The Pirates went with a lot of upside this year in the draft. They also signed a lot of prep players, including a few over-slot guys after the tenth round. I was looking over the GCL roster this afternoon, and realized that in a few weeks this could be one of the biggest upside rosters in the system. Consider the following lineup and rotation, once everyone is ready.
C – Reese McGuire: Danny Arribas is also a good, athletic catching prospect, although nothing close to McGuire, who is the top catching prospect in the system.
1B – Maximo Rivera: This is one area where the Pirates don’t have a high upside guy.
2B – Ulises Montilla: I’ve really liked what I’ve seen out of Montilla so far.
SS – Trae Arbet: He’s looked smooth defensively at shortstop and has a lot of speed. Carlos Ozuna has shown some good tools at the position too.
3B – Adam Landecker: He’s more of an organizational guy, but has great defense.
LF – Candon Myles: I don’t see a lot of upside here, but he’s got a lot of speed and is hitting well. Luis Urena is also an interesting guy with a lot of power, but can’t hit a breaking ball.
CF – Austin Meadows: Between Meadows and McGuire, the team will have two top ten prospects.
RF – Nick Buckner: Not sure if he’ll play LF or RF, but either way it will be fun to watch him and see if he can tap into his raw power.
Jon Sandfort – I wrote about him today.
Adrian Grullon – 6′ 7″ right-hander who throws 90-93 with a good curveball.
Neil Kozikowski – Hasn’t thrown in a game yet, but the Pirates obviously like him since they gave him an over-slot bonus. Can throw 90-92 out of high school.
Billy Roth – Another over-slot signing who can hit 92 out of high school.
Blake Taylor – The second round pick gives this team three of our top 20 prospects. He can get it up to 94, but can’t sit at that level yet.
Wei-Chung Wang – One of the more interesting arms. Fastball velocity is upper 80s and touching low 90s. He’s been higher in the past. Has a great breaking ball which is getting a ton of strikeouts. Potential for three average MLB pitches with great command as a lefty.
Hayden Hurst – He has struggled with control so far, but has a good arm and can sit 91-94 MPH.
Not everyone in the lineup is a prospect, but between the lineup and the starting candidates, I count 13 players who would draw serious consideration for my top 50. I get a lot of “when will Player A debut” questions, so to answer those:
Hitters – It usually takes about a week or two. Trae Arbet signed right away, and had a week before the season started. He didn’t get into games as a shortstop until the second week of the season. Reese McGuire took about two weeks to get ready for games. I’m guessing Meadows and Buckner will be playing next week at the earliest.
Pitchers – They have to be built back up. To give you an idea of the timeline, Blake Taylor has a sim game on Sunday. That’s usually one of the final steps before actual game action, so I’d put him about a week away. He was one of the first prep pitchers to sign. I’d put Kozikowski and Roth a few weeks behind him, possibly making their debuts in mid-July. Last year Jon Sandfort signed right away and made his debut on July 13th. It seems Taylor is on that same timeline. Kozikowski signed a week after Taylor, and Roth signed two weeks after Taylor, so they should be 1-2 weeks behind, respectively.
Links and Notes
**Download the newest episode of the Pirates Prospects Podcast: P3 Episode 12: Prospect Analysis on Jameson Taillon, Luis Heredia, and Tyler Glasnow. Also includes an interview with 2013 first round pick Reese McGuire.
**The newest episode of the Pirates Roundtable is up. This week we had Jim Rosati from North Side Notch, Ed Giles from In Clemente Weather, and David Manel of Bucs Dugout stopped by.