MLB Pipeline released their list of the top 30 prospects for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday afternoon. The top three spots on their list were already announced once they released their top 100 prospects list two weeks ago.
That top 100 list included Mitch Keller in the 16th spot, Austin Meadows 45th and Shane Baz 67th overall. Pipeline would later mention that Ke’Bryan Hayes was a player who just missed their list, so it’s no surprise that he ranks fourth for the Pirates.
The rest of the top ten (in order) includes Cole Tucker, Bryan Reynolds, Kevin Newman, Colin Moran, Kevin Kramer and Lolo Sanchez.
While the list differs a lot outside of the top 14 players from the top 50 in our 2018 Prospect Guide (shameless plug: limited run paperback should be in hand soon), there are no major surprises. They have Steven Jennings in the 15th spot and we placed him 35th due to his performance/stuff in live looks we had and the scouting reports we got from other games. Jennings clearly has the potential to be a top 15 prospect, but we would like to see it first before putting him that high. I expect him to start this year in Bristol where he will work on fastball command. That could lead to some poor results, even if his stuff plays up this year compared to what we saw.
Pipeline has Conner Uselton 17th, which is well ahead of our rankings. He missed all but two games last year due to a hamstring injury, but just like Jennings, he has the upside to be ranked this high for us down the line. If he looks good during Spring Training, then we could see Uselton get challenged at West Virginia. He was slightly old for his draft class, turning 19 before the draft, so that was another reason we wanted to see results (and health) before rating him too high.
The highest ranked player from our list who isn’t in their top 30 is Max Moroff, but that’s because Pipeline goes by the MLB rules for service time (no more than 45 non-September days), so Moroff isn’t eligible. He was removed from the top 30 last year after his 46th day in the majors.
The new players acquired this off-season did fairly well for Pipeline with Reynolds and Moran in the top eight, Jason Martin 22nd, Nick Burdi 24th and Kyle Crick 25th. Crick is right at the limit for pitching appearances (30), but he was in the big leagues from June 20th to the end last year, so he technically shouldn’t be on the list. It’s an issue they are aware of, so he could be removed by the time you see the list.
Pipeline also has an article from Jonathan Mayo, which breaks down this class by best tools, estimated time of arrival and how they were acquired. It also has a list of the Pirates top ten for every season dating back to 2011. Definitely an article worth checking out.