The Pittsburgh Pirates have the best record in baseball. At least right now, as I’m typing this, they do. The Bucs are an exciting big league club composed with a seemingly perfect balance of youthful talent and veteran savvy, and they have a legitimate chance at a pennant this year. But if we’re looking ahead to 2014, 2015, and beyond, Pittsburgh has a chance to be frighteningly good. Their system has already graduated top-shelf prospects like Starling Marte and Gerrit Cole, and there’s plenty more on the way. Gregory Polanco — currently at Double-A — is one of the brightest outfield prospects in the game, ranked #10 on my Mid-Season Top 50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects list. One spot ahead of Polanco on that list is the 6-foot-6 RHP, Jameson Taillon. Taillon’s projectable frame and elite stuff have him profiling as a top-of-the-rotation arm, and there are plenty folks around baseball who like his upside just as much as Gerrit Cole’s. The 21-year-old has showed some inconsistency this season at Double-A Altoona (3.67 ERA, 1.34 WHIP), but the Pirates, holding to their development plan, have promoted him to Triple-A. He looks to be exactly one year behind Cole, so it’s safe to assume we’ll be seeing Taillon with the big club next summer.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (10) | 2011 (17) | 2010 (5) | 2009 (13) | 2008 (2)
2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [69-93] AL East
AAA: [79-65] International League – Pawtucket
AA: [68-73] Eastern League – Portland
A+: [68-69] Carolina League – Salem
A: [66-73] South Atlantic League – Greenville
A(ss): [36-40] New York-Penn League — Lowell
Arizona Fall League Players — Surprise Saguaros
Chris Martin (RHP); Pete Ruiz (RHP); Michael Almanzar (3B); Bryce Brentz (OF)
Will Middlebrooks (3B); Ryan Lavarnway (C); Pedro Ciriaco (INF); Felix Doubront (LHP); Junichi Tazawa (RHP)
The Run Down
With impact talent at nearly every level of the farm, this is a deep system, and a good one. Xander Bogaerts, a top-10 overall prospect, headlines the group and will arrive within the next year-and-a-half as a big time fantasy asset. Behind him, Boston features a great mix of high-ceiling guys and high-floor guys, making this system not only high-impact, but rather safe as well. The Red Sox might be another year or so away from contending again in the crazy-competitive AL East, but the club has done a quality job of trimming some fat, and setting itself up for long-term success in the process.