Yesterday Baseball America released their top 20 prospects for the 2012 Eastern League season. Only one Pirates prospect made the list, with Gerrit Cole coming in third place. The list can be seen here, and scouting reports can be seen here by subscribers.
Cole ranked third behind Manny Machado and Zack Wheeler, in that order. The scouting report was similar to the Florida State League recap. It did have an interesting note that one scout said he was disappointed that there was nothing to nitpick in Cole’s game once he arrived to Double-A.
The chat had a few notes on the Pirates prospects in the Eastern League. In regards to Cole, Matt Eddy noted that the right-hander lost out to Zack Wheeler for the top pitching prospect title, mostly because Cole is the same pitcher he has been since high school. I’d have to disagree with that, as Cole has made some strides with his changeup since high school. The BA scouting report even says that he made strides this year with his command. However, the larger point was that Wheeler has made big strides in his game over the last year, while Cole’s strides haven’t been as big. Eddy noted that the decision was a close one. Eddy also mentioned some scouts thought Cole could end up as an All-Star closer, which would be a disappointing outcome. I don’t see him heading down that path at all with the Pirates.
He also noted that Vic Black was one of the top relievers in the league, listing him second in a question about the top options.
There was also a note on Robbie Grossman, with scouts saying he doesn’t have the glove for center field and doesn’t have the bat for a corner position. That’s always been the knock on Grossman. Some view him as a part time player because of that, while others think the total package of skills could make him a starter. Grossman was the key piece in the Wandy Rodriguez trade. If the scouts who view him as a part time player end up being correct, then the Rodriguez trade will end up looking like a good deal in the long run. I’ve always been in the “he does enough to be a starter” camp, focusing on his plate patience and his defense in the corner outfield positions.