Updated Pirates Top Ten Prospects From Baseball America

Baseball America released their updated top ten prospects list for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday afternoon. Their preseason top ten list can be found here and I’ve included the list below for comparison. Tyler Glasnow held the top spot in the midseason update and he was ranked as the #7 overall prospect in baseball by BA earlier this week. Josh Bell was ranked #45 among all prospects in baseball and he is ranked second on the new list. Jameson Taillon was among the injured players BA covered, but didn’t rank in their top 50. He came in fifth in their top ten.

Austin Meadows and Alen Hanson moved ahead of Taillon in the third and fourth spots, respectively. Rounding out the top ten, in order, were Cole Tucker at number six, followed by Reese McGuire, Elias Diaz, Nick Kingham, and JaCoby Jones. The last one is the most surprising on the list.

BA also listed Yeudy Garcia as a rising prospect. We profiled Garcia earlier in the year here, and he was our Pitcher of the Month in May. They listed Harold Ramirez as falling due to being held back in extended Spring Training for showing up in camp out of shape. Ramirez was held back for the extended Spring Training portion more for a skin infection, than the conditioning issues. His hitting has been fantastic since returning, and you could argue that he doesn’t belong on the falling list.

Drafted players weren’t eligible for this list, so Kevin Newman and Ke’Bryan Hayes didn’t get consideration. Here is the preseason top ten from BA, along with their projected 2018 Pittsburgh Pirates lineup at the bottom.

Preseason Top Ten

1. Tyler Glasnow

2. Jameson Taillon

3. Austin Meadows

4. Josh Bell

5. Reese McGuire

6. Nick Kingham

7. Alen Hanson

8. Cole Tucker

9. Mitch Keller

10. Harold Ramirez

Projected 2018 Pirates Lineup

C – Elias Diaz

1B – Josh Bell

2B – Alen Hanson

SS – Cole Tucker

3B – Josh Harrison

LF – Starling Marte

CF – Andrew McCutchen

RF – Gregory Polanco

1S – Gerrit Cole

2S – Tyler Glasnow

3S – Francisco Liriano

4S – Jameson Taillon

5S – Nick Kingham

CL – Mark Melancon

  • I’ve read reports that, because of the nature of Tucker’s shoulder injury, his days at SS are over because of the loss of arm strength.

    True?

  • Did anyone notice that they have Melancon as our closer in 2018?

    I. Don’t. Think. So.

  • Moroff playing Third would give the Pirates an all switch-hitter infield.

  • The 2018 roster is ridiculous. Where’s Tabata???? He’s got options through 2019!

    🙂

    I disagree with Cutch. I think he’ll be gone after 2017…so I’d give his spot to Meadows. As for catcher…Diaz or McGuire…leaning Diaz at the moment. Liriano? Predicting a re-sign? Will the Pirates go through arbitration with Cole if they can’t sign him to an extension? Not too sure about that, but, I suppose, we’ll see.

  • Love that 2018 roster!!!

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    July 10, 2015 5:24 pm

    Other than maybe Ramirez, I can’t think off the top of my head who I would put ahead of Jones at #10….

    • I think its easily Ramirez though. He’s way younger and playing well at the same level.

  • I think there is a good chance we see Kevin Newman on the big league roster before we see Cole Tucker. I like the upside of Tucker but the advanced approach of Newman will be a welcome addition to an offense with a poor approach. Although by then guys like Polanco and Marte should be a lot better. Newman might even challenge Hansen for the 2B job. Gotta think Newman can make it there pretty quickly being a college hitter who won 2 straight Cape Cod league batting titles..

    • Except he is a lot younger than Tucker, a lot more experienced, and at a lower level of competition and cannot get a hit. I know this year really is sort of meaningless to his overall development, but I do think it would be a gigantic stretch at this point to put him above Tucker the way Tucker has fielded the position and hit the ball at a younger age, with less experience, and against better competition. Newman is, essentially, facing college players he just faced in school and isn’t hitting. I certainly think it is a HUGE rush to judgement to assume that he can/will compete with Hanson who has put up good numbers everywhere he’s been, including this year.

  • After seeing Josh Bell in Az Fall League he was not very impressive has no power had hard time getting ball out infield.Looked over matched against good pitching,1st base I don’t think so!

    • meatygettingsaucy
      July 10, 2015 3:49 pm

      Go watch him now and tell us what you think. Because you’re going to be dead wrong about him

      • He still lacks power for 1B. He doesn’t have a problem getting the ball out of the infield, but has struggled to produce a sufficient number of extra base hits for his size and caliber of hitter.

        • Yeah I’m a bit worried about his power too,. We don’t need to see Kris Bryant or Joey Gallo type power numbers but you would at least like him to touch double digits. Don’t think it’s gonna happen this year. I still like the player and he could always be moved back to the OF. Still love the talent of Gregory Polanco but at this point there is a chance he’s a bust. I don’t think so but if he is Bell would look real nice in RF if he does. I’m not a huge Pedro fan but I am starting to see some things I like . I think he’s improving defensively and his approach is much better. I think that 36 HR power will come back. I’d actually start thinking about trying to buy on him. If not you can trade him and transition Walker to 1B. Walker is on his trend. OK season, Great season. Next year I expect him to rake.

          • Odd that we dont hate low power in RF (power spot) but hate low power at 1B. I mean right now Bell isnt looking all that different than a young Freeman at certain levels.

            10-15 HR power wouldnt suck if he hits like he has at every level. Wont be a stellar 1Bmen with that, but he’d be an upgrade over the current situation. He also is hitting the ball hard generating plenty of doubles and triples, so the power is there but the HRs arent.

            • At this point I think 10 homers would end up being a damn impressive year for Bell the way he has hit so far (lack of power). I mean he would have to more than double his home run total to get there.

              • Lack of HRs, power=/= HRs for me. Hitting doubles and triples hard is still power for me.

          • I don’t want Bell in the outfield or first base with less than 10 homers

        • Uh, what? He’s got 13 doubles and 6 triples. Thats a career high in triples and on pace for normal amount of doubles. If he finished with 6-8 HRs, 20-25 doubles and 8-10 triples thatd be similar amounts of xBH as previous years. More triples, similar doubles, less HRs.

          Its basically a question of what you think hitting a triple means. Is that inherently different than a HR power wise, or is it similar power but at a different angle put into a neat spot of the field? Both are xBH

          • If he hits 6-8 homer, he needs about as many doubles as JHAY had last year in addition to a .300 average to be useful considering his defense and speed give him no extra value

            • You know whats ironic? Harrison was a low power, mostly doubles guy in AA. Bell on pace to be slightly less doubles, more triples, and more HRs than Harrison in AA. So he’s basically performing similar to Harrison but with slightly more HRs.

              Josh Bell is fine right now, people freak out about no DINGERS but he’s hitting it hard, getting xBH and his average and OBP are solid. He isnt in troubling of being a useless option at 1B.

              • Good point, and Harrison had no value at all following his first 4 years after being in AA. Again another reason for us to worry given that everyone is expecting bell to take over as a starting first baseman in 1.5 years

          • Those triples are so interesting because he does NOT have speed. Are these balls that are misplayed or are these balls that should be out and simply aren’t for whatever reason? I mean him hitting all these triples is extremely interesting.

            • His exit speed on balls hit is solid, so he’s hitting it hard just not really at the t angle/height for HRs. I get lower power is a concern, but he isnt without really hard hit balls.

  • Signing Liriano again after 2017 questionable. Does he have club option for 2018? And like Aaron wrote….no way Melancon is still closer.

    • I think that was a miscalculation by a year on their part or they had no one else to throw in and fudged it.

      • I bet the Pirates will bring back Charlie Morton for 2018.

        • Oh boy. I’m a Morton fan and I’m not sure I’m ready to talk Morton 2018. If he can keep his mechanics in order or in other words if they don’t mess with him anymore maybe.

          • Morton is currently 31 so he could still play baseball in 2018, though like you stated, I’m not ready to talk about Morton in 2018.

            • I defend Morton being a fine 3-4 option, but not at 34+. Not if it means you sign him at 34 on a 3 year deal.

        • No way, unless all the various injuries to Taillon, King ham derail their careers.

    • Why would it be questionable? If he was durable during the time through 2017 and wanted a short contract then why not? Wouldn’t we have to see how these three years play out and see what the contract would be before saying whether it would be questionable or not? I mean Liriano in his 3 years here so far has been absolutely stellar.

      • I personally think that’d depend on what the rotation looks like at the time. If you have Cole-Taillon-Glasnow all in the bigs with a guy like Kingham also doing okay in his role, that might lessen the need to sign a mid 30s pitcher to a deal.

        If say Cole and Taillon are fine, Glasnow never pans into more than a fringe mid rotation arm and the back end isnt settled, its a thought.

        • That ain’t no ” fringe rotation arm ” on Glasnow Luke,trust me ! He has shown me more in AA than any names mentioned here.

          • Im not suggesting he has done anything to make me think he would be that, but you cant assume he will be a stud at this point. I think itll happen, but when discussing future rotations i dont take best case scenario. He could end up a decent yet not spectacular mid rotation arm, he could have TJ and lose some velo after, he could be an ace.

            If i had to guess on my gut, Cole-Glasnow-Taillon in that order will be ML arms and 2 of the 3 will be aces with the other one being an above average mid rotation arm. But baseball happens.

  • Melancon still closing for us in 2018 would be a bit of a stunner

    • Closing in 2016 may be a stunner, too. Seems like a perfect sell high player this off season.

    • I saw this too. But they could make a run at him. It’s doubtful considering how they acquired their last 3 closers………or any of their closers come to think of it. But some sort of 3-4 year extension for 8 a year might do it. Or something incentive based. They have the money especially if the guys like Bell, Taillon, Glasnow, Hanson, all come up and make less than a million. I’ll believe it when I see it though.

      • Not exactly apples to apples but they did resign Grilli, no? They could do a lot worse with that money than solidifying the back end of the bullpen.

        • Certainly in the produce aisle. Without checking Melancon is probably younger, has had more success and will require money and maybe longer than 2 years. That being said if you’re gonna struggle to score runs you damn well better sure up the back end of the bullpen. And if for some reason he falls off his contract wouldn’t cripple the team. We’re not talking Paplebon numbers here.

        • I think his price tag will determine much, in that if the team feels his value will get him 8-10 million they may search their trade options. If they feel an extended deal at 6-8 million id doable that seems like a fair use of money for his role.

      • I’ll bite. 32M over 4 years for a closer? No way. As you mentioned they never do that, and I completely agree with their reasoning. Spending market value on a closer is arguably the worst money you can spend. Pirates got where they are by not doing that.

        • Idk, if he’s willing to come back at 7-8 million per year id think hard about that. You get a premier closer now and if he falls off a bit but not completely he still is usable in the pen for the duration. 10 million doesnt seem like something PIT would do but closer to 7-8 might do it.

        • How bout 3 for 20? Keep in mind Melancon doesn’t rely on a plus fastball. He might age better as a closer than most.

          • He also can’t afford to lose any of that speed in order for him to allow that cutter to work. We all saw how barely mediocre he was in April

          • Yeh, I’d think about 3/21. But he will probably get a much higher offer elsewhere if he is able to continue in the second half at his current pace. I just like the idea of grooming cheap closers from within. Maybe Barrios for that 2018 closer spot, and jury is still out on Holdskom

  • I like the 2018 projected lineup, it should be a good mix of veterans and youngsters. I hope Cole Tucker can make the majors by then, but I don’t see that happening so quickly.

    • Relatedly, Jordy Mercer will be 32 years old by the end of the 2018 season. Always amazes me how relatively old he is.

      • I just googled Jordy Mercer (which still sounds dirty to this day) and he’s 6 – feet – 3 inches. That surprises me more.

        • And I betcha he’s a hell of a lot closer to 6’4″ than 6’3″ in reality. Big dude.

          By the way, I’m still not comfortable using and form of “uber” or “google” in a sentence.

        • College

    • I don’t know, though. Tucker is playing well in A-ball this year, although he’s not tearing the cover off the ball. I would think it would be mid-2018 at best, but I think 2018 could be a possibility if they held him in AAA for only a short period of time.

      • I hope he’s kicking ass and going through the system like it’s no tomorrow. He’s in low A so here’s my guess how it’ll play out
        2015 – A
        2016 – A+
        2017 – AA
        2018 – AAA
        2019 – AAA / MLB

        Only time will tell 🙂

        • You mean he is in full-season A-ball, yes? I think that timeframe looks about right unless, as I said, they decided to move him up half-way through his AAA season (keeping him there for only a short time), which would make 2018. I would not count on it either…it is possible though.

          • If he was doing well and satisfying the team progression of talent wise, they could have him finish each year at the next level. So a bit of AA in 2016, a bit of AAA in 2017. Meaning mid 2018 he’s had solid time in AAA and available if needed. Which would mean he’s ready all of 2018 in your theory of them moving him up quickly from AAA. That seems best case imo.

  • I agree that putting JaCoby Jones at #10 is surprising.

    He will top out at AA, imo, with those K’ing issues.

    I’m not a big Harold Ramirez fan, but he should still be #10, imo.

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