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Pirates’ farm system ranked fourth-best by MLB Pipeline

It’s Pittsburgh’s highest overall ranking since 2016.

MLB: New York Mets at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After a successful 2021 draft combined with early-level development and smart trades, the Pittsburgh Pirates have improved their farm system to one of the best in all of baseball.

Inserting members of this year’s draft class and those acquired at the trade deadline into the organization, the Bucs have created a deep pipeline of talented players at each level of the Minor Leagues with potential to impact the big league club.

After placing eighth to begin the season, the Pirates have ranked as MLB Pipeline’s fourth-best farm system on the platform’s annual midseason re-rank, the team’s highest position on the countdown since the middle of 2016.

Five Pirates cracked the Top 100 Prospects led by No. 1 overall pick catcher Henry Davis 23rd overall. Davis is followed by right-handed pitcher Quinn Preister (53), shortstop Oneil Cruz (57), second baseman Nick Gonzales (68), and shortstop Liover Peguero (93).

Draftees Davis, left-hander Anthony Solometo (7), right-handed pitcher/shortstop Bubba Chandler (8), and outfielder Lonnie White (11) all slot into the first eleven spots, a rarity for a team with a deep and skilled top 10 to begin with.

Roansy Contreras (6) is sandwiched in between Peguero and Solometo, rising up the charts after a strong first half before forearm muscle strains have sidelined him since June 30. Contreras pitched to a 2.35 ERA in nine starts spanning 46 innings allowing a .186 opponents batting average, 0.91 WHIP, 31 hits, and three home runs, striking out 65 and walking 11.

Matt Frazier (23) has been the biggest surprise over the course of 2021. The 23-year-old outfielder began the year in Greensboro (A+), unranked in the Top 30, but he’s been hot ever since. The lefty batter hit .314 with 20 home runs, 50 RBI, and 14 steals in 75 games for the Grasshoppers before being promoted to Altoona (AA) at the beginning of August.

A 2019 third-round pick, Frazier has hit like his namesake in Pittsburgh did before being dealt to San Diego, continuing the hot bat with a .375 average, six doubles, three triples, two homers, and 10 RBI in only 17 games with the Curve.

The lack of a Minor League season does not look to have hampered many of the organization’s top players, with the Altoona alternate site assisting players in new ways to improve their technique and abilities.

Pittsburgh improved from a No. 8 ranking to begin 2021, doubling their position from a No. 16 placement in Ben Cherington’s first season in the 2020 re-rank after sitting at No. 15 to begin the year.

The Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, and Miami Marlins claimed the top three spots in the updated rankings.