Several outlets have updated their top ten prospects following the 2009 MLB trade deadline, and the massive amount of moves seen from the Pirates. John Perrotto has his rankings here, with new addition Tim Alderson ranked second, only behind Pedro Alvarez. Jim Callis of Baseball America has Alderson ranked fourth, behind Alvarez, Brad Lincoln, and Tony Sanchez, with Jose Tabata surprisingly ranked fifth. Callis even ranks Zach Von Rosenberg eighth, despite not being in the Pirates system.
At the All-Star break I updated my Top 30 prospect list, with plans to update the list again after all of the trades and draft signings are done. I have no plans to do a new top 30 until after the draft signing deadline, and after Miguel Angel Sano signs with a team. However, I will update my top ten with the new trades.
The Top Ten at the All-Star Break:
Changes Since the All-Star Break that will affect the rankings:
-Brad Lincoln pitched 22 innings in four starts without allowing a walk.
-The Pirates traded for Tim Alderson.
-Bryan Morris was suspended from Lynchburg, following a poor season that was also filled with injuries.
-Rudy Owens was promoted to Lynchburg, and had a great first start.
-Starling Marte has extended a hitting streak at West Virginia to 18 games. He has a hit in 28 of his 29 games in West Virginia.
The Updated Top 10:
Alvarez is tearing up AA, batting .306/.376/.581 in 124 at-bats, with eight homers. That’s very impressive when considering he hit .120/.148/.400 in his first 25 at-bats. The strikeouts are still a problem, but it’s nice to see him hitting better than his .247 average in Lynchburg.
2. Brad Lincoln
A few weeks ago I probably would have put Alderson here, but Lincoln is starting to heat up at AAA, and could be the real deal. Lincoln struggled in his first four starts at Altoona this year, with a 4.58 ERA and a 16:6 K/BB ratio in 19 innings. In his next 56 innings he posted a 1.61 ERA, with a 49:12 K/BB ratio. In his first four starts at AAA he posted a 5.76 ERA with a 13:8 K/BB ratio in 20.1 innings. Over his last three starts he has posted a 1.98 ERA with an 8:0 K/BB ratio in 27.1 innings pitched.
3. Tim Alderson
Alderson is met with mixed reviews. Some consider him a number three starter at best. Some feel he has the potential to be a top of the rotation starter. He’s 6’6″, 217 pounds, and only 20 years old. I’m not going to assume he’s done developing, thus leaving the door open for him to add velocity. He’s got amazing control, with a career 206:52 K/BB ratio in 254.2 innings pitched. That includes a 50:15 K/BB ratio in 78.1 innings pitched at AA this year.
Speaking of Alderson, Colin Dunlap of the PPG had a great article on him yesterday.
4. Jose Tabata
Tabata has been called up to AAA, after posting a .354/.393/.487 line in the month of July at Altoona. Tabata is off to a good start at AAA, with a .353/.450/.412 line in his first 17 at-bats. He’s like Tim Alderson in that he’s young, so I’m not going to count a lack of power against him just yet.
Grossman had a down month in July, batting just .233 in 86 at-bats. However, he kept his on-base percentage up, walking 21 times for a .383 OBP. Grossman’s numbers aren’t Earth shattering: .274/.378/.369, but the majority of this ranking is based on talent, projectability, and the fact that he turns 20 in September and this is his first year of pro ball.
6. Tony Sanchez
Sanchez has been solid on offense at West Virginia, with a .338/.470/.513 line in his first 80 at-bats. Sanchez has just 16 strikeouts in that span. He’s been hit by seven pitches in 100 plate appearances so far, which suggests he isn’t afraid to crowd the plate. That’s not really something I consider when scouting, but it’s something I like, and might tell a bit about his character and playing style.
Hernandez has struggled so far with Altoona, batting .245/.297/.324 in 204 at-bats. He’s also had some attitude problems, although it’s mostly minor stuff like poor reactions to balls and strikes calls. The struggles are curious, since he was hitting .316/.360/.387 in AA at Mississippi before coming over in a trade. He’s batting .285 at home, versus .185 on the road, so maybe that plays a factor.
8. Jeff Locke
I’ve seen Locke in action live several times, including one outing where I recorded every pitch he threw. He’s got some great stuff, including a very solid curve ball, and he’s shown flashes of brilliance several times this year. His main problem is control. When he controls his curve ball, it’s un-hittable.
Locke showed what he is capable of last week, pitching six strong innings, allowing one run on one hit, with seven strikeouts and no walks.
9. Rudy Owens
Owens has been the biggest surprise in the Pirates system this year, and is now in Lynchburg, although his playing time will be limited the rest of the season. Owens has solid control, going six straight starts without a walk in West Virginia at one point this season. He posted a phenominal 1.70 ERA with a 91:15 K/BB ratio in 100.2 innings at West Virginia, and looks to be off to a great start in Lynchburg. I’m hoping to see him live in two weeks.
10. Starling Marte
I know it’s only A ball, but it’s very impressive that Marte has hit in 28 of 29 games, including an 18 game hitting streak. He turns 20 in October. The Pirates have two very talented players in the West Virginia outfield, with Marte and Grossman. I keep liking Marte more and more. Expect him to continue his climb on this list if he keeps hitting like this at West Virginia.