For the first time in Baseball America Prospect Handbook history, the Pittsburgh Pirates rank No. 1 in the organization talent rankings.
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Led by outfielder Gregory Polanco and righthander Jameson Taillon, a pair of prospects who will likely make their big league debuts in 2014, the Pirates earned the top spot for their combination of potential impact talent, depth and big league-ready prospects, plus a strong 2013 draft class. Pittsburgh’s highest previous Prospect Handbook talent ranking was eighth in 2013. That was the first time the Pirates had cracked the top 10 since Baseball America started publishing the Prospect Handbook in 2000.
The Baseball America organization talent rankings are compiled by the BA staff. Baseball America ranks farm systems twice each offseason. The first time is in the Prospect Handbook. During spring training, the final official talent rankings for the season are released, reflecting all of the moves of the offseason. The changes can sometimes be somewhat dramatic. Going into the 2012 season, the Nationals ranked No. 1 in the rankings published in the Prospect Handbook but fell to 12th in our preseason rankings after trading away four of their top 15 prospects (Brad Peacock, A.J. Cole, Derek Norris and Tom Milone) in a winter deal that brought Gio Gonzalez from Oakland.
The Cardinals ranked No. 1 in last year’s talent rankings. Six of the top seven prospects from that Top 30 Prospects list went on to contribute to the Cardinals run to the World Series, including righthanders Carlos Martinez, Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal and Michael Wacha and first baseman Matt Adams.
The remaining 29 teams’ rankings are available in the Baseball America Prospect Handbook, which will be available at the end of this month.