One of the early stages of preparation for the Prospect Guide is to figure out where each player in the Pirates' system is expected to start off in the upcoming season. That's always a challenge. It's easy to just look at where a player was playing in 2017, and expect him to move up to the next level in 2018. But there are way too many moving parts for it to actually be that easy.

It all starts at the top, with moves made at the MLB level. From there, you can project the Indianapolis roster, including the players who can move up from Altoona. This allows you to project the Bradenton to Altoona moves, West Virginia to Bradenton, and so on.

That still makes it sound easy. Sometimes you have cases where a player is a fringe candidate to move up. There might be a spot for him in the high...

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