Pirates Prospects is FREE today in honor of the Wild Card game. If you’ve missed our coverage this year (which includes over 1,200 articles during the season), then we’ve pulled together a list of some of our best work that you may have missed. You’ve got a full day to read as many of these as possible. Or you could just sign up for a subscription to the site at our extremely low monthly rates, and get this kind of analysis from us all the time.
The articles are broken down by categories, with the prospect coverage coming first, for obvious reasons.
Tyler Glasnow/Josh Bell Analysis
**Sean McCool writes about how important the changeup is to Tyler Glasnow’s development.
**Ryan Palencer looks at Glasnow’s development after his slow start in Triple-A
**Tim Williams wrote about why Tyler Glasnow wasn’t needed and wasn’t ready to make the jump to the majors in September.
**Sean McCool had a great look at Josh Bell’s development around the mid-season mark.
**At the end of the season, Sean recapped what Bell accomplished in Altoona, after he was promoted to Indianapolis.
**Bell made some changes in Altoona, and Ryan Palencer reported on a key adjustment he made in Indianapolis which led to big results.
Individual Prospect Analysis
**Ryan Palencer wrote about how Willy Garcia was seeing his power return with Indianapolis, along with fewer strikeouts.
**Prior to the September call-up, Ryan Palencer wrote about the struggles Elias Diaz was having, and how the idea of arriving in September was hurting his progress.
**Jameson Taillon didn’t pitch in a box score, but did pitch this year, and had much better mechanics. Here is an article breaking down one of his appearances, with video of the outing.
**RHP Chad Kuhl was our pitcher of the year, and Sean McCool wrote about how he was starting to develop his secondary pitches, right before he broke out and had a strong second half.
**LHP Steven Brault was a big surprise this year, and Sean looked at why he was having success in Double-A.
**Tim Williams reviewed Brault’s sinker at the start of the year, and at the end of the year looked at whether he could be the exception when it comes to getting an early promotion to Indianapolis next year.
**Sean McCool recapped the seasons for Brault and Kuhl at the end of the year, with input from Altoona pitching coach Justin Meccage.
**Max Moroff had a breakout season, and Sean McCool had plenty of analysis on him this year, including this article from the end of the season.
**Adam Frazier was another breakout guy in Altoona, and could be a future utility player in the majors. Sean McCool wrote about how he was breaking out, right before he started getting everyday playing time.
**Austin Meadows had a great year in Bradenton, and finished off in Altoona. Tim Williams looked at his future in a crowded Pittsburgh outfield.
**Luis Heredia had a disappointing season, despite going back to an old delivery. Here is an article that breaks down some of the struggles Heredia was having with his stuff this year.
**From the start of the year, Barrett Barnes was looking to stay healthy. He did just that, and finally was able to make some progress with his development.
**Stephen Tarpley had a great season this year after coming over in the Travis Snider trade. Tim Williams recapped the season and what worked well for the lefty.
**Speaking of Tarpley and Brault, they both had big seasons after coming over in the Travis Snider trade, which looked like an absolute steal, even before Snider returned.
**Yeudy Garcia was our breakout pitcher of the year this year, and Tim Williams noticed the breakout potential early in the season.
**Pete Ellis broke down Jordan Luplow’s transition to third base, and how it was a work in progress.
**John Dreker recapped the improbable season from Garcia later in the year, after he was starting to get established as a prospect.
**The Pirates drafted an interesting left-hander in the fifth round this year, and Tim Williams had the first look at what makes him such an good prospect.
**Kevin Newman was the first round pick this year, and Tim Williams broke down the skills behind his poor numbers after seeing him live in early August.
**Carlos Munoz put up outstanding numbers in Bristol at first base this season. Tim Williams wrote about what was working so well, and the limitations for Munoz going forward.
**John Dreker went in-depth on why Luis Escobar was a sleeper pitching prospects in the lower levels.
General Prospect Analysis
**The loaded Rule 5 class for the upcoming off-season gave the Pirates plenty of trade chips. This article was written before they traded two of those players (Yhonathan Barrios for Aramis Ramirez and Adrian Sampson for J.A. Happ).
**Tim Williams talked with Clint Hurdle, Jared Hughes, and Keon Broxton on what it’s like to be a September call-up.
**The Pirates had a lot of Tommy John surgeries this year, and John Dreker wrote about how they’ve had the most in baseball the last few seasons. Keep in mind that this only tracks documented Tommy John surgeries. We contribute to the list that keeps track, with direct communication with the keeper of the list. We also provide closer coverage of the Pirates’ farm system than most teams get. So that’s one reason why the numbers are high. Despite that, they’ve still had a lot of surgeries recently.
**Kevin Young had a big role in the majors working with Pedro Alvarez, but his role expanded beyond the majors, working with a lot of first base prospects in the minors.
**John Dreker breaks down why age is so important when determining prospect status.
**Here is an example of our nightly Prospect Watch, with a few live reports, and a ton of analysis from John Dreker covering the other games remotely. Note that you probably won’t be able to see the box scores unless you are logged in. You can find every Prospect Watch here.
**Sean McCool looks at the Pirates’ strategy for developing positional flexibility in the minors.
**John Dreker looked at how pitchers are handled today versus the 80’s after interviewing a player from that era.
**John Dreker breaks down the talent gap between the DSL and GCL after a few top players were struggling with the jump to the U.S.
**Tim Williams made a trip down to the Dominican Academy, and wrote about why the Pirates don’t need to sign big bonus players out of Latin America, after seeing the process at the Academy.
**In that same trip, a look at why players have visa issues that make it difficult for them to sign or enter the U.S.
Minor League Season Recaps
Indianapolis Indians Top 10 Prospects – Ryan Palencer
Altoona Curve Top 10 Prospects – Sean McCool
Bristol Pirates Top 10 Prospects – Tim Williams
GCL Pirates Top 10 Prospects – Tim Williams
Josh Bell: Player of the Year – Tim Williams
Chad Kuhl: Pitcher of the Year – Tim Williams
Yeudy Garcia: Breakout Prospect of the Year – Tim Williams
In the coming weeks, we will finish off our minor league recaps with our Bradenton, West Virginia, and Morgantown top 10 prospect lists.
**The trade deadline was a huge seller’s market, but somehow the Pirates got tremendous value by getting J.A. Happ, Joakim Soria, Michael Morse, Joe Blanton, and Aramis Ramirez (combined 3.7 WAR over two months), and just giving up JaCoby Jones, Adrian Sampson, Yhonathan Barrios, and adding about $10 M in payroll. The trades didn’t receive a positive reaction at the deadline, but Tim Williams wrote about how the moves were potentially brilliant.
**Jung-ho Kang was one of the best stories this year, and Pete Ellis wrote about how he was a huge steal for the Pirates. Tim Williams wrote about how he opened a lot of doors for KBO hitters to make the jump to MLB in the future.
**Back when everyone wanted him gone after one start, Pete Ellis wrote about the adjustments J.A. Happ was making with Ray Searage. Tim Williams also wrote about how adding Happ was similar to adding Burnett, Liriano, and Volquez in previous years.
**Speaking of Happ, Kang, and the deadline, Neal Huntington had a career year with value moves.
**Pete Ellis broke down what was working for Gregory Polanco in the second half, in what was probably the best article written about Polanco this year.
**Tim Williams broke down what makes Polanco and Starling Marte so good at throwing out runners.
**When the Pirates reached the playoffs for a third year in a row, Sean McCool wrote about how they overcame a lot of adversity to get back to this point.
**Ed Giles broke down Jeff Locke’s season, and what we can make of the numbers.
**The Pirates had the best pair of shutdown relievers in baseball, and Ed Giles wrote about how good Mark Melancon and Tony Watson have been.
**Ryan Palencer looked at how Jared Hughes went from being a failing Double-A starter to a high-leverage MLB reliever.
**Pete Ellis took a look at Joe Blanton’s comeback, and how he became one of the best MLB relievers this year.
**After Jung-ho Kang went down, Ed Giles wrote about how the Pirates needed timely contributions from depth players, which they received from Josh Harrison.
**Tim Williams looked at how Chris Stewart started hitting for average after joining the Pirates.
**John Dreker does a comparison of Andrew McCutchen vs Barry Bonds.
**He didn’t make it to the majors in Pittsburgh, but here is a detailed recap of how Clayton Richard was fixed by Jim Benedict, using his football throwing motion to fix his mechanics.
**The Pirates were aggressive on the first pitch this year, and Ed Giles broke down their success with that approach.
Recent Site Updates
**In seven years of coverage, this was our best year covering the Pirates’ system.