The staff at Baseball America came up with their top rookies for 2016, based on how much they could contribute in the majors this year. Tyler Glasnow is the highest rated prospect in the Pirates’ system, no matter who you ask. In this case though, BA sees a better chance for Josh Bell to get time in the majors with the Pirates’ situation at first base. Bell ranks #14 on their top 20 list, while Glasnow is ranked as the 19th best rookie.
In each of his three spring starts, Glasnow has had an inning cut short due to reaching his pitch count. His fastball/curve combo has look devastating at times, but there is no consistency yet. That’s one of the reasons the Pirates said he didn’t come up last year in September and why he won’t be ready for the majors until at least early June. If his consistency issues don’t improve by June, then there is a chance that Glasnow’s contributions in Pittsburgh this season could be a lot less.
Bell’s main issue is defense and he has made progress in that area since last year. You would still like to see him add power to his game, but his approach at the plate and ability to make contact and get on base, means he should still be a valuable player, even if the defense is average at best.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Bell have the bigger contribution this year, even if he isn’t the higher ranked prospect in the sysem. There is also a chance Jameson Taillon could contribute the most, depending on how the Pirates handle his innings. He could be the first starter called up from AAA, other than possible spot starters. Injuries could also play a part in who ends up being the most valuable. If Alen Hanson or Elias Diaz has to take a spot for awhile, one of them could end up as the best rookie this year.