Rj.reynolds at Bucs Dugout looks at the Pirates' troubles developing a quality shortstop. This is a problem that goes back years -- the Pirates' best shortstops of the past 20 years, Jay Bell and Jack Wilson, were acquired via trades. But essentially, it's a complex problem that ultimately has a lot to do with the Pirates' failures in Latin America.â†µ
If you take a look at the top 14 shortstops in 2011 according to Fangraphs WAR, nine were signed out of Latin America. Of the top 20 shortstops since 2008, according to that metric, half are Latin American signings.â†µ
As noted above, we've seen some international shortstop signings since 2008 when the Pirates finally started taking Latin America seriously. But it will take the Pirates a while to make up the ground they have to cover to catch up with teams who've made Latin America a priority for years.â†µ
Under Dave Littlefield, the Pirates didn't do much of anything in Latin America, so the Pirates' failure to produce a good shortstop prospect in that time is, in a way, no accident. Under Neal Huntington, the Bucs have made Latin American talent a priority, and there are now a number of relatively interesting young shortstops in the minors. Unfortunately, since Latin American prospects sign at very young ages, they mostly take a very long time to develop.