We talk about trade values all the time on the site, usually focusing on the value of major league players who could be options for the Pirates. The values of the prospects in the system are pretty static and easy to come up with. They are usually based on whether the prospect is a top 100 guy, or whether he is rated as a Grade B or C prospect. The top 100 rankings are usually based off Baseball America, while John Sickels is usually the source for Grade B/C rankings.
We use our updated trade values for guys in the top 100, and Victor Wang’s research for the values of Grade B/C prospects. I usually mention examples of prospect values in articles, but I figured it would be good to have a complete list. Before we get to which prospects belong in which list, I wanted to add a disclaimer. The values below should be a guideline and not a rule. The groups are broken up in sections. In some cases there won’t be a difference between a top 11-25 prospect and a top 26-50 prospect, especially when a guy is ranked 24th-27th. Saying a guy is worth X amount less because he’s rated one spot lower by one outlet is kind of ridiculous.
The values below also depend on personal opinions. I used Baseball America and John Sickels as guides for where guys ranked, but in the end it was my personal opinion for the grades. Some people might not see Stetson Allie or Dilson Herrera as Grade B prospects. Some people might see Tyler Glasnow as a top 25 prospect. This is another situation where the rankings are a guide, rather than a rule.
I also didn’t go crazy with the Grade C prospects. I used guys who had a shot at our top 50, but just because a guy isn’t listed doesn’t mean he isn’t a Grade C prospect. Also, I didn’t include too many short-season players, since those players don’t usually get traded. My only disclaimer with the Grade C guys is that not everyone below Grade B is a Grade C prospect. Some guys aren’t even prospects at all. So it’s not like you can take a few lower level, one inning college relievers or bench players and package them for a proven major leaguer.
With all of that said, here are the trade values for the prospects in the Pirates system. So when you see a trade value article go up, and the value is $5 M, you’ll be able to check this article, see a few examples of $5 M prospects (or two ~$2.5 M prospects), and get an idea of what it would cost in terms of actual prospects in the system.
Top 11-25 Pitchers ($18.89 M)
Jameson Taillon – He was the #11 prospect in Baseball America’s top 50. This is where prospect values can be subjective. If Taillon moves up one spot, he’s a top ten pitching prospect with a value of $26.70 M. Does one spot lower mean he’s worth $8 M less in a trade? It probably shouldn’t matter for Taillon, as the Pirates should make him untouchable.
Top 51-100 Pitchers ($7.50 M)
Tyler Glasnow – Baseball America didn’t have him in the top 50, but indicated that he’s just outside the list. This is another situation where if he moves up a few spots he’s worth almost double the value. Glasnow isn’t a guy I’d deal, since he could easily be a top 25 pitching prospect next year, and maybe even a top 10 pitching prospect.
Grade B Pitchers ($7.30 M)
Nick Kingham – I would think Kingham would make the top 100 list, but the difference in value isn’t huge so I put him here.
Luis Heredia – Heredia is in the same situation as Kingham. If he’s not a 51-100 prospect, he’s a Grade B pitching prospect with little difference in value.
Grade C Pitchers – 22 and Under ($2.1 M)
Clay Holmes – Sickels had Holmes as a B- pitcher and borderline C+ before the year. He’s struggled some, so it’s safe to say he’s more of a Grade C pitcher now.
Casey Sadler – He’s putting up strong numbers in the Altoona rotation with a lot of ground ball outs. He has the upside of a back of the rotation starter in the majors.
Joely Rodriguez – He’s a lefty who is throwing 91-94 with good movement and control.
Adrian Sampson – He has struggled this year, but has a good arm so he should still have Grade C value based on potential.
Zack Dodson – Similar to Sampson. He has a good arm, but has struggled. He’d only have value in a trade if a team valued his future potential over the current results.
Orlando Castro – His numbers in Bradenton haven’t been great, but he had great numbers in West Virginia and usually has good command with a good curveball and decent fastball velocity.
Grade C Pitchers – 23 and Over ($1.5 M)
Kyle McPherson – I don’t see him getting traded since he is out for the year.
Phil Irwin – Same as McPherson.
Stolmy Pimentel – He probably would have more value to the Pirates as rotation depth and a September bullpen option. I’d almost put him as a Grade B- pitching prospect.
Vic Black – He’s major league ready, so he could have a bit more value than this. He could help the Pirates in the majors this year, so I wouldn’t want to see him dealt unless it’s for someone who can provide an impact this year.
Andy Oliver – His control has been horrible, but he has some good results outside of the walks, and should be eligible for a fourth option next year. That would make him a good project to a team that needs pitching.
Brandon Cumpton – He has already made a few starts in the majors this year, and might have more value as a depth option rather than a minor trade chip.
Duke Welker – He’s older than most prospects, but has good results and could be a good reliever for a team needing pitching. He has value to the Pirates as bullpen depth this year, and could be in the bullpen full time next year.
Top 11-25 Hitters ($33.36 M)
Gregory Polanco – I think he should be untouchable.
Top 26-50 Hitters ($18.12 M)
Alen Hanson – Of all the top prospects who rank in the top 50 range, he’s the one I would mind parting with the least. It’s not that I don’t like his upside. I think he could be a shortstop and a good top of the order hitter. But the risk with Hanson is greater than the risk with Polanco, Taillon, and possibly even Glasnow. Still, that doesn’t mean the Pirates should just give him away, and definitely not for a rental.
Top 51-100 Hitters ($10.43 M)
I don’t know if any of the Pirates prospects will end up here. The candidates would be the Grade B prospects, and most of them would be candidates for the back of this list. So some of those guys might carry a little more value, such as something between $5.5 M and $10.43 M.
Grade B Hitters ($5.5 M)
Josh Bell – I like Bell’s upside, but he’s got some issues with his swing making him less of a guarantee than other guys ahead of him. He’s also an outfielder, and if the Pirates trade from their outfield depth, it should be the lower level guys.
Dilson Herrera – Herrera is more potential than results right now, although the results aren’t bad. The potential is big, as Herrera has the upside of an offensive second baseman.
Tony Sanchez – He’s not the top prospect in the system at all, but Sanchez should be untouchable. After Russell Martin leaves following the 2014 season, he should be the starter. He’s the only internal option who could take over in 2015.
Barrett Barnes – Similar to Bell. He’s got a big upside, has more to work on than the top guys in the system, and the Pirates have plenty of outfield prospects so they won’t feel the impact if they trade one of the lower level guys.
Stetson Allie – His placement here really depends on how teams view the strikeout risk. The power is very real, but the strikeouts could hold him back.
Wyatt Mathisen – I have him here more on potential, but he’s injured and probably wouldn’t be considered for a trade.
Harold Ramirez – He’s an outfielder, and the Pirates could afford to lose outfielders. The Pirates liked Ramirez more than most teams when they signed him, and even though he’s now dominating a college league at the age of 18, I could see them still holding him at a higher value than most teams.
Grade C Hitters – 22 and Under ($0.7 M)
Grade C Hitters – 23 and Over ($0.5 M)
The value of Grade C hitters is so small that it’s probably not worth listing them here. Also, if you’re coming up with a trade idea surrounding Grade C hitters, you’re either lowballing the other team in the proposed deal, or talking about someone who would only be traded in exchange for salary relief. In that case “Grade C hitter” will be good enough. There are guys here who might be closer to Grade B hitters for some teams. Alex Dickerson is a prime example.