Pirates Have Four in Keith Law’s Mid-Season Top 50

Keith Law has released his mid-season top 50 prospects, and has four Pittsburgh Pirates prospects on the list. This is consistent with the previous prospect lists, which had 4-5 prospects listed.

Law has Tyler Glasnow as the top guy in the system, coming in ranked at number 20. That’s the same as his pre-season ranking. Law says that Glasnow has two above-average secondary offerings now, which shows the improvements he has made with his changeup. Fastball command is going to be a key thing for the right-hander to work on, and that’s the main thing Law points out. He says Glasnow has the upside of a number one starter.

The next prospect on the list is Josh Bell, who made a big jump to number 29, going up from 97 in the pre-season. Law says that Bell is back to where he was supposed to be, and calls him a middle of the order bat who could hit for average with 25-30 homers a year. Bell was recently promoted to Double-A, so the rest of the year should give a good view of how he performs against upper level pitching.

Jameson Taillon came in third, ranked number 38. Law was lower on him in the pre-season, ranking him 27th. Law previously said he’s got number one starter stuff, but has lack of deception and a below-average changeup. The changeup was something that Taillon was showing improvements with in 2013, so that rating could change once he comes back, if he continues to improve the pitch.

The final player is Austin Meadows, who comes in at number 40, down from his pre-season rank of 35. Law was high on Meadows as a sleeper in the pre-season, saying he could jump to the top 10. However, his hamstring injury prevented him from moving up the list. Law says he’s got the potential to be a middle of the order bat.

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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  • Kevin_Young

    Not that I have any problem with where everyone ranks Taillon, but it’s such an obvious case of prospect fatigue. I really don’t see what’s changed about his actual pitching profile.

    • http://batman-news.com NMR

      Well, other than the ligament holding his throwing arm together…

      • Kevin_Young

        Obviously, and to an extent I agree, but that won’t likely change his profile. Nor does that make Bundy a lesser prospect, or Harvey and Fernandez less valuable pitchers. Also, he was dropping before the injury and without much cause.

        • http://batman-news.com NMR

          Strongly disagree.
          .
          If Billy Hamilton blew out his knee in AAA, you can guarantee his prospect ranking would suffer. Taillon’s arm is to pitching as Hamilton’s legs are to running. Dylan Bundy was dropped in rankings before climbing back up once he showed he still had his stuff, and Taillon will as well assuming successful rehab. Just how this works.
          .
          As for why he was slipping before the injury, it’s really simple: he just wasn’t dominating as a top pitching prospect should. That’s it. As Pirate fans that understand how they develop pitchers, this shouldn’t worry us at all. But you gotta put yourself in the shoes of these people doing the rankings.

          • Kevin_Young

            They’re also aware of that, as they make note of that in essentially every post about a Pirate pitcher. It certainly makes it more difficult to slot our guys because of that, but again the ranking itself doesn’t bother me.

            I’ll agree to disagree on this though. I know where you’re coming from and I understand it, but TJ surgery is not a big deal for a prospect, and as much as I love Glasnow, I’d rather have Taillon in my system over him, but he’s 20 slots behind.

            • http://batman-news.com NMR

              Couldn’t agree more with you there, Kevin. Excellent point.

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

            Blowing out a knee is so much worse than Tommy John surgery. One is a potential career killer and the other is a year off.

            • http://batman-news.com NMR

              Ugh.

            • Y2JGQ2

              And in this case, it wasn’t even a torn tendon leading to the TJ, this was, dare i say, less severe.

            • Y2JGQ2

              Some pitchers do never come back the same- strasburg for example, never regained that 100MPH fastball…..

              • Y2JGQ2

                if taillon comes back throwing 93/94……he isn’t going to get anyone out unless he magically now has plus movement

  • deacs

    Tim – do you think the assessment of Taillon is fair? Not that he ripped him. Was just curious.

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

      It’s fair. I think he’s got a better changeup than below-average. The “his stuff is too hittable for a number one” has always been the knock.

      • deacs

        Is the “lack of deception” fixable?

        • Y2JGQ2

          its always fixable……but its a pitching coach thing. doing things like locke, adding a twist, pulling the ball back and hiding it longer……but it comes with the potential price of creating command/control issues, losing velocity, etc

  • William Wallace

    Not to call into his question but why even rank him.He has had major arm surgery and until he comes back healthy which by the way is a large question mark I would asterisk him. Say that if he comes back to where he was last year he would be ranked X.

    • Andrew

      The surgery just changes his risk profile, all prospects have risk attached. Personally I think a hard thrower walking almost 5 batters/9 in high A is a absurdly risky prospect, but teams and rankings love upside.

      • http://batman-news.com NMR

        Don’t you dare say that about Tyler Glasnow.

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

      Law did kind of say that. I think TJ is so automatic now that it doesn’t really impact a player’s rankings. If Taillon had a shoulder problem, he’d probably fall way down the list, as that can be a career killer.

      • http://batman-news.com NMR

        So Dylan Bundy dropped in every single ranking this season for something OTHER than the fact that he had his pitching elbow reconstructed?
        .
        Sure. Makes sense.

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

          I don’t really follow Bundy, so I can’t say where he was before or now. I also don’t know why people ranked him where he was before the season, or now.

        • Kevin_Young

          I’ll say Bundy was placed where he was in large part because he reached the majors at such a young age. He fell back (and only from the very top to about the top 10) because that relative age wouldn’t be so impressive anymore.

  • jaygray007

    I just hope Taillon at least becomes a #3 innings eater type at least.

    Not the ace we were hoping for, but a heck of a lot better than Bryan Bullington, Sean Burnett, and Brad Lincoln ended up being…

    • Y2JGQ2

      He should still end up being better than kingham, so if he fits in between cole and kingham, with morton as a #4 and one of 14 different pitchers at 5, i think we’d be okay

    • csnumber23

      So you are ready to say he is not the ace we were hoping for?? Just because Keith Law dropped him doesn’t mean he can’t still be the ace we are hoping for. I could care less where Keith Law ranks him. Lets wait until the kid gets back healthy and then to the show before we drop our hopes to a #3 starter. I still have extremely high hopes for him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrishale525 Chris Hale

    JT has the stuff to be a #1. That hasn’t changed and won’t change. He won’t be our #1 though. Hopefully he will be a #1 caliber starter filling our #2 or #3 spots. I envision 3 #1’s at the top of the rotation #1 Cole #2 Taillon and #3 Glasnow and a solid # 3 starter in Kingham and a solid 3 or 4 in Locke and Sampson in our rotation by 2016