Gerrit Cole and Gregory Polanco Among Top Young Talent in Baseball

Keith Law posted his annual list of the top 25 players under the age of 25(Insider article) on Tuesday afternoon. The criteria for the list is as follows(copied from the article): This list is limited to players whose seasonal ages for 2015 are 24 and under — that is, any player who has yet to turn 25 by July 1, 2015 — and to players who had already exhausted their rookie status before Opening Day.

The Pittsburgh Pirates had two players in the top half of the list, with Gerrit Cole ranked ninth overall and Gregory Polanco is three spots behind him. The Boston Red Sox are the only other team with two players in the top half.

Law has good things to say about Polanco, who he calls a “top-shelf athletic talent” and he believes that Polanco “will be the star that takes over for Andrew McCutchen in a few years when he exits his peak”.

Cole is called “an ace in the making”, although Law points out that he may already have taken over the role this season. He also says that Cole is the pitcher he would take first ahead of anyone else on the list. Cole is the first pitcher on the list, which shouldn’t be surprising after hearing that comment, although it says a lot about how talented the hitters are in this group.

That is pretty high praise from Law for both Polanco and Cole.

  • Cole is starting to look and pitch like the ace he was proclaimed to be, he had me worried there a bit what with the arm issues and non dominant stuff. Polanco also is back on track after a miserable end to last year, I also think the groin tightness was caused by a cold chitown wind shrinking the package. : )

  • It may or may not be relevant but I would have much rather have allocated the money that was spent on Harrison and Khang and tried hard to lock up Cole.

    • Even though I think they jumped the gun on Harrison (I would have waited until at least All-Star break). I think the FO may have been a little surprised by winning the Kang sweepstakes. With that said I don’t believe it has any bearing on extending Cole. Only way Cole gets extended early is if he tells Boras to get it done. Boras won’t extend anyone unless his client tells him to get it done.

    • They didn’t pay him enough to have it even more a difference. Unless Cole fires Boras, there is a better chance of us resigning Doug Drabek to hold down the #3 spot in the rotation next year than there is of us locking up cole

    • Noble idea, but highly unlikely Cole is going to sign away his FA years at this point. Given what Scherzer just got paid, I’m sure Boras will be licking his chops on the contract Cole will most likely be offered when he becomes eligible for FA.

      Enjoy him while you can, he won’t be here forever.

      • Thankfully, neither Taillon nor Glasnow are Boras clients. Although, Boras was at PNC last week and said that the Pirates will be given a chance to re-sign Cole. Jared Weaver is a Boras client and he left a ton of money on the table to stay with the Angels. It’s shame we have no reason to be optimistic about this. I want to believe that Cole will stay a Bucco into free agency.

    • As good as Cole will be, I think it would be a terrible idea for the Pirates to lock him or any other TOR starter up long term. Pretty compelling evidence that pulling together good pitching anymore is all about managing risk, and committing a major portion of payroll long term is literally the exact opposite of that.

      • Not that he’ll ever sign an extension for less than market value so this is a ridiculous question on my part – but you wouldn’t extend Cole a couple years if there was some sort of discount involved? He’s young, on the rise and for the most part durable. Won’t happen. But I’d do it. They can’t sign a guy like Cole in free agency and the chances of them drafting another Cole isn’t impossible. But it’s pretty remote.

        • I’m realizing the irony that they drafted Glasnow in the very same draft. But my point is drafting an Ace is harder in the middle/back of the first round.

          • No, I think your comment still stands. Even Glasnow is still a long-shot to actually become an ace. Just the nature of the beast.

            I definitely agree that the Pirates will not be signing guys like Cole in free agency, but I also think a discounted Cole is still a $20m/yr player for a longer duration than I’d be comfortable committing to any starter, period. Just my opinion, and maybe easier said than done, but I’d much rather focus on relatively short term, mid-range slaary guys that are also solid #2/3 starters like Francisco Liriano. That’s a guy that’ll put you in a position to win just about as many games as an ace with less risk.

  • I think Polanco is already starting to show what he’s capable of. He carried the team in a few of the games during that winning streak and the end of the streak coincided with him being out of the lineup. If he taps into more power he’s gonna be scary good. The Bucs could have an outfield capable of 80-90 homers.

    • uh……no. Maybe 80-90 steals if Cutch’s already 35 year old legs don’t give out, but there’s zero chance of 80-90 homers

      • If they even reached 70 homers together i’d be shocked.

        • Marte is on pace to hit 30 this year, Cutch should hit at least 25 and Polanco has the size and potential power to hit at least 25. I think it’s a long shot but I definitely think it’s realistic.

          • Marte is also sporting an insane 50% HR/FB ratio, which would basically double peak-PED Barry Bonds. Starling will not be hitting 30 home runs this year.

            I know your underlying point was that the Bucs could sport a power-hitting outfield trio, and to that I most certainly agree. But 80-90 HR is incredibly difficult in today’s game, especially without one of the few 40 HR guys in the group.

          • Who cares about “pace” this is May 1st. Marte will never hit 30, and Polanco will never hit 25, and certainly not in the same season. Aligning of planets would need to occur, it isn’t realistic

  • deacs, there were more than a couple of Cole doubters who comment regularly here also. No need to mention their names, they know who they are !

  • When Cole wasn’t dominating a couple years ago (early 2013 I think in AAA) I remember someone saying Cole looked like more of a #2. I believe his quote was – “That’s a copout. If Cole doesn’t have #1 stuff then no one does.” Something along those lines. So I wasn’t surprised to see Cole that high. I was a little surprised to see Polanco that high given he’s struggled some. I guess the list was based on future projection as well?

    • It’s mostly about future projection. Think of it as a list of the 25 players that fit the under 25 players he would draft if he was starting a franchise. I should(and will) edit the article to add his criteria, since there is a little more to it than just being under 25