Pirates Have Seven in Baseball Prospectus Top 101 Prospects

Jameson Taillon was the highest ranked Pirates prospect in BP's top 101.

Jameson Taillon was the highest ranked Pirates prospect in BP’s top 101.

Last week, MLB.com released their top 100 prospects, with the Pittsburgh Pirates having six players on the list. Today, Baseball Prospectus released their top 101 prospects, and the Pirates are once again well represented. This time they have seven players on the list.

The top prospect in the rankings is Jameson Taillon, who comes in at number 19 overall. That’s down from his 2013 ranking of 11, and is also down from his MLB.com ranking of 16th overall.

Gregory Polanco was next, ranking 24th overall. This was a big difference between his MLB.com ranking, where he ended up 13th overall, and ahead of Taillon.

Tyler Glasnow was third on the list, which matched his MLB.com placement among the Pirates prospects. His ranking with BP was 42nd, which was down from his #27 ranking with MLB.com.

Reese McGuire got a higher grade in BP’s ranking, coming in fourth on the Pirates list, and 59th overall. He just missed the MLB.com top 100, and was behind Austin Meadows, Alen Hanson, and Josh Bell on that list.

Josh Bell received about the same rating on both lists. He was 74th overall by MLB.com and BP had him 77th overall. Bell didn’t exactly dominate at the plate, but still shows good hitting tools, and it’s good to see that he’s still regarded as a top 100 prospect by two outlets.

Nick Kingham is another guy who just missed the MLB.com top 100, but finished in the BP top 101. He ranked 80th overall on this list, jumping past Meadows and Hanson.

Austin Meadows had a much lower ranking from BP. He was rated 45th overall by MLB.com, and was ahead of McGuire, Bell, and Kingham. On BP’s list, he was 89th overall. They included scouting reports for each player, although there were no reports available for McGuire and Meadows to explain why McGuire was much higher up, and Meadows was much lower.

Alen Hanson did not make the BP top 101 prospects, despite being ranked 67th by MLB.com.

Baseball Prospectus takes a different approach to the top prospect lists. In the last year they’ve put a big focus on having scouts at the games, getting live reports. I noticed that some of these reports went against the industry consensus, with the “industry” being “everyone who grades prospects online”. Sometimes that resulted in lower upsides for guys who are considered top prospects (I’ve seen Taillon and Glasnow mentioned as middle of the rotation starters), and sometimes that means higher rankings for some players (McGuire falling just outside of the top 50).

I will point out that since they’ve started this approach, BP has seen a few of their scouts hired by Major League teams, including some of the guys who had much different opinions about certain players. Prospect rankings can be funny in that manner. If you don’t have the same rankings as everyone else, then the initial reaction is that your rankings are wrong. The fact that BP’s scouts have gone on to MLB teams doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right. MLB scouts can also be wrong sometimes. It does show that teams feel some of these guys know what they’re talking about, even if their reports are different from others.

I personally don’t care about numerical rankings, which you’d know if you’ve purchased the Prospect Guide the last three years. I prefer to look at the reports. In this case, some of the reports are much different. I actually like when a report is different. It gives you the opportunity to go back and look at a prospect, evaluate all of the reports, and decide which report makes the most sense. You don’t get that opportunity when everyone ranks prospects the same way, and every report comes out with Jameson Taillon rated as a top of the rotation guy.

That’s what it should be all about. There’s never a consensus in grading prospects. Two scouts can look at the same player and have two completely different opinions. That’s why you always hear of “scouts being mixed” on a player or his tools around the time of the draft. Time determines who is correct in each individual case. The initial reaction is to ignore rankings that go against the consensus, but I prefer looking at those rankings and grades to get a different view point. In the long run, you might also find someone who finds top prospects before everyone else, or someone who correctly guessed that a prospect wouldn’t be as good as everyone else thought he would be.

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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  • glassers

    That is why I love the eyes on test !!!!!

    • https://profiles.google.com/108870717547098474743 James Wohler

      Hello Tim,
      I was wondering if you ever considered doing your own Top 100 list for all of MLB? Love the site and your guide. I do realize you may not have the time or the knowledge of all the prospects out there. Do you follow any other particular teams? How about particular minor leagues?
      Thanks,
      James

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

        I only focus on the Pirates, so I wouldn’t be able to do a list with prospects from other teams.

  • bucsfan1978

    Tim – I had a twitter exchange yesterday with Jason Parks re: Meadows and the lower ranking. Parks see him as a LF all the way and does not like the bat speed. Those were the reasons he gave for the lower ranking.

    • emjayinTN

      I sure hope that slow bat continues because the numbers he put up in the GCL in his first exposure to professional baseball straight from HS were excellent – slash of .294/.399/.519/.918 OPS, and then he went to Short season and did even better. Was he getting lucky? He probably had around 200 plate appearances professionally, and way too many scouts who watched him in HS and made him one of the best draft prospects last year. Were they wrong? I am an eyes-on type of evaluator myself, but I have also learned to look at the numbers, and the numbers tell me he was one of the best hitters in the GCL last year. And, I am thrilled that we have that many guys in the Top 101.

      Tim: Did this service put out any projection for players prior to the amateur draft in 2013 – I wonder how they rated Meadows before the draft.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 leefoo

        emjay….agree…I’ve seen videos (and I ain’t no scout, but..) that bat looks awfully quick to me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 leefoo

      Parks on Meadows:

      “When I’ve put eyes on Meadows, I’ve been impressed with his athleticism and physical profile, but his plan at the plate and swing never did much for me. I get the short-season results, and I’m not discounting production. But I don’t see a CF profile from Meadows, and I don’t see Frazier-like bat speed either, so the profile is a little light for me. He’s still a top 101 player in a very loaded talent class, so its not like I’m suggesting he’s a bust or a fringe-prospect.”

  • jaygray007

    all of the details of the “tools” will probably be released next week when they do the full Pirate report, but the attached tools chart ( the bottom of http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22664) gives us a hint of what’s to come.

    this chart has Reese McGuire as a potential 5 tool star… 6 hit, arm, and glove, 5+ run, and 5 power.

    That sounds like Russell Martin from his awesome Dodger days.

    Other interesting ones… Meadows 6 Power and Run. 5+glove. 5 hit. Kingham 6 FB and CB, 5+ changeup. I dig it.

    • jaygray007

      Not that we didnt already know this stuff from Tim’s info :)

      just cool to see the national publication confirm it all.

  • elgaupo

    I think the Bucs were aware about Meadows’ longer swing when they drafted him. I’m sure they’re working on shortening it up… or at least getting through the zone faster.

    Probably ditto with Polanco. A “Griffeyesque” swing means it’s pretty long… but Griffey did get through the zone pretty quick, so it is possible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 leefoo

    Parks on Meadows:
    Meadows 6 Power and Run. 5+glove. 5 hit.
    =========
    More from Parks about my favorite pitcher, Kingham:

    Kingham 6 FB and CB, 5+ changeup.
    ======

    Btw, along with those 3 pitches, Kingham gets a 6+ for command I bet.

    I actually like Kingham’s future more than JT’s (and that is NOT discounting JT).

    Foo

  • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 leefoo

    Btw, The Cubs have seven prospects in the top 100 (including Javier Baez at No. 4).

    Gosh I hope they all fail….lol.

    • Kevin_Young

      The good news for us is that a lot of their top guys have swing and miss problems. Always scary

  • MaineBucs

    In quickly scanning the BP list I see where Tampa Bay s only 2 prospects in the top 101; one is #90 and I believe the other is #94. Further, Ordozzi (#94) was picked up in a trade vs. being drafted by the Rays.

    In short, while many appropriately note that the Pirates should use the Rays as a model, at least when it comes to higher rated prospects, perhaps the Pirates are actually doing something better than the Rays.

    Good to see so many Pirates in the Top 101.

    • jaygray007

      theRays haven’t had a high draft pick in a while… Once the pirates go a few years with low 1st rounders, Rene Gayo is really going to have to start churning out the low bonus Latin players.