Pirates Prospects » Prospect Rankings http://www.piratesprospects.com Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Sun, 18 May 2014 12:34:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Pirates Still Top Farm System in Baseball America’s Updated Rankings http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/pirates-still-top-farm-system-in-baseball-americas-updated-rankings.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/pirates-still-top-farm-system-in-baseball-americas-updated-rankings.html#comments Wed, 02 Apr 2014 14:43:07 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=75435 Baseball America has posted their updated rankings of the top farm systems in baseball and the Pittsburgh Pirates still top the list. The Pirates were ranked 11th overall in 2012 and they moved up four spots for the 2013 list.

Baseball America had seven Pittsburgh Pirates players in their top 100 prospect list. Earlier in the off-season, we heard that the Pirates were the top ranked system according to Baseball America, but that could have changed in the off-season depending on what teams did up to this point. The Pirates remained at the top though, three places ahead of the division rival Chicago Cubs and six spots ahead of the St Louis Cardinals. The Cincinnati Reds came in at #17 and the Milwaukee Brewers were one spot from the bottom, which is where most rankings place them.

John Manuel mentions that Willy Garcia is a sleeper prospect with high ceiling potential, if he controls the strike zone. That is a big issue with Garcia, who has power, excellent defense, a plus arm and decent running speed, but he doesn’t take walks and strikes out too much. He was the only player in the Pirates farm system to strike out over 100 times more than he walked last year and it wasn’t even close. Garcia had 23 walks and 154 strikeouts. Both of those numbers went the wrong way from his 2013 season in West Virginia, which wasn’t good to begin with and it is also a bad sign. Moving up to Altoona will be a big test for Garcia, who will start the season as the everyday right fielder. It is important to point out that he will play this entire season as a 21-year-old, so he will be among the youngest players in the Eastern League all season.

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John Sickels Releases Top 20 Pirates Prospect List http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/john-sickels-releases-top-20-pirates-prospect-list.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/john-sickels-releases-top-20-pirates-prospect-list.html#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 20:11:59 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=74876 Over at Minor League Ball, John Sickels has released his list of the Pittsburgh Pirates Top 20 Prospects. No surprises at the top, as Gregory Polanco sits in the first spot, followed by Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows.  Sickels has the same ten prospects in the top ten that almost every other list has, just a slightly different order. In spots 5-10, he has Nick Kingham, Josh Bell, Alen Hanson, Luis Heredia, Reese McGuire and Harold Ramirez.

In the second group of ten, he has Barrett Barnes, followed by catchers Tony Sanchez and Jin-De Jhang. Sickels calls the system one of the better ones in baseball and he thinks it can take a step forward next year. He also ranks players by letter grade, giving Polanco an A-, follow by four B+ grades. Everyone in the top 20 rates as at least a C+ grade.

You can check out other top twenty lists here with MLB Pipeline and our own personal top twenty list from the 2014 Prospect Guide.

Some other links of note with prospect rankings include Jonathan Mayo’s composite list of top 100 prospects and Fangraphs’ top 15 Pirates list.

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More Praise For Pirates Young Talent http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/more-praise-for-pirates-young-talent.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/more-praise-for-pirates-young-talent.html#comments Sat, 22 Mar 2014 19:18:39 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=74666 In the latest issue of Baseball America, J.J. Cooper and others ranked the top players by age(from 16 to 25) and the Pittsburgh Pirates had five representatives on the list. For each age, Cooper listed the top five players, so 50 names in all made the list.

Michael de la Cruz was named the fifth best 17-year-old. The center fielder was also named one of the top 20 players from the 2013 DSL/VSL season and one of ten international players with breakout potential this year. He is in his first season in the States and will likely open up the year in the Gulf Coast League.

Next up is the 18-year-old players and another center field made the list, Austin Meadows. He was ranked third overall in the group after a strong pro debut in 2013. The ninth overall selection in the 2013 draft will miss some regular season time due to a hamstring injury and cold weather in West Virginia.

The 22-year-old class is full of talent with Mike Trout, Michael Wacha, Kris Bryant and Jonathan Gray, but Gregory Polanco managed to sneak onto the list in fourth place. The Pirates right fielder of the future will likely join the club around mid-season and should help out the lineup immediately.

Gerrit Cole is the third best 23-year-old, falling behind Yasiel Puig and Wil Myers, the reigning AL Rookie of the Year.

Finally, Starling Marte ranked as the fourth best 25-year-old, falling behind Chris Sale, Elvis Andrus and Matt Harvey, who will miss the entire season, but still has the upside of an ace if he fully recovers from his Tommy John surgery.

Baseball America also recently released their list of best players 25-and-under, which included their ranking of each team based on their young talent. Baseball Prospectus ranked the Pirates fourth among 25-and-under talent. While he didn’t make the age list, Jameson Taillon(along with Polanco) was named one of the top 20 rookies for the 2014 season.

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Michael De La Cruz Named Top 20 DSL/VSL Prospect http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/michael-de-la-cruz-named-top-20-dslvsl-prospect.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/michael-de-la-cruz-named-top-20-dslvsl-prospect.html#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 13:51:02 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=74549 Ben Badler from Baseball America wrapped up his 2013 international signings recap with a look at the top 20 prospects in the two foreign leagues. The lone Pittsburgh Pirates representative was center fielder Michael de la Cruz, who was named our top DSL prospect to watch.

Badler did not rank the prospects in any order, instead listing 20 players alphabetical. For de la Cruz, he praised his plate patience, which helped him lead the league with 58 walks in 62 games. He also gave him plus tools for his defense in center field and his speed. The only weakness Badler mentions, is that he may never have much power, although it’s important to note that de la Cruz won’t turn 18 until this July, so he could still fill out that 6’1″ frame and add power to his game down the road.

That set of tools and strong rookie season in the DSL in 2013, got de la Cruz a promotion to Bradenton for the Fall Instructional League last October and he returned this month for Minor League Spring Training. He will more than likely open the season in the Gulf Coast League in 2014 and based on the recent progress of other strong international players(Dilson Herrera, Harold Ramirez), de la Cruz could be in West Virginia for the 2015 season.

Back in February, Baseball America also named him one of the top ten potential breakout prospects among international players. Summing up all those accolades for the young center field from the Dominican, Michael de la Cruz is someone Pirates fans should definitely keep an eye out this season and in the future.

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Three Pirates Among Top Young Talent in Baseball http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/three-pirates-among-top-young-talent-in-baseball.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/three-pirates-among-top-young-talent-in-baseball.html#comments Thu, 20 Mar 2014 21:42:56 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=74431 Baseball America released two lists today for young talent around baseball. First up was their rankings of top talent among players 25 years old or younger and the Pittsburgh Pirates were ranked 11th overall. Earlier in the month, Baseball Prospectus released a similar list and the Pirates ranked fourth, but their standard for ranking the players was different than Baseball America. BP rated the overall talent among players 25 and under, while BA favored teams that had more talent already in the majors.

Baseball America also released a list of the top individual players that are 25 and under. The top Pirates player on that list was Gerrit Cole in the 15th spot. Also on the list were Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte, coming in at #32 and #33 respectively. Jameson Taillon did not make the top 50 list.

The Pirates ranked third among NL Central teams on the team list, with the Cardinals coming in third place and the Cubs listed in fifth place. There is a big difference from the top three teams and the other two clubs in the division. The Reds finished 27th and Brewers were 29th, beating out only the New York Yankees. The Atlanta Braves were first overall.

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Polanco and Taillon Make Top 20 Rookie List http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/polanco-and-taillon-make-top-20-rookie-list.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/polanco-and-taillon-make-top-20-rookie-list.html#comments Wed, 19 Mar 2014 16:33:39 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=74354 Baseball America announced their picks for the top 20 rookies in 2014, with a write-up of what you can expect from each player this season. Two Pittsburgh Pirates players made their list. Gregory Polanco came in at #9, while Jameson Taillon was 16th. This is different from their prospect rankings in that it only considers rookies they expect to play significant roles in the majors this year.

For Polanco, they have the same prediction most people do. He will force his way into the right field job at mid-season. BA praises his command of the strike zone and how it will help his power output in the future. Reports on Polanco from Spring Training had his weight up to 230 pounds, which is 60 more than when he signed back in 2009, so he is filling out that large frame.

Taillon gets the Gerrit Cole comparison for his path to the majors and that seems most likely. BA mentions his plus stuff and the fact it hasn’t translated to the stats they expected, though they point out that Cole also had underwhelming results and he transitioned well to the majors. Taillon should see the majors around the same time as Polanco and both should be key parts to the Pirates second half this year.

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Polanco Tops MLB Pipeline’s Top 20 Pirates List http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/polanco-tops-mlb-pipelines-top-20-pirates-list.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/polanco-tops-mlb-pipelines-top-20-pirates-list.html#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 16:31:30 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=73996 MLB Pipeline released their top 20 list of Pittsburgh Pirates prospects today and Gregory Polanco heads the group. Almost every prospect ranking had Polanco ahead of Jameson Taillon, so this ranking is no surprise. The Pirates placed six players in MLB’s top 100 list and this latest ranking has them in the same order.

After Polanco and Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, Alen Hanson and Josh Bell round out the top six. It was mentioned during the top 100 rankings that Reese McGuire and Nick Kingham just missed, so not surprisingly, they rank seven and eight respectively.

Harold Ramirez and Luis Heredia round out the top ten. While the order is different for most people, there seems to be a near consensus that these are the top ten prospects in the system.

The bottom ten have some rankings that you don’t see anywhere else, including Willy Garcia ranked 11th. Garcia has all the tools to be a great player, but his plate patience and strikeout rates are a big concern and could keep him from fully reaching his potential. He has the best outfield arm in the system, can play strong defense in right field and run, plus he has power potential and he is just 21 years old. The problem is he walked 23 times last year and had 154 strikeouts. Those numbers were both worse than his 2012 total at West Virginia(32/131 BB/K) in virtually the same amount of plate appearances. It’s tough to expect those numbers to get better as he moves up, but if he can put it together, he would be deserving of this 11th ranking by next year.

The 12th ranked player is Brandon Cumpton, which is also somewhat higher than most. Cumpton is more of a safe pick with a lower upside, while some of the players immediately after him have a bigger chance at not reaching their potential, but their potential is much higher.

The rest of the top 20 are common names in this range. Going from 13 to 20, they are Barrett Barnes, Tony Sanchez, Wyatt Mathisen, Clay Holmes, Stolmy Pimentel, JaCoby Jones, Jin-De Jhang and Cody Dickerson.

Our own top twenty rankings had Andrew Lambo, Joely Rodriguez and Blake Taylor in the 14-16 spots.

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Reese McGuire Named One of the Top Defensive Catchers in the Minors http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/reese-mcguire-named-one-of-the-top-defensive-catchers-in-the-minors.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/reese-mcguire-named-one-of-the-top-defensive-catchers-in-the-minors.html#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 15:13:44 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=73564 Baseball Prospectus was definitely the highest outlets in ranking Reese McGuire, having him rated as the 59th best prospect in their top 100 list. That might be due to the fact that McGuire is seen as a strong defensive catcher, and BP seems to have a better understanding of the real value of catcher defense.

BP has been releasing their top minor league tools list, and named McGuire as a player considered for the top defensive catcher in the minors. Austin Hedges of the San Diego Padres was named the top defensive catcher, while McGuire was one of four candidates who drew consideration for the spot. The most encouraging thing is that BP said McGuire’s rating was based mostly on projection, and he could propel himself to challenge Hedges for the top spot this time next year.

BP also had McGuire considered for the top makeup in the minors, listed with names like Francisco Lindor (the top option), Albert Almora, and Dylan Bundy. This helps explain why they like him so much, as these lists are based on live scouting reports of all the players.

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Pirates Rank Fourth Among Top 25-And-Under Talent http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/pirates-rank-fourth-among-top-25-and-under-talent.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/pirates-rank-fourth-among-top-25-and-under-talent.html#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 14:39:04 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=73549 Baseball Prospectus released their organization rankings of 25-and-Under Talent and the Pittsburgh Pirates were ranked fourth overall. This list differs from their top prospects list, because it includes players already in the majors, which adds Gerrit Cole, Starling Marte and Jose Tabata to the list. The Pirates are ranked behind three other National League teams, the Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals and the top-ranked St Louis Cardinals.

According to their list, the Pirates top ten 25-and-Under players are:

1. Gerrit Cole

2. Starling Marte

3. Jameson Taillon

4. Gregory Polanco

5. Tyler Glasnow

6. Reese McGuire

7. Josh Bell

8. Nick Kingham

9. Austin Meadows

10. Jose Tabata

The three-through-nine rankings on their list are the same order as their prospect rankings, which has Reese McGuire much higher than most and Austin Meadows lower than everyone else. They were also higher on Taillon than Polanco, which strays from most lists.

The good part about this list is obviously that young talent will likely be around for awhile, although with seven of them having no major league experience, there are also no guarantees. The Pirates have a deep farm system though, so someone like Alen Hanson not being ranked on this list, just shows that there is more than just these ten players. The part you could say is bad, is the fact the top five teams(Marlins ranked fifth) are all National League teams and the best one is in the Pirates division.

The rest of the NL Central finished fairly spread out. The Chicago Cubs were tenth overall, while the Cincinnati Reds came in at #23 and the Milwaukee Brewers finished last.


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Fangraphs Releases Top 15 Pirates Prospects List http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/fangraphs-releases-top-15-pirates-prospects-list.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/fangraphs-releases-top-15-pirates-prospects-list.html#comments Thu, 27 Feb 2014 14:05:38 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=73253 Fangraphs has posted their top 15 Pittsburgh Pirates prospects list today and the beginning of the list is in line with what we saw yesterday from Jonathan Mayo and what we have posted here for our own rankings. The 1-8 spots are taken by(in order) Gregory Polanco, Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, Alen Hanson, Nick Kingham, Reese McGuire and Josh Bell. That was the same exact order that the composite list had yesterday and how we have them in our 2014 prospect guide.

The rest of the group has Harold Ramirez and Luis Heredia rounding out the top ten. Their order is reversed in our guide, but both players are very young with tons of upside, so there isn’t much difference between the two right now. After that, the list differs a lot from our list, but the system at this point is not only top heavy, it’s deep with talent and the differences just proves that fact.

Fangraphs has JaCoby Jones, Barrett Barnes and Wyatt Mathisen in the 11-13 spots. All three are high ceiling players that had injury issues in 2013 and if healthy, all three could be breakout players this year. Clay Holmes and Jaff Decker round out the list. Fangraphs’ top 100 list had seven Pirates make the cut.

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