Baseball America started their individual league top 20 lists today, profiling the Gulf Coast League with their first list. Two Pittsburgh Pirates prospects made the GCL top 20, with shortstop Cole Tucker coming in at number 11 and right-handed pitcher Mitch Keller landing at number 13. The list can be seen in the link above, and scouting reports for subscribers can be found here.
The Pirates selected Tucker in the first round of the 2014 draft, which was a controversial move at the time due to his ranking in most of the national outlets, such as Baseball America. After the draft, word came out from around the league that Tucker was viewed much more favorably than where the public rankings had him. He put up a decent season in the GCL, hitting for a .265/.367/.354 line, which was impressive since he was at least a year younger than almost everyone else in the league.
Keller was taken in the second round by the Pirates, and also impressed in the GCL. He had a 1.98 ERA in 27 innings, with a 29:13 K/BB ratio. He showed some nice velocity, hitting 95 MPH before the draft, and working in the low 90s in the GCL, while touching 94 and 95. He’s got a projectable frame that could add velocity in the future as he fills out. Keller did have control issues at times, especially toward the end of the season. His stuff was good enough to mask the control issues in most starts at this level, but that will be a focus for him next year.
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.
Given he was a first round pick, that supposedly other teams also wanted to draft in the first round, it is curious that Tucker is so far down on this among shortstops – #4 ??
But, what were their ages?
Surprising to see them rank 4 young Latin SS’s ahead of Tucker.