Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 1/23/12

It’s been a slow week for Pirates news and discussion, but the Bucs’ minor league system has been getting some attention lately…and there’s nothing else to talk about…so here goes:

John Sickels of MinorLeagueBall.com ranked the Pirates’ overall minor league system 12th in MLB. That’s obviously not where we want it to be, but it is still a vast improvement over past years. Even last year, the Pirates were struggling to crack the top-15 on many lists.

What’s more encouraging is that the #12 ranking put the Pirates 2nd in the NL Central, behind only #5 St. Louis. The teams that are behind are a good distance behind, too; the Cubs are 20th, the Reds are 21st, the Astros are 25th, and the Brewers are 28th.

Obviously this is extremely subjective, but I’d say that’s a bit of good news. The biggest knock on the Pirates’ minor league system is the lack of offense, particularly power. There was a bit more good news on that front this week, when Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranked Alex Dickerson as the ninth best 1st base prospect in the game. 

Dickerson was a third round pick this year and hit .313/.393/.493 in State College, although he had the benefit of playing college ball. He will likely start 2012 in Bradenton. Over the past decade plus, the Pirates have gotten virtually nothing from their farm system in terms of first baseman, which is probably the most important position for offense. Hopefully Dickerson can start to turn that trend around.

Mayo also named Starling Marte to his top 10 outfield prospects, ranking him 7th. That isn’t an enormous surprise as we knew Marte had a big year in Altoona and could become an impact player very soon. Still, it’s nice to see him ranked highly. Marte will see action in Indianapolis this year and could see Pittsburgh at some point in 2012, especially if he’s able to improve his plate discipline.

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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