Yesterday, Baseball America released their top 200 prospects, naming Anthony Rendon the number one prospect in the draft. Today there are two more big draft updates:
-The first comes again from Baseball America. They’ve released their “Best Tools” list, detailing the best tools in the draft, broken down by college and prep players. Anthony Rendon was all over the college ranks. In the college ranks, Baseball America named him the best pure hitter, the second best defensive player, the best strike-zone judgement, the second best power hitter, and the third closest to the majors.
The last list was interesting, as Gerrit Cole ranked second, and Danny Hultzen ranked first. Cole’s only other ranking was number one on the “best fastball” list. Hultzen has the third best secondary pitch, behind Trevor Bauer and Sonny Gray. He was also named as having the best command in the college ranks. For Bauer, the secondary pitch category was the only area he showed up.
Dylan Bundy dominated the prep ranks, with the best fastball, the best secondary pitch, the best command, and the closest to the majors. Bubba Starling got the best athlete ranking from the prep ranks, and the second best arm. Francisco Lindor got the third best arm, the second best defense, and the second closest to the majors.
-Keith Law has an article on Matt Purke, and at the end he has a blurb about the Pirates:
It sounds like the Pirates have narrowed their list for the No. 1 overall pick to Hultzen, Starling, and Cole, with Rendon still a possibility. If they take Hultzen, Seattle probably takes Rendon (although there’s still an outside chance they go rogue and take Lindor) and Arizona takes Bauer. If the Pirates take Starling or Cole, Seattle goes Rendon and Arizona takes Hultzen, which could push Bauer all the way to Washington at No. 6.
In the past I’ve mentioned that I don’t buy in to Law’s rankings. However, rankings are totally different than rumors as to what a team might do. It’s important to note that Law was all over the Tony Sanchez pick in 2009, and had the Pirates taking Jameson Taillon over Manny Machado in 2010. So I would give this information a bit of credit, although nothing is set in stone with the draft almost two weeks away.
You’ll notice that Dylan Bundy isn’t on this list. The biggest news is that Rendon is being mentioned more as an after thought. It also seems that Trevor Bauer and Francisco Lindor aren’t on the radar, although that makes sense, as we haven’t heard much about them.
My top three would include Rendon, Cole, and Bundy, with Rendon at the top of the list. The fact that Bundy isn’t on this list, and Rendon is more of an after thought is a bit of a concern. Danny Hultzen is good, but if they’re taking a college pitcher, I’d rather go with Gerrit Cole, who has more upside. Bubba Starling is a great athlete, but he’s also on the raw side at the plate, and is far from a guarantee. He might have the most upside, but he’s a bit of a gamble. If you’re making comparisons to the 2001 draft, when the Minnesota Twins surprised everyone and picked Joe Mauer over Mark Prior and Mark Teixeira, Starling wouldn’t fit. Before the 2001 draft, Mauer was rated as the second best pure hitter in high school, and the third best power hitter. Starling isn’t anywhere near what Mauer was at the plate when he was drafted.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.