Baseball America released their top 20 prospects from the 2013 Eastern League, and the Pittsburgh Pirates had three players on the list. Jameson Taillon, Gregory Polanco, and Nick Kingham were all ranked, with the latter two playing the second half of the season at the level.
Taillon was ranked sixth overall in the league, and the third best pitcher. Baseball America noted that his changeup improved to the point that some rate it higher than his curveball, which is a plus offering. Even if that’s not the case, he’s got two plus pitches, and a good changeup, which is enough to be a top of the rotation pitcher.
Polanco finished right behind Taillon at number seven. This is where the Baseball America rankings get strange. Polanco was the fourth best prospect in the Florida State League this year. He was followed by Maikel Franco (5), and Noah Syndergaard (6). Yet in the Eastern League rankings, Polanco was rated seventh, with Franco (4th) and Syndergaard (3rd) rated ahead of him. The league prospect lists usually come with some input from people in the league, which could mean that FSL managers liked Polanco more. However, since Franco and Syndergaard are also rated above Taillon, I’d say it’s probably that EL managers liked those two more than FSL managers. It’s also worth considering that the rankings are done by two different people, rather than the overall BA rankings, which are done by everyone. That’s another key factor that leads to these types of inconsistencies each year.
Nick Kingham was ranked 15th in the Eastern League. He was ranked 11th in the FSL rankings. Once again, BA noted that Kingham has the profile to be a mid-rotation workhorse, slotting in behind Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon.
Here are the top Pirates prospects in previous EL rankings:
2012 – Gerrit Cole (3)
2011 – Starling Marte (7), Kyle McPherson (20)
2010 – Bryan Morris (14), Rudy Owens (15)
2009 – Pedro Alvarez (1), Brad Lincoln (10), Jose Tabata (15)
2008 – Jose Tabata (12)