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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Five Pirates Ranked in Keith Law’s Top 100

Gerrit Cole is the tenth best prospect in baseball, according to Keith Law.

Keith Law has released his top 100 prospects list, and five Pirates prospects are ranked. The list is for ESPN Insiders only, and can be viewed here.

The top Pirates prospect, according to Law, is Gerrit Cole, who was named the 10th best prospect in the game. Law has always been high on Cole, ranking him higher than other outlets heading in to the 2011 draft. He said Cole has the projection of a number one starter who can miss bats with as many as four different pitches, and who can handle an ace’s workload.

Next up was Jameson Taillon, who rated 16th overall. Law was critical of the Pirates’ approach to limit Taillon’s innings last year, and that criticism remained in his evaluation of Taillon. That’s always been a strange stance, because while the Pirates are strict on pitch counts and innings, they’re not really doing anything significantly different than what other top prep pitchers did in their first year. Taillon finished with 92.2 innings in his first year. As an example, Shelby Miller had 104.1 innings in his first year.

Josh Bell was up next, coming in at number 67. Law said that Bell reminds him of Jason Heyward from the left side of the plate. He mentioned that Bell has the ceiling of a All-Star, even if he plays an offense-first position.

The next two players ranked were a bit of a surprise. Law had Starling Marte ranked 72nd, and Robbie Grossman ranked 86th. To date, Law has been higher on Grossman and lower on Marte than most.

Law mentioned that Marte has tremendous tools, although he said he was hit or miss, with the ability to end up as an All-Star or a fourth outfielder. The biggest knock on Marte has always been his plate patience, and Law shares the concern.

Law was high on Grossman throughout the Arizona Fall League, so it’s no surprise that he’s the first to have Grossman in a top 100 list. A lot of people I’ve talked to are split on Grossman. Some like his plate patience, and suggest that he could be a good all-around player due to his defense at the corners and his power. Others don’t think he has the defense to play center, and don’t think he has the power to play a corner spot. Law seems to be in the former category. He mentioned that Grossman could be a good corner outfielder, with an OBP in the high .300s and 15-20 homers a year, all while producing above-average defense in right field.

Law also released ten prospects who just missed the top 100. The tenth player listed was Luis Heredia, who also appeared on Law’s “just missed” list last year. Law mentioned that Heredia is raw, and that he could very easily take six years to produce any positive major league value.

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Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.


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F Lang

Yes, WA. The only issue I have with Tabata is his age. If he is 26 instead of 23 or whatever than he may not improve much more. Right now his #’s may not be quite good enough to be a starter anywhere unless he improves his average and power. 739 AB and 8 HR’s…he needs to do more.

F Lang

No doubt…I don’t blame them for setting some baselines and maybe the Yankees and Boston can set categories in black and white but teams like the Pirates need to blur the lines more than the rich teams. Another thing is with starters: A #1 has this and a #2 has this… you need guys that can get outs. Ideally if you had 5 starters that can post near a 4.00 era or lower you are in great shape. It does’t matter if they throw 97 or 88 if they get the job done. I think I am over generalizing off in the opposite direction but you definitely can’t get hung up on what the norms should be when you are trying to dig yourself out of the cellar and compete with the big boys. With that being said I am glad we have Taillion, Cole, and Heredia who profile as studs. Always easier to buy somethng at the store over sifting through junk in search of a find at a flea market.

F Lang

I think a lot of scouts and writers get too hung up on what are the norms for the position. They are there for a reason such as speed and range for CF which you have to have but in a case like Grossman he may be short on power for a corner but if you have superior patience like he has shown .280-.290 and 15 HR and 30+ doubles will play just fine at a corner if you combine that with 80+ walks. People always talk 5 tools but drawing walks is a very important tool also. The Pirates being a small market team would be happy to have a RF with only a .440 SLG if he has a .380 OBP. I’d be very happy with an .820 OPS RF/LF. I don’t care how they accomplish that number.

Ian Rothermund

 I agree entirely.  I’m kind of tired of scouts and the like focusing on what an “ideal” candidate would bring to the table.  Take Grossman for example, there are plenty of good things that he can bring to the table, at the plate and in the field.  However, everyone wants to boil it down to one of two things; he’s either two slow to play center, or doesn’t hit enough home runs to play right.  There’s more to the game than those two individual attributes.  If he were to consistently hit 15-20, that would be great, especially considering the gap power he possesses.

white angus

i agree with you both.  look at Tabata:  he’s not a good enough fielder in CF but he doesn’t have the power of a corner outfielder…  so what!  He can fricken play the game, and he plays it well!

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