Six Pirates Rank Among the Top 100 MLB Prospects for Keith Law

Keith Law released his 2022 top 100 prospects list for subscribers of The Athletic on Monday morning. He has six Pittsburgh Pirates on the list. In fact, he has the same six prospects that Baseball America has listed, but that’s where the similarities stop. It’s the same players, but in a much different order. Since The Athletic is a subscription site and I don’t want to give away too much of his information on the players, I’ll do a quick summary for each, then look at the comparisons for the two lists, plus add rankings from a third list. There will be more top 100 prospect lists soon, so we will be able to compare them all to get an average ranking, which I prefer to the individual rankings.

The top prospect for Law on the Pirates is first round pick Henry Davis, who ranks 20th overall. He loves the bat, the defensive ability and how quickly he could move through the system, with the ability to become an All-Star catcher.

The second best prospect is Quinn Priester, who is ranked 57th. The quick summary here is that Priester has the upside of a #2 starter and he’s where he’s supposed to be at this point on the path to reach that ceiling.

Oneil Cruz is third among Pirates, ranked 65th in all of baseball. He likes the bat a lot, but knocks his potential defensive value, whether it’s below average defense if he stays at shortstop, or playing a spot with lesser defensive value.

Liover Peguero ranks 77th on the list. Law calls him an athletic shortstop with 20/20 potential and a plus defender. He just needs to make more consistent hard contact to reach his ceiling.

Roansy Contreras is fifth for the Pirates and 83rd on the list. Law loves the advances he made in 2021 with his stuff, but he has questions about whether he could be a future reliever, or just a starter who doesn’t go deep into games.

One side not here that I like to mention relates to that concern. While the Pirates are strong here, it should be pointed out that five of the six players in their top 100 missed time during the 2021 season. That’s both good and bad. Obviously you don’t want to see anyone get hurt, but it gives you hope that they can make even more progress with a healthy season. The bad is the injury concerns, though all five players are healthy right now.

The sixth prospect for the Pirates is Nick Gonzales, who ranks 93rd. Law believes he can be a solid everyday second baseman, with potential for more. The concerns are some swing-and-miss with breaking balls in the zone and fastballs up and in.

Here’s the top 100 in comparison to Baseball America, which is listed first below (see link above for details on their list). We will eventually have a much bigger article once more lists are released:

  1. Cruz 14th – Davis 20th
  2. Davis 41st – Priester 57th
  3. Gonzales 49th – Cruz 65th
  4. Peguero 78th – Peguero 77th
  5. Conteras 80th – Contreras 83rd
  6. Priester 88th – Gonzales 93rd

As you can see, the two lists are basically the same for Peguero and Contreras, then very different for the other four players, with none of them really close to each other on both lists.

Baseball Prospectus also released their top 100 (actually 101) and they had five Pirates. We don’t have a subscription, so for comparison purposes later on, here’s their list, which will be part of the averages:

12. Cruz

18. Davis

29. Gonzales

38. Peguero

89. Contreras

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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