First Pitch: Even With Polanco in the Majors, Pirates Well Represented in Prospect Rankings

It was a busy news day today, but the big news to start the day was that the mid-season prospect rankings came out from both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. The Pirates had four in the Baseball Prospectus rankings, and had five in Baseball America’s Top 50. Neither list saw the Pirates with any top 20 talent, which isn’t a huge surprise.

Gregory Polanco was just promoted, which removes the only guy who had a chance to be a top 20 prospect. Jameson Taillon is recovering from Tommy John surgery, so his stock was expected to fall out of the top 20. Tyler Glasnow continues to trend up in the prospect lists, but will probably need a reduction in control or success in Altoona to move higher. Josh Bell has soared up the rankings, but is another guy who would need success in Double-A to continue moving up. Austin Meadows could have a chance at the top 20 if he tears up South Atlantic League pitching over the final two months.

All of the top guys are in the majors right now, after mid-season promotions the last few years (Polanco, Gerrit Cole, Starling Marte). It’s good that the Pirates still have 4-5 guys who could be considered top 50 talent in baseball, and that doesn’t include the other guys who could easily make the 51-100 list.

The best part about the lists is that three of the consensus players were pitchers, and pitching is a need for the Pirates in the long-term. Taillon, Glasnow, and/or Kingham should join the Pirates in the next year or two, and possibly earlier for Kingham. They won’t all reach their ceilings, but that mix plus Cole should give the Pirates some solid young pitching at the top of the rotation, as long as the Pirates keep them together.

Pirates News

**Pirates to Place Gerrit Cole on the DL and Call Up Brandon Cumpton

**Francisco Liriano shines in rehab appearance

Those two become linked, as Liriano could step in for Cole after Cumpton makes what would amount to one spot start. If Cole comes back after the All-Star break, then the Pirates will have that tough decision I talked about the other day, involving Liriano.

**Pirates Are Moving Closer to the Wild Card in Latest Playoff Projections. They’re going to need to do better against winning teams, and teams in their division, in order to continue the recent upward trend.

Prospect News

**Prospect Watch: Rehab is the Theme For Monday’s Minor League Games. The first half of the season had a lot of injuries in the system. A lot of those players are now on their way back.

**Harold Ramirez Placed on Disabled List. Unfortunately, the injury problems aren’t totally gone.

**Pirates Trade Chris Dickerson to the Cleveland Indians. He started in left field for Cleveland tonight, and went 1-for-2. I saw several people saying the Pirates should have replaced Travis Snider with Dickerson to give him a shot in the majors. I don’t think that would have been a bad idea.

**Minor Moves: Hard-Throwing Lefty Promoted to United States From DSL

**Minor Moves: Justin Howard to the Altoona DL, Dan Gamache and Nate Baker Activated

**Top 10 Hitters: Is JaCoby Jones a Candidate For a Mid-Season Promotion?

**Altoona Sends Six Players to the Eastern League All-Star Game

**Prospect Highlights: Homer From Alen Hanson, Strikeout By Nick Kingham

**Minor League Schedule: Billy Roth Has Strong Numbers Despite His Results

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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  • leadoff

    The Pirates not having a top 20 usually indicates that they do not have top talent, someone they could flip for a NO.1 pitcher or hitter, but the Pirates don’t seem to be interested in flipping as much as they are in developing players that know how to perform when they get to the majors. Pitchers that pitch and do not throw, pitchers with 3 pitches instead of one or two, this development process usually results in stats that are slightly off from where they could be should Pirate young prospects take a different route. Glasnow for example probably blows through the low minors if he throws nothing but a fastball and he could look very good, but in the high minors and majors they will catch up to him if he does not develop the secondary pitches. I wonder if some teams showcase players in the minors? would make them more appealing when trying to deal them.

    • leowalter

      Leadoff,I think the Nats do the same with their pitching prospects. Last week I watched Zach Kroenke who was pitching for Harrisburg against the Curve, throwing nothing but 4 seamers along with an occasional changeup, and he was getting hammered. But he never deviated from his routine one little bit.

      • deacs

        I wish him well. Irwin probably would’ve been behind Sadler at this point on the depth chart and Sadler can’t seem to get anything besides a bullpen role in the majors because of the Cumptons, Lockes, Worleys, etc.

        • leowalter

          If not for the physical problems deacs, I’m not so much sure he wouldn’t have been a great back of the rotation candidate by next Spring. I really think they would have liked to have snuck him through waivers. But, all water over the dam now.

          • deacs

            I was under the impression they were giving Irwin a shot elsewhere – like the Dickerson deal yesterday. Although had he cleared waivers I’m sure they would’ve been ok stashing him in AAA.

            • leowalter

              No, the Rangers claimed him off waivers. He wasn’t traded as Dickerson was.