Baseball winters are all about anticipation -- of the coming season, of the next wave of talent to wash ashore -- and the Pirates keep collecting props.
Latest to toss the Pittsburgh organization a bouquet is Keith Law, the ESPN Insider who ranked the Bucs' farm system No. 3 among the Majors' 30. This nod comes in the wake of MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo and Baseball America both ranking the Pirates' system No. 1, and of Jim Callis rating their 2013 Draft class as the best.
Everyone uses slightly different guidelines to come up with such ratings, but the obvious consensus is that the Pirates are in an enviable position to continue building on their 94-win breakthrough season of 2013.
In fact, what jumps out at you from Law's rankings is that the rest of his top four -- Houston, Minnesota and the Cubs -- is comprised of teams that averaged 101 losses last season. The depth of their talent bodes well for a turnaround by those franchises, but the Pirates boast the parlay of good today, better tomorrow (along with the World Series champion Red Sox, No. 5 on Law's list).
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.