MLB Pipeline released their list of the top 30 prospects from the recently completed Arizona Fall League. With all 30 big league teams participating in the league, the Pittsburgh Pirates did well in the rankings with three players listed among the top 11 prospects. The Pirates had the highest rated players at three positions.
Henry Davis leads the way for the Pirates, as well as being the highest rated catcher in the league. He was eighth on the list of prospects. Davis did well in the hitting category, but Pipeline noted some scouts thought he was raw behind the plate and might end up in the outfield. That was one of the reasons he was in the league, trying to make up for lost time during the regular season both last year and this year. The bat is going to be big league ready before the glove.
Nick Gonzales is the highest rated second baseman on the list, though he also played shortstop and third base in the AFL. He ranks ninth on this list. It was noted that his defense plays better at second base due to the arm strength, but he could end up in left field. I think the defense plays well at second base, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to leave him at the position full-time. He could be blocked by Rodolfo Castro or Ji-hwan Bae, but both of those players have more experience at other positions already and show a bit more athleticism (especially Bae). On the plus side, it was said that Gonzales had more hard hit balls than most players in the league.
Quinn Priester ranks 11th on this list, which is the highest ranked pitcher in the league. With all of the offense we saw in the league this year, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that all of the top ten prospects are hitters. Priester was actually called the lone slam-dunk starter in the league this year. While his overall stats weren’t great, the scouting reports were strong regarding his fastball, slider and curve.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.