John Sickels from Minor League Ball posted his list of the top 20 prospect for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday afternoon. He includes letter grades for each player and gives his ETA and a brief write-up of each player. He has some differences from the lists we have already seen and you can see right near the top of the list that he must have been fairly high on the Gerrit Cole trade.
No surprise with the first two players on his list, which almost everyone agrees with so far. He has Mitch Keller as his only A- grade prospect, followed by Austin Meadows in the second spot. Sickels then has Colin Moran ranked third, and he sums up his profile by saying he has a chance to be a decent regular for a long time, or an excellent role player. Skipping ahead to keep with the Cole trade theme, Sickels has Jason Martin ranked as the ninth best prospect. Those are both the highest rankings I’ve seen for both prospects that the Pirates acquired from the Astros.
As for the McCutchen trade, Sickels had Bryan Reynolds rated eighth in the system and he gave Kyle Crick a C+ grade before saying that he wasn’t eligible for the list. We put Crick on our list, but he will lose his prospect status after his first appearance. That C+ grade he gave him is the same grade that everyone got in the 12-32 range, so Crick would have been somewhere in that large group.
As for some surprises, he has Kevin Newman ranked 12th in the system, which I believe is the lowest ranking so far for him. Christopher Bostick is up in 17th place. I think Bostick could be a bench player now for many teams, but I don’t see that spot right now with the Pirates, so we probably won’t see him early in the season unless a couple of spots open up. That wouldn’t affect his prospect ranking, as you’re trying to project what a guy would do if given the chance, rather than guessing whether or not he will be blocked in the system.
With Bostick, I think the bench is his upside, though he could be a versatile bench player due to his speed and ability to play multiple positions well. So 17th in the system seems a little high, but the fact that he appears to be ready for that role now should help his ranking (lower risk factor).
Sickels is another person who has Sherten Apostel on his list. As I mentioned with Keith Law’s list yesterday, we don’t rank guys anymore until they play in the U.S., so DSL players and internationals signings don’t factor into our rankings. We do however post a top ten for the DSL team, put together with a lot of input from the people who see them play, and Apostel ranked second this year. He’s a third baseman with a strong arm and erratic defense, who has power potential and a solid approach at the plate. Apostel drew a lot of walks this year, but they came at a fast rate once he started hitting homers and then wasn’t seeing pitches to hit. Between his current questionable status at third base and the fact that he doesn’t run well, his value will all be in his bat. He will need to cut down on his strikeouts to have success as he moves up the system.
If his hitting carries over into the GCL this year, then you will see Apostel debut on our mid-season top 50 update. Right now, I’d still put my money on Jean Eusebio being the top prospect from that DSL team because everyone raves over his tools and his advanced approach. I’ve talked to him numerous times and he’s a very smart kid, who will still be just 17 years old for most of this upcoming GCL season. Apostel could be the better prospect for the next 1-2 years because he’s older and has an extra year of pro ball experience, but long-term (right now) I’m higher on Eusebio.