It wasn't long ago when the Pirates had absolutely no minor league depth. If you go back 5 or 10 years any player that was worth anything on the big league roster was not homegrown. Players such as Jason Bay (Padres), Freddy Sanchez (Red Sox) and Jack Wilson (Cardinals) were developed by other franchises. It was the perfect storm of poor scouting, cheapness and no international footprint. How times have changed.
When the new front office took over in 2007 an emphasis on putting together a winner through internal player development was made. The Pirates began drafting players whom they would normally had passed on. The results were slow, but the Pirates are reaping the rewards now. Of the projected starters, 5 of 8 were developed by the Pirates.
The Pirates farm system is a consensus top 5 in every major publication and Baseball America has them number 1. The reasoning was high end arms and overall depth. Plus they rated our 2013 draft as the best in baseball. The pipeline is strong.