Pirates AFL Roster Includes Glasnow, Kingham, Bell, Sampson, and Diaz

The Pittsburgh Pirates will be sending eight players to the Arizona Fall League this off-season, with the eight players playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions. The Scorpions will be managed by Jeff Banister. Tyler Glasnow, Josh Bell, and Nick Kingham headline the list of players who will be playing in the showcase league.

The Pirates will be sending their two top healthy pitching prospects in Glasnow and Kingham. Glasnow should start the 2015 season in Altoona, and could finish with Indianapolis. Kingham will start in Indianapolis, and could be in the majors by mid-season. Joining those two pitchers will be 2014 breakout pitcher Adrian Sampson, who also could have a shot at arriving in the majors next season.

Tom Harlan and Joely Rodriguez are the final pitchers who have been selected by the Pirates. Harlan has posted strong numbers in the lower levels, and was moved to the rotation this year after being promoted to Altoona. Rodriguez was a top prospect coming into the year, but has struggled in Altoona, so the extra work should do him well.

Josh Bell is currently one of the top hitting prospects in the system, and will get more of a taste of the upper levels this fall. He had great numbers in Bradenton this year, but struggled a bit after moving up to Altoona. That is to be expected, since the jump to Double-A is a hard one to make for hitters. Gregory Polanco also struggled in the jump to Altoona last year, then used the off-season to adjust to upper level talent, which really benefitted him this year. Bell could do the same thing, and if all goes well, could be an option for the Pirates by the middle of next year.

Elias Diaz and Dan Gamache are the final two guys who will be going to the AFL. Diaz has had a breakout season this year at the plate, and is one of the best defensive catchers in the system behind the plate. He just moved up to Indianapolis, and is another guy who could reach the majors next year. Gamache has posted some decent numbers with Altoona, with a .787 OPS and some improved power in the form of extra base hits. He can play third base, and he plays second base, but not very well. He’s got a chance to be a utility guy in the majors one day, with strong defensive skills at third base.

With Glasnow, Kingham, Bell, and the breakouts like Sampson and Diaz, this is one of the best AFL groups the Pirates have had in years.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Tom Harlan has been completely off my radar. Can you provide a description of his game? What are his strengths / weaknesses?


Thanks Tim! Your description makse me wonder why the Pirates are investing an AFL roster spot on him.


If I were you piraddict I would wonder more about why they are spending a spot on Joely Rodr√≠guez. He has shown absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever this entire season, and I have seen him a lot. As a matter of fact, he is scheduled to start again tonight at home. Joy, joy…..


Wonder if MLB will televise the AFL.


They televised a few games the last couple of years.

Matt Beam

Best Bucs AFL group ever I would guess unless bonds/Bonilla/etc went together

Monsoon Harvard

Nah, the AFL wasn’t even in existence back then.

R Edwards

When does the AFL start?

John Dreker

October 7th


Joely Rodriguez needs more than extra work in the AFL. An extended session in Pirate City might help,but then again…..


When you get the opportunity Tim, possibly ask Travis about that. I am telling you, my jaw dropped when I read that.

Monsoon Harvard

Is this scout known for drinking his lunch perhaps?


I don’t know, but when I saw that yesterday from Sawchick I was pretty astounded. I watched Diaz closely all Spring into the Summer.and erratic on defense was not what I saw. Hitting ? I am no better a hitting analyst than the next good fan, so I won’t go out on that limb, but defensively ? No way !


What’s Diaz’ upside in regards to offense? Any real power potential, or is he more of a gap to gap hitter?


This Summer he looked more like a gap to gap hitter ,to me at least. But, do you remember how poor a hitter Yadier Molina was early on ? You just can never tell.

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