Baseball America released their Pirates top 10 prospect list today, along with the best tools and a projected 2023 lineup. I did the list and write-ups for BA this year, along with the rest of the top 30 for this year’s Baseball America Prospect Handbook.
I’m not going to give away a lot of the content from over there, but I’ll provide a few ranking spoilers, along with my thoughts behind the rankings. You can also join me in a live chat at 1:00 EST over at Baseball America today to discuss the system.
**My top three were Mitch Keller, Ke’Bryan Hayes, and Oneil Cruz. I’ve gone back and forth between Keller and Hayes as the number one prospect. Keller was the easy choice for me this time around, due to moving away from his extreme fastball usage in the second half, and the chance for better development going forward. It was hard to project Keller for his full upside in Pittsburgh after seeing the track record of previous top prospects. I feel more confident that he’ll be a top of the rotation starter under an organization with an updated pitching philosophy.
**I really like what I’ve seen from Cody Bolton, and he jumped in at number four. As you know, I prefer tiers. Bolton is in the same tier as Tahnaj Thomas and Quinn Priester, although Bolton has a higher floor and the others have a higher ceiling.
**I went Thomas over Priester, which was largely based on our own live reports of Thomas throughout the year. My editors at BA went with my preference of Thomas over Priester after discussing both players. In the past, this is a situation where the Pirates Prospects ranking would have had Thomas higher than everyone else. That happens when you’re the only outlet providing year-long coverage an Extended Spring Training/Bristol pitcher who is brand new to the system. I’m excited to combine our knowledge with BA’s knowledge for this entire report.
**I’ll leave the rest of the report out, although I will say that the system saw a big drop-off for me after prospect number seven. I went more for higher upside guys at the start of that next tier.
**We released our 2020 Prospect Guide this week, with our own top 50. The two lists are different, since the ranking process was different for each.
I wrote the Baseball America top 30, while John and Wilbur wrote the Pirates Prospects top 50 rankings. I factored in their opinions and information for my list, but I formed the Baseball America list, which was then edited and “crosschecked” by the guys at BA.
John and Wilbur factored in my rankings to the Pirates Prospects list, but they formed the rankings here. I served as the “crosschecker” and editor here, but just like BA, I left the decisions to the guys who were writing up the report.
The end result is two different sets of rankings based on the same information about the players. I haven’t compared the two lists side-by-side yet, but I’d imagine they display some clear trends in the system.
I want to wrap this up by thanking J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy, Kyle Glaser, and the rest of the guys over at Baseball America for giving me this opportunity. I started reading BA well before I started following and covering the Pirates’ farm system. It was an honor to be able to write one of their top 30 reports. I hope you’ll check it out and join me for the chat later.