Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com released his top 20 Pittsburgh Pirates prospects for the 2012 season today on MLB.com. Click the link to go over and check out the rankings, along with a video on each player. Mayo also breaks down the Pirates’ system in this article.
The top four prospects are no surprise. Jameson Taillon, Gerrit Cole, Starling Marte, and Josh Bell are ranked one through four respectively, the same order they had in MLB.com’s top 100. There are a few surprises after that group.
Stetson Allie came in on the list at number five, one ahead of Luis Heredia. A lot of people have Heredia in the top five, and Allie closer to number ten. Heredia was fifth and Allie was eighth in the Pirates Prospects rankings. Both pitchers are raw, but have a lot of upside. They both also struggled with control in their first pro seasons. While Heredia was only 16 in 2011, Allie was 20, which gives him less time to work on his issues from the 2011 season.
Finishing out the top ten in order were Tony Sanchez, Robbie Grossman, Jeff Locke, and Justin Wilson. I’m sure a lot of Pirates fans would disagree with the order of Sanchez and Grossman, considering the breakout season for Grossman and the down year for Sanchez.
The 11-15 rankings are dominated by pitchers. Kyle McPherson and Nick Kingham come in at number 11 and 12. Rudy Owens ranks 13th, while Bryan Morris ranks 15th. First baseman Alex Dickerson ranks 14th on the list, and was previously named one of the top ten first base prospects in minor league baseball by Mayo.
The 16-20 group features a lot of guys with tools and upside. Alen Hanson comes in at 16th, which is the highest I’ve seen him ranked, and might be a little too high considering his lack of experience. Colton Cain follows Hanson, and is followed in order by Zack Von Rosenberg, Clay Holmes, and Jarek Cunningham.
Mayo listed Matt Curry and Jeff Inman as under the radar prospects. He noted that had Curry gone to high-A instead of AA last year, he probably would have finished with monster numbers and created more buzz. He might have gotten more hype with the high-A numbers, but the real test for Curry, who was drafted as a college senior, is the AA level. That will be a key thing to watch in 2012.
Mayo also made his predictions for hitter and pitcher of the year. He predicted Josh Bell would be the hitter of the year, while Jameson Taillon would be the pitcher of the year.