On Thursday afternoon, Fangraphs posted their list of the top 25 prospects for the Pittsburgh Pirates. We just posted our 2018 Prospect Guide, which has in depth reports of the top 50 prospects in the system. That can be purchased on our products page. I won’t go over the entire list for Fangraphs here, as you can see that in their link, along with reports on about 40 players total, but I will point out some of the bigger surprises on their list.
They have Steven Jennings rated a lot higher than we do right now, but he has the potential to be that high in a short time. We didn’t see a lot of strong results in person and the scouting reports we got were mixed. Our ranking was based more off what we saw/heard after the draft, but we also took into consideration what scouts saw prior because he was highly ranked by most. Fangraphs has him ranked tenth in the system, which I could see down the line if he matches up more to the pre-draft reports, so I wouldn’t call that a surprise by any means.
The next player up on their list (#11) is Stephen Alemais, who is a surprise to me. We ranked him fairly high I thought and it was based more on the adjustments he made at the plate later in the season, continuing to have positive results. Ranking him #11 now seems fairly high for his current progress.
In the 14th spot, they have Sherten Apostel, who had a terrific season in the DSL this year. We don’t rank players out of the DSL in our top 50, but Apostel would not have been considered for the list if we did. We had him ranked second on our DSL top ten back in September after he put up a .917 OPS in the pitcher-friendly DSL. He should be an interesting player to watch in 2018, where he will likely play third base in the GCL. Apostel has two plus tools in his power and his arm. He has some issues with strikeouts and there’s no guarantee right now that he will stick at third base, so those are things to watch going forward. Check the video out that they have for Apostel, it isn’t much, but it’s the first time I’ve seen footage of him outside of a few quick clips from a still camera in center field from the DSL.
Travis MacGregor made it at #18, which just like Jennings and Apostel, seems like it’s a more potential down the line ranking if all goes well, rather than a current ranking. We saw him in person and his progress was well behind Braeden Ogle, who ranks 22nd on their list.
The one surprise outside the top 25 is Jordan Luplow, who already has a decent amount of Major League time for someone who still qualifies as a prospect. He also has a lot of upper level success, which got him ranked much higher in our guide.
Most differences in prospect rankings are just a matter of opinion on where that player fits among the farm system. Different people put different values on positions, or how to rank upside vs likelihood to reach that upside. As I said for most of the “surprises” up top, I could see those players eventually ranking that high someday. Fangraphs sees them there now.
There are some scouting reports that seem old in their link, so if you have any questions on how they differ, feel free to leave them below and I’ll try to answer them. Some, where they aren’t velocity differences or pitches, just could be a matter of the scouts they talked to versus the scouts we talked to. I will point out one, which is Nick Kingham having a below average changeup. I have never heard that before and I’ve seen it be his best pitch during numerous games throughout the years, so I can’t explain that.