Pirates Have Five in Keith Law’s Top 100 Prospects

Keith Law released his top 100 prospects today, and the Pittsburgh Pirates had five players on the list.

Gerrit Cole was ranked the highest, coming in at number eight. Cole was the second best pitcher on the list, with Dylan Bundy ahead of him ranked third overall. Law noted that Cole should be ready for the Pirates rotation after a half year in the minors, mentioning that 2012 was the first year Cole called his own games. He also mentioned that Cole has a plus-plus changeup. A lot of people have been split on the quality of Cole’s changeup, but Law has been consistent that it’s a plus pitch, even when Cole was a junior at UCLA.

Jameson Taillon was ranked 20th overall, and was the eighth best pitcher on the list. Law mentioned that Taillon isn’t far behind Cole’s arsenal, but that he doesn’t miss as many bats. He also pointed out that the Pirates have done a lot to clean up Taillon’s delivery.

Alen Hanson came in at 34th overall, while fellow West Virginia breakout prospect Gregory Polanco ranked 55th. Law noted that he sees no reason why Hanson can’t stay at short, which is a stance he has held all year. He said Hanson’s bat and speed give him star potential if he stays at short. As for Polanco, Law said that he could be a 25-plus homer guy if everything clicks, with a high average and great center field defense.

Finally, Luis Heredia ranked 84th, after just missing MLB.com’s top 100 list. Law said that he doesn’t see ace potential with Heredia, calling him more of a number two or three starter. He called Heredia’s curveball below average. At the end of the 2012 season, Heredia switched from a slower, loopier curve to a harder curve that sat in the low 80s. The switch was aimed at getting more strikeouts and giving Heredia a better pitch to work with. I’m not sure if Law is talking about the old curve — which Heredia seems to be moving away from — or the new curve. If it’s the old one, then the Pirates have already started to move away from the pitch, for a lot of the reasons Law talked about.

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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 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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  • elgaupo

    Nothing really surprising. Next year the ranking numbers could be close to the same with Cole graduating, everyone moving up 20 or so places and the inclusion of Bell and/or one of the high upside arms in A/A+.

    • C Shint

      Don’t forget that we have 2 first round picks as well. One would hope that they are considered top talents. But yes I would agree the Pirates should be in a close to similar position again next year

  • http://www.ashevilleroadbowling.com hunter

    Reading Law’s reviews I was surprised with just how positive they all were.

  • tempman89

    Cole most likely will be in the rotation by years end.
    Between the new draft, josh bell coming back and the new draft, I expect 5+ next as well

    • leadoff

      Bell is a good example of how the Pirates can go beyond the 5 Law mentions, far beyond that for major league talent. Would have easily had 6 if they sign Appel. Sanchez is still a major league talent IMO, Barnes, Mathison and Clay Holmes are rising talents in the system. They could have the best outfield in baseball by 2014 if Polanco continues the path he is on, with him in the outfield, the least talented player could be McCutchen.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ian.rothermund Ian Rothermund

        Yeah, it would be really nice to see Bell have a solid year and really show everyone that he was worth the money. I think it could be a very exciting year on the prospect front. The nice part is that there seems to be a floor on it as well, and it’s not just one or two guys and then praying for others to come out of nowhere.

    • http://www.ashevilleroadbowling.com hunter

      Law had a Q&A where he basically said as long as Bell shows he is healthy was over-matched just because of the jump in competition then he should easily jump back in the top 100.

      That plus two top 14 draft picks and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Herrera jump up I think they should have at least five again. Figure Cole is promoted, a couple jump in and one probably flops or gets hurt.

      • http://www.ashevilleroadbowling.com hunter

        I should clarify… he wants to make sure Bell was over-matched in the short term simply because the competition was better. Or in other words he didn’t have enough time to adjust before getting hurt. Not that he can’t or won’t adjust.

        • http://www.facebook.com/ian.rothermund Ian Rothermund

          That makes sense. Hadn’t he seemed to make some strides in the week or so before he got hurt? I know he only played for about 3 or 4 weeks, I just seem to remember 2 or so really poor weeks where it was really cold and he wasn’t ready for change ups, then the last week was closer to what they had hoped for.

  • emjayinTN

    Tim: Why would Marte no longer be seen as a prospect? Josh Bell is a tremendous talent and if he comes to ST and does well, I would keep him with the guys in the fast lane like Alen Hanson, Gregory Polanco, Jose Osuna, Nick Kingham, and Zack Von Rosenberg who are all set to play Hi A at Bradenton. No moves, great weather, and a place where he can be closely monitored. He did struggle in his first exposure to pro baseball, but still managed to hit .274 – he has things to learn, but that’s a far cry from being overwhelmed.

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

      Marte doesn’t have prospect eligibility any more. Most places have limits around 130 ABs, 50 IP, or 30 relief appearances. Some have restrictions based on service time. Marte has more than 130 ABs, so he’s no longer considered a prospect.

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