On Friday, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced that they acquired left-handed pitching prospect Steven Brault from the Baltimore Orioles, completing the Travis Snider trade. Brault joins Stephen Tarpley to give the Pirates two left-handed pitchers in return for Snider.

Our 2015 Prospect Guide features the top 50 prospects in the system, although the cut off date for transactions was on December 14th. As usual, when the Pirates add a player after the ranking deadline, I ask our writers where the new player would have ranked in their rankings. We then use the average of the rankings to get an idea of where the new player would have ranked if he was in the system before the cut off date.

This process is different from how we rank prospects for the book. In that process, everyone submits scouting grades for each prospect, and we use the average of the grades to help determine a player’s ranking. But this rough process is good enough to get an idea of how good the player is that the Pirates acquired. Here is our article on Stephen Tarpley.

The rankings for Brault were pretty evenly spread out, with him finishing anywhere from 21st overall (behind Luis Heredia) to 33rd overall (in front of John Kuchno). The average rankings had him around 27th overall, which is right where Jason Creasy was ranked in the top 50.

Brault had some impressive numbers, and he is left-handed, unlike the three pitchers mentioned above. I ended up ranking him 28th, just behind Creasy, and a few spots behind Chad Kuhl. My reasoning was that Brault doesn’t have lights out stuff, and fits the profile of a lefty with great control who posts great numbers in the lower levels, only to struggle when he reaches the upper levels. Because of that, I see his upside as a back of the rotation starter, or a middle reliever on a team with a stronger rotation. That’s about where I’d put Kuhl and Creasy, only I like their stuff better, and don’t see them having as big of a drop off at the next level. There is also the age factor to consider, as Brault will be 23 this year and in high-A, while Creasy was 22 at the level and Kuhl was 21.

I’d expect Brault to begin the year in Bradenton, where I will get plenty of opportunities to see him. I’ve seen some outlets that have him ranked a lot closer to Tarpley. As far as our tiered rankings go, we’d have them ranked one tier apart, with Tarpley in tier 4, and Brault in tier 5 (those who own the Prospect Guide can see who else is in each talent tier). The biggest reason for the difference is that Tarpley has better stuff, and seemingly more upside. I’m looking forward to seeing Brault and Tarpley to get a better feel of their upsides going forward.

If you haven’t bought a copy of the 2015 Prospect Guide, you can do so here. We have less than 200 hard copies remaining, and will only have eBooks remaining once these sell out.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. I would have thought the Pirates could have gotten more for Travis Snider, since his value was probably at its peak (up until now in his career at least). Getting Tarpley was a decent start, but disappointed in the PTBNL. Brault doesn’t appear to be much of a prospect, but time will tell.

    • I don’t know–Snider had two good monhs as a Pirate, and he profiles as a fourth outfielder. The Orioles have been watching the same guy we have, after all. I’d say two decent prospects is not a bad return on Snider.

  2. The point of rankings in this case is to gauge whether the Pirates did well, O.K., or poorly in the Travis Snider trade.

    • People just love rankings. They love to argue about rankings. Even minor issues like whether a guy should be ranked 3rd versus 4th gives people something to bicker about. Weird.

      • And some people just love a self-inflated sense of superiority. They love to argue about what is worth arguing about. Even minor issues like “should there be rankings” gives them something to bicker about. Weird.

        • They care so much that Tim Williams and a bunch of other dudes have a career doing it…and by the way, you’re soaking in it!

    • Seriously? You are on a site called Pirates Prospects. If you don’t like reading about Pirate’s prospects, I’d suggest finding something else to read.

      The point of ranking players is for the purpose of comparing and contrasting to others. It was clearly said that in actual practice the site grades the players (on a absolute scale by multiple people, which are then averaged and sorted into tiers) but this was a shorthand method to give readers an idea of where the new player might fight on the spectrum so that we might compare him to players with which we are more familiar.

    • j: Rankings are very important to all of Baseball as you can see by the 5 or 6 different agencies that pick their Top 100, and then rank the Minor League Organizations. Trying to slot these kids in one organization is a monumental task because a lot has to do with their future worth to the organization.

      I watch the movement from year to year as some prospects move up while others move down based on recent performance. And, never think that most other teams in the majors do not know who are the best prospects in the Pirate org simply because they have been recognized as a Top 5 System. I also like to review the Top 10’s of every team that are put out by Baseball America to see if other teams may have players we could be interested in via trades.

      The kids that just came as a result of the Snider trade are important to the future of the Pirate Pitching, and the opinions of the management of P2 is valuable to anyone following the Pirates and the game closely. Ranking our Top Prospects was not this enjoyable for a very, very long time.

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