Baseball America posted their last top 20 prospects list on Thursday morning, finishing with the International League. The Pittsburgh Pirates were well represented on the list, with four players among the top ten prospects. That’s impressive because the IL looks to be the deepest league, heavy with top prospects.

Tyler Glasnow led the way for Pirates, as he ranked fifth in the league. He is followed by Austin Meadows two spots later, then Jameson Taillon eighth, and Josh Bell is tenth. They include players who have lost their prospect eligibility, basing their list strictly on whether the player was in the league long enough, so Taillon made the list.

I’ve seen their criteria listed two ways, saying once that a player just has to spend 1/3 of the season in the league, while another mentioned they had to get one plate appearance per game played for the team. By that last standard, Austin Meadows had 145 plate appearances and Indianapolis played 144 games, so he just qualified for the list. If you missed it last Thursday, he was third on the Eastern League list.

As for Glasnow, he posted a 1.87 ERA in 110.2 innings, with 133 strikeouts and a .175 BAA for Indianapolis. Due partially to his command issues (62 walks), he spent more time in Triple-A than anticipated this season. The 23-year-old threw 23.1 innings for the Pirates this season, finishing with a 4.24 ERA and 24 strikeouts.

Meadows had some issues in Indianapolis at the plate, in addition to being slowed by a hamstring injury and ending his season with an oblique injury. He hit .214/.297/.460, which still gave him an OPS well over the league average, doing it as one of the youngest players in the league. Meadows was still able to show off the tools that have him ranked high on two lists for BA. He had 16 extra-base hits in his limited, while going 8-for-10 in stolen bases. Before being slowed by the hamstring injury, he also showed off his impressive range and abilities in center field.

Jameson Taillon has already lost his prospect eligibility due to 100+ innings in the majors, but before he left the International League in June, he put on an impressive display. Taillon posted a 2.04 ERA and an 0.81 WHIP in ten starts, with 61 strikeouts in 61.2 innings. That led to his promotion, and at 24 years old and two full seasons missed due to injuries, he still was able to put up a 3.38 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 18 starts for the Pirates.

Bell also spent a lot of time in the majors, falling just short of losing his Rookie of the Year eligibility by being on the bench in the last game of the season. While in Indianapolis, he hit .295/.382/.468 in 114 games. With the Pirates, he had a .775 OPS in 45 games, finishing with a 21:19 BB/SO ratio, which was an improvement over his Triple-A BB/SO ratio. While he improved this season on defense, he is still a below average first baseman, but he has the bat to be valuable at that position. He also played some right field this year, and could see time there next season, though he’s below average there as well.

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  1. During Meadows draft year he was compared to Clint Frazier and I hoped that one of them would fall to the pirates and that they would take him. Well the Bucs took Meadows and I think he will be the equal of or could surpass Frazier, which brings me the question, was Frazier in AAA this year and if so was he rated ahead of Meadows?

  2. Gee Foo, you sure do know how to paint a picture of doom and gloom….I feel depressed after reading most of your entries on here. 😉

      • Joyce was really terrible after the ASG. I’m not sure that he’d be a good regular.

        Bell in RF and maybe Jaso/Freeze at 1b for half a year (assuming Meadows doesn’t get hurt again)?

    • I think you’d see something similar to what they did at the end of this year, with Bell playing both positions, and Freese, Jaso, Frazier, and others getting rotations at the open spot.

      • If they move cutch, I’d like to see them take a shot with Hanson as a starter and let Harrison and Frazier be the untility men for 2b and outfield. Hanson has the potential to be a catalyst still and it would be nice to just throw him out there for a month to see what he does. Let him hit 7 or 8 and be an everyday player

        • Last month was the month to throw him out there and see what he does, and they didn’t do it. I think Hanson is third on the depth chart behind Harrison and Frazier.

          • If that’s the case, do you think they try to trade Hanson or Harrison? Harrison is now overpaid for his offensive output and I’m sure there are teams out their who would jump on him or Hanson.

        • I feel like Hurdle is disgusted by Alen Hanson for whatever reason. It could be that he is young and has talent, Hurdle hates that kinda stuff

  3. This is nice, but, for some reason I seem to see the warts on 3 out of the four which may damage their upside.

    Bell – Terrible fielder and he has had almost two years at the position (It took Jaso one off season to become adequate or above). Will his defense negate his potentially very good offense?

    Taillon – He looks like the real deal

    Glasnow – Command, Command, Command (but still young).

    Meadows – Hamstring, Hamstring, Oblique. If he can stay healthy, it looks like a special bat.

    If any of those not name Taillon put it all together, they will become prime players in our future. But, as of today, putting it all together, is a big question mark. I guess that is why they’re called “prospects”. 🙂

    • Those “warts” are all taken into consideration in the rankings. It’s not like BA doesn’t know about Bell’s defense, Glasnow’s command, or the injuries for Meadows. If they didn’t have that, those three would be ranked 1-3 on this list.

      Your last comment is correct, although I wouldn’t say “big” question mark. I’d say “normal” question mark. It was only a year ago that Taillon had questions about injuries (TJ, hernia), and it wasn’t too long ago that he had questions about his ability to keep the ball down and pitch effectively. All prospects have some sort of question, which is what makes them prospects. When they solve it, like Taillon did, they reach the majors and don’t look back.

      So Taillon should look better than the others on this list because he’s fixed his question marks. Meanwhile, the others are still working on that stuff, and still age appropriate to have things to work on. You go through this list and the majority of prospects from other teams will have the same deal.

    • Hey Mr. Wart:
      I think most of the TOP TEN have warts or at least a case of acne. If all four have MLB careers that is a great achievement and a positive for the system.
      Basement Boy

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