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Where Do the New Picks Rank in the System?

Where would the new draft picks rank in the system?

The Pittsburgh Pirates have yet to sign a draft pick, and no individual signing is guaranteed.  That’s not stopping us from projecting where the 2011 draft picks would rank with the current top ten prospects.  Each Pirates Prospects writer got together a mid-season list, and figured out where the new picks would fit in.  Obviously this is on a “if they all sign, this is where we’d rank them” hypothetical situation.  Here are the rankings, with our analysis on the new players.

Tim Williams

1. Gerrit Cole
2. Jameson Taillon
3. Luis Heredia
4. Josh Bell
5. Starling Marte
6. Tony Sanchez
7. Stetson Allie
8. Rudy Owens
9. Colton Cain
10. Justin Wilson

At this point in the season I don’t have set in stone rankings, but tiers of players.  I’ll have a tier for the five star prospects, a tier for guys with a ton of upside, but some risk involved, a tier for guys who profile as average to above average players, and so on.  In the rankings above, tier one would include Cole and Taillon, tier two would go from Heredia to Allie, and tier three would start with Owens.

I’ve already talked a lot about how I feel Cole and Taillon have basically the same upside, and that Cole is further along due to his plus changeup.  If this was a tiered system, they would both be tied.  Since there’s an actual ranking involved, Cole barely edges out Taillon.

I’ve got Josh Bell ranked higher than everyone else.  He’s right after Luis Heredia, who I was very impressed with in Spring Training, and he is ahead of Starling Marte, who I am high on.  I’m the only one who ranked Bell above Marte, and maybe that’s because Marte is tearing up AA pitching, while Bell says he doesn’t want to sign.  I love what Marte has done this year, and if you’ve listened to me talk about him, you’d know that I feel he’s an ideal leadoff center fielder who could eventually move Andrew McCutchen over to left field.

I like Bell a bit more, mostly for his power.  Bell is a switch hitter, and has potential plus power and plus hitting skills from both sides of the plate, with the ability to hit to all fields.  He doesn’t have the defense that Marte has, but Marte doesn’t have the power that Bell has, which I feel is very valuable, especially from a switch hitter.  It’s another case like Cole/Taillon where they’re tied in a tiered system, although in a numerical system, Bell edges out Marte for me.

Wilbur Miller

1. Gerrit Cole
2. Jameson Taillon
3. Luis Heredia
4. Starling Marte
5. Tony Sanchez
6. Josh Bell
7. Stetson Allie
8. Rudy Owens
9. Chase d’Arnaud
10. Matt Curry

Cole has slightly better stuff than Taillon. He obviously has some command issues to work on, but we’ve found out lately that Taillon does, too. Bell would be a high upside hitter in a system that doesn’t have any. He won’t have Marte’s or Sanchez’ defensive value, but he has power, which they’re both lacking right now.

Matt Bandi

1. Gerrit Cole
2. Jameson Taillon
3. Tony Sanchez
4. Luis Heredia
5. Starling Marte
6. Josh Bell
7. Bryan Morris
8. Stetson Allie
9. Rudy Owens
10. Colton Cain

Cole’s upside is similar to Taillon’s, but his stuff is a bit more refined at this point. He shows a plus changeup at times, which puts him ahead of the younger Taillon. Both pitchers have ace potential, making them essentially interchangeable in the top two spots.

Bell has big offensive upside, but he is a long way from Pittsburgh right now. I would like to see how he fares in professional ball before I put him any higher on this list. He has more potential with the bat than Marte, but he does not yet have the professional performance to back up the scouting reports.

Kevin Creagh

1. Gerrit Cole
2. Jameson Taillon
3. Luis Heredia
4. Starling Marte
5. Josh Bell
6. Tony Sanchez
7. Colton Cain
8. Rudy Owens
9. Justin Wilson
10. Chase d’Arnaud

Gerrit Cole is only 20 this year, while Jameson Taillon’s 2011 season age is 19. If Cole were to sign tomorrow (which he won’t), he would be placed in High A most likely. That’s where Taillon will be in 2012, at the same age of 20, so the comparison is “who has better stuff at this time?”

I believe Cole’s changeup gives him the more advanced 3rd pitch, with slightly higher present-day velocity. That’s why he ranks ahead of Taillon for me.

As for Bell, he has the promise of being an impact hitter in a system that sorely lacks them right now. If he signs, he would rank behind Marte for me because Marte offers an order of magnitude more promise in speed and defense than Bell, who seems destined for LF. Bell would rank above the others in my Top 10 because of his bat’s potential and his chance to be a star.

John Dreker

1. Gerrit Cole
2. Jameson Taillon
3. Starling Marte
4. Luis Heredia
5. Josh Bell
6. Bryan Morris
7. Tony Sanchez
8. Jeff Locke
9. Stetson Allie
10. Rudy Owens

I have Cole slightly ahead of Taillon due to where his progress is and the fact he is just a year older than him. He’s basically a more polished version of Jameson: big, throws hard, has strong off-speed pitches but he’s more advanced with more plus pitches already.

Bell ranks right behind Heredia due to the strong reports we have heard about the young pitcher coming from Extended Spring Training, and the fact Heredia is two years younger. Bell is a young power hitter in a system that desperately needs someone like that, but he’s average across the board on defense, throwing and running speed so I can’t rank him higher.

I have him ahead of Morris who has disappointed due to the fact he is still in AA and who missed time with an oblique injury setting him back. Sanchez has fallen for me due to his lack of power, just 8 extra base hits in 45 games, so Bell falls right before them at this point.

Consensus Rankings

1. Gerrit Cole
2. Jameson Taillon
3. Luis Heredia
4. Starling Marte
5. Josh Bell
6. Tony Sanchez
7. Stetson Allie
8. Rudy Owens
9. Bryan Morris
10. Colton Cain

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Anonymous

    Would 3rd round pick, Alex Dickerson rate in any your top 20? I figured he woulnd’t be in the top 10 but outside of the position players listed he has to be one of the best in the system.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6KEYHS3XWH74U3LRIHGWL7XPBA Nate

    Kevin, I think you provided the best argument on Cole over Taillon.  Good write-up.

  • http://twitter.com/millec311 Chris M

    what are the “strong reports” you’ve been hearing about Luis Heredia?  I’d like to read them, I haven’t heard much about him in awhile

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6KEYHS3XWH74U3LRIHGWL7XPBA Nate

      And, is there any indication of a potential date, or league, for Heredia’s 2011 debut?

      • Anonymous

          He will open his season in the Gulf Coast League which begins on June 20th

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Zielinski/100000181161454 Steve Zielinski

    The consensus list looks about right, although it might be time to question Owen’s bona fides. I do not watch MiLB TV, so I wonder what has happened to him this year.

    Dickerson also could be a better hitter than most of us expect him to be. Let’s hope his injury is not debilitating.

  • Anonymous

    When your top 10 doesnt include Matt Curry, we are loaded

  • Lee Young

    Gotta agree with Steve Z on questioning Rudy O. Let’s hope he gets going in the 2nd half.

    Morris’ first start wasn’t that good. Let’s hope, he too, gets ‘moving’ and has a good 2nd half.

    But, right now, with our pitching, its not as crucial as it seemed to be last year. Who wudda thunk that both Morton AND Karstens would have ERAs UNDER 3.00. I know *I* predicted that. lol.

    …………

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