Six Pirates Listed Among Baseball America’s Best Tools Around the Minors

Baseball America posted the list of the best tools for the players in all of the full-season leagues. The voting is done by the managers and coaches in each league and BA compiles the lists and posted them all in one article.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have some decent representation on the lists, though it’s almost all from the two upper level clubs and it mostly involves defense.

Kevin Newman was named as the best base runner in the International League and also nabbed the top spot for best defensive shortstop. While he isn’t a flashy defender, he has committed just six errors in 83 games at shortstop. Newman was 28-for-39 in stolen bases before getting called up. I’ll point out that best base runner is overall base running and not just steals. Newman got a lot of his doubles off of speed and hustle, so the ability to take extra bases factors in for coaches.

In the Eastern League, Mitch Keller was named as the best pitching prospect this year. He also got on the list for best fastball and best breaking ball (curve). He’s been up in Indianapolis for over a month, but he clearly impressed everyone during his three months in Altoona.

The Altoona infield got some high praise for their defense, as Ke’Bryan Hayes, Stephen Alemais and Will Craig (yes, Will Craig) were named the best defenders at their position. Cole Tucker didn’t make it for shortstop, but he’s an above average defender, so that tells you a lot about the support Altoona pitchers have been getting.

For the two lower level teams, just one player was selected. Oneil Cruz has the best infield arm in the South Atlantic League. That’s no surprise despite his overall defense being poor. No one has ever questioned whether or not he has the arm to remain at shortstop or move back over to third base.




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