As part of his 2012 preview of the top prospects in baseball, Keith Law has released his sleeper prospects for all 30 teams. Yesterday he released his top 100 prospects list. Five Pirates prospects were on the list, and Luis Heredia ended up on the list of ten players who just missed. Today’s sleeper rankings are a look at guys who could end up in the top 100 with a breakout season.
Law specifies that the list features one player from every organization who could take a big step forward in 2012, potentially ending up in next year’s top 100, preferably in the middle-to-top of the ranking. His choice for the Pirates was right hander Clayton Holmes.
The Pirates drafted Holmes in the ninth round this past year and gave him a $1.2 M signing bonus, which was the biggest bonus ever in ninth round history. Holmes throws 90-93 MPH, and has a slider which can be a plus pitch at times. His slider has been erratic at times, and he needs to work on smoothing out his delivery. Law points out his lively fastball, and that he can repeat his arm action. Holmes also has the size to be a front-line starter, another thing that Law points out.
Normally the Pirates send their prep pitchers to State College for their first pro season, following time in extended Spring Training. I would expect Holmes to take the same path, working on his fastball command and working on consistency with his slider. Because of his size and two good pitches at a young age, he’s a good choice for a sleeper candidate.
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.