Baseball Prospectus released their list of the top 101 prospects and the Pittsburgh Pirates have six players on the list. Tyler Glasnow heads the list for the Pirates, ranking 11th overall. That is ten spots ahead of his ranking last year. He is fifth among all pitchers and third among right-handed pitchers.
Austin Meadows was next at #22, which is a surprising ranking from BP. They have always been very low on him, so the fact he went from not ranked last year, to 22nd this year shows that they have completely changed their stance on his potential. Meadows ranked sixth among all outfielders.
Josh Bell is ranked 49th overall, moving up nine spots from last year. They still have him listed as an outfielder, but he is actually the highest rated first baseman on the list.
Bell is two spots ahead of Jameson Taillon, who was 26th last year. The missed time clearly hurt Taillon, but they are still high on him considering he hasn’t pitched in a real game in two years. Taillon is in great shape now and pitched well in both Extended Spring Training games and Fall Instructional League games this year, so he’s probably ranked about where he should be at this point.
Reese McGuire was up next at #76, which is a drop of 17 spots in the rankings from last year. BP has always been high on McGuire, so the drop probably brings him closer to where he should be ranked.
Harold Ramirez is the sixth Pirate to make the list, ranking 80th overall. It’s his first year on the list. Ramirez was also ranked sixth in the Pirates’ system in our prospect guide. His profile was posted this morning.
Last year, the Pirates had five players in BP’s top 101, even with Austin Meadows somehow being left off the list. The year before they had seven players on the list. Going back even further, they have five Pirates in 2013 and six the year before, so the Pirates have been well-represented on five straight prospect lists from BP.
UPDATE 12:00 PM: Analysis from Tim Williams…
The biggest thing that stood out to me here is the placement of Meadows. The Baseball Prospectus rankings were always the lowest on Meadows and the highest on McGuire. This always resulted in them ranking McGuire higher than Meadows, and as John noted above, leaving Meadows off the top 100 list last year. It appears that has changed in a big way, with Meadows now being one of their top outfield prospects in baseball.
I’ve been talking about this since my AFL trip, but I’ll say it again. It seems people all around baseball are opening their eyes to Meadows, whether they had him highly regarded before or not. The upcoming season could be a big year for him in the terms of raising his prospect status. It’s not out of the question that he could be one of the top ten prospects in the game by this time next year, and I think he’s an easy favorite to be the top prospect in the system by this time next year.
The other big surprise was Harold Ramirez making the list. I figured there was a chance Ramirez could get some consideration for the top 100 this year after the season he had in Bradenton last year. I’m looking forward to seeing if this list turns out to be the exception, or if Ramirez rates high across the board. Of course, it’s not like there’s anything special about being rated just inside the top 100, or being rated just outside the top 100. They’re both pretty much the same quality of players. The former just leaves no doubt about how the player is perceived. With Ramirez and Meadows, the Pirates will have an excess of outfield prospects, which opens up a lot of discussions about what to do with Andrew McCutchen in the future, or what to do in terms of using one of them as a trade chip.
There weren’t many other surprises. Alen Hanson was left off the list, although I wonder if he’s one of the guys who is just on the outside of the top 100. Glasnow, Bell, and Taillon’s rankings show the level of boost the Pirates could receive from the farm this year, with three top 50 prospects expected to make the jump (well, almost, since Taillon was rated 51st).
MLB.com will be releasing their list tonight, so we’ll get a comparison to this list pretty quickly.