Pittsburgh Pirates Have Six Top 100 Prospects

After going through the top ten by positions, MLB.com released their top 100 list Thursday night and the Pittsburgh Pirates had six players in the top 100, led by Gregory Polanco, who finished 13th overall. They had four players among the top 50 prospects. Polanco was ranked third among all outfielders earlier this week. He jumped well up the charts this year after ranking 65th overall last year.

Jameson Taillon was second among Pirates players, ranking 16th overall. He finished fifth among all right-handed pitchers. Taillon finished just one spot under where he was last year.

Tyler Glasnow was 11th overall among right-handed pitchers and that was because the position is deep with prospects. He came in at #27 on the top 100 list. He was unranked last year.

Austin Meadows was ranked ninth among all outfielders and that landed him 45th overall on the top 100 list. Meadows was drafted this year, so this is his debut on the top prospect list.

Alen Hanson was next at #67 after finishing eighth among all shortstops. He dropped 13 places from last year’s list, though they mentioned that this class is much deeper than previous years.

Josh Bell was 11th overall for outfielders according to Johnathan Mayo. He came in at 74th on the overall list. Bell was not on the top 100 list last year due to his knee injury that cost him much of the season.

The Pirates had five players ranked in the top ten by position this year. Those individual articles can be found here.

Nick Kingham didn’t make the top 100, though Jim Callis did put him in his own personal top 100 list.

Reese McGuire was also mentioned by Callis as someone that just missed. He finished seventh among catchers.

Last year, four Pirates players were in the top 100. Gerrit Cole finished ninth, Jameson Taillon was 15th, Alen Hanson ranked 54th and Gregory Polanco was 65th overall.

 

 

John Dreker

Author: John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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  • https://profiles.google.com/100212786463678215436 Nathan Swartz

    Hrrrrmph. Shafted. Thought for sure Reese was in. Kingham was wildcard. Oh well, whatcha gonna do?!

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

    Looking over the list, I can’t help but feel that there was zero difference between #55 and what would be 130. I think the pirates did get shafted, but it’s just a meaningless list. I wonder how many more pirates players would be appearing on it if they just went out to play for minor league stats, like Boston’s ludicrous 8 on the top 100?

    • The Masked robshelb

      .

      Agreed here — kind’a meaningless. But it helps pass the time until ST starts. And I’m sure all the experts just love to draw up these lists !!

      I looked back at the MLB list from this time last year. For example, they had Yasiel Puig ranked 76th and Michael Wacha ranked 83rd. Yet no more than six months later, both those guys were making national sports headlines at the Big League level. Conversely, you and I are both sure that many other players ranked higher than that last year (and this year) will never make a true ML impact.

      Still, it beats talking about the weather (which right now mostly absolutely sucks).

      .

    • NastyNate82

      Not sure what you mean by playing for stats in regards to Boston. I think the strength of their system is more the depth, but I’d rather have the Bucs anyways. Pittsburgh seems to have 2-3 A-level type guys (Polanco, Taillon, and Glasnow) where I’d say the Sox only really have 1 (Humphrey Boegarts…and yes, that’s what I’m going to call him from now on). Owens and Bradley don’t really seem to fit that level for me, although maybe Bradley might. He kind of strikes me as a poor-man’s Polanco. Irony, I suppose, referring to anything that Boston has as a poor-man’s anything.

  • KJA_1970

    Oh well. Kingham will be one of the top 100 pitchers in the majors by the end of next year. Some guys never get much respect as prospects (Marte is a recent example).

  • emjayinTN

    The folks who make these selections have guys on the Top 100 who have strong reputations of being 5 tool position players or pitchers with awesome stuff. I am very happy with the guys the Pirates have in this Top 100. Watching MLB TV this morning and each of the experts were picking their Top 3 off of the Top 100 List. They all had Byron Buxton as their No. 1, but Jonathan Mayo picked Gregory Polanco as his #3 guy. Buxton is a kid who topped out at Hi A in 2013 and had an excellent year, but then played in the Arizona Fall League and barely managed to get above the Mendoza Line – and this is the best prospect in baseball? He is a talent, but somewhere along the line, actual performance should be included in the overall measurement. Based on performance, ROY and MVP of the Dominican Winter League, Gregory Polanco could have easily been selected as the best prospect. Kris Bryant had a solid year and an excellent performance in the AFL.

    Nick Kingham is not on the list because many of the contributors get locked onto kids and then never bother looking beyond that. Kingham was possibly high average coming out of HS – 90 mph fastball, therefore he was never a big “Prospect”. He has managed to work himself up to the upper 90′s and has developed better than some of the flamethrowers who got tremendous press, but they tend to pass over guys who had to work to get to where they are at. NK has made excellent progress and I fully expect him to be in Pittsburgh sometime in 2014 – our 2015 Rotation will be Cole, Taillon, Kingham, Morton, and choice of Locke, Wilson, Cumpton, or Pimental.

    • jaygray007

      Small sample sizes of the winter leagues aside, Polanco is also 2 years older and is used to the AA and AAA level competition that the winter leagues present. Buxton only got to hi A and is perfectly on schedule.

      And if you do want to say to strictly look at the stats, Buxton hit better in his stops in A and hi A than polanco did. Polanco is awesome, but right now Buxton has Trout upside that Polanco just doesnt quite have.

      And yeah Kingham could’ve made it. There just isn’t that much separating players 50 to 150. Rafael Montero, J.O. Berrios, Matt Barnes, Taylor Guerreri, Trey Ball, etc are all also great pitching prospects. Don’t overthink it. Kingham is fantastic (and it seems that the MLB.com evaluators agree), but so are the guys who did make the list. Not every player can make the list. Let’s just be happy that they said he was close to making it, and like you said, appreciate that a rotation of (give or take a player) Cole, Taillon, Glasnow, Kingham, and Morton and with those other guys you mentioned in the mix is going to look incredible in a few years

      • emjayinTN

        I have not bought into Buxton as the consensus No. 1 as yet, and think it should be a player/pitcher closer to the majors. He certainly is a talented CF and hitter, but I think the Pirates have a better CF and hitter in Gregory Polanco.

        Glasnow is interesting, and I wonder if the Pirates will try to accelerate him in any way. As a kid just in Hi A, he could be 3 years away, but the Pirates just do not seem to be into fast-tracking pitchers like some of the other MLB Clubs do. In fact, the Pirates have this first wave of pitching that could end with Kingham, and then they have another group of what could be outstanding SP’s led by Glasnow, and then Heredia, and 4 or 5 others who were at Lo A last year, and then a third wave who came in last year’s draft.

        • NastyNate82

          There really is nothing to suggest that Polanco is better than Buxton at this stage. If you’re looking at a guy who should fit the criteria as closer to the majors in regards to the #1 overall prospect, who fits that bill? Boegarts?

    • NastyNate82

      Buxton is a stud. I’m not really sure what you’re referring to as far as “actual performance” with him, as he hit .334 across two levels last year, with great EB power, speed, defense, and a good eye. A small hiccup in the AFL doesn’t hold any water; in fact, I’d say Buxton’s performance there is about as relevant as Polanco’s performance in the winter leagues. If you’re comparing him to Polanco as far as the level he’s gotten to, he’s a full two years younger than Polanco to boot, and is right on his tail, likely opening the season at AA. I like Polanco a lot and think he’s going to be very good, but Buxton is on a higher level, and it doesn’t really look close.

  • https://profiles.google.com/116899082423235635777 Monsoon Harvard

    Hard to believe Reese Maguire didn’t make that list. I bet he makes the Baseball America list.
    Harold Ramirez could have easily been on there too. He’ll be on next year’s list.

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

      He will not make it until everyone learns how to spell his last name.

      :). :). :)

  • jaygray007

    Yeah he’s a good defensive up-the-middle player who shouldn’t be a 0 with the stick.

    He’s kind of an Austin Hedges starter kit. I bet he gets some love next year as long as he plays well.

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

    EmJay…i agree with most of what you said about Nick Kingham except for the fact that je does NOT throw in the upper 90s. If he did, he would most likely be our #1 prospect.

    He DOES, however, have great command.

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

      ‘He’ not ‘je’….unless you’re spanish, and then it is okay.

    • wtm1613

      From Tim’s piece this morning (as well as in the Prospect Guide) on Kingham on as the number 6 prospect:

      “Kingham added a few MPH each year to his fastball, eventually getting to the point where he was sitting 92-95 MPH and touching as high as 97-98.”

      Sure sounds like upper 90′s to me. While he may not be able to maintain it through a game like Cole, he can get it there when needed.

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

        and you think I would’ve known that, having read the book.

  • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=68131979 Tony Hareras

    Does it bother anyone else that Sano is the number three prospect?

    • John Dreker

      Sano is there based on his power potential. He ran into some trouble in AA and he is far from the five-tool shortstop he was billed to be, but his power is beyond legit. His AA numbers would worry me a little, .236 avg and striking out every 2.9 AB, but he was 20-years-old too and working on his defense(he’s probably moving to a corner OF spot if you listen to the scouts). He has some questions marks with his contact, but if he puts it all together, he could be one of the top power-hitters in all of baseball. I think fourth overall is too high for Sano, but he is definitely a top ten at this point.

      You could sort of liken him to Stetson Allie, in that Allie has the same tremendous power, but it comes with the contact issues. If Allie gets better in that regard, then he becomes a legit prospect at first base, something the Pirates could use. Allie is older than Sano, but both are young in experience at the plate.

      • Kevin_Young

        Yea to be honest, I was shocked to see him that high on the list. He’s at the very least a High Risk player in BBA terms and h’es kind of a two tool guy

  • CalipariFan506

    The best part here is that even after Graduating Polanco and Taillon this season, Glasnow, Hanson, Meadows, Bell, McGuire and potentially Ramirez and Haeredia and who knows what other breakout guys could all be there next season.

  • buster09

    Not much to add regarding Sano after reading John’s assessment. I would like to add though that watching him attempt to play 3d base through a 3 game series in Altoona last season was almost painful.

    • John Dreker

      The Twins brought in Paul Molitor to work closely with him and they say he got a little better, but to go from a five-tool shortstop to a butcher at third base with limited speed, that was something the scouts didn’t see with him filling out so much. It almost makes me believe his age really is right, or at least close to right, because he keeps getting bigger. He definitely has some risk, high reward. Added to that risk is that he got hurt in Winter ball

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

        John…I’ve read he should end up at DH.

        You’re correct in that nobody saw him getting as big as he is now.

        If we had signed him, where would he play? I would suspect 1b?

        • John Dreker

          DH would work too, although he does have a tremendous arm, so that would be wasted. I would think in Pittsburgh, he’d be playing 1B at Altoona starting this year. I heard he should start in AAA, but that strikeout rate is scary, so I think he needs more AA time. No need to rush him, he is (supposedly) still 20 years old on Opening Day

          • NastyNate82

            It does sound like his arm would be wasted at DH, I wonder if they’d try him in RF. I wonder if he’ll get moved around a bit, kind of like Jose Bautista.

  • http://atung.net/ Steve Zielinski

    Prospect lists reflect hype more often than is desirable. That’s one reason I prefer a group-ranking system — eg. A > B > C> etc. Groups diminish the effects generated by hype. Another reason: The differences between a prospect rank 2 and a prospect rank 10 may be small, a degree of separation which may be obscured by the 8-place difference in the typical rank order used — ie. 1, 2, 3, 4…. — in prospect rankings. Groups can better capture the talent of a player without requiring anyone to split hairs while assigning players to a 1-100 index.

    When one considers Heredia, Kingham and McGuire with a group -ranking system, it’s easy to include them in the bottom half of BAs ranking.

    Oh, and Sano ≅ Giancarlo Stanton

    Recently, some wanted to trade the farm for Stanton. We could have had our Stanton if not for the %$!%*(&% Rob Plummer.