The Pittsburgh Pirates have a very deep farm system. It has a lot of high-end talent at the top with studs like Jameson Taillon, Gregory Polanco and Austin Meadows, and it also has a few other potential All-Stars like Alen Hanson, Tyler Glasnow and Reese McGuire.
As everyone already knows, the Pirates are going to be participating in the postseason this year after clinching home-field advantage in the Wild Card game on Saturday afternoon. The first postseason appearance in over 20 years for the Pirates was built on players that were homegrown like Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez and Gerrit Cole. However, the Pirates were also able to bring in a lot of talent from outside the organization via free agency and trades. A.J. Burnett, Francisco Liriano, Russell Martin, Justin Morneau and Marlon Byrd are all players that were brought in via trades or free agency that weren’t with the Pirates two seasons ago.
Small market teams like the Pirates need to build their teams first via the draft and international market. When enough talent is in the system, that is the time to strike in free agency and trades. The Pirates already had guys like McCutchen, Starling Marte, Walker and Alvarez ready to contribute at the MLB level before they decided to acquire any of the veterans that helped this team get to the playoffs.
With the formula of drafting and developing working so well for the Pirates recently, there is no reason for them not to be contenders for several years to come. As long as Pirates general manager Neal Huntington is able to keep his farm system one of the best in baseball, the Pirates will be relevant and they will be winners.