A healthy farm system is vital to any team, even moreso to those from smaller markets. So it's significant that Huntington believes the organization has one of the best groups of on-the-verge prospects it's had for years.
"Certainly since [manager Clint Hurdle] has been here," he said. "This is the most near-ready group that we've had, both on the mound and position player group. You could go back to [Andrew] McCutchen, [Neil] Walker. That was a fun group as well as you think of what they can become. And this group is in that mix."
Hurdle became the Pirates manager in 2011; McCutchen led the team in WAR for the second straight year that season.
"They've played like they belong," Huntington said. "They've shown up with consistent quality at-bat after consistent quality at-bat. They've not been intimidated by big leaguers, they've not been intimidated by the speed of the game. They've gone out and done very well so far."
Huntington touched on a variety of subjects, including how decisions are made when rosters are constructed.
"We work hard to focus on the process and understand what goes into each player's outcome. The work pregame. The work postgame. We try not to get caught up in outcomes," he said.
"Sometimes a ball may be well struck and the wind knocks it down. Sometimes a ball is well-struck and it leaves the yard because of the wind. So we try to understand what goes into each inning. We also try to understand who they're facing. A guy may go 0-for-3, hit the ball hard three times and face two Major League pitchers and a Triple-A prospect. The other guy may go 3-for-3 and face three A-ball guys that don't have much chance of making the club.
"It's understanding everything. At the same time, we do have tough decisions to make. Our work is to prioritize based on the tools and the skills that we're seeing, not necessarily were they getting hits or making outs."
Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.