Three Pirates Prospects in Florida State League Top 20

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.

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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  • whiteAngus

    Ngoepe strikes out a great deal which would be a big problem as he moves up the rung. if he cuts back on them somewhat, he could at least be a journeyman utility man in the bigs.
    .
    for a comparison, Ngoepe K’d over 130 times this season. Barmes never came close to that total in the minor leagues. use that how you wish.

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

      Considering his background with baseball, I’m not concerned with his strikeout totals right now. With most players, high strikeout totals are a concern since there’s a small chance of those rates going down. But Ngoepe is still raw. As he plays more he could cut those strikeout rates down. Right now he’s inconsistent at the plate, which is shown with the strikeouts. There’s still a chance he could add consistency with more experience.

      • whiteAngus

        im not saying he cant. but if a player has high K numbers in A ball theres a very very good chance that will continue, or even worsen, as he climbs the ladder.
        he’ll be in altoona next season. AA ball is a best test for young players, the raw ones especially.
        by the way, Evan Chambers K’d a great deal and walked a great deal. he was also judged by many on his strikeout numbers, so why isnt Ngoepe???

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

          The difference between Chambers and Gift is the background. Chambers had four years of high school and a year of JuCo. Gift hasn’t had much experience with organized baseball.

          I’m not saying the strikeouts aren’t a concern. I’m just saying I wouldn’t compare Gift to players who have played organized ball for years and write off his chances of improving those strikeout numbers.

          • whiteAngus

            but Ngoepe being on a prospects list means he IS being compared to others. doesnt matter how much experience he has thus far. if hes being paid to play ball, and he is, and he shows up on a prospects list, which he now has, he SHOULD be compared to everyone.
            .
            kudos to Ngoepe for getting noticed and all the hard work he has obviously put in.

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

      Considering his background with baseball, I’m not concerned with his strikeout totals right now. With most players, high strikeout totals are a concern since there’s a small chance of those rates going down. But Ngoepe is still raw. As he plays more he could cut those strikeout rates down. Right now he’s inconsistent at the plate, which is shown with the strikeouts. There’s still a chance he could add consistency with more experience.

    • ElGaupo77

      Tim would know this more, since I haven’t seen him in person, but he seems to have a more patient approach. He’s walked greater than 10% of the time each of his three seasons of pro-ball. That coupled with decent basestealing ability, a little pop and plus defense could make a nice SS.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=72405411 Ian Rothermund

    So what are the chances that everyone’s giving Taillon to appear in Pittsburgh next year?

    Did he show enough in AA last year to warrant starting in AAA at te beginning of ’13?

  • Scott Tidlund

    Any reason Alex Dickerson didn’t make the list? Player of the year in the FSL???

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=72405411 Ian Rothermund

      I was wondering about that myself. I wonder what the reasoning is for that. Maybe because he’s a little older than some of the other players and doesn’t have that high ceiling of like a Cole or Taillon

    • Kevin_Creagh

      For any 1B to make the list, they have to be a complete masher or have the potential to be one, due to the defensive limitations. The high skill positions (front of rotation pitchers, shortstops, center fielders, catchers with offensive ability) will always be favored over a moderate hitting 1B like Dickerson.
      The FSL was down this year for hitters. Just because Dickerson was POY does not mean he’s a huge prospect nationally.