When we did our mid-season update of our top 50 prospects after the draft signing period ended, just one player from Morgantown made that list. The Pittsburgh Pirates sent their top four draft picks, plus two of their better over-slot signings, to the GCL team. The top young pitching prospects from the 2016 draft were sent to Bristol, while some of the better lower level prospects skipped over Morgantown and went right to West Virginia. As you will see in the list below, the Pirates got some strong performances from the players they sent to Morgantown, especially from 2017 draft picks, who make up 70% of our top ten prospects. Here is our end of the year rundown of the best prospects at the level.
TOP 10 MORGANTOWN PROSPECTS
The cutoff for eligibility on this list was 70 at-bats, 20 innings pitched, or 10 relief appearances. No one of note missed the list due to those cutoffs. Most of the list is based on upside, rather than the results this year. The upside can be a bit easier to predict than the GCL and Bristol ratings, but it’s still a difficult projection.
1. Tristan Gray, 2B/SS - Through the first few weeks of the Morgantown season, Gray looked like a superstar in the making. He was consistently making hard contact with a sweet left-handed swing, smoking line drives around the ballpark, which led to a 1.104 OPS through 15 games. It was even more impressive than that number indicates, as he had a lot of loud outs and crushed foul balls. The numbers fell off in his final 38 games, with a .716 OPS the rest of the way, but it was still a strong season from a 13th round draft pick. Gray was playing second base full-time during the start of the season, then saw more time at shortstop later in the year. If he could stick at shortstop, that would improve his value, but the bat looks like it could play up anywhere. He's 6' 3" with plenty of room to fill out, though the power is there already and he doesn't strike out often, so adding muscle to his frame isn't a necessity.
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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.