The Pirates Prospects 2017 Prospect Guide is now available for pre-sales. The book will be released the week before Spring Training, and we are currently in the process of making the final changes with editing and formatting.

The book features prospect reports on everyone in the system, the 2017 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. Subscribers to the site get discounted books, with Top Prospect subscribers getting $10 off, and Annual subscribers getting $5 off. The eBook will be released when the book is released, and will also come with discounts. Details on the promotions can be found on the products page, and you can subscribe to the site or upgrade your current plan on the subscriptions page.

While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks as a countdown to the start of Spring Training, and to give a preview of the release of the book. We will be wrapping up on Monday, February 13th. The reports will only be available to site subscribers, including those with a monthly plan. You can subscribe here, and if you like these reports, be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site to get much more analysis on every player in the system.

To recap the countdown so far:

20. Alen Hanson, 2B

19. Luis Escobar, RHP

We continue the countdown with the number 18 prospect, Edgar Santana.

18. Edgar Santana, RHP

Santana has had anything but a conventional baseball career. He started his pro career late after never playing baseball and then going to college in the Dominican. He began playing after college, and got on the radar as an actual prospect due to his ability to throw hard. That carried over to pro ball, where Santana was quickly hitting mid-90s, and currently sits 93-97 with good movement, generating a lot of ground balls. He pairs the pitch with a plus slider, generating a lot of strikeouts with mid-80s velocity and a lot of bite. He has good command of the pitch, and can get a lot of hitters chasing.

Despite the late start, Santana has turned into a legit prospect. He made the jump to the US in 2015, making it to West Virginia by the end of the year. He made an even bigger jump in 2016, going from Bradenton to Indianapolis in one season, and finishing a step away from the majors in his third year.

The fastball/slider combo gives him the potential for two plus pitches, and because he hasn’t had a lot to work on, he’s been able to go on the fast track. The Pirates have been working on adding a third pitch to the mix, going for a sinker in 2015 and a changeup in 2016, just to give him another look for the majors. But his two-pitch combo could be dominant enough to one day be a late inning reliever.

Santana was invited to MLB Spring Training this year, although it’s doubtful that he will make the team on Opening Day. He should be up in the majors at some point during the 2017 season. He’ll need additional time against upper level hitters, which he got in the AFL this past offseason, where he pitched 13.2 shutout innings with an 18:2 K/BB ratio.

Santana should be an outstanding depth option for the Pirates in 2017. Long-term, he could be a late inning reliever, or a closer. He will probably be behind Felipe Rivero for a few years for the closer battle, but could move to the late innings quickly with his dominant two-pitch mix.

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  1. Fastball with life and a plus slider sounds a little like Juan Nicasio, which would be a pretty fine result in the short-term for sure. Add that third pitch, and he’ll be a stud out of the ‘pen.

  2. It seems like a lot of other prospect rankings are missing this guy. I think he could really surprise a lot of people soon.

    • He impressed in 2016 especially at Hi A and AA, but had a setback at AAA. Then he went to the Arizona Fall League and pitched another 14 innings of stellar relief. Prior to 2016 he only had 62 total innings pitched in 2014 and 2015.

      Relief pitchers get very little love in prospect rankings, and very little ink until they become successful late inning specialists in MLB – Tony Watson was relatively invisible until his 3rd year in the Pirates BP in 2013.

  3. Tim … I am curious as to what he was doing in high school and college. I imagine he was playing ball somewhere. Do they have intramural teams or something similar that he was participating on?

      • I’d be curious to know how the Pirates have handled his workload throughout his development as a Pirate since his arm hasn’t had the amount of abuse that other pitchers in the system have had playing baseball, probably all their lives. I can’t wait to see this kid at Spring Training!

        • A similar question. Since he was not trying to throw curve balls in the back yard at age 9 and pitching 150-200 innings/yr by age 14. Is he more likely to keep his arm healthy longer?

          • On the other hand, he hasn’t had years to build up arm strength so even if successful, probably not a starting option. Hopefully you are right about a healthier arm.

  4. Excited that the Pirates are developing some bullpen prospects of their own. Looking forward to seeing him pitch.

    • His workload scares me – 19.2 IP in 2014, 42.1 IP in 2015, and then 93 IP last year for 4 different teams that did not end until late November. Lots of use for a RP and very little time to let the arm heal. I hope young and strong wins out.

      • That’s understandable Emjay, but look how dominating he was in AZ after pitching that many innings during regular season! Pirates were building him up to contribute in a big way for organization this year. Hopefully it plays out that way.

        • SK: I thought of that, and also that he had a little time to rest between the end of the AAA Season and the beginning of the AFL. The funny part of this is that I am usually on the other side of this because I think the Pirates are almost always too deliberate in the development process.

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