The minor league rosters were released earlier this week and we had a preview of the expected playing time and starting rotation for each team. We rolled out the season previews for the minor league clubs on Wednesday, complete with the top ten prospects for Bradenton and West Virginia. The Indianapolis preview was posted last night and the Altoona one will up today. What I wanted to do here is give a breakdown of where the top 50 prospects from our 2017 Prospect Guide are at this time.

Before I get into the prospects on each roster, I made a little tweak to the list. The next time we re-rank players is during the mid-season rankings, which usually appear shortly after the draft signings have wrapped up in July. So the order remains the same from the book, but there are a few changes.

First change is that I wanted to make sure there were 50 players for this article, so we have to replace Frank Duncan (traded away), Lisalverto Bonilla (lost on waivers) and Tyler Webb, who was returned to the Yankees last week. We also need to replace Josh Bell, since he lost his prospect status after his third at-bat on Opening Day.

The first player to enter the list was Indianapolis reliever Pat Light, who was acquired from the Minnesota Twins shortly after the Prospect Guide was published. We didn’t find an exact spot for Light, just agreed that he was a top 50 prospect, which wasn’t that hard of a decision.

With Light added to the list, I needed three more players and I went with the guys who just missed our initial top 50. So now for the sake of this article, Angel Sanchez is 48th, Alex McRae is 49th and Gift Ngoepe is 50th. If anyone else falls off the list, next up would be Jacob Stallings. Sanchez would rank higher if we were re-ranking them since he returned from Tommy John surgery looking better than his did before he got hurt, but we have three more months before our next update, so he stays put.

So with those four substitutions in mind, here is the breakdown of the slightly updated top 50 Pirates prospects list, along with the top names for each club:

Pirates (3) Tyler Glasnow, Trevor Williams, Alen Hanson

Indianapolis (15) Austin Meadows, Steven Brault, Clay Holmes

Altoona (10) Kevin Newman, Yeudy Garcia, Kevin Kramer

Bradenton (9) Mitch Keller, Cole Tucker, Ke’Bryan Hayes

West Virginia (4) Luis Escobar, Stephen Alemais, Blake Cederlind

Extended Spring Training/healthy (4) Braeden Ogle, Max Kranick, Travis MacGregor, Austin Shields

Extended Spring Training/rehab (5) Nick Kingham, Barrett Barnes, Jin-De Jhang, Adrian Valerio, Casey Sadler


Pirates were rained out yesterday


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates were rained out on Thursday. They will play their home opener today, weather permitting. Ivan Nova will be on the mound, making his first start. Due to Thursday’s rain out, Chad Kuhl will now start on Saturday and Gerrit Cole will start Sunday. Both Altoona and West Virginia were rained out yesterday. West Virginia has a doubleheader today, while Altoona plays two games on Saturday. Drew Hutchison is on the mound for Indianapolis and Pedro Vasquez makes his first start since being acquired from the Seattle Mariners for Arquimedes Caminero last year.

MLB: Pittsburgh (0-2) vs Braves (2-1) 1:05 PM
Probable starter: Ivan Nova (NR)

AAA: Indianapolis (1-0) vs Toledo (0-1) 7:15 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Drew Hutchison (NR)

AA: Altoona (0-0) @ Harrisburg (0-0) 7:00 PM
Probable starter: Alex McRae (NR)

High-A: Bradenton (1-0) @ Charlotte (0-1) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Pedro Vasquez (NR)

Low-A: West Virginia (0-0) vs Rome (0-0) 5:05 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: James Marvel (NR) and Eduardo Vera (NR)


From Wednesday’s Pirates game, Juan Nicasio picks up his 500th career strikeout. Once the minor league teams start posting highlights, we will usually have 1-2 videos from the minors each day, based on availability. With Bradenton now posting highlights, it gives us more teams to choose from.


4/4: Pirates sign pitcher Yoandy Fernandez

4/4: Pirates release Francis Rodriguez, Adrian Grullon, Robbie Coursel and Nestor Oronel

3/29: Pirates release Jason Creasy and Justin Topa

3/29: Pirates release Jared Hughes


On this date in 1979, the Pirates made a trade that could have cost them the title that season, giving up starter Jerry Reuss for Dodgers’ pitcher Rick Rhoden. Reuss was unhappy about his role in Pittsburgh, while Rhoden was just entering his prime. The trade ended up being one-sided that first season when Rhoden injured his shoulder during his first start. He would miss the rest of the year following surgery on that shoulder. The Dodgers got good use out of their new pitcher. Reuss ended up staying in Los Angeles until 1987, winning as many as 18 games (twice) in a season.

Even while losing Reuss and getting nothing from the deal from Rhoden in 1979, the Pirates still went on to win their fifth World Series title that year. Rhoden would end up winning 79 games during his eight seasons with the Pirates, while Reuss helped the Dodgers to the 1981 World Series title, so the deal ended up working out well for both teams.

Former Pirates players born on this date include (more on them in the link above):

Bobby Del Greco – 1952, 1956 outfielder

Jack Ferry – 1910-13 pitcher

Art Weaver – 1903 catcher

John Ganzel – 1898 first baseman

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  1. For the healthy guys in EST.. where will they go? Morgantown or Bristol once Short Season A starts?

  2. Today’s line up has Marte leading off, finally. This is the line up that I’ve been hoping for, hope it works.

  3. I know the top 50 list isn’t necessarily based on the prospect guide grades, but I would have thought that maybe Portorreal with his 3.5 grade would have jumped into the top 50.

    • That’s the difference between an extreme risk for Portorreal and a medium risk for 3.0 players such as Ngoepe and Stallings. Stallings just needs to get called up to the majors to reach his upside. We don’t consider depth charts for that, so we don’t knock him at all for being behind Diaz and Stewart for the backup spot. Portorreal would need to show something at a higher level to overcome the risk factor that knocks him down.

  4. Rick Rhoden, one of the best reasons not to have the DH rule.

    Awfully early for double headers isn’t it?

    • The minor leagues don’t use off-days as makeup days, so postponed games are played as soon as possible. For both A-ball teams, it’s a split schedule, so if they have a postponed game, they have a shorter time to make the game up or it’s just canceled from the schedule.

      • Plus it’s worth mentioning, generally minor league games (at least A ball from what I know), double headers are two 7 inning games.

      • Thanks John.
        Guess I didn’t know about the minors not using make up days for scheduled off days.

    • Rhoden and Don Robinson each won three silver slugger awards in their careers. Pirate fans were spoiled.

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