Baseball Prospectus Ranks Three Pirates Among Their Top 101 Prospects

Baseball Prospectus released their list of the top 101 prospects in baseball over the weekend. They have three Pittsburgh Pirates on their list.

The top prospect in the system according to their top 101 is 2022 first round pick Termarr Johnson, who ranks 31st on the list. MLB Pipeline recently named Johnson as the top second base prospect in baseball.

Henry Davis ranked second among Pirates, coming in at 46th overall. He’s followed in the 55th spot by Endy Rodriguez. These two were flipped on the list of top catching prospects by Pipeline last week, with Rodriguez ranking fifth overall and Davis ranking sixth.

I was a little surprised that Baseball America only had four Pirates on their top 100 list last week. We soon heard that Quinn Priester was among the players who just missed, while Bubba Chandler was named as a prospect who could jump into the top 100 this season. BP had an article of ten players who were considered for the list, but there were no Pirates.

We usually do a top 100 aggregate list at the end of the top 100 prospect list season. It appears that the next one up is MLB Pipeline. They will be releasing their list on Thursday night. We will take BP, BA, Pipeline, along with Fangraphs, ESPN and The Athletic lists, and average the six out for one list.

I wouldn’t be surprised if none of the six lists match up (order/amount of Pirates). These two lists both seem light, though three of the top 55 prospects for BP is always nice to see. I personally couldn’t make a top 100 list due to not knowing prospects from other teams well enough, but I was expecting 5-6 Pirates per list. That’s based on feel for these lists over many years of following them, but  that “feel” doesn’t take into account that a year could have a strong crop of prospects.

That might not be the case here, they might just be down on the Pirates prospects. That I don’t know. We will see once all of the lists come out.

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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Danatural08

I’m not trying to be a Termarr hater, even though I wanted them to take Parada with the pick, but after watching Anthony’s Termar Youtube highlights from Bradenton I don’t see why so many prospect outlets are so high on him.

Obviously he has tools & is young, I’m not calling him a bust with such a small sample size, i’m just not impressed with what i saw from a guy that was compared to Tony Gwynn.

If you haven’t watched the video, here’s some obvious issues with Termarr:

  • he swings through several hittable fastballs at 89-91 mph
  • at least 5 times, he overswings so hard that he falls forward, face down onto the ground
  • he was batting .083 & finished .222, and that’s with several balls that should’ve been caught by the opposing defense. One ground ball he hit the 2nd baseman ollayed & they gave him a hit, a double was a routine pop up the RF lost in the sun, etc.
  • he doesn’t have much power, his best swing of the season resulted in a double that one hopped the RCF wall.

Maybe someone who saw him live or in HS can correct me, but i don’t think he has showed anything that was overly special so far for him to be considered the buc’s top prospect. I just see him more in the 5-7 range.

NMR

Bad read, my guy.

The looseness and adjustability in his swing is incredibly rare for an 18 yo kid. He stings balls in every part of the zone to every part of the field. Watch him in game action against his peers and he’ll stand out in an instant, I promise you.

Danatural08

Hope you’re right, i want him to succeed, but as Mike Tomlin says, the tape don’t lie. If you haven’t watched it, here it is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUH-fDwH0zY&t=551s

Hoping he takes the necessary steps to improve this offseason.

Anthony

I think it’s a combo of hand-eye coordination and bat speed; his hands and hips are lightning quick.

I have trouble comprehending the “upside” aspect to his ranking. He doesn’t profile as a body type to add height and muscle, but maybe I’m wrong. I can’t imagine the Pirates would spend $7M on him if there were major physical concerns.

NMR

“Upside” is one of those terms beaten into an indefinable mush.

Anthony

(un)popular take:

If these guys are good enough to be in the top 100, they should be in the show. Service time manipulation…

Y2JGQ2

Its not unpopular, its ignorant of the very basics of baseball. Prospects are prospects because they aren’t yet ready. If you want a list of the top 100 ML ready prospects, it’d be a very different list comprised 80% of AAA players and 20% of AA players. And….I mean…….maybe that’s what it should be since upside can be generally overrated. I would like to see these lists Ban anyone whom didn’t at least play one game in AA from being considered for the list.

PirateRican21

Anthony

I feel like this is a very popular take, not mine of course.

PirateRican21

I was of course kidding, I’ve read your comments and they are almost always very good! No one bats 100%, I’m like .a 280 hitter!

PirateRican21

1.000, not .100 🫣

ArkyWags

Even Termarr? Sarcasm?

Anthony

Yes, bored today and being a little flippant and sarcastic. With that being said, this logic often appears in the comment section.

tmcgowan

I just know when I’m above consensus. O’Neil Cruz from day 1 , and endy as I argued he was in the same tier as Moreno.

Now if only Robby glenndinning does something…

In all seriousness my next guy is triolo who will be better than consensus expectations

PirateRican21

imagine if last year Reynolds got traded to the Braves for Harris, Strider, Contreras and Grissom…….pitch forks and mayhem, pandemonium, how could you trade him for only one top 100 prospect…..

joesolo6181

I am not sure what determines a prospects rating compared to other like players. I guess each person brings their own perspective to it, so for me the lists mean little to nothing.

NMR

Interesting, that’s one outlet not buying the Ortiz breakout and soft on Endy’s.

AdministrativeSky236

To me, not buying endy is more surprising than not buying ortiz

PirateRican21

If Endy was a Dodger or Yankee……

skliesen

Yankees aren’t really known for being world-class at developing prospects. I’d say they’re no better than 3rd in own division behind Rays and Orioles. Maybe even worse than Blue Jays, too.

PirateRican21

One name, Dominguez……..talk about walking on water before taking his first at bat!

jaygray007

can anyone here say where Marcelo Mayer, Jordan Lawlar, Jack Leiter, and Cowser ranked?

Just curious where the other candidates from 2021 are ranked.

I’d imagine lawlar is top 25 or so?

piratemike

As high as the Pirates draft you would think they would have at least 2 guys near the top. Maybe they should take those millions they spend on cheap over the hill veterans and buy at least one scout that knows what the hell he’s doing.

Y2JGQ2

They don’t draft in the top rounds for high upside, so they aren’t usually on these lists. Henry Davis, even as a 1-1 wasn’t considered the best player. Tremarr might be the first time I’ve seen us Choose the best available player at #1 since Austin Meadows

ArkyWags

How much does the organization get a bump for their prospects? For instance, LAD has been lights out in development and Pittsburgh has been pretty crummy. If Pgh and LAD switched systems, do Endy and crew were in LA’s system, would they have more players on this list because they have a development track record?
I think they would. Right or wrong, these lists aren’t done in a vacuum. Many outlets say they don’t take into account the team when listing prospects on an overall list, but how can you not? Also, if anyone has listened to BP podcasts where they run through the teams, they just covered LAD a few weeks ago and there are numerous comments about how well they’ve developed players.

Y2JGQ2

Do they though? What real proof is there that the dodgers can develop anyone except pitchers? Last player i saw that was good was Seager, otherwise its been awhile…..quite awhile.

ArkyWags

I mean he fell apart due to injuries and other issues but Bellinger? Gavin Lux? Will Smith? Even solid role players like Verdugo and Pederson. So no, it isn’t just pitchers.

Last edited 7 days ago by ArkyWags
Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

This just made me think about the Diamondbacks, and that I’m kind of curious to see where they end up at season’s end in terms of prospect rankings.

Right now, prospect lists (though I can’t see the BP one) are loving them. They have 4 in BA’s Top 25, with Brandon Pfaadt just outside at 27th. Gabriel Moreno obviously having just joined in the Varsho trade.

Last season, Geraldo Perdomo had a really really rough year at the plate. So much so that he’s begun getting grouped with some of the other hit tool prospects that are now being questioned if they’ll ever hit at big league level. Then there’s Alek Thomas who had a decent first half, but bottom dropped out in 2nd half. “Old” prospect Jake McCarthy ended up being their best prospect contributor. Off top of my head, Varsho is really the only recent prospect success story for them.

They’re going to take a hit by way of graduations as Carroll, Moreno, Pfaadt, Nelson, and Blake Walston could all see time this season. But I wonder Jordan Lawlar and Druw Jones stocks could take a hit by way of organizational perception.

Then just as an aside, they got some firepower for trades, theoretically.

NMR

I think you should expect organizations known for good development to consistently have more top ranked prospects as a function of being good at development, not reputation.

I hear you, your probably at least somewhat right, but I don’t really see much if any “speculative” top prospect ranking. These types get traded all the time and I think we’d see at least some sign of change in grade from one team to the next if there were org-based bias.

ArkyWags

Oh I don’t begrudge the outlet for that at all. I think the track record of LA and other successful teams plays a large role in the players’ development. I just wonder how much. To me, it’s impossible to separate out the player completely from his organizational environment.
This just continues to reinforce that the Bucs aren’t really well thought of in the industry and that’s either the leftover stench of the previous regime, or (worse) they’re not good at development. Possibly a mix of the two, but for all of our sake, I hope it’s the former.

TNBucs

In a strange way, this is what we should want as fans. For one, it might help create a something-to-prove mentality among our prospects. More importantly, it might keep Cherington and company from putting aside concerns with statements like “people like our prospects, we’re going in the right direction”. And maybe the casual fan turns up the heat just a bit–on here we all know that we have a good system, but if the “fan on the street” hears that we’re only average after years of tanking, maybe there will be a little more pressure to produce results and no more of “it’s not about winning right now” (I am encouraged that Cherington’s moves this offseason suggest ’23 will be a lot more about winning).

The only downside is if it might reduce returns in trades, but front offices have their own rankings so it shouldn’t affect that either.

Y2JGQ2

When you have 4 legitimate 2nd base prospects, knowing that at a minimum 2 need to be traded, ratings matter. So its not good for anyone who is fans of the organization. when Its time to bring in some talent via trade and our prospects are ranked 30 spots out of the top 100 when they should be like 70-80 thats a huge huge cost

emjayinTN

The Pirates have shown the ability to develop players with Reynolds, Hayes, Cruz, Castro, Bae, and pitchers with BRU, Keller, Burrows, Priester, Ortiz, etc. These kids are handling themselves on the highest stage without the benefit of veterans to help. That’s tough.

This season looks like more of a commitment to compete. I do expect that will fall short and we will be at least 15 games under .500 by the All Star Break, and ready to deal between then and the trading deadline. At that point we need to play the remainder of 2023 with the 2024 Lineup, Rotation, and Bullpen. There should be plenty of young talent ready to take their rightful place in Pittsburgh.

We are not looking to trade our prospects, so the evaluations of them as low will not affect anything.

Y2JGQ2

I don’t see they did anything to develop Cruz- and they didn’t develop Reynolds, he came as he was via Trade. Castro….so far thats nothing big to be proud of and Bae is no different. Keller was once a very highly rated prospect that seems to now have no chance of making his ceiling……..barely an average pitcher after his 3rd year. You wanna chalk up our development team in the plus column for Meadows and Glasnow as well?

Y2JGQ2

You could argue that Hayes is barely better than he was 5 years ago………..

NorCal Buc

I can’t see this team so far below .500 in mid-July, because;
1) we’ll have at least two pitchers at better than .500 (Hill and Keller, perhaps Contreras);
2) Hedges make a big difference behind the plate
3) McCutchen, Santana and Choi will greatly aid the development of Bae, Reynolds, Hayes, Suwinski, and Oneil Cruz;
4) we play in a horrible division

Scam likely

Yea yea yea, a lot these top 100 guys will be on the waiver wire in a couple years, so who knows ,but they did go 2 for 2 with there own top 5 prospects last year.

jaygray007

honestly i dont really care if they have 3 or 6 guys on the list. we *know* that they have a handful of guys who are right in that 100-200 tier. the 100th best prospect in baseball and the 200th best prospect in baseball simply arent that different.

Also, worth mentioning, Cruz and Roansy just graduated. I dont think any of us wouldve wanted them to hold them down just to look better in farm rankings!

the thing that’s more concerning is the lack of, say, a dude in the top 15 of any list.

seeing that “elite” prospect in the system is always aesthetically pleasing.

Here’s hoping that’s what the #1 pick is this year.

we all knew that Davis was a little flawed when they took him, and they basically bought lonnie white as a result of those flaws, which is a fine enough strategy, especially at that point of the rebuild. get as many guys as possible.

I’m hoping the top pick this year is a bit more traditional style Best Player Available, regardless of bonus demands.

Last edited 7 days ago by jaygray007
Y2JGQ2

I would agree with one caveat- do not draft a #1 whom is handled by Scott Boras. Period. Its a waste- you can’t extend them so no matter how good they are, they are guaranteed gone

NMR

I agree with almost all of this and don’t wanna be Debbie Downer, but is this really any *better* thank Huntington would’ve done?

jaygray007

Not significantly at least

sewer2001

Termarr is elite and will be too 10 quickly when he proves himself. He’s 18 so they don’t do it yet. Endy deserves to be but these lists are put together by folks with bias toward pedigree. He was a $10,000 international signing. As was Luis Ortiz who I expect we may see o. FanGraphs list. FanGraphs are the only ones with the guys to list the out of the blue risers early on.

ArkyWags

Endy deserves to be top 10? I don’t think so. At the end of last years overall list (complete with new draftees and 2022 data), FG had Endy at 33. This is after he wasn’t even on at the start of the year. But he still ain’t gonna be top 10.

bianco599

Kind of like when you are looking for reasons to dump your girlfriend. Thought her FV was an 80 but start realizing she is more like a player to be named later.

leefieux

None of our pitchers seem to be highly rated, unfortunately.

jaygray007

agreed.

I think Burrows and Priester are pretty high probability solid pitchers. i dont think either one has any kind of likely ace potential, which is what kills them in the ranks.

i’ve always been a fan of the Cubs’ model from their good run, anyway.

draft bats. buy pitching.

i can squint and see a 2024 where they can buy two SP for ~20 million each. that’d get their projected payroll to only like 80 mil. i mean it’s a pipe dream but whatever

Between Roansy, Keller, Brubaker, Burrows, Priester, Ortiz, etc, they should be able to manage a solid-enough 3-4-5 + depth.

something like Darvish Snell Roansy Keller Priester sounds pretty nice

there *should* be enough bats internally to not need to go nuts buying hitters, but we’ll see.

Last edited 7 days ago by jaygray007
Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I think Burrows and Priester are pretty high probability solid pitchers. i dont think either one has any kind of likely ace potential, which is what kills them in the ranks

I agree on this. And I’d say I feel the Pirates FO agrees, at least if we’re to believe that’s why the rumors all off-season were that the Pirates were seeking high-end pitchers in return for Reynolds.

jaygray007

yep thats a good point. they know what their “future good teams” are missing.

a deep rotation of good 3s can get you to the postseason if your hitting is pretty good, but you almost certainly need an ace or two to have a solid chance at making it more than a round.

i mean great, add a Tiedemann in a Reynolds trade, fine. still need to buy one next year i think.

Last edited 7 days ago by jaygray007
PirateRican21

Or take a pitcher 1-1 (forgot the dudes name, Dondllier or something like that) in the up coming draft and he will put us over the top in three years.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

If Doppelganger makes it to CWS without his arm falling off, I might start joining the gang. Last few years, SEC starters been dropping like flies.

PirateRican21

I’m still in the Crews crew, but it might better sense to go pitching if he is indeed in the Cole, Stras class.

NMR

Samsonite, I was way off!

PirateRican21

Closer than I was!

sewer2001

That would take the payroll to over $100 million. They are well over $60 million now. A pittance, but at least acknowledge what $40 million more would do.

jaygray007

Theyre above 70 this year but a lot of that is tied up in 1 yr deals to Santana, Choi, Cutch, Hedges, Hill, Velasquez, and Garcia. They make a combined, what, 35ish?

Let those guys walk, give a few arbitration raises to guys, and the payroll for internal guys will begin around 40, not 60, in 2024.

Oh, and Hayes actually has a pay cut programmed into his contract, so that’ll cancel out some of the arb raises.

So no, adding two 20 million dollar pitchers won’t take them over 100. That takes them to 80.

Don’t get me wrong, they should be at 120 next year. They should add darvish and snell and a bopper and more. But simply adding 40 million in pitching will get them closer to 80 than 100.

Last edited 7 days ago by jaygray007
Y2JGQ2

Thinking Darvish and Snell would be an improvement over Roansy and Keller in 2024 is pretty amusing to me….

ArkyWags

All in on Ro and Keller after a solid 30 or so combined starts? Bold, I like it.

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