Baseball America has released their mid-season top 50 prospects rankings (scouting reports for subscribers here), and the Pittsburgh Pirates have four prospects on the list. That’s an upgrade over their pre-season total of two prospects in the top 50.
The highest ranked Pirate is Gerrit Cole, who comes in at number six. Cole entered the season ranked 12th overall. Cole is the fourth best pitching prospect on the list. The top three are Dylan Bundy, Taijuan Walker, and surprisingly, Danny Hultzen.
Next on the list is Jameson Taillon, who came in at number 15. That’s the same spot he held for the pre-season rankings, although a lot of the top players from the pre-season rankings have graduated, which means people have passed Taillon to keep him in the same spot. Baseball America noted that he hasn’t been dominating as much as a guy with his stuff should, which is true.
Starling Marte was next on the list, coming in at number 36. Marte was number 73 in the pre-season list, with an ETA of 2013. They didn’t include an ETA this time, although I’d guess it would be 2012. They did note his power spike, but also noted that his batting average is down this year after winning the Eastern League batting title last year.
Finally, Alen Hanson made the jump from being unranked to the 40th best prospect in the mid-season list. Baseball America noted that he could become a power hitting shortstop prospect with a good feel for hitting. John Sickels had Hanson rated lower in his mid-season top 120 earlier this week. There aren’t many questions about Hanson’s bat. The big question that will impact his ranking is whether the outlet doing the ranking feels he can stick at shortstop.
UPDATE 11:50 AM: Baseball America has an additional article for subscribers, detailing some of the risers and fallers, plus 12 guys who weren’t close to the pre-season top 100, but will draw consideration for next year’s top 100. Gregory Polanco was one of those 12 players. They also noted that Luis Heredia has been making steady improvement. Heredia wasn’t on the top 100 list pre-season. He was listed as a guy who wasn’t far off the list, and will draw strong consideration next year. They also noted Josh Bell on the “All Disabled List” group.
The Pirates could end up with eight prospects in the top 100 next year. There’s the four in the top 50 right now. Then there’s Heredia and Polanco, who have a shot at the top 100. There’s also Josh Bell if he stays on the list. Add in Mark Appel for another potential top 50 prospect to bring the potential list to eight.