Keith Law followed up his top 100 and farm system rankings with his top ten for each club, though Law went 20 deep for the Pirates. From his top 100 list, we already knew that he had Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, Kevin Newman and Josh Bell as his top four in that order. We also knew from his list of players who just missed the top 100, that Ke’Bryan Hayes was his fifth best prospect for the Pirates.
His top 20 Pirates list(subscription required) also includes(in order from 6-10): Harold Ramirez, Jameson Taillon, Cole Tucker, Alen Hanson and Reese McGuire. He has Taillon lower than most due to his uncertainty. Tucker is higher than most, and it seems that Law believes he can stick at shortstop and hit for average. As we saw with Kevin Newman, those two tools are big selling points for Law on prospects. He doesn’t think(or isn’t sure) that McGuire will ever hit enough to be a regular, but his defense will get him to the majors.
As for the 11-20 range, he has some interesting names in that group. He has Nick Kingham at #11, followed by Luis Escobar. That’s a name that should be familiar to readers of our site, and someone we have mentioned as a sleeper prospect, but he is far from on the radar of most people. Escobar has only pitched for three years, switching to the position after his coach thought it would give him a better chance than making it as a third baseman. He can hit 95 MPH, and his command got much better in 2015, but he is still considered a raw pitcher with high potential. We put him in our top 50, but kept him near the bottom due to how far he is from the majors. Escobar was promoted to Morgantown at the end of last year, which is a decent indicator that he will be with West Virginia this season.
After that, Law had(in order from 13-20): Yeudy Garcia, Elias Diaz, Chad Kuhl, Trevor Williams, Clay Holmes, Mitch Keller, Kevin Kramer and Jacob Taylor. No big surprises in that group, other than Taylor being ranked that high going into a season in which he will likely miss the entire year due to Tommy John surgery. Before the injury, that seemed like a good placement for him, but others have since passed him on our list. He will go into 2017 with just two innings pitched in his first two seasons of pro ball, so there is no need at this point to be aggressive with his placement.
Law also listed Connor Joe as the prospect who has dropped the most, and he lists Garcia and Escobar as his sleeper picks. I’m not sure Garcia can be considered a sleeper prospect at this point, since he led the SAL in ERA in 2015 and has been getting strong scouting reports since shortly after his debut in the DSL. Our view of him could also be skewed due to how long we have been talking about him, so maybe he is still a sleeper to most people who don’t follow the system closely. We covered Escobar being a potential sleeper prospect a couple weeks ago.
As for Joe, we didn’t rank him high last year, so he didn’t drop as much for us. A 23-year-old first baseman, who had a .670 OPS and one homer in Low-A, is usually far off any prospect trail. He has power potential(mostly a lot of doubles), and an impressive 50:34 BB/SO ratio, so you can’t totally write him off just yet. Joe is not a top 20 prospect though, at least not in a strong system like the Pirates have right now.
More From Baseball America
On Friday, Baseball America posted their top 100 prospects list. In it, they have four Pirates. Tyler Glasnow ranked 14th, Austin Meadows 22nd, Josh Bell 38th and Harold Ramirez 95th.
BA always follows up their top 100 list, with a list of players who just missed the list. They expanded on that a little on Monday afternoon, posting that just missed group, then the 20 closest players(101-120), and finally the list of all 108 players who got votes for the top 100, but didn’t make the top 100 list. The Pirates had a player(s) in each group.
Jameson Taillon was in the first group of five players who just missed. During their podcast on Monday, they mentioned his uncertainty after so much time missed as the reason he didn’t make the top 100.
Reese McGuire was in the group of 20 players who would be classified as 101-120 if they went that far with their rankings, though they didn’t give any specific order. Since he wasn’t in the “just missed” group, McGuire falls in the 106-120 range.
Finally, Alen Hanson, Cole Tucker, Kevin Newman and Ke’Bryan Hayes were all mentioned at least once on the prospect lists submitted at the start. Each of the six contributors from BA gives their own top 150, which are then averaged out to begin the ranking process. No specific spot was given for any of those players, so they could have been in the top 100 for a couple people, or they may have just been #150 for one person.