Trade Values: The Prospects in the Pirates System

We talk about trade values all the time on the site, usually focusing on the value of major league players who could be options for the Pirates. The values of the prospects in the system are pretty static and easy to come up with. They are usually based on whether the prospect is a top 100 guy, or whether he is rated as a Grade B or C prospect. The top 100 rankings are usually based off Baseball America, while John Sickels is usually the source for Grade B/C rankings.

We use our updated trade values for guys in the top 100, and Victor Wang’s research for the values of Grade B/C prospects. I usually mention examples of prospect values in articles, but I figured it would be good to have a complete list. Before we get to which prospects belong in which list, I wanted to add a disclaimer. The values below should be a guideline and not a rule. The groups are broken up in sections. In some cases there won’t be a difference between a top 11-25 prospect and a top 26-50 prospect, especially when a guy is ranked 24th-27th. Saying a guy is worth X amount less because he’s rated one spot lower by one outlet is kind of ridiculous.

The values below also depend on personal opinions. I used Baseball America and John Sickels as guides for where guys ranked, but in the end it was my personal opinion for the grades. Some people might not see Stetson Allie or Dilson Herrera as Grade B prospects. Some people might see Tyler Glasnow as a top 25 prospect. This is another situation where the rankings are a guide, rather than a rule.

I also didn’t go crazy with the Grade C prospects. I used guys who had a shot at our top 50, but just because a guy isn’t listed doesn’t mean he isn’t a Grade C prospect. Also, I didn’t include too many short-season players, since those players don’t usually get traded. My only disclaimer with the Grade C guys is that not everyone below Grade B is a Grade C prospect. Some guys aren’t even prospects at all. So it’s not like you can take a few lower level, one inning college relievers or bench players and package them for a proven major leaguer.

With all of that said, here are the trade values for the prospects in the Pirates system. So when you see a trade value article go up, and the value is $5 M, you’ll be able to check this article, see a few examples of $5 M prospects (or two ~$2.5 M prospects), and get an idea of what it would cost in terms of actual prospects in the system.



Top 11-25 Pitchers ($18.89 M)

Jameson Taillon – He was the #11 prospect in Baseball America’s top 50. This is where prospect values can be subjective. If Taillon moves up one spot, he’s a top ten pitching prospect with a value of $26.70 M. Does one spot lower mean he’s worth $8 M less in a trade? It probably shouldn’t matter for Taillon, as the Pirates should make him untouchable.


Top 51-100 Pitchers ($7.50 M)

Tyler Glasnow has $7.5 M in value, but that should go up in future years. (Photo Credit: Tom Bragg)
Tyler Glasnow has $7.5 M in value, but that should go up in future years. (Photo Credit: Tom Bragg)

Tyler Glasnow – Baseball America didn’t have him in the top 50, but indicated that he’s just outside the list. This is another situation where if he moves up a few spots he’s worth almost double the value. Glasnow isn’t a guy I’d deal, since he could easily be a top 25 pitching prospect next year, and maybe even a top 10 pitching prospect.


Grade B Pitchers ($7.30 M)

Nick Kingham – I would think Kingham would make the top 100 list, but the difference in value isn’t huge so I put him here.

Luis Heredia – Heredia is in the same situation as Kingham. If he’s not a 51-100 prospect, he’s a Grade B pitching prospect with little difference in value.


Grade C Pitchers – 22 and Under ($2.1 M)

Clay Holmes – Sickels had Holmes as a B- pitcher and borderline C+ before the year. He’s struggled some, so it’s safe to say he’s more of a Grade C pitcher now.

Casey Sadler – He’s putting up strong numbers in the Altoona rotation with a lot of ground ball outs. He has the upside of a back of the rotation starter in the majors.

Joely Rodriguez – He’s a lefty who is throwing 91-94 with good movement and control.

Adrian Sampson – He has struggled this year, but has a good arm so he should still have Grade C value based on potential.

Zack Dodson – Similar to Sampson. He has a good arm, but has struggled. He’d only have value in a trade if a team valued his future potential over the current results.

Orlando Castro – His numbers in Bradenton haven’t been great, but he had great numbers in West Virginia and usually has good command with a good curveball and decent fastball velocity.


Grade C Pitchers – 23 and Over ($1.5 M)

Kyle McPherson – I don’t see him getting traded since he is out for the year.

Phil Irwin – Same as McPherson.

Stolmy Pimentel – He probably would have more value to the Pirates as rotation depth and a September bullpen option. I’d almost put him as a Grade B- pitching prospect.

Vic Black – He’s major league ready, so he could have a bit more value than this. He could help the Pirates in the majors this year, so I wouldn’t want to see him dealt unless it’s for someone who can provide an impact this year.

Andy Oliver – His control has been horrible, but he has some good results outside of the walks, and should be eligible for a fourth option next year. That would make him a good project to a team that needs pitching.

Brandon Cumpton – He has already made a few starts in the majors this year, and might have more value as a depth option rather than a minor trade chip.

Duke Welker – He’s older than most prospects, but has good results and could be a good reliever for a team needing pitching. He has value to the Pirates as bullpen depth this year, and could be in the bullpen full time next year.



Top 11-25 Hitters ($33.36 M)

Gregory Polanco – I think he should be untouchable.


Top 26-50 Hitters ($18.12 M)

Alen Hanson – Of all the top prospects who rank in the top 50 range, he’s the one I would mind parting with the least. It’s not that I don’t like his upside. I think he could be a shortstop and a good top of the order hitter. But the risk with Hanson is greater than the risk with Polanco, Taillon, and possibly even Glasnow. Still, that doesn’t mean the Pirates should just give him away, and definitely not for a rental.


Top 51-100 Hitters ($10.43 M)

I don’t know if any of the Pirates prospects will end up here. The candidates would be the Grade B prospects, and most of them would be candidates for the back of this list. So some of those guys might carry a little more value, such as something between $5.5 M and $10.43 M.


Grade B Hitters ($5.5 M)

Josh Bell – I like Bell’s upside, but he’s got some issues with his swing making him less of a guarantee than other guys ahead of him. He’s also an outfielder, and if the Pirates trade from their outfield depth, it should be the lower level guys.

Dilson Herrera – Herrera is more potential than results right now, although the results aren’t bad. The potential is big, as Herrera has the upside of an offensive second baseman.

Tony Sanchez – He’s not the top prospect in the system at all, but Sanchez should be untouchable. After Russell Martin leaves following the 2014 season, he should be the starter. He’s the only internal option who could take over in 2015.

Barrett Barnes – Similar to Bell. He’s got a big upside, has more to work on than the top guys in the system, and the Pirates have plenty of outfield prospects so they won’t feel the impact if they trade one of the lower level guys.

Stetson Allie – His placement here really depends on how teams view the strikeout risk. The power is very real, but the strikeouts could hold him back.

Wyatt Mathisen – I have him here more on potential, but he’s injured and probably wouldn’t be considered for a trade.

Harold Ramirez – He’s an outfielder, and the Pirates could afford to lose outfielders. The Pirates liked Ramirez more than most teams when they signed him, and even though he’s now dominating a college league at the age of 18, I could see them still holding him at a higher value than most teams.


Grade C Hitters – 22 and Under ($0.7 M)

Grade C Hitters – 23 and Over ($0.5 M)

The value of Grade C hitters is so small that it’s probably not worth listing them here. Also, if you’re coming up with a trade idea surrounding Grade C hitters, you’re either lowballing the other team in the proposed deal, or talking about someone who would only be traded in exchange for salary relief. In that case “Grade C hitter” will be good enough. There are guys here who might be closer to Grade B hitters for some teams. Alex Dickerson is a prime example.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Kevin : that would be a really bad deal,from about any angle I can think of.

Kevin Gundlach

Now maybe, however, this time next year who knows. What if Garza wins 3-4 games in the playoffs? Or what if Taillon wins 13 Cy Youngs? It can go either way. It’s very difficult to be definitely right when argueing the hypothetical. I feel that our major league product has been so bad for so long fans built up this exagerated love for minor league talent. The odds of Garza and Castro being immediate help greatly out weigh what Hanson and Taillon can bring this year.


That’s the point. You would trade a top-12 prospect for 2 months of a #2 SP? Nah.

Lee Young

I’d do that deal if we could sign both to long term deals. I know Garza is a rental….not sure about Starlin.


Castro has a fairly team-friendly contract:
2013 $5 million
2014 $5 million
Gradually builds up to 11 million in 2019 with a club option for 16 million in 2020.

Matt Beam

I’d do Starlin for Hanson, Heredia, and another B-/C prospect

Kevin Gundlach

I think Tim basic premise is right. All players are available in the right deal. The question is who really is available. If Hanson and Taillon get you Garza and Castro do you do it? Who knows truely what is happening in behind the scenes.


I don’t think Sickels would have Matthison, Allie and Ramirez as B’s (yet), I think they’d be C+’s.


key word is “before”

Jeremy J Stein

Great breakdown Tim. Very helpful, thank you.
I agree with you regarding Hanson, but I kind of want to see him make it to Pittsburgh even if he is inconsistent. I’ve never seen the Pirates develop a shortstop in my lifetime.

Jeremy J Stein

Silly me, I forgot about Mercer.
Under Huntington the Pirates have selected and signed X shortstops in the rule 4 draft since 2008.
They are:
Jordy Mercer – 3rd round 2008
Chase d’Arnaud – 4th round 2008
Benji Gonzalez – 7th round 2008 (Stuck in Bradenton)
Jarek Cunningham – 18th round 2008 (moved to 2B)
Walker Gourley – 13th round 2009 (currently playing 1B/OF)
Drew Maggi – 15th round 2010
Kevin Ross – 8th round 2012 (playing 1B this year so far)
D.J. Crumlich – 9th round 2012 (moved to 3B)
Chris Diaz – 11th round 2012
Max Moroff – 16th round 2012
Trae Arbet – 5th round 2013
Adam Frazier – 6th round 2013
Michael Fransoso – 27th round 2013 (moved to 2B once Frazier joined the Jamestown roster)

Good shortstops are hard to find.

Moroff, Frazier and Fransoso appear to be doing well in the low minors. Hopefully one of them will become a top prospect over the next few years.

Andrew Smalley

And, saying that Hanson’s ‘risk factor’ is arguably higher than Glasnow isn’t accurate, in my mind. Even if Hanson has to move to 2B, his bat will still play. Even if you question his bat (which would be strange), his tools still project value defensively in the middle of the diamond.

I’m not sure his risk is that high at all, actually. From someone that believes he will stick at SS, that argument becomes even stranger. Sure, it’s a ‘risk’ that he doesn’t become an above-avg SS w/ great pop. But, there isn’t *much* risk that he won’t become at least an avg-regular at a hard to fill position.

In other words, I’d keep him unless overwhelmed.


Inconsistency is why he is still at the level he is at and if he stays in the minors as long as is necessary he should be able to overcome such a problem.
The Cubs brought up Castro far too early in his career and now they are paying for it. When a player does well and only has a hurdle or two to overcome we get in a hurry to get him to the majors and when they get here that problem they had in the minors becomes a big problem in the majors when the pros figure it out and exploit it.

Andrew Smalley

As an aside, Law has him in his mid-50; Glasnow is not. While I disagree w/ Glasnow not being included – especially considering some of the guys that were – it is more and more mounting evidence that the industry is a big-time believer in Hanson’s considerable talent/upside.

I’d want to see a longer track record of being ‘unfocused’ before I ignore or not-take-seriously the mounting evidence that this dude can play and those that are paid to scout really, really like him.

Andrew Smalley

You’re dealing and speaking to intangibles. Until those things that cannot be measured occur at the Major League level, I’m not trading him based on a lack of focus and consistency.

I’ll also add that he is 20-years old, in the minors for a reason, and still has at least 2 years (in all likelihood) to cure whatever ills he has in his preparation and approach. I’ll also add that people had questions about Shelby Miller’s focus/intangibles as early as a year ago, in Triple A. Anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But, still…you don’t cut bait on a talented yet sometimes unfocused player at a middle-infield position unless the return is reflective of his considerable talent.

Jeremy J Stein

Ronny Cedeno syndrom. I think that is what Starlin Castro has.


Jeremy : I have been thinking exactly the same thing.

Andrew Smalley

For a myriad of reasons, the Pirates shouldn’t be trading Alen Hanson. He has positional-scarcity (regardless if he moves over to 2B), he put up comparable production to Polanco at a year younger last year, his tools allow for considerable upside, and the Pirates don’t have anyone that is a first-division regular at SS anywhere in the system. Plus, in national outlets, his stock even seems to be rising more and more lately (Hulet, for example).

I think all agree that our depth is OF and pitching, rather than middle-infield. Herrera and Hanson (especially the latter) should be awfully difficult to get from the Pirates. And, I presume NH/staff would agree.


Tim, I don’t quite understand the use of the untouchable label, there are deals that the Pirates would make for any of their prospects, the problem is the other team would not, they did try to trade Taillon once already, 2 winters ago, of course he was down a little further in the system at the time. You have Polanco listed as untouchable, but in reality he is not.
Why don’t you ever see teams trading top prospect for top prospect.
There was a debate about the Rangers top propsect Profar and St.Louis top prospect Traveras. Profar is an infielder, Taveras is an outfielder, the Cards need a SS, a trade like this one would have benefited both teams, why not a trade between two top prospects? you never see it.
Right now if the Pirates trade for Bostons top prospect (Bogaert) even up for our top prospect (Polanco) it would benefit both teams, it would give the Pirates the SS they covet and the Red Sox the outfielder they would covet.


When the Reds had Alonso, the Pirates offered Taillon as an even trade, the Reds turned it down and went for a big deal with the Padres and brought in Latos for Alonso with other players in the trade.


That never happened, or would happen.

Lee Young

I don’t recall ever hearing that. do you jave a link?

I am not high on JT, but I am higher on him than on Alonso.


Lee Young

Have not jave

Thom Kay

As a fan, I’d be much more excited to get one of those 23+ C pitchers than someone from the 22 and under crowd. Young back of the rotation/bullpen depth with upside is more enticing than long shots with high upside.

Probably why I’m not a GM.

Comments are closed.

Most Voted Comments