Pirates Well Represented in Mid-Season Top 50 From Baseball Prospectus

Baseball Prospect released their mid-season list of the top 50 prospects and they have four Pittsburgh Pirates, with another one that includes as asterisk. They have Tyler Glasnow ranked #17, followed by Reese McGuire at #29, Josh Bell at #33 and Austin Meadows at #46.

There is also the case of Jameson Taillon, who they noted would have been somewhere in the teens, but they left him off due to the uncertainty of his latest injury. They didn’t say the injury hurts his prospect status, rather the timing of it and the unknown success/recovery time makes it impossible to rank him at this point.

The high ranking for McGuire might sound surprising, but they have always been very high on him and strong defense at a premium position carries a lot of weight on their list. They believe he will at least be an average hitter because he controls the strike zone well.

Their mid-season top 50 from last year had four players, and Reese McGuire was one of the 8-10 names that just missed. The difference with that list was Nick Kingham was on it and Austin Meadows didn’t make it. They have also been lower than most on Meadows in the past and even recently as seen below, so the fact that he made the current list shows that they are starting to come around more on him. Kingham obviously didn’t make the list due to Tommy John surgery, which will have him up until at least this time next year.

As for the movement from their preseason top 101 list, Glasnow advanced four spots, McGuire 30 spots, Bell 25 spots and Meadows wasn’t even on the list. Even Taillon would have moved up, as they had him 26th before the year began, so they believe the Pirates have really improved recently. Part of that has to do with players graduating to the majors, but that alone wouldn’t explain the significant jumps by McGuire, Bell and Meadows.

  • Interesting discussion also on BP about comparing McGuire to Jorge Alfaro for the top catching prospect in the minors.

  • Other than Glasnow, I think Meadows is the best player in the system… I know he has a lot more to prove but I think he is a George Brett-like hitter in the making. If he stays healthy he is going to be knocking on the door by late 2016. Not taking anything away from Bell. I just like Meadows’ early control of the strike zone and athleticism. I would have Meadows before even Glasnow but the G-Unit’s potential is just too mind-boggling.

    • Couldn’t agree with you more. In fact I’d probably keep Meadows over Glasnow if you made me pick just one.

      Meadows hit tool is good enough that he’ll be doing himself a disservice not gearing his swing a bit more toward power production. A little bit more leverage will only help his game if he’s already posting elite contact rates.

      • What about the position though. I’ve thought for some time that Meadows is actually a candidate to move to another position in the infield. I’m not sure where he’d profile best. Obviously Josh Bell is the 1b of the future or he actually may be a great fit at first base, so he’s not going to be a SS and 2b is another position locked down by Hanson. So, as a prepare now for the near future is Meadows a candidate to move to 3b like Luplow a little below him?
        As far as great hitting 3b prospects in the minors only Ke’bryan Hayes would profile as an equal in terms of bat upside.
        It’s at least worth thinking about as we have several more athletic players developing for outfield postions like Harold Ramirez, Willy Garcia, Broxton, Barnes, etc.

        • Meadows is ticketed to replace Cutch after Cutch gets a 7 year $350 million contract from the Yankees. You can put it on the boarrrrd! Yes!

        • I’ll disagree with you on your opinion that those players are more athletic, at least as it translates to defensive value in the outfield, and Hayes has a hell of a lot more to do before even being considered to have the same bat as Meadows.

          I think if they had the need, a player like Meadows could be pushed into the show by the beginning of 2017 and succeed. The body, swing, and approach is that good.

          As the situation stands, I think the Pirates won’t have trouble fitting him into the outfield, but it’ll have to wait until Marte takes over for Cutch in ’18/’19.

      • Only because Meadows is a hitter and Glasnow is a pitcher and the injury/attrition rates are higher for pitchers. Glasnow is an absurd talent, putting up numbers not seen for a long, long time in the minors.

  • Also another good report on Cole Tucker with mention that he’ll be likely to grab a Top 100 spot this winter.

    • I love that Tucker’s defense is looking pretty advanced for a player so young. There really isn’t a guy I can thinks of who resesmbles Tucker if he stays at SSs: He will be a 200+ pound 6’3″ switch-hitting SS with 15 HR & 25+sb potential. Who in history fits that mold? I can’t think of anyone other than to say he could be a switch-hitting Tulowitski with less power…or a switch-hitting Derek Jeter that has range…or he could be nothing of course. But I am just dreaming on the upside.

      • Kind of a random question question but how big is too big to play SS? Some guys (like Hanson) move to 2B because he’s just not consistent enough to play the position. But with regards to SS like Tucker who have yet to fill out do you think there’s an effort not to make him too bulky or do you think as long as he hits it doesn’t matter and then you just move him to 3rd if he gets a little too big.

        • 6’4″ is just about the cutoff…I can’t think of any regulars who’ve been a true 6’5″, but there are a few notable 6’4″ guys (Ripken and Arod).

          I bet you Jordy Mercer is also every bit of 6’4″ even though he’s listed an inch shorter.

        • Jordy is listed as 6’3″, 215. I wouldn’t even think about it unless Tucker starts demonstrating that he can’t play the position adequately.

      • Do yourself a favor and make it a point to catch an Astros game now that Carlos Correa (6’4″ 210 lb) is up. Incredible talent, and the exact body I hope Tucker grows into.

        • I’ll have to check this out since I have the MLB package. Why did Machado move to 3B? Just to get him on the field?

          • Machado was originally moved to 3B because the Orioles found themselves in contention down the stretch, had a dumpster fire at 3B, and didn’t upgrade at the trade deadline. Then the knee injuries happened and they resigned JJ Hardy, which cemented Machado at 3B for all intents and purposes.

        • He is a beast. A-rod like

        • He’s clearly blown away my expectations and really cemented himself as the top SS prospect in the system by a lot. But it’s a little early to use Correa type talk…he was the top prospect in baseball at one point, yes? We also haven’t proven we can develop hitters all that well to expect that type of hitting development. We can dream though.

  • David A –

    I think we’re fairly safe in knowing the Pirates are easily on of the top five in MLB regarding talent in the minors. Huntington and staff have done a stellar job of picking prospects. I have some “show me” feelings over this years and last years crop however, but we won’t know for several years how the ’14 and ’15 drafts turned out.

    Huntington has also done a great job of sorting out the few good players Dave Littlefield drafted (McCutchen, Mercer, Watson, Walker, etc.) and then developing them into key players on the current team.

    And I was one of the BIG doubters for several years, at least into the 2012 season, that any of these guys from Nutting and Huntington on down had a clue as to what they were doing. They have proven me wrong.

    Now the job is to keep this talent level flowing in order to be competitive for the next several years, like the Cardinals.

    • Huntington drafted Mercer in 3rd round of his first draft in 2008. That was the same year he drafted Alvarez.

  • How deep are the Pirates (including Kingham/Taillon) for top talent compared to other competetive clubs?

    • In my humble opinion I would think they are top 5. Depending on how you define a prospect the Twins graduated Buxton and Sano, the Cubs lost Soler, Bryant, Schwarber, Baez. Syndergaard and Matz moved up for the Mets.

      • So besides the Cardinals and Cubs, any other team above 500 in better farm shape than the Bucs?