Last week, Baseball America released their best tools list for players in full season leagues. The Pirates had a lot of players who ended up on the various lists, with top prospects Starling Marte, Jameson Taillon, Gerrit Cole, Alen Hanson, and Gregory Polanco taking honors in their respective leagues.
Starling Marte was active on the list, being named the top hitting prospect in the International League. He was also named the Best Defensive Outfielder and the Most Exciting Player. We’re seeing why in his time in the majors so far.
Tim Wood was named the best reliever. Wood is putting up another strong season, with a 2.13 ERA in 63.1 innings, along with a 58:18 K/BB ratio. This is the second year in a row that he’s dominated for Indianapolis, but he’s never been able to make the successful jump to the majors, always struggling with his control after making the jump.
The only player to make the Eastern League list was Robbie Grossman, who is no longer in the system. Grossman was listed as having the Best Strike-Zone Judgement.
The Marauders had a lot of award winners. Jameson Taillon took two, getting the Best Pitching Prospect and the Best Breaking Pitch for his curveball. Gerrit Cole was named as having the best fastball, even though he left the league back in June. That raises questions as to how many scouts interviewed considered Cole for the other awards.
Alex Dickerson was named the best defensive first baseman, which is a bit of a surprise. Defense has never been a strong point for Dickerson. When I spoke to him a few weeks ago, he mentioned that he had made strides defensively in the first half, but that he felt his defense in the second half was declining as his offense was improving.
The Pirates took two more defensive awards. Gift Ngoepe was named the Best Defensive Shortstop in the Florida State League, which is no surprise for anyone who has seen him play. Ngoepe could easily be the best defensive infielder in the Pirates’ system. Mel Rojas was named the best defensive outfielder. He’s got all of the tools to be a top prospect, but the hitting hasn’t developed that quickly. However, his defense has improved greatly, to the point where he could stick in center field.
You’d expect Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco to end up on this list. Polanco took the honors for the Best Outfield Arm, while Hanson was named the Most Exciting Player.