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.