Pirates Prospects » Prospect Rankings http://www.piratesprospects.com Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Sat, 26 Jul 2014 15:23:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Pirates Have Four in Keith Law’s Mid-Season Top 50 http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pirates-have-four-in-keith-laws-mid-season-top-50.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pirates-have-four-in-keith-laws-mid-season-top-50.html#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:34:07 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=83924 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.

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Pirates Place Four in Baseball Prospectus Mid-Season Top 50 http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pirates-place-four-in-baseball-prospectus-mid-season-top-50.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pirates-place-four-in-baseball-prospectus-mid-season-top-50.html#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 14:47:13 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=83149 Today seems to be the day for mid-season top 50 prospect lists. Earlier today, Baseball America released their top 50, with five Pirates making the list. Baseball Prospectus also released their mid-season top 50, and had four Pirates on the list.

Jameson Taillon is the highest rated prospect on the list, coming in at number 26.  Taillon was second in the BA rankings, but ranked 24th overall. It seems that, despite his Tommy John surgery, he’s still considered a pitcher with a lot of upside. Taillon did drop a bit, as he was ranked 19th in the pre-season rankings.

Tyler Glasnow was the next ranked prospect, finishing at number 31. That’s a bit of a jump from where he was in the pre-season, when he came in at number 42. Baseball America was higher on Glasnow, having him as the top prospect, and ranked 21st. The BP write-up had the usual stuff on Glasnow, noting his great fastball, and how “the sky is the limit” if he learns to limit walks.

Josh Bell finished third among Pirates on the list, coming in at number 39. That’s a big jump for Bell, who entered the season ranked 77th overall. He’s been having a breakout year at the plate this season, finally showing the offensive potential that netted him a $5 M signing bonus in the 2011 draft. BP said that Bell has another bump in his prospect value on the horizon as he eventually moves up to Altoona.

The final player to make the list was Nick Kingham, who ranked 43rd. Kingham was the 80th ranked prospect by BP coming into the season. BP noted that he doesn’t have the same ceiling as other pitchers in the top 50, but has a high floor and could be a middle of the rotation pitcher. Kingham has been posting some solid numbers in Triple-A, and he could join the team later this year if the Pirates have a need for pitching.

Reese McGuire was also a player listed as being in the top 50 mix. BP has been higher on him than other outlets, so it’s not a surprise that he’d be considered that high. The list doesn’t include 2014 draft picks, although Cole Tucker wasn’t a player who was listed as drawing possible consideration for the list.

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Five Pirates in Baseball America’s Top 50 Midseason Prospect List http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/five-pirates-in-baseball-americas-top-50-midseason-prospect-list.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/five-pirates-in-baseball-americas-top-50-midseason-prospect-list.html#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 14:01:29 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=83143 Baseball America released their midseason top 50 prospect list and even with the promotion of Gregory Polanco, the Pittsburgh Pirates placed five players on the list.

The Pirates on the list, along with their ranking are:

21. Tyler Glasnow

24. Jameson Taillon

35. Josh Bell

37. Nick Kingham

43. Austin Meadows

The pre-season top 100 from Baseball America had Taillon ranked #22, tops among this group of the players. Glasnow jumped all the way up from the 46th spot  and Austin Meadows moved up six spots despite just beginning his season last week. Nick Kingham was 64th, so he also saw a big jump, while Josh Bell was the most improved, as he didn’t even place in the top 100.

A couple notes on the list. The Twins also placed five players in the top 50. This list doesn’t include any draft picks, so that is why a player like Meadows can move up. Promotions to the Majors have eliminated some of the better players.

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Pittsburgh Pirates Mid-Season Top 20 Prospects, Minus Gregory Polanco http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/06/pittsburgh-pirates-mid-season-top-20-prospects-minus-gregory-polanco.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/06/pittsburgh-pirates-mid-season-top-20-prospects-minus-gregory-polanco.html#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 03:59:32 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=81344 We usually release our mid-season prospect rankings right after the MLB draft. This not only shows the updated rankings with half of the minor league season in the books, but it also shows where the new draft picks fit in. For the second year in a row, the Pittsburgh Pirates have graduated their top prospect the week following the draft. This adds the ability to see what the system looks like with a new top prospect. Before we begin with the new top 20, here are some notes.

**I prefer tiered rankings to a top 20. We included the top 20 below, but the feature here is the tiered rankings, since it shows the groups of talent levels.

**The rankings are made up of the average of the top 50 prospects from myself, John Dreker, and Wilbur Miller. We average our lists together, come up with a master list, then debate players up or down.

**Players who exhausted prospect eligibility this year, and who weren’t included: Tony Sanchez. We also didn’t include Stolmy Pimentel in the rankings, since he will return to the majors when healthy, and is projected to lose eligibility. We did include Casey Sadler, since I think he’ll go back down when Pimentel returns. Don’t ask me where the missing guys would rank, since I have no clue. I didn’t get the rankings on these guys from anyone else, so I have no idea where they’d end up on the master list.

**Tier 5 include guys beyond the top 20 who were in the same talent group as guys in the top 20. If anyone drops off the top 20 list, these guys will move up as replacements.

**To learn about players beyond the top 20, buy the 2014 Prospect Guide, which is on sale for 24% off with the code “2014DRAFT”.

Tier 1

Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, Jameson Taillon

There was a consensus on the top three prospects. All three rankings had Jameson Taillon first, despite the Tommy John surgery. The reason for this is that Taillon’s upside doesn’t change due to the surgery. He just gets delayed an extra year. The recovery time for Tommy John is usually one year, which means Taillon could be pitching in the majors by this time next year.

Tyler Glasnow finished second in all of the rankings. He’s not dominating this year in the way he did last year. However, he’s working almost exclusively off his fastball, mixing in about 10-12 changeups per start. The result is that he’s not using his curveball as often, which makes his success lately even more impressive.

Austin Meadows hasn’t played yet due to a hamstring injury. He’ll be returning in a few weeks to rehab in the GCL, before spending the final two months in West Virginia. This is another case where the injury didn’t change his upside. There’s also not really a big need to rush Meadows, as the current outfield of Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco gives him plenty of time to develop.

All three prospects in the top tier are great prospects, likely ending up in a lot of overall top 50 rankings at the end of the season. That said, none of them have really stepped up to put a strong claim on the top spot. While we had Taillon as the consensus top guy, it’s not that big of a gap between him and Meadows. If Glasnow continues to show he can dominate pitching off the fastball, or Meadows shows he can hit well in low-A, then there might be someone challenging Taillon for the top spot going into next year.

Tier 2

Josh Bell, Alen Hanson, Nick Kingham, Reese McGuire

This group was about as close together as you could get a group. When we did the numerical rankings, everyone had a different choice at number four. Reese McGuire got an edge in our rankings, but this is so close that you could re-arrange the order in any way, and you wouldn’t be wrong.

McGuire hasn’t shown much power this year, including during his 19-game hitting streak. He got a jump because of some of the things that don’t show up in the stat line, and because some of the things that show up beyond his basic stats. He’s got outstanding plate patience, showing a mature approach at the plate. While he’s not hitting for power, he has always made solid contact when I’ve seen him, driving the ball to the middle of the field. That’s an approach that will lead to power down the line. Scouts I’ve talked to love him, both offensively and defensively. There’s a lot to love on the defensive side, and he could end up ranking the best defensive catcher in the minors by the end of the season. The questions he comes with are on the offensive side, and from what I’ve seen, he’s got the skills to put up numbers in the future.

Nick Kingham has struggled at times with his control this year, which isn’t normal for him. He’s done a better job lately of limiting the walks, and is starting to get back to posting top numbers at the Double-A level. His upside hasn’t changed with the slow start. He still profiles as a middle of the rotation guy who can eat 200 innings per year. He could possibly be a number two starter, especially if he keeps showing the stuff he had in his last start.

Nothing has really changed with our evaluation of Alen Hanson. He started slow this year, struggling the first two weeks of the season. Since then, he’s been hovering around an .800 OPS offensively. The issue with him has been defense, and it’s not a question of tools or abilities. He’s got the skills to stick at shortstop, but makes a lot of errors on routine plays. This can be chalked up to being young, and making some mental mistakes on the field. However, the closer he gets to the majors, the less acceptable this will be. Hanson profiles as an offense-first shortstop, and has the defense to stick at the position and not be a liability. He just needs to improve his consistency at the position.

Josh Bell has been a fantastic hitter in Bradenton this year. He doesn’t show a lot of home run power right now, but makes hard contact, and drives the ball to the gaps, using the opposite field from the left side. A big issue with him is that he has struggled against left-handers, batting from the right side. His swing from the right side looks awkward at times, looking off-balanced and almost like he’s learning how to swing from that side of the plate. He does show some positive signs, but is very inconsistent from the right side of the plate.

Tier 3

Luis Heredia, Harold Ramirez, Cole Tucker

This group is another one that was very close together. It’s another case where you could put them in any order, and you’d be right. However, there was a clear gap between this group and the previous group.

Harold Ramirez isn’t your typical outfielder. He doesn’t project to hit for a ton of power, doesn’t have elite defense in center field, and while he has some speed, it isn’t enough to be a game changer. While he doesn’t do any one thing to an exceptional level, he does a little of everything, making him a solid all-around player. His combination of hitting for average, good plate patience, speed, and the ability to play center makes him a well rounded prospect who could have a future in the majors as a starter.

Cole Tucker saw a surge in his value as the draft got closer, due to improvements in his offense, and a strong performance in a major tournament. Peter Gammons says that Tucker would have gone to Oakland next if the Pirates didn’t take him at 24. He’s got a good arm and hands, and has a good chance of staying at shortstop. He doesn’t have much power, but has a lot of speed and hits well from the left side. The Pirates were higher on his offense than most teams, and if he proves them right, he could move up this list in a hurry.

Luis Heredia dropped a bit in our rankings, in part due to his injury that prevented him from pitching for two months. It’s not that Heredia’s upside changed. However, he has dealt with some bad control problems, and until those are fixed, he’s going to continue seeing people passing him. He probably wouldn’t drop lower than 11th anytime soon.

Tier 4

Clay Holmes, JaCoby Jones, Mitch Keller, Andrew Lambo, Joely Rodriguez, Casey Sadler, Adrian Sampson, Blake Taylor

Mitch Keller was close to the top draft pick from the 2014 draft, and he just missed the previous tier. Keller has a lot of upside as a starter, with the ability to hit 95 with good movement out of high school, along with the potential for some good secondary stuff. He has the potential for an above-average curve, and while he doesn’t have much of a changeup yet, that’s a pitch that the Pirates have had success teaching in the lower levels. He’s a nice project, and has a lot of upside, possibly the most of the Pirates’ 2014 draft class.

Clay Holmes is in the same situation as Jameson Taillon. He had Tommy John surgery, which will delay him a year, but won’t change his upside. He’s young enough that the missed year also won’t hurt him. Holmes has a big frame and the upside to possibly be a middle of the rotation innings eater. A more conservative approach has him as a strong number four starter. That will all be determined by the improvements he shows with his control going forward.

Adrian Sampson has made big strides in Altoona this year, putting up fantastic numbers at the age of 22. A big reason for his improvements has been is changeup. He spent most of the 2013 season in Bradenton working on the pitch. That led to poor results in Bradenton, but also led to him getting more comfortable with the offering. Now that he has that to pair with his 91-94 MPH fastball and solid curveball, he has the three pitch mix you’d want from a starter. His upside is a solid number four starter, with a chance to jump higher than that with further improvements.

JaCoby Jones is getting attention for a nice year in West Virginia, although he’s probably getting more than he deserves. Right now he has a few big things going for him, mainly that he’s playing shortstop and hitting for power. Despite these two things, his defense at shortstop is largely unproven, and the results so far have been mixed. The power is great, but it comes with a lower average and a high strikeout rate, which isn’t a good combo for a college player in low-A. If he didn’t have these question marks, he’d be one of the top prospects in the system. For now, he’s showing some positive signs, but still has a lot to work on.

Blake Taylor hasn’t played yet this year, so the reports are similar to where he was at prior to the season. He throws 89-92 MPH from the left side, with good movement. He’s touched mid-90s before, although he lacks command of the fastball and has some control problems. He lacks a changeup, and his curve is developing, but has the chance to be a plus offering. Taylor is a high upside project. He didn’t really move up or down on this list, staying around the same place he was during the pre-season. He could move up with a strong performance this year.

Casey Sadler is currently in the majors, but doesn’t project to stay there long enough to lose prospect eligibility. He ranks at the top due to his high floor, and the ability to be a back of the rotation starter in the majors. The early results haven’t been good, although Sadler has been on a strange schedule, working out of the bullpen as an emergency guy, with a lot of time between appearances.

Andrew Lambo is currently on the DL after having thumb surgery. He didn’t win the first base job out of Spring Training, and the Pirates went another direction for the long-term with Ike Davis. He’s done nothing to show that his 2013 offensive numbers were a fluke, putting up strong results with Indianapolis. His value is more of a trade chip, since the Pirates have no need for him at first base or in the outfield. Unfortunately, he doesn’t project to be back until right before the trade deadline, which might not provide enough time to re-establish value after the injury.

Joely Rodriguez dropped a bit in our list, mostly due to the lack of strikeouts at the Double-A level. At his best, he sits 91-94 MPH, touching 96, and has an average or better slider and changeup. Without the strikeouts, he profiles as a back of the rotation starter. There’s a chance he could go the Justin Wilson route and be a dominant lefty out of the bullpen. It’s also early for Rodriguez in Double-A, and there’s a chance the strikeouts could come with more playing time.

Tier 5

Stetson Allie, Barrett Barnes, Buddy Borden, Michael De La Cruz, Elias Diaz, Cody Dickson, Gage Hinsz, Jin-De Jhang, Connor Joe, Wyatt Mathisen, Mel Rojas, Billy Roth, Trey Supak, Erich Weiss

Michael De La Cruz and Trey Supak round out the top 20. De La Cruz looks like he could be the next big thing coming out of Latin America. He has a similar profile to Harold Ramirez, doing a lot of things well, without doing one thing great. He’s also very young, turning 18 in July. He should go to the GCL this year, and has a chance to follow up on the .292/.436/.367 line he put up in the DSL last year. When he matures and adds some muscle to his athletic frame, he could also add some power, and soar up this prospect list in the process.

Supak has a big upside, sitting in the low 90s, and touching 94 with his fastball. He doesn’t hold that velocity deep into games at this point, although that could change as he adds strength to his 6′ 5″ frame, and gets used to throwing every day. He projects to have an average curve and an average changeup, with the chance to be a solid starter in the majors one day.

We feature the top 20 prospects in our nightly Prospect Watch, although we remove guys who are out for the season, or currently in the majors. That would remove Taillon, Holmes, and Sadler from this list for the moment, and would bump up Buddy Borden, Stetson Allie, and Gage Hinsz, in that order.

Borden has put up some great numbers with West Virginia, with a 3.36 ERA in 56.1 innings, along with a 46:25 K/BB ratio. His control is a problem at times, and he has the occasional disaster start. The arm is what gets him here, with a fastball that can reach 96.

Allie has shown a ton of power, and has the most raw power of any prospect in the system. The problem is that he has a low average and a poor strikeout rate in Altoona, hitting for a .224/.339/.444 line with a 27.9% strikeout rate. He profiles as being a poor-man’s Pedro Alvarez at first base, although Alvarez could hit for average and limited the strikeouts somewhat when he was in the minors. Allie will have to do the same to be this type of player in the majors.

Gage Hinsz was one of the most interesting day three draft picks for the Pirates this year. He’s a 6′ 4″ right hander who was hitting 90-93 at the end of the 2014 season, and has some room to add more velocity. He needs work with his secondary pitches, but gets on this list due to the fastball, and the potential to be a starter in the majors.

Top 20 Prospects

1. Jameson Taillon, RHP

2. Tyler Glasnow, RHP

3. Austin Meadows, CF

4. Reese McGuire, C

5. Nick Kingham, RHP

6. Alen Hanson, SS

7. Josh Bell, RF

8. Harold Ramirez, CF

9. Cole Tucker, SS

10. Luis Heredia, RHP

11. Mitch Keller, RHP

12. Clay Holmes, RHP

13. Adrian Sampson, RHP

14. JaCoby Jones, SS

15. Blake Taylor, LHP

16. Casey Sadler, RHP

17. Andrew Lambo, OF

18. Joely Rodriguez, LHP

19. Michael De La Cruz, OF

20. Trey Supak, RHP

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Gregory Polanco Now Considered a Top Three Prospect in the Game http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/05/gregory-polanco-now-considered-a-top-three-prospect-in-the-game.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/05/gregory-polanco-now-considered-a-top-three-prospect-in-the-game.html#comments Fri, 30 May 2014 15:40:14 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=80073 **Keith Law updated his top 25 prospects, removing a few guys who have already graduated, and adjusting some of the rankings for what has happened this year. The only Pirates prospect on the list was Gregory Polanco, who was ranked third overall, behind Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa. Polanco moves up ten spots from Law’s original rankings, likely due to his huge season.

Law didn’t give much analysis on Polanco, other than mocking the idea that he has things to work on. Oscar Taveras was ranked fourth, and Law noted he was in a similar situation, with both outfielders expected in the majors next month.

**At Baseball America, Ben Badler has Polanco as the top fantasy baseball prospect. He also adds the note that Polanco would rank second in his top 100 if he was re-ranking the list today, and removing guys who no longer had prospect eligibility. Badler also has Buxton first overall. Badler notes that Polanco is only in the minors due to service time, and that he will be up in a few weeks.

**Earlier in the week, Baseball Prospectus had a report on Polanco, noting that he does actually have things to work on. The report on his defense in right field wasn’t good, and that’s a key area for future improvement. But count me in as someone who believes he’s only being held back for service time reasons. Polanco legitimately has things to work on, as does every young player. But a few weeks from now, he will be working on those same things in the majors, and it’s not because he’ll be showing drastic improvements with his fielding or any other issues during those weeks.

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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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