Six Pirates Rank in Baseball Prospectus Top 101 Prospects

Jameson Taillon was rated as the 13th best prospect in the majors by Baseball Prospectus.

Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has released his top 101 prospects for the 2012 season, and in the biggest showing for the team yet, six Pittsburgh Pirates prospects have made the list. You can view the whole list here, as well as a brief explanation as to how Goldstein approaches his rankings.

The top ranked player on the list was Gerrit Cole, who rated ninth overall. Cole was the fourth best pitcher on the list, and the third best right hander behind Julio Teheran and Dylan Bundy.

Jameson Taillon followed shortly after Cole, coming in at number 13. Based on the rankings you could argue that the Pirates have the best pair of pitching prospects in the game, according to Goldstein. The only other team with two pitchers in the top 30 was the New York Mets, who had the 25th and 30th ranked prospects. The Cardinals, Mariners, and Diamondbacks each had pitchers in the top 15, with their second best pitcher being in the 31-40 range.

Luis Heredia was up next, ranking 42nd overall. Heredia has been hit or miss on the rankings this year. He didn’t end up on’s list, and was just outside of the top 100 in Keith Law’s rankings. He has a ton of upside, but he’s also raw and a long way from the majors, so you could justify either ranking.

Josh Bell immediately followed Heredia at number 43, giving the Pirates four players in the top 50. Bell is very similar to Heredia. He’s got a big ceiling, but for now he’s young and his ranking is based almost fully off of projections. Unlike Heredia, Bell’s rankings haven’t been far off this one. He was ranked 67 and 69 in the other two major top 100 lists that were released.

Starling Marte was the fifth prospect on the list, coming in at number 56. This is about normal for Marte, who ranked 40th on’s list and 72nd on Keith Law’s list.

The final player to be ranked was Robbie Grossman, who came in at number 76. Grossman missed the rankings, but was rated 86th by Keith Law.

The Pirates had the third most players in the top 100. Only the Oakland Athletics (7) and San Diego Padres (10) had more. The Pirates were the only team with four players in the top 50, with several teams ending up with three in that range.

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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, 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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  • Ian Rothermund

    Do you think it’s possible that by this time next year, we’re talking about 2 pitchers in the top 5?

    Especially if Cole doesn’t debut this year for the Pirates, I don’t foresee him struggling much in the high-A/AA/or even AAA.  Even if he isn’t lights, if he shows improvement, I don’t see him falling. 

    As for Taillon, I think everyone’s curious how he’s going to translate at the next level, and utilizing what most people expect to be a full arsenal.  But if he shows the kind of guy he could be this year, and ends up in AA, I see him making a big jump too.  I mean, right now he’s 13 based entirely on potential and stuff.  So if he starts to scrape on that a little, I see him as easily in the top-10 next season

    • Tim Williams

      I think that’s possible, especially if both pitchers reach AA by the end of the year. I think it’s even more possible for Cole, since he certainly will be in AA (or higher) by the end of the year. With Taillon it depends on how well he does in high-A. I think he could do very well once he starts using his curve ball more often.

      Usually the preference in rankings goes to guys who have had success at the top two levels. If Taillon and Cole do that, they could both be top five guys.

      • Anonymous

        A lot of times it seems that these rankings start with the best bats and work its way down to the pitchers. I’m sure its because big time bats have been historically more projectable than pitching but a team like the Pirates whos top talent is in pitching takes a bit of a hit for that. If Marte were to hit 28 hrs last year they might have a top 3 system IMO.

    • F Lang

      I think Heredia could get way up there too. He has the potential to pitch himself up to low A at 17-18 years old. If he is flashing good command, a solid breaking pitch, and 95mph fastball in Low A the end of the summer, he should be headed for the top 25 or so next year. The Pirates have so many “potential” guys though. A lot could change with these guys moving up. Colton Cain, Kingham and others hopefully will be moving up too.

  • Jeremiah Ewing

    I’ve heard a lot of grumbling that the buccos don’t have much in the way of hitters… 3 in the top 100 is pretty darn good (even though they’re all outfielders)!

    • Tim Williams

      I think that’s mostly about power. Marte has some power, but he’s not a power hitter. Same with Grossman. And Bell could be a 30 HR a year guy, but he hasn’t played yet.

      That said, I don’t think it’s common for teams to be loaded with 30 HR hitters. The “lack of power” arguments seem to be based on the assumption that teams should have a lot of options in the minors. I’m not saying the Pirates are loaded in this department. They could definitely use more power hitters. However, I don’t think they’re as starved for power as some make them out to be.

      • F Lang

        No doubt tim. I was doing some studying for fantasy baseball and I noticed so many low average, high K power hitters. Just after a quick once-through the magazine I found 34 guys that fit into a 120K’s and under .270 avg category. It seems to me like unlike in the steroid era, guys are once again having to sacrifice average and k’s to hit for power. Maybe the pitching is better and there are a lot of young guys that will improve right now but there seems to be way more Steve Balboni, Pete Incaviglia, Rob Deer types than there were 10 year ago. Even Mark Texeira can’t hit .260 anymore. If you can get a kid like Josh Bell and develop him into a .300/30HR guy you have something special…the # of guys that can do that is so low now. A guy that hits .280 and 20HR almost has decent power again so a guy like Neil Walker doing that at 2B is a big plus in todays game. This is great to see. I know chicks love the longball but I like seeing the game played the right way.

  • Anonymous

    you would think some guys might graduate also. Moore Miller Teheran Bauer could potentially all play this year. Thats the thing outside of Marte and maybe McPherson most of the top 10 wont play this year or even next possibly. Not that these rankings mean anything but people forget when guys graduate they are still young players. I prefer the top players under 25 lists.
    If Heredia has a killer year he could mayeb vault into top 15 area.

  • Anonymous

    Good to see our system finally making some strides in the rankings. By the way, Tim, I just received my Prospect Guide a couple days ago and wanted to tell you: It’s a terrific read again! Also, I like the improvements you made over last years edition except for the smaller print. But, I think thats just the age of my eyes!!! hahahaha

    • Tim Williams

      Thanks. I’ve gotten a few comments about the smaller print. I made it to match the font size in Baseball America’s book. If I would have gone with last year’s font size, it would have added over 100 pages to the book.

  • Anonymous

    Can I pretend we signed Sano just for today?

    • AndrewB

      Or drafting AJ Cole instead of Mel Rojas Jr for that matter.

      • Nate

        Yep.  11 or so losses, $2million, and one wrong call are the difference between having:

        Taillon, Mel Rojas, Jr, Tony Sanchez, and nobody
        Harper, AJ Cole, Strasburg, and Sano

        Wow.  I think the Nationals are now my most hated team.

  • John Lease

    It’s nice that someone thinks our minor league system has something to offer.  Considering that 2 of the players haven’t played a single game yet, it seems mainly to be about what they signed for and what scouts said.  I’ll reserve judgement on Cole and Bell until they play some actual games against opponents.

  • Anonymous


    If anyone is interested and can get Root Sports Pgh.

    Reds & Bucs @ 7:00 pm est. from 4/15/11  Morton vs Arroyo

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