Pirates Have Six in Baseball Prospectus Top 101

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.Β 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.

  • To have McGuire #76 and Diaz not on the list is odd. It’s nearly a coin flip as to which one of those two are better. I know McGuire Is there for the high pick he was and his very young age. Any gm would be extatic to have two defensive catching prospects with some offensive tools like the pirates have. I bet a bunch of gms would have Diaz in their top 100 players they’d like to have.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    January 29, 2016 3:42 pm

    Did the Baez kid from the Cubs “graduate” from prospect status, or was he just left off of this list? I didn’t think he would have had enough MLB at bats to no longer be considered a prospect, but I did not see him listed….

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    January 29, 2016 3:32 pm

    I didn’t take the time to actually count what teams had the most players listed in this top 101, but I was amazed how many the Atlanta Braves have now. 2-3 years ago, their system was in shambles and pretty barren, now after 4-5 trades and their own draft picks, they appear to be well stocked again. If they hit on even half of these guys, they should turn around pretty quickly.

    • That’s a really fun question!

      14 is the answer, by my count: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=28247

    • Phillies have done a really good job, too, but I was most surprised by the Rockies. Six in the top 50!

      • Yes, but two are pitchers and…well…these are the Rockies…

      • I just sent that info to my Phillie Phriends. Thx.

      • After the trades the Astros have pulled off, they still have 5.

        After the trades the Reds made, they only have 5.

        Cards at one….wow.

        • FanGraphs’ new prospect guy released his Reds list today and was super high on their system, which very much surprised me. Way more than any of the other major outlets. TEN 50 FV guys or better!

          I’m super happy for the ‘stros FO. They took a beating from the mouthbreathers who don’t understand what rebuilding looks like up until last year when it all came together, almost exactly like the Pirates between ’12 and ’13. Good for them.

          Hate to say it, but the Cards have a hell of an argument for getting snubbed. BP just released their individual top 10 and gave them two Role 55 guys after Reyes, neither of whom made the top 100 over a couple 50+ prospects.

          • I haven’t seen the list but I recall the Reds have some interesting arms. Though I’m glad they can’t figure out what to at the MLB level.

    • John Hart knows what he is doing.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    January 29, 2016 3:28 pm

    Although I take most of these lists with a grain of salt, it sure show how far Hanson has fallen in the eyes of these “experts”. Wasn’t his high water mark well inside the top 50 at one time?
    I wonder how many other teams, who had first round picks in the past two drafts, don’t have either of those first round picks in this top 101?

  • Meh….I posted this list yesterday. You’re late to the party, Tim.

    πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • We knew about this list on Monday. We just weren’t going to post it until BP actually posted it on their site, rather than when that portion of their book leaked.

    • As Tim said and I said yesterday, they didn’t release the list, someone went the backdoor way to find it. Since it’s part of their book, which is for sale on their site, we weren’t going to post it until they did. We have done that in the past for Baseball America, with the print copy coming out before their online top ten.

      • I was being facetious guys….hence all the smilies.
        I understood why you didn’t post it.

        Oh well…. πŸ™‚

        • I have a feeling they posted the list today because it got out early and was spread around the internet the last four days. In the past, they have done all 30 teams first, then released the top 100. They still have 13 teams to go.

    • You probably helped them with the list since Hanson got left off!

  • It appears that some on here overvalue Alen Hanson.

      • Hard to give him any ‘cred’ when he is touting Trey Supak as a sleeper pick.

        • Considering it was published on 10-13-15 when Supak was still with the organization, I think his cred is just fine.

          • Has he scouted these guys?

            • From the site:
              While our analysis will hopefully prove to be comprehensive, it is by no
              means perfect, as scouting and player development is an inexact
              science. However, our research will be based on attending games from
              the GCL and AZL rookie leagues through AAA and the Fall instructional
              leagues as well as discussing players with our numerous contacts within
              the baseball industry.

            • None of these writers that do prospect rankings have actually gone to games of every prospect that they have ranked. They rely on video and scouting reports for the most part. In this case, the writer stated that he HAS seen Hanson play. Whether it was live or on video is undetermined.

      • Or this list: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/katohs-top-100-list-now-incorporating-multiple-years/

        In the comments, the author states that Hanson is less likely to bust than not. Glasnow has a higher rank, but Hanson is second.

    • Or maybe some outside of Pittsburgh undervalue Alen Hanson.

      But I have a feeling the consensus on Alen Hanson, both inside and outside of Pittsburgh, is the same. MLB rated him a 50 upside. We rated him a 55 upside. Both are future average starters, with one ticking a bit towards above average. I’d be interested to see how BP actually rates him. Not in the form of a numerical ranking, but with his actual upside ranking being used.

      • I’m confident he’ll be better than Warren Morris.

      • I’m leaning to the “overvalue” side myself. πŸ™‚

        • Fans overrating their own prospects? Never…

        • What do you think his upside is in the majors?

          • 50 *upside*, but 40-45 realistic. The risk involved with projecting that upside is why other outlets have rightfully, IMO, lowered him.

            EDIT: Sorry, just noticed you were asking Foo.

            • We have also lowered him, as I’ve pointed out. And the only other outlet with a published upside has been MLB.com, who gave him a 50.

              Last year in BA’s top 30, a 40 upside wouldn’t have even been in the top 30. A 45 upside puts him in the company of the 21-30 prospects. I seriously doubt anyone has him that low.

              • Except prospects aren’t solely ranked on upside…

                • I think we’re talking about different things with the term upside.

                  I’m not talking about his ceiling. I’m talking about his most likely upside, which is what every outlet uses when they rank an upside.

                  • I see Hanson’s upside as a Jose Reyes lite, when he played for the Mets.

                    Floor – I see a utility piece, that will give you stomach ulcers from all the boneheaded plays

                  • Most likely upside?

                    That’s certainly not what Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs, or BA do but we’ll agree to disagree.

                    • We can agree to disagree, but realize that I’m talking as someone who knows the people who make the decisions at those prospect sites, and knows how they operate.

                      Even in the BA handbook, they say their grades aren’t overall future potentials, but realistic ceilings that are designed to be less optimistic than a normal ceiling.

                    • Tim, that’s exactly what I’m saying…we’re arguing semantics at this point.

                      Hanson has the upside of a 50 FV player, but overall is more of a 45.

                      IN BP terms, 50 OFP – Role 45… http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=24362

                    • The 45 is the number I’d focus on there. That’s in line with the MLB and BA numbers, and gives something to compare across the board.

                      Although that report is from one writer in 2014, and usually the official grades come from all writers and all combined reports.

                    • Agreed.

          • Tim….utility guy on a good team, regular on a bad team. I don’t think he’ll ever hit enough to keep a regular job.

            He’d have been a ‘star’ on any of our 20 year wilderness teams. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

        • Eddie I will be the first to say I told you so when Hanson proves you wrong.

          • Eric Marshall
            January 29, 2016 3:18 pm

            I have a hard time seeing Hanson at his age and year in AAA last year as not being someone who is above average 2nd in Pittsburgh is 2 to 3 years. He certainly has the talent and has been learning… his head and new position. Most teams would be excited to have him waiting in the wings.

      • are top 100 prospect players typically graded with an upside of major league average? – I ask because I think even the people that don’t like Hanson seem to see that as more of his midpoint, not his upside or downside. If he hits well and has power and speed and defense, why is he set up to be no better than an average major leaguer at best? That’s what i don’t get…..what are your thoughts on that tim? I see him, at best being a similar hitting second baseman to Neil, with adding 20 plus steals and way better defense. that would be WAY above average

      • Do you think it may have to do with the move to 2b? There are 2.5 2b on the list and 19 SS.

    • Gotta say I like him. Though stats are not always perfect indicators of future success, he put up a better first season at AAA than Neil Walker did at the same age…he showed less power, but more speed and was learning a new position.

      I kinda think that puts his ‘down’ year in perspective.

      I’m thinking he has the potential to be Brandon Phillips type…just not as many homers.

      • Hanson should become a better second baseman than Walker because he can steal bases and cover ground on defense. 2-3 WAR per season is within Hanson’s feasible ceiling. And, if he gets his hitting together…

    • Lol. There are some on here I think related to Alen Hanson. Him and DiaZMR.

  • If Yeudy Garcia picks up where he left off last year, I expect to see him on this list next year.

  • This list is interesting. Hanson at 42. Newman at 93.

    • Hanson being listed ahead of both Bell and Taillon IS surprising.

      • It’s so hard to predict how a prospect will actually turn out. There are failed journeymen that dominated the minors and were surefire stars and then there are stars who were decidedly average in minors and were predicted to bench players or flame out in AAA.

        Look at Jacob DeGrom’s stats as a 25 year old in AA.
        Now he looks like one of the best pitchers in baseball.

    • here is his top 10 for the Pirates in 2016…this list is also very very interesting


    • As I wrote above, his ratings don’t impress me.

      What are his credentials? Plus, he has Supak as a sleeper pick.

      No mention of Diaz, Ramirez or others.

      • His credentials are an internet connection and wordpress account.

      • He has Ramirez rated #5, ahead of Taillon. He also said he saw Hanson play short and thought he could stick there.

        • I actually don’t think there is anything wrong with someone saying Hanson could stick at shortstop. His range is above average, he has quick hands, a nice glove, good footwork and the arm is strong enough. His errors have been the easy plays most of the time. I’ve seen him make plays that only Gold Glove caliber shortstops make, then throw away a routine grounder with a slow runner going down the line. He has the tools to play shortstop, he just looks a lot better at second base with the shorter throws. His issues have been mental, not physical for the most part

          • I agree, John. Some scouts have said that Hanson could play short in the bigs. I think that could still be an option. Lee was questioning the credibility of the writer, so I was trying to point that out. The guy obviously has some knowledge of Hanson if he has seen him play short. I just think the Bucs moved him to second because they knew that in the short term, at least, they would need a second baseman. If Mercer regresses this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Hanson at short, even if it’s just for a look-see.

  • Not sure how Bell is ranked ahead of A.J. Reed. I’d take Reed any day of the week.

    • I’m not sure either. I just pulled up both on fangraphs and looked the stats and the only thing Reed is really worse in is K rate and it’s not that bad but even fangraphs gives Bell a higher Future Value than Reed.

    • That seems to be the consensus. Bell does have the superior plate discipline and has already hit at AAA, and you can make a reasonable argument that his floor is measurably higher than Reed’s. The upside, on the other hand, favors Reed unless Bell suddenly adds 30-40 points to his ISO.

  • Glasnow ranked behind Matz and Reyes on this list. I’ve seen him ranked ahead of them on most other lists.

  • The “OF” listing for Bell looks like a typo, as they explicitly have him as the top 1B in their breakdown article.

    Also, didn’t BP lose two prospect guys to Major League jobs this year? Wonder if that had something to do with the Meadows bump.