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Pirates Have Three Prospects in the Baseball Prospectus Mid-Season Top 50

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Baseball Prospectus released their mid-season top 50 prospects yesterday, and the Pirates had three guys on the list. That was impressive when you consider that recently promoted Tyler Glasnow and Jameson Taillon weren’t on the list at all. Glasnow would have rated 9th overall, based on Craig Goldstein’s comments below the article.

The interesting thing about the rankings is that Austin Meadows was ranked 6th overall, meaning BP has him as the top prospect for the Pirates right now. That’s pretty big when you consider that BP has historically been the lowest on Meadows when the prospect rankings come out. They praised his approach at the plate, giving him above-average tools everywhere except his arm. They mentioned that his arm could move him to left field — something we’ve been saying as well — and that his health woes are an issue to watch.

The next guy on the list was Josh Bell, ranked 31st overall. BP praised his hitting abilities from both sides of the plate — and I probably wouldn’t agree from the right side up until this year — but notes that he has pressure on his bat due to playing first base, and won’t be a 30 home run guy. Honestly, I’m still not ruling that out for Bell. He’s made so much progress in the last year with his leg kick, and tapping into his power from both sides of the plate. That’s an evolving process, and I don’t think we’ve seen the best from him yet. I also don’t think he needs to hit 30 homers to have a lot of offensive value as the Pirates’ first baseman, since he can hit for average, get on base, and hit doubles, along with his home runs. Give him 20 homers a year (he’s got 13 in half a season at Triple-A this year), and you’re talking about a good offensive first baseman.

The final guy ranked was Kevin Newman, who came in at 42nd overall. BP liked the hit tool, saying he could succeed if it emerges as a plus bat, even with no power. They said he’s an above-average player if he can stick at shortstop and have that hitting skill. However, they said if he doesn’t stick at shortstop, he’d be moving more towards utility territory. Newman’s hitting skills have been well documented this year, and I’ve reported on some of the things he’s working on to clean up his defense and improve at shortstop. I wouldn’t rule out him sticking at the position. The Pirates are using Jordy Mercer as a guide, and taking a lot of the same steps with Newman that they took with Mercer. If you recall, Mercer was expected to be an offense first shortstop with poor defense. He’s now the exact opposite of that. I don’t think Newman will lose his offensive value, but on defense he has the speed and arm strength for the position, and should be able to stick if he improves his routes and his consistency.

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Tim Williams
Tim Williams
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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