Baseball America released their top ten prospects list for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday and not surprisingly, Tyler Glasnow has been ranked the top prospect in the system. Earlier this off-season, they named him the top prospect in the Florida State League and also he also made their minor league All-Star team. The complete list can be found below, along with links to the Pirates players that made the top 20 prospects list for each league.
1. Tyler Glasnow
2. Jameson Taillon
3. Austin Meadows
4. Josh Bell
5. Reese McGuire
6. Nick Kingham
7. Alen Hanson
8. Cole Tucker
9. Mitch Keller
10. Harold Ramirez
International League: #1 Gregory Polanco(wasn’t eligible for top ten list), #11 Casey Sadler, #20 Nick Kingham
Eastern League: #10 Elias Diaz, #17 Willy Garcia, #20 Nick Kingham
Florida State League: #1 Tyler Glasnow, #8 Josh Bell
South Atlantic League: #5 Reese McGuire, #6 Austin Meadows
Gulf Coast League: #11 Cole Tucker, #13 Mitch Keller
You can see last year’s top 10 prospects list here.
Their top ten doesn’t have any surprises on it, unless you go by their own rankings for the leagues. Nick Kingham is ranked #6, which is about where he ranks for most people. In BA’s own league rankings, Kingham came in #20 in both the Eastern League and International League, putting him behind Casey Sadler, Elias Diaz and Willy Garcia, yet none of them made the top ten. You can make a case for Diaz as a top ten prospect, but not the other two players.
BA will tell you that different people do different rankings, for the leagues and for the team. In this case, the team ranking is more in line with what everyone else thinks about Kingham. After the league rankings came out, I did an article on the differing opinions on Kingham, posting scouting reports from multiple scouts we talked to during the 2014 season. You can check out that article here.
Glasnow has passed Taillon on almost every prospect list and that should be expected with one player missing the entire year and the other putting up another huge season while moving up a level. The real test for Glasnow will be AA, where he will encounter the occasional player with Major League experience, while seeing an overall better group of players with better plate patience. For someone that has trouble throwing strikes, the better quality hitters will be more patient and have a better shot at hitting his fastball if they don’t have to worry about the breaking ball due to control. I wouldn’t be surprised if Glasnow struggles early and Taillon takes back the top spot temporarily, but Glasnow definitely has the higher upside at this point.
I personally have the same ten players in my own top ten list, which differs slightly from the Pirates Prospects top ten, which you can find in our 2015 Prospect Guide. I just have a slight difference in order after the top four spot, with McGuire and Kingham flipped and the bottom three players in reverse order of BA’s list(Ramirez, Keller, Tucker). So there isn’t much for me to say about the list other than I agree with it for the most part. I ranked Ramirez higher because he can flat out hit and did it at a young age in Low-A ball, where he finished with a 23-game hit streak. He also has other strong tools to his game, namely speed and the ability to stick in center field.
As for some of the best tools in the system, Josh Bell was voted the best hitter for average, while Stetson Allie was named best power hitter. Alen Hanson got fastest baserunner and best athlete. Nick Kingham got best control and change-up, while Glasnow has the best fastball. The rankings were obviously done awhile ago, as Buddy Borden got the best curve. Borden was dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays for Sean Rodriguez on December 1st.
Baseball America had a chat about their prospect list, hosted by John Perrotto, which can be found here.