MLB Pipeline released their list of the top 30 prospects for the Pittsburgh Pirates today. We already knew their top five prospects in the system by looking at their top 100 prospects list released in late January. Tyler Glasnow was rated ninth on that list, then moved up a spot when Alex Reyes of the St Louis Cardinals went down with Tommy John surgery. Austin Meadows moved from tenth to ninth at that time, while Josh Bell, Mitch Keller and Kevin Newman are all among the top 60 prospects in the game.

After that top five, Pipeline then has Ke’Bryan Hayes, Cole Tucker, Will Craig, Nick Kingham and Steven Brault to round out their top ten prospects for the Pirates. As for the rest of the top 30, there are no real surprises in the group. They seem to be a little low on Clay Holmes with his 23rd place ranking, but he’s usually in the teens, so that’s not a drastic drop from average. No surprise names made or missed the top 30.

You can check the link at the top for scouting reports on each player and the full top 30.

Averaging Out The Top 10

Now that we have top 10 (or higher) prospect lists from numerous sources, we can take a look at the aggregate rankings from those lists. Using Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, Keith Law, John Sickels at Minor League Ball, Fangraphs and and today’s MLB Pipeline list, this is the overall top ten for the Pirates:

1. Austin Meadows
2. Tyler Glasnow
3. Mitch Keller
4. Josh Bell
5. Kevin Newman
6. Ke’Bryan Hayes
7. Cole Tucker
8. Will Craig
9. Steven Brault
10. Nick Kingham

Farm System Ranking

This list from MLB Pipeline today also came with a farm system ranking. They have the Pirates as the seventh best system in baseball. Earlier this off-season, we also saw that the Pirates were rated as the fourth best system by Keith Law and seventh best by Baseball America. Over the weekend, John Sickels ranked them as the fifth best system, noting that the top five teams are all elite when it comes to talent. The other two sources used above for the aggregate top ten haven’t released their farm system rankings yet, but these four give you a pretty good idea that the Pirates are among the best in baseball.

In last year’s aggregate rankings, the Pirates were tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for the eighth best farm system. The average of these four lists has the Pirates as the sixth best farm system in baseball.

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  1. I really like Kingham but I like Holmes a little more and even now it seems to me that Holmes is showing a better FB, equal or better change, and an equal curve.

  2. OT but what is up with Gerrit Cole? I see Brault is scheduled to start tomorrow according to ml MLB app. Unless there is a split squad game I’m missing I’d think they would want Cole to throw his 2 innings soon. Will Brault be scheduled for 3 innings tomorrow?

    • Cole threw two innings on Sunday in a simulated game. They have his schedule mapped out so he’s ready to go on Opening Day. If there were any problems (for anyone), it would have been in the injury update this morning.

  3. A 50 grade for Glasnow’s changeup seems generous based on what we’ve seen in actual game action, though the new one could easily earn that outing if it proves to be as good as he thinks it is.

    Likewise, a 45 field for Bell seems generous, but we’ll see.

    It is encouraging to see that Craig displayed good bat speed at instructs, since I know his bat speed was a question after he was drafted, and really the only question about his bat at that.

    And that’s a lot of 60+ grade fastballs. Never a bad thing.

    • Throwin’ out scouting grades like they at an Oprah Winfrey taping.

      How ’bout Luis Escobar supposedly now pushing 200lb?

      • I’m not so sure on that Escobar weight. I saw a picture of him from a couple days ago, and while he looks like he’s in great shape, he isn’t well built and isn’t carrying fat, so 200 seems unlikely. Maybe 180 LB.

        I also have no idea about forearm strains they mention for him. I don’t even know of one strain, forget multiple. The only “injury” I’ve heard of for him is when he needed an appendectomy immediately after his last DSL start. He missed one start and the FIL. Other than that, he hasn’t missed a regular season game and I’ve received reports on him during both times he was in Extended Spring Training.

        • Glad you mentioned the forearm comment, since that was another one I couldn’t place but also admittedly could’ve missed along the way.

          At 6’1″, 200 lb is either jacked or sloppy. Doesn’t sound like Escobar is either.

          • He has definitely filled out, but I’d be shocked if it was anything more than a few pounds over 180. I’ve seen a lot of workout video from him this winter. He is in better shape, but he’s not like Elvis Escobar (no relation), who is jacked and looks like he has zero fat. Luis is in good shape, decent strength

      • I thought it was interesting how that Kingham, at 9, got a 50 grade. It struck me as atypical to rate players 50 that low on their list for the Pirates’ system. I thought the 45s started at 6 or 7. Maybe they just are inclined to higher scores to say the same thing.

        From Bell’s write-up, regarding his defense:

        “Bell’s work at first base, a position he started to play in 2015, continues to be a work in progress, and it was rough at times.”

        Yeah! 45 grade for sure! Isn’t 45 average or a bit below? Because “rough at times” sounds more like 35.

    • Brandon Waddell’s writeup is my favorite… 50 FB – 50 SL – 50 CH – 50 CONTROL….45 Overall

  4. The improvements in drafting and development really can’t be overstated with this organization. High draft picks and high investments (Meadows and Bell on this year’s list for example) have produced adequate ROI, and they’ve been getting much better results with their prep pitchers since the 2009 disaster. I think they’re still feeling their way for how to evaluate college hitters, but I view the 2014 draft for college hitters as similar to their 2009 draft for prep pitchers. It was a trial and error approach, they identified certain attributes from the pool of those players to see how they would develop. Just like they applied the lessons learned from those 2009 pitchers to the 2010 and 2011 drafts where they got Taillon, Kingham, Glasnow and Holmes. They took the lessons learned from Joe, Luplow, Suchy & Suiter when drafting Newman, Kramer and Craig.

  5. What’s awesome to me is that not only is that top 4 potential impact players but that top 4 are all potential stars with Glasnow and Meadows having the talent to be best in the game type players. I also think the system is deceptively deep with multiple guys that can break out ala Keller or Polanco.

    • I think Kingham is going to be a good pitcher who’s going to eat a lot of innings. It would not surprise me at all if he was able to come up and help the Bucs this year.

      • The fact that his changeup is his best pitch gives me a lot of hope considering he has a plus fastball and curveball to go with it. This is kind of an audacious statement but I feel like his ceiling is a right handed Cole Hamels who I think is one of the more underrated pitchers in baseball. Of course, I’ve lived just outside of Philly for the last 20 years so I saw him pitch alot.

        • I’m more than ok if he pitches like Hamel. I might get killed for saying this, but he could possibly be better than our Cole at some point. Not as strong of a heater, but I feel he has better command of his secondary stuff with more constancy. Am I nuts?

            • I’ve thought the same since they were coming up. Cole had more hype, especially when JT was down, but I always felt JT brought more to the table. Time will tell I guess. If they pitch to their potential it could be a really fun next couple of years.

              • If Glasnow gets his changeup and command under control, the Bucs could have a killer 3-headed horse.

                • If, and it’s a big if, this young rotation can do what I think it’s capable of doing it would remind me of the Braves staff of the early 90’s which was young but did some amazing things. Our young SP have that kind of talent.

  6. Nice to have options by having a talented and highly regarded farm system, but I want to see it translated into a division title, a league championship, and a parade on the Clemente Bridge!

    Is that asking too much for this season?

    • Yes, but if the pitching turns out good, the next wave could get us there eventually. This might be the best wave of young pitchers, since Maholm, Duke, Snell, Burnett, etc…..

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