John Sickels of Minor League Ball has released his mid-season top 120 prospect list today, and ranks six Pittsburgh Pirates prospects in the first 77 spots. The rankings don’t include 2012 draft picks, so you won’t find Mark Appel on there. They have also been adjusted to remove guys who have exceeded their rookie eligibility, or are currently in the majors and on pace to exceed that eligibility.
The top Pirates on the list are Gerrit Cole (6) and Jameson Taillon (10). Cole entered the year ranked 11th, while Taillon was ranked 16th.
The next Pirate on the list is Luis Heredia at number 66. Heredia was previously unranked. Starling Marte follows Heredia, ranked 70th. That’s down from his pre-season ranking at number 64. Josh Bell also fell in the rankings, going from number 49 in the pre-season to number 73.
The fall for Bell can probably be explained by his injury. He’s been out for two months with a knee injury, and was struggling against a heavy dosage of changeups prior to the injury. The fall for Marte is somewhat of a surprise, as he’s improved his power and walk rate on the year. Of course it could be an issue of timing. If Sickels was working on this list a week or two ago (and top 120 lists aren’t something that you do in a matter of days), then he would have been doing this rating when Marte had a .754 OPS and a .169 ISO. In his last nine games, Marte has gone from a .754 OPS to an .836 OPS, and has gone from a .169 ISO to a .207 ISO.
Alen Hanson is the last Pirates prospect on the list, being ranked at number 77. Hanson wasn’t ranked at the start of the year. Sickels listed him as a second baseman, which obviously plays a big part in his ranking.