Six Pirates on ZiPS Top 100 Prospects List

Last Thursday, Keith Law posted his list of the top 100 prospects. On ESPN Insider today(subscription required) Dan Syzmborski posted his top 100 prospects according to ZiPS, comparing it to Law’s list. There are a lot of similarities in the projections between Law and Syzmborski’s ZiPS, which he called “data-driven, emotionless algorithms” in the article.

The two top 100 lists have 71 players in common, including 47 of the top 50 prospects from Law’s list, ending up in ZiPS top 100. As far as the Pirates’ prospects, there are some interesting similarities and differences between the two lists.

We start at the top, where ZiPS has Tyler Glasnow ranked 14th and Law had him sixth. We mentioned yesterday in our averaging out the prospects lists article that Glasnow averaged a tenth place finish. Law had him higher than anyone else, while ZiPS was closer to the other three rankings.

Just like every other list, Austin Meadows was the second highest ranked player for the Pirates. His average ranking was 20th, and ZiPS has him just three spots lower.

Here is where we get to the two biggest differences. Alen Hanson is ranked 38th by ZiPS, third among Pirates. Josh Bell, who has been third among all Pirates on every other list(except Law), didn’t even make the top 100. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a reason given for Bell’s absence, but Syzmborski did provide an explanation for Hanson, saying that he ranks high because he’s a second baseman with some power, including triples. It isn’t noted in the article, but I’m sure the plus speed and defense at the position also helps with the ZiPS projection.

Next up is Kevin Newman, who ranked extremely high on Law’s list(#23), despite not making any of the other three lists. So it’s interesting to see that he actually did well for ZiPS, as the 52nd best prospect.

The final two Pirates on ZiPS top 100, also didn’t make Law’s list, and one didn’t make any of the four top 100 lists, though two of them mentioned him as “just missing” their list. Ke’Bryan Hayes ranked 81 and Harold Ramirez ranked 89th. Ramirez made two top 100’s(Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus), while MLB Pipeline said he just missed their list. Hayes missed all four lists, but both MLB Pipeline and Keith Law called him a player with breakout potential.

Jameson Taillon didn’t make the ZiPS list. Like Bell, there was no reason given for his absence. It could be the same reason Taillon was left off two other top 100 lists, there just isn’t enough to go on with all of his missed time. Reese McGuire also missed ZiPS but made two top 100 lists, though he was near the bottom on both.

The ZiPS list for the Pirates:

16. Glasnow

23. Meadows

38. Hanson

52. Newman

81. Hayes

89. Ramirez

  • What these various prospect lists are revealing to everyone in MLB is the breadth of the PBC’s depth. As fans, we should be excited that so many different players are considered for the top 100 lists. The fact that Taillon is not included does not alarm me at all, since he has missed the last 2 seasons – one with a serious injury and one that was not. It appears that our farm is in good shape for the long term.

  • There’s no reason to get your knickers in a knot. If Bell was ranked #1 by every reputable outlet, his career arc from here would depend on exactly the same things that it does now.


    1. Ability to make hard contact
    2. Ability to hit for power
    3. Defensive chops
    4. Speed and his ability to use it wisely
    5. Throwing arm
    6. Pitch recognition and plate discipline
    7. Desire to excel
    8. Intelligence, both on the field and in developing a plan to improve
    9. Sheer dumb luck, mostly of the avoiding injury sort.
    10. Self discipline in his life off the field.
    11. Ability to get along in a major league clubhouse (see Latos, Mat for an example of how much this can hurt a career).

    None of those things have anything to do with what any “prospect evaluator” thought of him last year, or thinks of him now. Indeed, they mostly (especially the “data driven” guys like Szymborski) ignore 7, 8, 10, and 11 and nobody on this earth has any clue about 9.

    And even if one of those gurus did have his current and future ability at every one of these topics nailed on a 20-80 scouting scale, nobody knows how to weight all of these.

  • I’m a little concerned that Bell isn’t on the list. Have we gotten too desperate that anything with any potential looks good to us at first base? Kind of like at last call in a bar… Might as well talk to the lone chick still there.

    • His DEF might hurt a little bit. I read in a chat recently that Dan uses his own Total Zone-edque rating for MiL. (This is from memory). But I’m banking that looks bad with the errors. I would think the lack of power might bring him down a little too.

    • I don’t think this is accurate at all. He was likely hurt by D and lack of power. When that power comes around he’s going t be great. Hs basically a lock as a .280 hitter with an .800 OPS.

    • Dude, he’s in the top 60 on every other list. This is just one guy. Bell is a legit prospect with a pretty solid floor. I wouldn’t worry.

    • Because Bell is not on a list doesn’t take away his abilities to play the game. Opinions are like a**holes, everyone has one. I’m happy that their are 6 on the list not including two of our better prospects. (Bell and Taillon)

      • Trust me I’m excited by him, it was the data driven part that got to be for a second but I’m not jumping off any ledge. Absolutely stoked for this season with all the new blood coming in