Two Pittsburgh Pirates Make the Top 100 Prospects List for Baseball America

Baseball America released their list of the top 100 prospects on Monday morning and they have two Pittsburgh Pirates. Just this morning, Keith Law released his list of the top 51-100 prospects in the game (top 50 comes out tomorrow) and he had three Pirates listed, so there are some differences of opinion in their lists. BA will end up having at least half as many top 100 prospects as Law for the Pirates, since it’s safe to assume Mitch Keller will be in his top 50.

As for today’s rankings by BA, Mitch Keller is ranked 12th overall, while Austin Meadows is ranked 44th. Meadows was 70th on the list for Law. Keller will be somewhere in Law’s top 50 tomorrow, so we can do a comparison then.

There were no reasons given yet on the rankings by BA or reports to go along with it, so it’s hard to expand on their rankings. I will say that their 2017 mid-season list had Keller 15th, which was up from 18th in the preseason list. Meadows went from fourth preseason, to 22nd mid-season, to 44th now. Kevin Newman was 50th preseason, 88th mid-season and unranked now. Those three were the only Pirates on the mid-season list.

BA also has the tools for each of the top 100 prospects. The article is for subscribers. The basic recap is that both Keller and Meadows are at least average in every category and Keller peaks out at 70 for fastball.

BA should have some more lists out, such as the just missed list and the top prospects by position. As I said in the Winter Leagues article this morning, expect a lot of prospect news this week and next. MLB Pipeline will also continue their best by position this week, followed up by their top 100 on Saturday night. That will be live on MLB Network.

BA has a chat for the top 100 going on at 11AM. If it includes any Pirates questions, I’ll post them here later.

UPDATE: Chat is still going after 4 1/2 hours and no Pirates questions, so nothing to report other than Lolo Sanchez being mentioned as a possible top 100 prospect at this time next year.

  • On average shouldn’t every team have 3.3 in the top 100. 2 would be more than 30% below average. On a test that would be an F

  • This is both disappointing and not too surprising. John/Tim – there was talk a few months ago (after Gajtka’s draft analysis I think) of a thorough P2 draft analysis. Any update on when that will roll out? All the info I’ve seen suggests that NH has not done a good job/been below average at getting MLB production from the draft. It’ll be interesting to see if the work from P2 reaches a different conclusion.

  • A referendum of the Pirates draft method and player development.
    Go down the list of first and second round failed picks.
    Unacceptable in this small market as they run it. A reason alone to can a GM.

    • what first rounders have even been busts? Tony Sanchez. who else?

    • You mean Tucker, Newman and Craig?

      I’m not sure I want to go through the exercise, but how many of these guys were players were available to the pirates in the draft in those years? I’m guessing maybe 5-6.

      I think the problem is that they chose to ignore international free agency during the spending bubble and that has left a gap in their system.

      • Wayyyy too early to call any of those 3 busts. Craig certainly seems like an overdraft, but Newman and Tucker still have promise.

        • and even Craig has *hit*

          his path is more difficult and his ceiling is low… but i’m not even ready to call *him* a bust.

          his OBP is like .390 in professional ball. let’s wait till that gets below .320 at a level before we bury him.

    • I don’t fully disagree – but every year there is the “new shiny” effect of hundreds of other players coming in.

  • a few thoughts… it’s a little surprising that Cole Tucker isn’t more highly regarded. 21 year olds that hold their own in AA and play shortstop usually have more hype. probably.

    and say Hayes sprouts power…. wouldnt he suddenly become one of the elite prospects in baseball?

    average, power, and good defense. not a lot of prospects have all 3.

    he certainly wouldnt be the first 210 lb player to add power at age 21

    • I’m also shocked he’s not rated higher. He was a league average hitter in AA despite being young for the level, who is a plus base runner and plays a fine defensive short stop. Given that there’s still power potential in there, and given also that his peripherals were quite good (high LD%, high BB%, low K%), there’s cause for optimism even if he doesn’t access the whole of his power that he’ll be a solid Major League shortstop.

      The same can be said of Hayes. He plays a less premium position, but he’s elite at the spot, is a good base runner, and he’s already hit well at A+ (again, with the same solid peripherals as Tucker), and may have untapped power if he adds some muscle and lofts his swing a little bit.

      Neither has to improve too much on their current tools to be Major League caliber contributors, but each stands to be very good players by adding power. It’s a high floor without necessarily having a low ceiling.

      • it’s easy to forget how young these guys are. It seems like we’ve been talking about Tucker, Hayes, and even Meadows forever, but theyre still 21, 20, and 22.

        in that context, Meadows’ lackluster performance in AAA almost seems impressive again

        • If Meadows stays healthy, he’ll hit. I have no doubt about that. I think his AAA debut was more injury problem than talent problem. But that injury problem is a big question mark, as we’ve seen so far in Polanco’s career. It’s not just the time missed, it’s the rhythm lost and any lingering performance effects.

          Also on Meadows, his batted ball profile was way too ground ball heavy last year. I think he makes big strides simply by elevating the ball again like he did in 2016.

      • Despite being in the Kevin Newman Fan Club, I see reason to not count him among the best prospects in the game. His ceiling is low, and last season may have dropped his floor, too. I have every confidence he’ll bounce back this year, but from a prospect evaluation perspective, he just doesn’t have the ceiling to be ranked very high. But Tucker and Hayes have massive upsides on top of being pretty low-risk prospects for their age and profile.

      • Keith Law has Hayes ranked #61 and has a very positive write up on him. Says he is trending to a 70 fielder and should hit for average. Says his only question mark is power, but he could grow into a 15-20 homer guy. I feel like Tucker has upside but more questions about whether he can stay at short and uncertainty regarding his bat.

    • The Hayes question is one Hayes will have to answer.

      I agree, if he gets power, he’ll be a top prospect…until he does, no need to rate him higher.

      I’m definitely hoping it happens.

      • I completely disagree. IMO, there should clearly be some middle ground between unranked and elite.

        Keith Law is dead-on with this one. With plus defense, above average hit tool, and above average run Ke’Bryan has the *floor* of something like a 2 WAR player.

        Jay is absolutely right here; taking this profile and adding power to it puts him in the 4 WAR range, something only kids in the Top 20 range could say.

        • Meh, I get your point…I’m still on the fence. I guess this goes back to my thing of never getting too excited about a guy until he establishes himself in AA.

          Hayes has done well so far, and I’m cautiously optimistic…but all those tools you mentioned that make up the floor have to survive and (hopefully) flourish through two more levels of minor league ball. The closer he gets to the pros, the more he maintains and grows, the better I’d feel about ranking him higher.

  • Is it safe to say that Cole Tucker is not a good prospect for the Pirates?

    • No…it appears that Tim et al. see him as the probable if not likely SS in 2.5 years

      • if not a little sooner

      • I have to think, without injury, he will be in AAA by about July of this year. That would put him in the majors in June of 2019

        • unless Newman gets there first…I could see them slowing him down due to that. There is a decision upcoming with Kramer, Tucker, Newman…who to start, who for the bench, who for AAA/trade. Good problems to have.

    • i’ll be betting on him. guys who hold their own in AA right after their 21st birthday are not guys i bet against. especially when they are shortstops and have such high writeups on their personality.

      my bold prediction is that he breaks though and becomes a top 50 prospect this year.

      my bolder prediction is that Kebryan Hayes sprouts power and becomes a top 25 guy, but that’s off topic.

    • Feel free, I have been saying it since he was drafted. Just because he can make it to the majors as a SS in a system devoid of players at that position does not mean he is good. Think Jordy Mercer with no power and a little more speed.

  • looks to me that BA is not impressed with the Bucs farm system even after the acquisitions. That’s pretty disappointing that we traded our two most valuable assets and couldn’t acquire a top 100 player.

  • Any reason Baz and Hayes aren’t on this list?

    • Just their opinions. Both could be 101-110. They like both of the players going by their top ten for the Pirates. They probably want to see more power from Hayes, better control from Baz, if I had to guess

  • Moran is no longer a prospect?

    • I don’t think anyone will have him top 100, but yes, he is still a prospect.

    • The only people that seem to think Moran is really good and is going to hit 300 and jack 25 HRs post on this board

      • I don’t think I’ve seen anyone here say that, actually.

      • I think .260 and 15-20 is realistic for Moran, but I also understand that I am being very optimistic.

        • They really need to be right on this Moran bet. Projections obviously suggest he isn’t going to be much of a player but hoping that swing change is sustainable. A LOT riding on the Moran bet.

        • I think .280 is a reasonable expectation for his batting average, honestly. He’s never not hit for average. The power, though, could be anywhere from 5 HR to 30, depending on how real the power influx was last season. That’s where his value will be determined.

          • I think .280 is a stretch for a rookie with a new team in a new league.

          • Between you and crow, you have covered it very well. He uses the whole field and hits well, so .260 in his Rookie year would be very good. I doubt the power clicks right away, so 10-15 HR would be very good.

            Of course, it will all depend upon how much he gets to play – Hurdle favors veterans, and if we go into 2018 with all of Freese, Harrison, and Rodriguez looking for time at 3B?

      • Does this include you since you post here all time?

    • If the “new” Colin Moran who put up impressive stats in the PCL last season was for real, he would definitely be top 100. By the time we find out if “new Colin” is legit, he won’t be eligible anymore.

      • This is completely true. He has 34 MLB at-bats already, so he can’t prove anything in fewer than 100 more at-bats in the majors. Even if he does well, it will be too small of a sample size to claim his adjustment worked. By the time the sample size is big enough, he won’t be a prospect anymore.

    • I think the problem with Moran is that he is a major gamble. You can’t judge by his stats because he changed his swing and tore up the PCL for half a season. What does that mean?
      – Was it just a streak?
      – Was it the league?
      – Was it the mechanical change?
      – And if it was, will the swing work as well in the majors?
      He could be bad, good or anywhere in the middle.

  • Why has Newman dropped?

    • Mostly because other prospects improved their stock last year while Newman stagnated I assume.

    • .675 OPS last year, didn’t hit for any power or draw walks, didn’t run enough for someone with his speed, who is on first base often. He turned 24 during the season, so in prospect terms, he isn’t young.

    • cause he’s terrible

    • John … I am really puzzled why Newman is even ranked in our top ten.

      At this point, it looks like he is a guy that could hit .280 with a smattering of doubles utilizing his speed to get to some balls or get some extra bases.

      Other than that, I would think that he would be worse than Mercer in the field with no HRs or SBs.

      That sounds like a guy trending into a utility role.

      • Depends on who you ask.

        Fangraphs has him at 9 and that was before the Martin, Moran and Reynolds pick-ups.

        I don’t think Martin will move him, but the other two should bump him out of the top 10 on that list.