Jim Callis Releases His Updated Top 10 Pirates Prospects

Jameson Taillon is Jim Callis' top prospect in the Pirates' system.
Jameson Taillon is Jim Callis’ top prospect in the Pirates’ system.

Last week we released our updated top 20 Pirates prospects, noting how strong the system is, especially in the top ten. Today Jim Callis of Baseball America released his updated top ten Pirates prospects, coming to the same conclusion about the quality of players.

Callis had a few differences in his list. The first difference was that we had Tyler Glasnow third overall and Alen Hanson fourth. Callis had Glasnow fifth and Hanson seventh, noting command issues with Glasnow and that his ranking for Hanson felt low. One similarity is that he had Austin Meadows one spot ahead of Josh Bell. He also had Reese McGuire in the top seven, ahead of Nick Kingham (8th) and Luis Heredia (9th). We had Kingham seventh, Heredia eighth, and McGuire ninth.

To round out his list, Callis had Tony Sanchez at number ten, noting that he is showing signs he might be a big league regular. We had Sanchez 11th, with Dilson Herrera rounding out our top ten. Callis noted that Herrera and Stetson Allie couldn’t be squeezed onto the list due to the quality of names.

From a tiered perspective, I don’t think there were many differences. I can see a lot of top ten lists starting out with Taillon and Polanco. From there, I think the next group of Glasnow, Hanson, Meadows, Bell, Kingham, Heredia, and McGuire will be ranked in different orders, depending on your preference for each player, and how you feel about their weaknesses. You could also group Dilson Herrera or Tony Sanchez in that tier, although they’d probably round out the top ten in most lists, and wouldn’t go higher.

Overall it’s looking like a strong system right now. When you’ve got a strong defensive catching prospect who has a .955 OPS in Triple-A, and he can’t go higher than tenth overall in your system, you know things are strong. You could say the same about Luis Heredia being an 18 year old capable of hitting the upper 90s with his fastball, and having the potential for three plus pitches. In the past, that type of pitcher would have been an easy top five, and probably would be for almost every other system.

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Morse would be perfect! RF that hits lefties, Seattle will be sellers.


There’s definitely less sellers right now because teams are still holding out hope. I live in Philly and I think Ruben Amaro is praying for a winning streak that gets them back in the hunt. Everyone else, including myself seems to think they’re cooked. I asked my buddies if they had an OF that could hit lefties. They said Mayberry but he’s too affordable and they wouldn’t trade him. As time goes on more teams will start throwing in the towel I guess. Way too early at this point unless you’re a Houston or Miami. I miss the Astros……….


If it’s any consolation Tim, I think this site’s list is more “accurate” for lack of a better term.


Any chance we could pull another Aaron Baker for Derek Lee type deal? This time for a RF?


I love throwing out names so here goes. Marlon Byrd. He shouldn’t cost anything and is having his best season in years. Decent against LHP. Morse is much better against lefties and is younger, so if he doesn’t cost too much, he’d be good too.

Basically anyone that can hit a lefty and play solid RF. That’s not asking too much.

Mike Tresky

I don’t like throwing names out there typically, but Mike Morse is a rental player they may want to look at. He has solid lefty/right splits. He might be an economical option.


IF… the pirates were to acquire Rios, they would be on the hook for about $6M this season, $12.5 next year, plus a $14M team option in 2015 (or more likely the $1M buyout).

According to Tim’s Future Payroll page, the Pirates have $25.25M already on the books for guys like Martin, Tabata, Cutch, Liriano, Grili, ect. It seem’s like they could afford the contract if they wanted him, especially because the big money ($10M) doesn’t kick in for Cutch until Rios’ option year.

That said, they’re going to have to spend some money next year on a staff that currently looks like:



Michael Morse would be a realistic option if Pirates are looking for a RF option vs LH. His splits strongly favor hitting vs lefties. He also would be cheap in terms of what Pirates would have to give up.

Personally, I’m in favor of going after Alex Rios. He’s a true everyday RF with .800+ OPS vs both right and left-hand pitchers. This just in, Pirates need a RF who can hit righties, too! He also has some speed, which Morse also lacks. If you’re a WAR guy, Rios is a +2.2, while Morse is a -0.4.

Rios would be more expensive both is salary and players going back to White Sox. But I would argue, Nutting can afford the salary increase, and one of the reasons to build up a deep system of prospects is to tap into that depth to bring in an established player to make a run.

Also, Rios is signed through 2014, with a relatively cheap buyout of 2015. If Polanco is knocking down the door next June/July, Rios could be a trade chip, or he could be insurance if Polanco has a hiccup in his development.


Also, Rios spent 2006-2008 as a member of the Blue Jays and as a teammate of AJ Burnett.

I certainly don’t know what their relationship was like, but R. Martin certainly saw reuniting with AJ as a positive.

I just worry about guys coming in that don’t fit. I think Derek Lee fit in the clubhouse much better than Ludwig, and performed better because of it.

Is Rios going to pout about leaving Chicago, moving to a tahn like Pittsburgh for 2 years, and have it bring down his performance on the field? Or is he the kind of guy that will join a contender, take a back seat to Cutch, and do whatever it takes as a veteran to get this club into the playoffs?


That’s comforting. I suppose back up catcher isn’t really top priority. I’d like to see a RF rental. Typically I like the moves where they have control over a guy for a few years (Snider, Wandy) but I think you wouldn’t have to give up as much for a rental in Right. And with some luck maybe Polanco can come up next July and finally solve the RF problem so you wouldn’t need a multi year guy out there. Granted he only has about 15 AA at bats but it’s fun to think about.


What would the ETA on Polanco be. Obviously not this year but say he holds his own at AA throughout the summer until the end of the season. Does he start at AAA next season with the hope of arriving in Pittsburgh by sometime in June, along with Taillon?


Hate to be a downer but is it time to panic about Sanchez and these “yips”? I would love to see him as the backup right now but I would imagine the throwing errors have to be fixed first. Also I read the article this morning. It’s nice to get an outsider’s perspective. I feel as if we’re loaded in a few spots, have future replacements in others but have a hole at 3B. Again, no offense to Eric Wood.


Sanchez might have a few yips right now, but he has a top talent throwing arm and does not have any arm problems that have been reported, possibly a little confidence problem, also look at who was on the mound when he had most of his yips, that would be JMac. All players go through hills and valleys. In our modern world, we micro analyze everything. Believe me when this guy hits Pittsburgh, they are going to love him.


Exciting stuff, for sure.

The quality of your #11 -20 makes it even more so, certainly in the very-short-list running for best system in baseball at this point.

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