Baseball America released their Florida State League top 20 prospects today, and three Pittsburgh Pirates prospects were on the list. Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, and Gift Ngoepe were all named to the list. The list can be seen here, and scouting reports can be seen here for subscribers.
Cole and Taillon were ranked second and third respectively. Baseball America noted Cole’s arsenal, but called his changeup average. The pitch gets mixed reviews and can sometimes be ranked a plus offering, giving Cole three plus pitches. They noted that hitters can hit his stuff due to seeing the ball easy out of his hand. However, he still drew Justin Verlander comparisons.
Baseball America noted that Taillon switched his curveball to more of a slurvier pitch, which comes out of the same slot as his fastball. They also noted that Taillon started to throw his two-seam fastball again this year, which he reincorporated to his arsenal in the final months of the season.
Gift Ngoepe was ranked 20th on the list. His ranking might be a surprise to Pirates fans who only think of him as a long shot due to being signed out of South Africa, which isn’t a place known for producing baseball talent. Gift has plus defense, and Baseball America noted that he was the best defensive shortstop in the FSL, which had a lot of good defensive shortstops. He improved his hitting this year, although he’s still more of a defensive wizard who needs improvement with the bat.