 through 2011 and still has three top-four-overall picks in the minors. Callis notes that the Pirates' system "isn't deep," which seems like a shame for an organization that handed out big bonuses to every 6'4 18-year-old it could find until the rules changed. But Callis also notes that the Bucs' ranking is propelled not only by the Pirates' top three pitching prospects (Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon and Luis Heredia), but also by its top three hitting prospects, Gregory Polanco, Alen Hanson and Josh Bell. The emergence of Polanco and Hanson has helped the Pirates' system dramatically.