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Pirates' farm system to be ranked No. 1 by Baseball America

| Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, 2:09 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco works out Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla. Polanco was ranked as the Pirates' No. 1 prospect by Baseball America. He might end up as the team's biggest addition this season.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco catches a fly ball during drills Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla. Polanco was ranked as the Pirates' No. 1 prospect by Baseball America.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco prepares to take batting practice Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla. Polanco was ranked as the Pirates' No. 1 prospect by Baseball America.

The Pirates' farm system will be ranked No. 1 in Baseball America's upcoming 2014 Prospect Handbook, according to Baseball America editor John Manuel. The prospect guide will be published next month.

Five-tool outfielder Gregory Polanco was ranked as the Pirates' No. 1 prospect by Baseball America after the season, and he is joined by fellow high-ceiling talents in right-handed pitchers Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, Nick Kingham and Luis Heredia. The Pirates have other prized prospects in infielder Alen Hanson, outfielders Josh Bell and Harold Ramirez.

“They have several players we felt would contend to be No. 1 in a lot of different organizations,” Manuel said. “They have several players who fit the profile to be starters on championship-caliber teams. They have more of those than other teams.”

The Pirates' already deep collection of talent was bolstered by breakout performances from Glasnow, Kingham and Ramirez and by a strong 2013 draft, which Baseball America ranked as the best in the baseball. The Pirates had the benefit of two first-round picks — outfielder Austin Meadows and catcher Reese McGuire — both of whom had excellent professional debuts.

The Pirates ranked No. 7 in Baseball America's prospect rankings last year and graduated their top prospect in Gerrit Cole.

“The other part that is impressive for me is this comes after graduating Gerrit Cole,” Manuel said. “Usually teams that graduate players like that fall back in the rankings.”

Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at tsawchik@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.

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