Friday night at 9 PM EST on MLB Network, Baseball America will announce their top 100 prospects list. This will be the third top 100 list put out by a major source. Below you will find the rankings for Pittsburgh Pirates on the lists from Keith Law and MLB Pipeline.

Keith Law

9. Austin Meadows

14. Josh Bell

16. Mitch Keller

25. Tyler Glasnow

33. Kevin Newman

74. Ke’Bryan Hayes


MLB Pipeline

9. Tyler Glasnow

10. Austin Meadows

27. Josh Bell

48. Mitch Keller

59. Kevin Newman


Baseball America has the same top five prospects for the Pirates as everyone else, though the order for everyone varies. In order, they have Austin Meadows, Mitch Keller, Tyler Glasnow, Josh Bell and Kevin Newman. They also have Ke’Bryan Hayes ranked sixth, so their top 100 will likely have 5-6 Pirates, depending on how highly they think of Hayes. Unlike other lists, there is no guarantee that the Pirates will be in the same order in the top 100 as they are ranked in the system. That’s because BA has individual writers for each team, then the top 100 list involves all of the head writers on the site. We will update the article as they are announced.

UPDATE: Kevin Newman at #55 was the only Pirate in the 51-100 range, so it looks like they will have five players on this list, with four in the top 35.

Mitch Keller ranks 22nd, Tyler Glasnow is 23rd, and Josh Bell is 35th, so they will be in the same order as the top ten from BA.

Here are the final rankings:

6. Austin Meadows

22. Mitch Keller

23. Tyler Glasnow

35. Josh Bell

55. Kevin Newman


BA added the link to their top 100 now that it’s been announced. The list includes ratings for each of the five tools (four for pitchers) and an ETA for each player.

Averaging Out the Top 100 Lists

We usually wait for a few other top 100 lists before we average them out, but here is what you get for these three lists combined. I’m only using the top five players, since Hayes made just one list. Below is the order based on their average ranking.

1. Austin Meadows 8.3

2. Tyler Glasnow 19

3. Josh Bell 25.3

4. Mitch Keller 28.7

5. Kevin Newman 49

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  1. BA’s Top 100 Grades

    6. Austin Meadows of, Pirates

    Hit: 60. Power: 60. Speed: 60. Fielding: 60. Arm: 55. ETA: 2017.

    22. Mitch Keller rhp, Pirates
    Fastball: 70. Curveball: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 60. ETA: 2019.

    23. Tyler Glasnow rhp, Pirates

    Fastball: 70. Curveball: 60. Changeup: 45. Control: 45. ETA: 2017.

    35. Josh Bell 1b, Pirates

    Hit: 55. Power: 55. Speed: 40. Fielding: 30. Arm: 60. ETA: 2017.

    55. Kevin Newman ss, Pirates

    Hit: 60. Power: 40. Speed: 55. Fielding: 50. Arm: 50. ETA: 2018.


  2. The three hitters listed might be the only hitters in the system capable of making the majors. So sad to see the lumber company turning into the tooth-pickers.

  3. Without having a scouting bone in my body I’ve kind of come to the conclusion through the years that of a team’s top ten prospects three will make it and the rest will either fizzle out or be traded.

    • That might be the average, but it wouldn’t be something you could guarantee yearly because the top ten lists don’t have the same strength every year.

      For example, Zack Von Rosenberg was the 9th ranked prospect in 2011. Where he was at that point, throwing 88-91, with an average curve and changeup plus projectability, youth and some success, would probably get him ranked late in the top 20 now due to the differences in the strength of the system then and now. However, he doesn’t come close to what Taylor Hearn offers, this year’s #9.

      ZVR needed to add velocity to reach his peak and as we would see a short time after that ranking, he was a tick slower the next year and was mid-80s by his last two years. He didn’t have the secondary stuff to lose velocity, or even just maintain, he needed to add. Hearn doesn’t have the command ZVR had, but he could still get by as a power reliever who can touch 100 and has two off-speed pitches. ZVR didn’t have that fallback option with his 2011-stuff, while Hearn has more upside and a higher floor.

      So while they were both the #9 prospect in the system, they were not similar prospects. It’s better to look at the individual grades and see how those types of players normally turn out, rather than how top ten players end up as a group. The Pirates now have five strong prospects at the top of the system, so getting only three MLB contributors out of the top ten would be disappointing.

      • Keep in mind he threw in “or traded” so that is still a reasonable out come for a couple of those players, even at the top given this years offseason.

        • I’ve heard things about questionable work habits/drive/desire, but not every pitcher adds velocity after 18. Sometimes they do work hard, have the projectable frame, and nothing comes from it. Those critiques I heard could have been more about the ZVR from his last two years when he really had no shot at the majors. He was sitting 83-86 in short outings during his last couple seasons.

          There actually was a short time one summer where his velocity bumped up to hitting 92-93, but it was brief and he was quickly back down to the 88-91 range that he saw since high school

      • Thanks very much, John. I’m excited about what we have now even if we have to probably forget about Luis Heredia.

        • I wouldn’t say I’m 100% sure Heredia will never make it. Age is still on his side at 22 most of this upcoming season. He looked good in the reports I got from Mexico this winter, even if the results weren’t great, he was pitching in a league that is a big step up from High-A ball.

          The big thing was that he said that the Pirates didn’t have any restrictions on him going into the winter, but then in a middle of a strong run he made, they suddenly changed course and said he couldn’t start anymore. Then he was on a strict schedule with at least five days between appearances and was never used in extended outings. I could see something clicking with him (and the scouting reports were good) so then they decided to protect their investment.

          I might be reading too much into their restrictions, but I haven’t heard that before with someone going from pitching back-to-back days, making starts and long relief outings, then totally switch to being treated like a prospect again.

          So I wouldn’t be surprised at how this season plays out. If he did make a turn, you might see him regain some prospect status (as much as you can as a reliever), or the Pirates might realize it’s his last season with them and use him in any role, including bouncing between teams/roles as a temporary filler, before returning to his original role.

    • Well then you’re in trouble, because I know of three more prospect lists coming out soon and then the draft coverage starts, which will involve a lot of early draft rankings.

      • What’s the purpose of reporting on every prospect list that’s published? is it just b/c a list is published and you feel compelled to comment upon it? How about one or two articles that look at all of the lists at once and compares them? Those like that done here are the ones I prefer. All of the lists are interesting to a point but like debates over whose the greatest at a position, etc. they get a little tiresome after a while. There is no real end to the speculation — time will tell.

        • We don’t come close to reporting every list that’s published. We do five sources for prospects and two for position players in the majors. We post the ones we do because people like them. We know that from the page views over the years. Giving people what they read and enjoy is a good enough reason for us to continue posting them.

          I think the titles tell enough that if you or anyone else doesn’t want to see “another list”, we helped make it easy to avoid clicking on it. I appreciate the complaints though, always good to know we are giving some people more than they need. Doesn’t mean we will stop though, since they are popular articles.

          • I don’t mean to “complain” or offend but I am offering you feedback. I can see how some might enjoy articles that others don’t. I was curious about the point of publishing the lists. If its only that your readers enjoy them, then I think you’ve answered my question. I will point out that when the preponderance of articles on the site are list articles, I’m not sure you can equate clicks with approval. I click b/c that’s all that’s offered but it doesn’t mean that I’m satisfied with that particular content.

            • The lists do well whenever we post them, in the off-season or mid-season. We’ve been doing this a long time and have cut out certain things that didn’t do well over the years. We have also had numerous surveys over the years asking what people want. Prospect list articles have always done well in views and surveys, so we continue to do the most popular ones.

  4. I have struggled with understanding what defines a prospect. Tim and I went back and forth on this a couple of years ago and I decided to just shut up – we had two very different end points and would never find a common ground…

    Baseball America and I seem to be aligned…
    1. Keller is a slightly better prospect than the highly over rated Glasnow. He gets guys out a lot more efficiently and could probably start the season in Pittsburgh and do a better job than Glasnow.would in the same role. Both would struggle but I bet Keller would find a way to survive.

    Tim and others will note that Glasnow has the higher upside – if he can just put it all together he is the next Randy Johnson and they may be right – problem is he has not put it together yet – and there is little reason to believe he ever will.

    That gets us to Josh Bell…
    I do think Bell will have a nice MLB career – NICE – not IMPACT…

    Will play 8-10 years – average fWAR around 2…

    But to call him a top prospect when he has no position he can play at even close to replacement level defense and projects to be a 15 HR guy just makes no sense.

    Hope I am wrong

    • I’m not disagreeing, but Glasnow has gotten hitters out at every level he has played. I just would like your opinion as to why he will not be able to at the major league level.

      Bell is not going to be average defensively, but I would disagree on his ability to hit home runs. He’s probably not going to be a 30 HR guy, but he should consistently be 20+. But back to defense, I feel it is over rated in factoring WAR. It is important, but not so much that anyone should have a negative WAR. If Bell slashes .280/.360/.450, he’s probably a 4 WAR player.

      Keller is the shiny new toy. Let’s not forget he was drafted 3 seasons ago and last season he dominated Low A. A good prospect, yes, but has proved much less than Glasnow.

      • Hanley Ramirez slashes that plus 505 slugging mostly as a DH and is 2.6 war if Bell pulls that off it would be huge

      • See my comment above…
        Think he has to start throwing strikes and get guys out more efficiently. Saw signs of some possible competitive issues – some guys get better in tough situations – others seem to have things go from bad to worse…

        He is young and things can work themselves out with time and experience.

        To be clear – I don’t think he is a dud – think he is a pretty good prospect who needs to develop a bit more before we will know how good he can be.

    • Its an important question to ask, floor versus ceiling. Which do you care about more, and by how much? Someone who cares a ton about floor, and barely considers ceiling, might rank Newman atop our system. Someone who cares only about ceiling, but nothing for floor might look to Meadows, Glasnow, Hearn, and Ogle. How do you strike that balance?

      I tend to evaluate prospects on a pretty even mix of the two, with a little more weight toward floor, which is why I like Newman and Bell as much as I do. I get the feeling P2 uses ceiling, with floor as a correction or tie breaker, only bringing it in over ceiling in a case where the floor gap is massive. I anticipate Meadows will be #1 because he’s probably the one of the top four ceiling guys whose floor is the highest. I think the floor gap is massive between Ogle and Hearn and the guys ahead of them, hence they’re lower despite higher ceilings.

      I don’t know that there’s enough or objective enough data to decide which of those perspectives is actually most predictive.

      • I think you also have to consider the level they are currently playing. Performing well at AA or AAA carries more weight than A. Pitchers are tougher than position players because the quality of their stuff factors in.

      • Floor vs Ceiling is a good debate. For me, I lean more towards ceiling when ranking prospects because I’m a bit of an optimist.

        With that being said, nobody can predict the health of a prospect, nor their ability to deal with pressure. Both of these play big roles in whether or not they can reach their ceiling.

      • We rate every single prospect in the system based on their floor, likely outcome and ceiling and then average those numbers. The tiebreaker is risk involved in the player. Using 2-8 as our grades, if two players received an average of 5 in their grades, then we would decide who is better by the risk involved, which we also give out in four grades of low, medium, high and extreme. If they are both 5 medium, then we use the good old fashioned discussion to decide, which involves position value, current level, age, etc

      • Honestly if you aren’t an all-star caliber future player based on your tools, you shouldn’t be in the 100 period. That being said, if your ceiling is an all-star player based off tools and at least flashes of doing that throughout the minors, what should separate the top 100 should be the floor. How close are you, how inconsistent are you. There is my take, for its value of $.02

        • ….and based on that, I just don’t see how Newman is ranked so high. He’s David Eckstein that can run better (and yes I know I’m being ridiculous, I’m just making a point, I know he’s a slightly better hitter with more gap pop and a better arm)- but not SIGNIFICANT.

        • That’s not really consistent with market valuation in MLB, though. Average and above-average players carry enormous value in the eyes of GMs as reflected in trades and free agent contracts. Guys who are really likely to turn into average or better Major Leaguers have high value to GMs. Since the folks who make these lists talk to scouts who are operating inside the valuation scheme of their teams, that perspective likely informs these lists. Hence, Newman’s rank.

          • I am not a scout- I rely on the scouting reports to tell me that. If you mean it’s definition, I’m talking about someone consistently in the top 5 in his position out of each league every year.

    • Glasgow…Little reason to believe that he ever will?? As in become Randy Johnson or be a solid contributor??? Randy Johnson is a high mark to set.

    • Here is why I think you are probably wrong about Glasnow Bruce : I watched his first 4 or 5 starts in Altoona before his injury, in 2015, and he looked nothing like he looked last year. His control was fine and he completely dominated hitters in the EL. And when you can do that once, it means the ability to perform at that level is there.

      • Thanks – will be interesting to watch the control this Spring. Watching him pitch in the majors last season was painful – threw way too many pitches and did not seem to have the same competitive edge that Kuhl and Tailon seemed to have.

  5. These lists are as meaningless as pre-season Power Rankings, but it sure is good to see Pirates with 5 in top 50ish!

      • I agree with both of you and sometimes you find some real scoops like for Glasnow the FB and Curve are Plus pitches – nothing new there. But then they went on to say “changeup showing signs of being a third plus weapon”. And, we were all worried? More for what it is worth –

        Keller – 70 FB, 55 CB, 50 CH, 60 Control
        Glasnow – 70 FB, 60 CB, 45 CH, 45 Control

        Hitters rated on Bat, Power, Speed, Fielding, Arm
        Meadows – 60 B, 60 P, 60 S, 60 F, 55 A
        Newman – 60 B, 40 P, 55 S, 50 F, 50 A

        • A 70 FB with 60 control is going to be fun to see at PNC in the not too distant future.

          As for Meadows, it should be interesting to see what Pirates do if he has a good 1st half season in AAA.

          • I think we are very close with his 7 doubles, 3 triples, 6 HR in only 126 AB in 2016 at AAA. But, no way anything happens before mid-June.

            Your reference to Mitch Keller reminds me that our pitching prospect pool is very talented and very deep already. The 2017 Draft is loaded with pitching and the Pirates have picks 12, 42, 50, 72, and 88. Keep adding?

            BTW, BA projects Nick Lodolo to be the Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 2017.

            • That’s a Super 2 guarantee! Cutch, Polanco, and Marte could all suffer season ending injuries on the first day of April and Meadows still wouldn’t be called up before Super 2 has passed!

    • But just outside the top 50 in all of baseball, that’s pretty good, and I think it’s very fair for a kid whose ceiling is limited by a lack of power potential, no matter how good he is at everything else.

      • Agreed, I think he has a very high floor, just not a lot of surplus projectability. I’ll take the closest thing to a solid mlb regular as you can get over high risk high reward

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