Baseball America finished up their rankings of the top prospects by position on Friday afternoon with left-handed pitchers. The Pittsburgh Pirates had just one player on this list after placing multiple prospects on each of the last five positions covered. With every position now covered, the Pirates had a total of 14 players make the nine lists (recaps below).
Left-handed pitching talent is hard to find at this point around baseball and for the Pirates. BA gave the position a two star rating (out of five). The Pirates have just six southpaws among their top 50 prospects, with four of them on the second half of that list. I will note that Ike Schlabach was in our top 50 prior to the trades with the Giants and Astros, but he got knocked off of the list when those new players were added.
BA had 11 lefties on their top 100 prospect list two weeks ago, compared to 34 right-handed pitchers. Taylor Hearn is on their left-handed prospect list in the 27th spot, so he wasn’t considered for the top 100, but he’s still among the best in baseball. The list went 30 deep.
Hearn had mixed results with Bradenton this past year as he worked on his fastball command and his slider. He appeared to be putting things together in July when he went down with an oblique injury. Hearn came back just in time for a GCL rehab game, followed by time in the Fall Instructional League and then he spent his fall in the Arizona Fall League. While there, he found a grip on his slider that he felt comfortable with and he was able to throw more strikes.
If Hearn can master the new slider and throw more strikes, then he has quite an arsenal when you consider his mid-90s fastball that has touched 100 MPH, along with a changeup that is his best pitch. That would mean the difference between him being a future MLB starter and someone who ends up as a power arm in the bullpen. He should be in the Altoona rotation at the beginning of this upcoming season.
Here are the rest of the lists:
C/1B: Mason Martin
2B: Kevin Kramer