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

SS: Kevin Newman and Cole Tucker

3B: Ke’Bryan Hayes and Colin Moran

CF: Austin Meadows and Lolo Sanchez

LF/RF: Bryan Reynolds and Jordan Luplow

RHP: Mitch Keller, Shane Baz and Luis Escobar

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Hearn is probably the biggest breaktout candidate on the pitching side, I have to think. He’s been fine so far, but he could use a season where he puts it together and dominates.

  2. To me, it doesn’t matter if he ends up as a solid starter or a bullpen piece (although I hope for the former). Either way, we stole him and Rivero from the Nats. NH gets a lot of grief, but he has made some key trades over the years.

    • Too often forgotten by the haters. Happy to point out the Niese trade, but not steal for Melancon, and frankly the trade of Hanrahan that brought us Melancon. No dislike for the Shark here, by all accounts a great contributor and also a great teammate, was just a steal for the two months he had left with us.

    • From where this team was when NH took over, we need to be patient. He is “trying” to build a team that will compete every year, not just a 2 year run like the past. Great teams have players always ready to take over when called upon or traded when a need arises. We will have another top 10 prospect after this years draft and more depth. It must be difficult for NH to hear the fan base ridicule him when I would bet he would LOVE to prove everyone wrong and blow this team up for top of the line free agents for 1 great season. I’m glad he wont!!!

      • Ten years ago, I would have agreed with the first half of your statement; even five years ago. Now, I’m in No Man’s Land along with Tim and The PBC, for all the reasons stated and re-stated over the past year. Small market-itis.

        • Yeah, when you have the benefit of competitive balance picks and a lot of years with high draft picks in general, plus you just traded your best your best hitter and pitcher, and you still have a middling system and well less than average MLB club it is not that encouraging as a fan. It is not Littlefield level bare cupboard, but there is no reason to be all in with the fo either. They are going to get a free pass this year and at least part of next year. Hopefully last year’s draft turns out to be very good and they continue it this year. If not, it’s time for them to go after or during 2019.

        • Hate to burst you and Tim’s bubble, but No Man’s Land is just a figment of your imagination. In MLB, a team doesn’t have to be a large market, high payroll team, or a recovering team after tanking for a few years to be a WS competitor.

          I personally prefer the approach NH is taking compared to those who suggest they blow it up and trade any and everyone with surplus value for high ceiling 18-19 year olds. Nothing worse than watching 100 loss seasons.

          • Step away from the Kool-Aid. You have nothing to stand on sorry. Play in playoff games are not success. Please don’t tell me you favor participation trophies.

            • In fairness, though, they would have been the wildcard team each of those years absent the one-game play-in. That rule change hurt them.

              And they also had, what, the second best record in baseball over those three years.

        • more like fanitis.. NH still has not lost prospects, he added them. when (if) the guys he got for GC and Cutch are total bums, that will be it for me BUT if they become above average starters…It could be a lot of fun…Hope springs eternal..Ha Ha

    • I liked the trade but thought the Pirates could get another player in it.

      I kinda feel like a maroon now.

  3. I’m already looking at the Altoona schedule trying to pick out a couple games to drive up for. In fact, if there is someone from Pittsburgh who reads this and is interested in seeing the Curve a couple times, respond and let’s talk about making the trip together. None of my friends is enough of a baseball nut to want to go see a minor league team. I need some new friends with better taste.

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