Pirates Have Four Players in MLB.com Top 100

Jameson Taillon is the number eight prospect in the game, according to MLB.com.

MLB.com has released their top 100 prospects for the 2012 season, and the Pittsburgh Pirates ended up with four players on the list. The four players ranked were pitchers Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole, and outfielders Starling Marte and Josh Bell. The Pirates already had a strong showing in the positional rankings, with four players total in the top tens. The players ranked were Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole in the right handed pitching top ten, Alex Dickerson in the top ten first basemen, and Starling Marte in the top ten outfielders. Dickerson was the only one from that group that didn’t end up in the top 100.

This is the first year that MLB.com has done a top 100 list. Previously they’ve only covered the top 50 prospects. Last year the Pirates only had one player on the list when Jameson Taillon came in ninth, rating as the sixth best pitcher and fourth best right handed pitcher in the game.

Taillon was again named the top prospect in the Pirates’ system, coming in at number eight. His overall rankings didn’t change much from last year. Along with finishing eighth overall he was the third best right handed pitcher and the fourth best pitcher. Under “Upside Potential”, he was listed as having the stuff, size, and presence to become the ace of the Pirates’ staff.

Gerrit Cole was the next Pirates prospect ranked, coming in at number 11. His upside was listed as a number one type starter who shouldn’t take very long to get to the big leagues. It’s a bit of a surprise that Taillon was rated higher of the two, since most outlets have Cole ahead of Taillon. It looks like they’re both in the same tier, since the 8-11 rankings are all right handed pitchers. MLB.com’s rankings have a history of rating college players lower than expected prior to seeing any major league playing time. But both players essentially have the same upside, so you could make an argument for either one.

Starling Marte was next on the list, coming in at number 40. MLB.com described him as an exciting, toolsy everyday outfielder, and mentioned that he and Andrew McCutchen could make a dynamic duo in Pittsburgh’s outfield. The MLB Network broadcast focused on Marte, calling him the total package. Jonathan Mayo suggested that he could be in Pittsburgh this season.

Josh Bell was the final Pirates prospect ranked, coming in at 69. MLB.com called him a potential All-Star caliber player who hits in the middle of the lineup. Bell didn’t make the top ten outfield list, but based on the top 100 rankings he was the 14th best outfielder.

One surprise was the omission of Luis Heredia from the list. Heredia is a guy who is expected to be a top 100 prospect this year, after being a top 100 prospect for a lot of outlets last year. He has the same upside as Cole and Taillon, although he’s a bit more raw. The trade-off is that Heredia might have the potential to be better than Cole and Taillon, depending on how his secondary pitches develop.

MLB graded the rankings on a points system, giving 100 points to the number one prospect, 99 to the number two prospect, and so on. The Pirates finished third with 276 points. Kansas City finished second with 290 points, and the Seattle Mariners finished first with 329 points.

Tim Williams

Author: 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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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_46YTB5OO4O7UM2OVB44UZSTXNA Nate

    Next year they could conceivably have: Cole, Taillon, Bell, Marte, Heredia, Grossman, Allie, Dickerson, and maybe even Sanchez with a rebound year.  Not too shabby.  

    Still wishing they had snagged Sano a few years back.  Would ease the concern about Alvarez staying at 3rd. 
    Any chance they go after Soler?

    Would still also like to know the ceiling/upside of Chase and Jordy as well.

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

      You could be right. They don’t project to graduate anyone. Maybe Marte. They’d also have their 2012 first round pick on there, and I wouldn’t count out Nick Kingham as a sleeper for the list.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_46YTB5OO4O7UM2OVB44UZSTXNA Nate

        Thought about including Kingman.  I would lose my mind if our Buccos went from a trash system to having (possibly, best-case), 9-10 of the top 100.  That would be amazing.  
        I’m very excited to see Josh Bell play for WV when they visit Hagerstown.  I was spoiled the last few years getting to see Harper, Strasburg,  Taillon, Singleton, Marte, Ngeope, Derek Norris, and DeShields!

        • john.alcorn

          It is exciting, but just keep in mind that the 1997 Pirates also had BA’s #1 farm system with 7 top 100 prospects (4 in the top 26). Its the same caution that needed to be preached when everyone was going bananas about KC last offseason.

        • john.alcorn

          It is exciting, but just keep in mind that the 1997 Pirates also had BA’s #1 farm system with 7 top 100 prospects (4 in the top 26). Its the same caution that needed to be preached when everyone was going bananas about KC last offseason.

          • Lee Young

            John…….I remember that. I can’t however, remember who they were. Do you?

          • Lee Young

            John…….I remember that. I can’t however, remember who they were. Do you?

            • Lee Young

              Here’s one Top 100 list from ’97.
              Cautionary tale? Elvin Hernandez??

              http://home.mindspring.com/~gearhard/scout97.html

              Geez……..I was still playing softball and basketball back then.Now I’m too old to even officiate either. That sucks. sign….I digress.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_677GUNLYRTCSO2IYXLCHXA4RAE Joe

              I dont remember them all, but I think Chad Hermanson, ARam, Kris Benson, and Jimmy Anderson were all on the list.

              Edit: Didnt read down far enough, thanks for finding that list

            • john.alcorn

              They were Benson, Hermanson, Jose Guillen, AmRam, Ron Wright, Abrahan Nunez, and Jimmy Anderson in order.

              The next year we had 3 of the top 13 with Benson, AmRam, Hermansen.  

              • Lee Young

                John…….I put a link below to all the lists from 1990 on.

                I used to have those books/newspapers but I lent them to a friend who tossed them. “Oh, you wanted them back”?

                He is no longer a close friend. :)

  • http://twitter.com/pskell02 Patrick Kelly

    I was more surprised with the omission of Grossman than Heredia. Figured Robbie would come in somewhere in the mid-90’s. I was quite surprised and happy to see Marte ranked that high. Was thinking he would be in the 50-60 range based on everything I have seen from other rating services.

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

      I’m not too surprised by Grossman. Heredia seems more like a consensus top 100 guy. I’ve had a ton of mixed reports on Grossman, which is why I’d expect the prospect rankings for him to be mixed.

      • Anonymous

        After becoming a Grossman fan over the fall, I was hoping to see him there as well.

        Do you think his hamate opperation had anything to do with it? Do we know if he has taken any batting since the injury and how it’s progressing?

        • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

          I don’t think the hamate injury had any impact. That’s a pretty common injury, with a good recovery rate and no long term effects. The people that are down on Grossman think that he doesn’t have the speed for center field, and doesn’t have the bat or the power for a corner spot. Not sure if the MLB.com rankings classify him this way, but that’s what I’ve heard from the people who rate him lower.

        • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

          I don’t think the hamate injury had any impact. That’s a pretty common injury, with a good recovery rate and no long term effects. The people that are down on Grossman think that he doesn’t have the speed for center field, and doesn’t have the bat or the power for a corner spot. Not sure if the MLB.com rankings classify him this way, but that’s what I’ve heard from the people who rate him lower.

  • Lee Young

    Here is a link to that Top 100 list.
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ApDc5PGsBzgVdDRwRU9PMXp3MV9mMERXek16N0s4WHc&hl=en#gid=8

    Wow……….Abe Nunez and Fat Jimmy. I wonder how good Ron Wright would’ve been had he not blown out his back. And, of course, Chad and Anna, er ah Kris Benson. Only ARam and Jose Guillen came close to being what they should’ve been.