Keith Law Ranks Four Pirates Among His Top 50 Prospects

Keith Law posted his new top 50 prospects list and it has four Pittsburgh Pirates players on it, though not the four many people would have guessed.

He has Tyler Glasnow as the #7 prospect, followed by Austin Meadows at #18, Kevin Newman at #27 and Harold Ramirez at #50. He also mentions that Josh Bell just missed the list.

Glasnow, Meadows and Newman shouldn’t be a surprise if you followed Keith Law during the draft and in his previous prospect rankings. He loves Newman and had him as the second best player in this year’s draft, so you would expect him to rank him high in his top 50 as well. Newman has struggled so far in pro ball, but three week’s worth of games shouldn’t impact anyone’s prospect status, especially not the first three weeks of someone’s career.

Harold Ramirez is a surprising one because that means he has him as the fourth best prospect in the organization ahead of some pretty big names. Ramirez has hit well and has good defense, but there are issues with his game. He had some conditioning issues this year, plus a skin issue that affected his ability to get into shape, so that isn’t something you like to see from someone that has had multiple injuries in the past. The conditioning looks to be the concern, as Ramirez has good speed, but he is 11-for-21 in stolen bases. Plus after a torrid start, he has seen a drop in his stats the last two weeks prior to leaving for the Pan Am games.

There seems to be a huge split on Ramirez now, as Baseball America recently rated him as a prospect in the Pirates’ system who is seeing his stock drop. In reality, Ramirez seems to be doing what he has been capable of, getting on base and playing strong defense. His stock shouldn’t have skyrocketed or plummeted because except for the stolen base percentage, he is pretty much the same player he was last year and before that.

  • Tyler Glasnow may deserve to even be higher on prospect lists. He wasn’t facing the best lineup tonight, but 6 innings of 2 hit, 0 BB, 9K baseball? Incredibly effective and efficient…less than 80 pitches through 6 innings and (77 pitches and 53 for strikes)…an absolutely disgustingly good outing for the kid. When he’s healthy he’s the best there is…it’s almost not fair. As for other Altoona Curve players to consider: the top 5 hitters in the lineup are all carrying batting averages north of .300…Moroff may well play his way onto some prospect lists as well soon. Moroff is only 22, and hitting more like he did his first, abbreviated, season than he has in his last two full years. He should play himself into position to be a contender for an infield spot in Pittsburgh in 2016-17.

    • Make that 7 innings of 3 hit ball…87 pitches, 58 for strikes.

    • BuccosFanStuckinMD
      July 16, 2015 9:54 pm

      If he didn’t miss 6 weeks (or however long he was out), he would be much higher on this list – and possibly in Indy by now.

      • You can’t be “much higher” than #7 🙂

      • Just how good is Tyler Glasnow? Well consider this: in his 330+IP in his minor league career he’s amassed 430+K’s, a .163 BAA, and a 1.02 WHIP. Now, he certainly was not as advanced of an arm as Gerrit Cole, but consider Cole’s numbers for a comparison: 222 IP, 199 K’s, a .220 BAA, and a 1.15 WHIP and he is, now, a top 5 pitcher in the NL. During his minor league career Felix Hernandez threw 302 innings…walked 122 (Glasnow has walked 150), struck out 363, and held opponents to a .221 BAA and a 1.20 WHIP. Clayton Kershaw threw 230 innings and had 291 K’s…a .196 BAA, and a 1.12 WHIP. The last pitcher to have numbers comparable to Glasnow in the minors was, who? Stephen Strasburg who only threw 100 total minor league innings and still had a higher BAA? In the high minor leagues right now (AA and AAA) there are THREE (3) total pitchers with the number of innings to qualify who have a lower WHIP than Tyler’s 0.88 in Altoona. Even the great Aaron Nola has a career .236 BAA and a 1.02 WHIP and he’s the best pitching prospect in the game. Tyler Glasnow’s numbers are video game absurd…and he’s replicated them again…over and over and over.

  • As far as Newman goes, while Cutch had obviously proven himself in the majors already, can somebody please remind me of his stats at the end of April (albeit probably somewhat knee injury related imo)? It’s been a bad 15 games after a short layoff after Arizona’s season – if he has that stretch during his college season, he’s still over .300 and it’s a blip on the radar, let’s give him a chance

    • I’m no more down on the kid than the day we drafted him, honestly. I thought he was a Freddy Sanchez type 2B at best as it was. Not that that is a terrible thing. He’s not the defender you look for at SS but Jordy wasn’t at first either….he’s not, honestly, probably top 5 in the system defensively at SS.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    July 16, 2015 6:22 pm

    IMHO, I think Newman is rated way too high…and not just because he’s hitting below the Mendoza Line right now. Taillon, Kingham, Ramirez, McGuire are all better prospects.

    • Its interesting because I mentioned the day of the draft that I did not think Newman was the best shortstop prospect available…instead I thought Richie Martin was a better shortstop prospect. More athletic, better defensively, and not as good of a hit tool but a bat that was developing. Three weeks and 15 games do not make a prospect or break a prospect (just look at we how performed as a team the first 15 games of the season). But it is interesting that Richie Martin is batting .294 with a .900 OPS and with better defensive numbers than Newman. 15 games is just 15 games…12 games for Martin actually…but it will be an interesting thing to watch, the shortstops in this class as they rise. Martin is also younger.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        July 16, 2015 9:53 pm

        I am not going to say that it was a bad pick, as it would look like I am only saying that because of his slow start. I am not foolish enough to say a pick was bad, after just 3 weeks – that is absurd.

        But, my initial reaction to the Pirates drafting Newman was disappointment – primarily because of the scouting reports on Newman (which suggested he could only hit singles) and the fact that most mock drafts (for whatever they are worth) had him going much later – some even after the first round altogether. He just didn’t sound like a high upside guy, which is what I think teams should be shooting for in the first round – looking for future potential stars. Obviously, the guys who actually scout and draft these guys know a lot more about these kids than the draft “experts”. I felt better about the pick, after reading more about Newman after the draft, although still not jumping for joy.

        Time will tell, and it will take 2-3 years to really have enough information to make a true assessment of Newman.

        • This is all true…I am only reiterating what I previously said the day of the draft.

  • I think Ramirez is a better Jose tabata. I think his hitting ability is better. Even if not by a lot. If he can stay healthy and in shape I think he will be at least a nice extra OF. If you take his hitting over his last 250-300 ab he is pretty great.

  • Well, Law needs to take another look at Newman… I know it’s early in his career but you expect to see some special quality when you watch a player rated as highly as he’s rating him and he looks like a really typical college type player to me but overall average skills.
    I see Josh Bell as having a much higher floor and ceiling, and Reese McGuire the same. For that matter I see Cole Tucker as the better SS prospect. Anyway that’s his perspective!

    • Kind of surprising that Newman and Ramirez are both ranked ahead of Bell.

      And, I agree that, so far, I value Tucker above Newman.

      I love KLaw, but, to me, he is off base with his rankings after JT and Meadows.

      • Law has seemed to always like Bell, too, but Law does do a good job (IMO) valuating prospects as a whole. JB isn’t going to be any better than even (at best) on the bases and in the field, which means he really, reeaaallllyyy has to rake in order to get Law’s attention.

        Plus, 50 is obviously an arbitrary cutoff. Doesn’t really say anything if Bell is at 51-55 as opposed to 45-50, and the range is even bigger than that in all reality.

    • Which games did you see from Newman, Brian?

      How many times have you scouted him?

      • Should probably cut Newman! He’s had three weeks to get it going!

        • I’ve already seen the internet geniuses comparing Newman to Tony Sanchez, because that’s obviously how baseball works.

          Seriously though, nobody could possibly be happy or excited about Newman’s first 15 games, but if you’re listening to a guy who changes his entire view of a player because of said duration you should probably stop and find someone who actually knows what they’re doing.

          • Still though, wouldn’t you also have to look at a guy like Cole Tucker and wonder how Newman can possibly surpass him when actually looking at both ability and results. Cole Tucker is the more athletic player, has better range, and has a better chance to play a better than average shortstop. He is also younger and IS actually producing against a higher level of competition. Sure, you don’t love Tucker’s OPS being under .700…and he’s struck out too much. But he’s also stolen 21 bases in 26 attempts…played a pretty good shortstop defensively. He’s also only 19…2 years younger than Newman and better both in the speed and defensive tools…and with his consistent contact both last year and so far this year, you have to imagine he has a similar hit tool. Whether you take these 15 games of Newman’s to mean anything or not, it is hard to put Newman above Tucker in the Pirates system and, thus, doubly hard to put him above Tucker in a top 50!

            • I love Cole Tucker, but I don’t agree with this at all. Are you making these statements based on your own personal scouting or interpretations of what others have said?

              • Really? And what makes you disagree with it? Kevin Newman does not have the same range as Cole Tucker does. He does not have the same glove Cole Tucker does. He does not have the same speed Cole Tucker does. He may have a more advanced bat, but let’s wait for that to play out to see if that is, in fact, the case. Newman, defensively, is not top 4 in the Pirates system: Valerio, Gift, Tucker, Florimon all are better glovemen than Newman. It is, likely, that if things progress for both Newman and Tucker that Tucker would be at SS and Newman would be an average-heavy 2B.

                • You’re vastly underrating Newman’s defense, and it shows you haven’t actually seen him and Tucker play.

                  Tucker may have more *potential* for all those atributes you list, but he’s simply not there right now. Way, way more raw than Newman.

                  And I’m one of the few that was here on draft day last year defending the Tucker pick.

                  • I haven’t seen Newman play with the Pirates. I do watch a lot of college baseball, especially my Commodores! Haha. I have seen Newman play and to me his range is not all that impressive nor is his defensive positioning for balls all that stellar either. To me, if you’re talking about shortstop prospects, Tucker is a better shortstop prospect than Newman. Maybe Tucker will grow out of the position. We shall see…but if you were to ask me which of the two I wanted as a shortstop prospect it would be Tucker.

      • Three games in Morgantown which I work near. He doesn’t even look like the best player on his team NMR. I know it’s the premium position which adds value, but he looks like a mid-tier type of prospect to me.

        • You’re a lucky man, Brian! Pretty little park, and I love stopping through Morgantown. Thanks for the report.

        • I attended one game and saw Newman play. I thought overall he had good speed, looked athletic and had a nice quick swing. His last ab he stroked a triple off the fence, he looked very athletic to me compared to some other players on the field. Kevin Kramer also looked to have a nice swing and decent speed. Casey Hughston has the body type, just don’t know if the bat speed will be there as he advances.

    • Lets truly examine Bell’s floor for a minute, because i think there are some delusional people out there. I have no arguments on ceiling. His floor will be a player whom cannot hit lefties, plays below average defense at first base, and hits in the upper .270s as a lefty with less than 10 homers per year and an OPS (depending on how often he is forced to hit lefties) hitting around .700. To me, given his status, that’s a low floor.

      • He’s consistently hit .800 OPS, and the lowest ever hit in terms of batting average is .274 in 15 games his first year in 2012.

        • And that means what?

          • That to say his floor is a .270, .700 OPS player seems to be underplaying his floor.

            • Again, I think you’re putting way, way too much emphasis on minor league statistics.

              Keep in mind the success rate of Top 50 prospects. Guys much better than Bell have failed to even hit the floor Y2 gave him, and we’re not talking about only a couple of them.

              Chris Davis, James Loney, and Eric Hosmer barely posted a .700 OPS last season. In the current offensive environment, .700 OPS is absolutely a realistic floor for Bell.

              • All fair points. I think his eye and walk-rates will almost guarantee him a higher OPS than .700, but I can see where you’re coming from. I do not know off the top of my head the numbers but I do not remember Davis or Hosmer being known for their prowess at taking pitches as minor leaguers.

                And as far as the minor league statistics go, NMR, here’s how I look at it: if the player is age appropriate then the statistics *SHOULD* give you a fair approximation as they are facing similar age/talent. IF someone like Bell or Glasnow can be successful against similar age/talent players up through the system (or in some cases against older competition) then I do believe the numbers are indicative of probable future success. (Of course considering that they develop relatively similar to their peers as they progress).

        • an .800 OPS in the minor leagues means less than wins and losses in a fantasy league

  • From Keith Law’s chat:

    Fred (Chicago)

    I notice that Bundy and Taillon were not on your mid-season Top 50. Is this because of their injuries, improvements of the other prospects, or a combination of both?

    Klaw (1:23 PM)

    Injuries more than anything else. Hard to get better if you’re not playing, and the more you’re hurt the more I worry you’re going to get hurt again in the future.


    Vince Lombardi: “Son…you have all the ability in the world but one….AVAILability”.

    • Thanks Lee!

    • lee = great reference to greatest coach – and motivator of all time..

      I have always thought that durability – the lack of injury time is very underrated. Too many teams get enamored with tools and measurables – and too many work out wonders can never make it too the field let alone stay on it.

      I am with Law on Bell though – if he is not a plus defender – which evidently he is not yet – the lack of power makes him problematic to me.

    • meanwhile ramirez has been hurt just as often…..short term memory here it seems

      • There’s juuuuust a little bit of difference between pulled hamstrings and surgically reconstructed elbow ligaments.

        • True. surgically reconstructed elbow ligaments don’t have a reappearance everytime you push them, hamstrings do. The elbow is a big injury, but once you are beyond it, you are beyond it. Sure some people have it reoccur 5-8 years later, but onec a pulled hamstring occurs 2-3 times, you are screwed. For any player with speed, hamstring issues can effectively take away your value, ask vince coleman.