Pirates Prospects 2018 Prospect Guide Live Q&A: 12/27

Last week we released the first edition of the 2018 Prospect Guide, which is an eBook this year. The first edition of the book included our top 50 prospects, along with the organizational depth chart, best tools, and 2017 recaps. We will be releasing the full book in February, right before Spring Training, along with some updates in between if the Pirates make some big trades. All of the updates are included in the price of the book, which is $19.99 this year. You can purchase your copy on the products page of the site.

Today, at 11 AM, I will be doing a live Q&A about the book so far, along with answering questions about prospects in the system. This discussion will be limited only to prospects and the recently released top 50. Any questions about Gerrit Cole, rebuilding, or any other rumors can be asked in their respective articles.

Leave your questions in the comments, and I will respond, starting at 11 AM.

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.

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napolasky

Kind of a late question – but I hope you answer. I am nervous to ask – but has something befallen Pat Lackey at WHYGAVS? I read his blog for a long time, but he has not updated in more than a year. I hope he is okay.

Darkstone42

I thought I saw something about him discontinuing it, but I don’t remember why.

rich

I oddly enough have the same memory

mike_carlini66

Tim,
I’m really excited to see this group of prospects heading to WV this season with Lolo, Mitchell, Martin and Baz not to mention a few others. How do you compare this group to the 2012 group? And is this the best group since those guys?

John Dreker

It has a chance to be an incredible group, but it will matter just how many players they decide to challenge and then where everyone fits. You could see Braeden Ogle, Max Kranick, Domingo Robles, Ike Schlabach all there, plus Oneil Cruz, Edison Lantigua, Rodolfo Castro, Connor Uselton and some of the top guys from Morgantown. No idea where they are going to put everyone, but it guarantees a strong team for prospects.

Stonecipher

I would like to see them push the college draftees from 2017 to Bradenton and move that GCL group to WV. I would think Uselton isn’t pushed because of the injury though. I think WV would be an aggressive push for Martin, but he had historical production in the GCL, if he were to excel in Low A, he could move into top 100 prospect lists.

Stonecipher

In terms of analytic trends in baseball, the Pirates were able to excel at run prevention with their ground ball, pitch to contact, defensive shift scheme, but that strategy appears obsolete with the new strike zone and fly ball trends. Do guys like Kramer, Luplow or Moroff have a chance to excel in this era, or do the Pirates need to focus on the reaction to those strategies?

Daryl Restly

Let’s play hypothetical. Let’s say the Pirates make the deal with the Yankees for Cole. I know Tim has said in previous articles that he thinks Torres is too much for Cole. But let’s say the Pirates somehow find a way to pry him away from the Yankees. Is there any realistic chance that the Pirates could get both Torres and Frazier in return for just Cole? Or would the Pirates have to add to the mix such as Harrison?

NMR

Harrison?

George Harrison, Harrison Ford, and William H. Harrison, let alone Josh, wouldn’t get both Torres *and* Frazier.

terrygordon30

No realistic chance. Yes, add to the deal you must. (In my best Yoda voice.)

angie0399

…not related to 2018 guide but I just read an article saying Taillon changed back to four seam changeup grip. Any opinion/analysis on this?

John Dreker

Tim had a long and in depth article about Taillon’s changeup during Spring Training when he was trying to get used to the new grip. The last thing Taillon said was that if the two-seam grip didn’t work, he would go back to the four-seam. So I would take him switching back as it didn’t work, since that was the plan from the start. http://18.206.184.11/2017/02/jameson-taillon-is-working-on-a-new-changeup-grip-this-spring.html

angie0399

Thanks! Should have searched before asking, my bad.

jedeweese

Have my hot-from-the-printer Prospect Guides in my hands…now let’s see if I can get any work done this afternoon. Will updates be listed as separate PDFs?

Joseph Willis

Enjoy some Mario Tim, love the site have for years

Joseph Willis

Why is the question, why can a guy like polanco have so many tools and be an average player so far? By the way I know if you answer this every team has a spot on their staff for you

jaygray007

Hey tim. Thanks for all the quality content.

Only question I can think of is…. what kind of batting practice power has Craig shown? He obviously hasn’t shown it in games yet, but it’s just hard to believe that a big boy like him doesn’t have power in there somewhere.

jaygray007

Thanks Tim. Looking forward to reading your interviews and research on him.

john fluharty

If the Pirates go all-in on a rebuild, should they deal Felipe Rivero and if so what should they expect to get for him?

john fluharty

Awesome, looking forward to reading it.

Jim Deweese

Yes, trade him…he will never be higher than he is now, and a 78-82 win team doesn’t need the elite closer.

rich

He certainly might help all of the young starters develop

Jim Deweese

I understand the thought, but I think Meccage will have a bigger influence…someone will give a king’s ransom for Rivero

Smokinjoe

I think 2018 is the perfect time to let Glasnow just go and pitch and see what he is capable of…I could be wrong but there seems to have been a lot of tinkering with him and for me that just needs to cease in the near term.

Question about the Cervelli contract…it just seems to be a bit exorbitant for a good many teams but down right ridiculous for the Pirates…any insights as to why he is being paid 10mil or so and there just seems to be a fair amount of options ever year in FA far cheaper….?

dr dng

“I think 2018 is the perfect time to let Glasnow just go and pitch and see what he is capable of…I could be wrong but there seems to have been a lot of tinkering with him and for me that just needs to cease in the near term.”

I would generally agree with you, but I would also fear a Caminero type
melt down where we put too many opposing batters in danger.

Smokinjoe

How do you know if something clicks if you do not just let him pitch and then after the year is over review and go from there.

Wabbit_Season

Love the chat.
Should be a regular feature.
Thanks for all you do.

-Wabbit

napolasky

If Will Craig came on strong, would they move Josh Bell to the outfield to leave Craig at first? Or is Josh a permanent first baseman now.

battlingbucs

Who were the two prospects that got removed from the top 50 to make room for the Rule V guys?

pantherfan83

What’s gone wrong with Elias Diaz that he no longer get a the hype he did a year ago?

Daniel C

Thanks for chatting…Adams and Andujar and Frazier for Cole and Harrison, fair?…going retool, what would be fair return for Cutch?…if you’ve seen Lolo, is there a (early) comp?…thanks and Happy Holidays!

clemo83

Not directed at you but generally -Why do we have to throw in Harrison to get three prospects that the Yankees are dictating to us who we can get. I’ve been reading that everywhere and I think Cole should be enough, the Yankees are getting a potential ace. I get the HRs and 4.00 era but he has legit ace and star potential with two years of control. That’s enough for all three. Harrison is an All-Star and recent 3-WAR player and peak 5-WAR player whose impact on the game isn’t always measurable. That’s an overpayment to me. Harrison should get a legit prospect in his own right.

capirate

When I looked at the tiered rankings, it seemed to me that only 6-8 prospects in the 2 lower tiers have the potential to move up a tier or more in the future. Is this view too pessimistic or pretty typical year to year?

taylor26554

Are any prospects invited to mini camp in January? If so which ones are you anxious to see? Btw what is the dates for that?

Jeremiah Ewing

Who is the international signee breakout candidate this year?

John Dreker

Jean Eusebio is the player to watch this year for a breakout. He has a lot of tools and his approach is very advanced for his age. He will be 17 for most of this upcoming season, which he will likely spend in the GCL. We posted an article about him earlier this month http://18.206.184.11/2017/12/jean-eusebio-gives-the-pirates-a-possible-breakout-player-to-watch-in-2018.html

I’d also watch for Francisco Acuna, the 17-year-old shortstop from Colombia who is part of our winter leagues coverage. He’s another player with tools and an advanced approach, plus a great work ethic. He should be the regular SS in the GCL this year.

BigB2323

Is he related to the Braves Acuna?

John Dreker

No, Ronald Acuna is from Venezuela

dgourlay

Morning all – I assume the Prospect Guide is on top of the subscription ? Want to make sure before I purchase ? Thanks

John Dreker

The Prospect Guide in eBook and the paperback, which will be available in limited numbers in February, are not part of the subscription. So they need to be purchased separately.

dgourlay

Thank you John – I have just purchased it

Wabbit_Season

I’m a subscriber who bought the eBook AND the limited book. I’ve got prospect guides from ’14, ’15, ’16 and ’17 in my bathroom bookshelf and its a legacy project. Can’t do without the real book but MUST have the ebook as well.

-Wabbit

john fluharty

A bathroom bookshelf? I find that very amusing for some reason.

Stephen Brooks

A bathroom bookshelf is what nailed Walter White in Season 5 of Breaking Bad. Be careful, Wabbit.

John Dreker

Then I must thank you as well.

Jeff

Newman and Craig. Disappointing 1st round picks or too early to tell?

Darkstone42

Does Craig need to change his swing mechanics, really, or is it more about his physicality holding him back, not having enough strength despite his size to tap into his power.

john fluharty

What kind of overhaul? Anything specific he is doing wrong?

Testistube

Better bet for Meadows WAR:
2018: 3 > or or < 3

Testistube

Rank:
Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield, Kuhl, Williams, Holmes, Brault, Glasnow, Kingham.

leefoo

Do you think that Meadows, if he stays healthy, can regain his Above Average upside?

Btw……….Great idea doing a chat. Can’t wait to read the answers.

Testistube

What do you see from Glasnow in 2018? Beyond?

Is there any audio you do since DT is no longer with ESPN? Any plans for a podcast?

Will Pirates get enough for Cutch to make it worthwhile to move him? Given the terrible market for COF last free agency, not a great return for Ozuna this year.

thecrow124

I don’t understand your line of thinking about Cole. If they move him to the Yankees in the much discussed in the media trade, for Andujar, Frazier and Adams, then isn’t it theoretically possible that the Pirates would be better without Cole?
There would be 5 guys pitching at AAA that they could run through the 5th starter spot to find 1 that would work. Andujar should be an upgrade at third, and Frazier would be an upgrade as a 4th OFer.
Granted you are looking at a lot of things working out in order for this scenario to happen,but I don’t think trading Cole just instantly makes the Pirates worse next year.

john fluharty

I am wondering the same thing. Andujar by himself might be able to replace the 2017 Cole without us losing much.

Tim S

Do you think Max M. will be an everyday player at the MLB level on opening day or will he start the year in Indy?

Tim S

Thanks, Tim. I am hoping things play out that way.

jaybell

Has there been any discussion of changing Glasnow’s arm angle or repertoire of pitches to avoid encountering the same issues he has had in the past? It looks like big league hitters are teeing off on his straight four seam fastball regardless of velocity.

thecrow124

Is there any thought at all within the organization that he might be tipping his pitches? It seems like a pitcher with his movement should not be getting hit around like Glasnow has in the majors.

Silkychubs

I saw an article about Glasnow using the smallest percentage of the strikezone of all Pirates starters. Could it just be changing eye level and not continually try to do nothing but use the bottom of the strikezone?

mjhjlhonh

I didn’t realize until reading your prospect book that Gage Hinsz had a serious shoulder injury. He seemed like a high ceiling type of prospect. Any further updates about the shoulder injury prognosis? Do you believe the shoulder issues were the main cause of his troubles this year?

angie0399

Which position do we lack high ceiling prospects? Which positions to aim for next draft? I saw the depth chart and it seemed like we needed more power 3B and C.

Oh, and I thought Uselton had better arm than Mitchell & Mitchell mainly handled LF this year but it says Uselton as LF and Mitchell as RF?

angie0399

I wondered if Uselton was marked as LF because he’s a better fielder (LF in PNC park). Thanks for answering.

One more question, I assume Kramer/Moroff’s rank difference is not significant at all but still, any reason why Kramer is ranked higher than Moroff? Moroff already reached the majors, has better speed, and works more walks? I guess Kramer has better power but Moroff showed good enough power when he’s aggressive?

mjhjlhonh

What changes have you noticed with Kingham upon his re hab return. I know he made progress and was pretty dominant later in the season. How his velocity looked post TJ? Do you still believe he can reach his mid rotation projection pre TJ?

jedeweese

Do you see him as trade fodder, or will he get a legitimate shot in Indy/Pittsburgh? It almost “feels” like he has be passed up in the current numbers game.

Jim Deweese

Also-didn’t he get awarded another option?

Joseph Willis

What is Taylor Hearn’s ceiling? What do you predict him being a starter or reliever? I k ow he is starter now, but is he rivero’s replacement eventually?

Paul

I have all of your Prospect Guides. Another great job! At what point do Kingman and Holmes finally contribute to Major League team? They are kind of forgotten at this point. Looks like they past their injuries now.

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