2014 Baseball America Top 10 Pirates Prospects

Gregory Polanco is the top prospect in the system in Baseball America's rankings.
Gregory Polanco is the top prospect in the system in Baseball America’s rankings.

Baseball America released their 2014 top ten prospects for the Pittsburgh Pirates today. The write-up and the top tools can be seen here. The scouting reports for subscribers can be found here. Below are the rankings, along with some thoughts.

1. Gregory Polanco
2. Jameson Taillon
3. Tyler Glasnow
4. Austin Meadows
5. Nick Kingham
6. Alen Hanson
7. Josh Bell
8. Reese McGuire
9. Harold Ramirez
10. Luis Heredia

Ben Badler describes the system as “stacked”, which you can definitely see in the top ten list. The top eight prospects have legit shots of being top 100 prospects in baseball next year. You can really see how stacked the system is by looking at BA’s list of the top players age 25 and under. That includes Gerrit Cole (who rated number one) and Starling Marte (third, between Polanco and Taillon).

There are probably going to be a few debates over the positioning of the top ten prospects. The first debate would be Gregory Polanco vs Jameson Taillon. I had Polanco number one in the system in our mid-season rankings, but he ended up number two in the site rankings. I’d imagine there will be a lot of different orders for prospects 4-8, although all of those guys are the same talent level which will keep them in the same range for most of the upcoming prospect lists. Harold Ramirez and Luis Heredia would have been easily top three prospects about five years ago, and now they round out the top ten.

  • Is everyone missing the big story here? Baseball America just showed that it knows nothing about baseball. Lambo as the best power in the system? Don’t they know he’s a bust, the next Steve Pearce, just a AAAA player, etc, etc? All they had to do was ask half the commenters here and they could have avoided this massive mistake.

    • Lambo hasn’t been on any of the top prospects list in a couple years. There is a reason why he spent multiple seasons in AA Altoona. He was once a top prospect back when we traded Dotel to LA for he and JMac. He struggled up until this year. I am not saying he won’t be a good major leaguer but Lambo has a lot to prove. He has to show that last season wasn’t a fluke. I hope he will be our future 1st baseman and hit for as power as he did in 2013 . I know Lambo hasn’t played much 1st but I have to believe it can be done.

  • I don’t see them signing a bullpen piece unless it’s it’s on a minor league deal or they stretch out someone like Wilson. They already have Grilli, Melancon, Watson, Wilson, Morris, Gomez, Mazzaro, and Pimental who has no options left. Plus they still have Hughes. That’s 9 guys for seven spots.

  • CalipariFan506
    November 19, 2013 1:31 am

    All I know is that Hurdle or Huntington thought Qualls and Takahashi were better than Wilson and Morris in 2012. Clearing out Welker and Black leads me to believe we are heading down that path again with at least one bullpen spot.

    • If Hurdle or Huntington thought that, they were half right. Turns out Qualls was better than both Wilson and Morris, just not in the tiny sample size he had with the Bucs. But in 2013 Qualls (3.32 FIP, 3.25 xFIP and 1.8 WAR) was better than Wilson (3.41, 3.82 and 1.7) and much better than Morris (4.89, 4.34 and 0.2). Just like Ludwig, the FO was right on the talent, it just didn’t show itself in the month or two they were with the Bucs.

      And don’t worry about them acquiring a bullpen arm if there happens to be an opening. It’s much more likely to be a Grilli, Melancon, Jeanmar, Mazzaro, or Farnsworth than it is to be a Takahashi.

  • I think Zack Dodson is a guy that moves to the bullpen this season with a shot at the majors in 2015.

    Let’s be honest though. Hurdle loves veteran relievers. I think the path is clear for a guy like Hanrahan to join the team mid season like Grilli, Qualls and Farnsworth have.

    • I don’t know if that’s really true. He’s given jobs to Watson, Hughes, Morris, Wilson, and several others over the last few years. He seems to prefer a reliever with experience in the late innings. But that might be an organizational philosophy, since they’ve gradually moved guys to the closer role even before Hurdle arrived.

  • I was hoping to see him in late relief and then maybe transition into a starter. Like the jelly of the month club that Hammer trade keeps on giving. Just out of curiousity what about Stolmy don’t you like as a starter? There’s only so much I could tell from his brief appearances and I never saw him in AA or AAA. But he definitely fits the bill of the two pitch hard throwing reliever profile.

    • Pretty much your last sentence. As a starter, he’s kinda shifted back and forth between airing it out and having control issues, and being more of a pitch-to-contact guy. I’m curious to see what’d happen if he could just air it out one inning at a time. His FB averaged about 95 during his brief ML stint, which means he threw harder than Grilli.

      I’m OK with him starting at some point, but I’m curious to see what he’d do in the late innings.

  • CalipariFan506
    November 18, 2013 3:43 pm

    West Virginia is going to be a fun team to watch with position players this season. Meadows, McGuire, Ramirez, Matheson, Escobar, Frazier…

    And Bradenton with pitchers. Glasnow, Holmes, Heredia, Creasy and Kuchno.

    • Would love to see Holmes take a step forward. The Pirates seem to have starters or the possibility of starters coming from all levels. With Black and Welker gone are there any real relief prospects coming through the system? Besides Hughes if you want to count him. I guess most relievers are failed starters, drop a pitch and add velocity with the decrease in innings. Who should we watch for?

      • I think Pimentel could end up as a late-inning reliever. He has to be on the team in 2014 anyway, since he’s out of options, and I don’t see him in the rotation. His stuff is actually pretty similar to Hanrahan’s.

      • Most of the top pitching prospects are still in the rotation, which is where you want them. I agree with Wilbur below that Stolmy Pimentel looks like the best bet to be a late inning reliever.

        An interesting relief prospect in the lower levels is Ryan Hafner. He added a new slider this year and put up some amazing strikeout numbers with the pitch as a long reliever. He doesn’t throw harder in the bullpen, but works in the low-to-mid 90s with his fastball.

        • Did I just not see all of his appearances? Of the times I saw Pimentel, I’m not sure I ever saw him hit higher than 93. I still think he looks good, I just never saw the velo I was waiting for.

          • Did you see him starting in the minors? He probably doesn’t throw as hard as a starter. His ML velocity is shown at Fangraphs. Depending on which data set you look at, his four seamer averaged either 95.4 or 94.7, topping out from 96-98.

          • If you saw him live in Altoona, then this makes sense since the stadium radar gun is about 2.5-3 mph slow.

  • I agree with most of the list. Look, I love Polonco and think he is going to be a great player but no way can he be ahead of Starling Marte on this list yet. He may end up being better but Marte is going to be a super star in the next 2-3 years.

  • Interesting that Perotto rated Mathison over Tabata in the ‘under 25’ category. Jose didn’t even make the Top 15.

    No Player, Pos (Age) Peak Level
    1. Gerrit Cole, rhp (23) Majors
    2. Gregory Polanco, of (22) Triple-A
    3. Starling Marte, of (25) Majors
    4. Jameson Taillon, rhp (22) Triple-A
    5. Tyler Glasnow, rhp (20) Low Class A
    6. Austin Meadows, of (18) Short-season
    7. Nick Kingham, rhp (22) Double-A
    8. Alen Hanson, ss (21) Double-A
    9. Josh Bell, of (21) Low Class A
    10. Reese McGuire, c (19) Short-season
    11. Harold Ramirez, of (19) Short-season
    12. Luis Heredia, rhp (19) Low Class A
    13. Tony Sanchez, c (25) Majors
    14. Wyatt Mathisen, c (20) Short-season
    15. Barrett Barnes, of (22) Low Class A

    OR…..maybe he thinks Jose is really 31???? lol