We had two new top prospects lists for the Pittsburgh Pirates come out yesterday. The Athletic and ESPN both released their list of the top prospects for the Pirates. Fangraphs adds a third one in a short time period. They went 43 deep on their list, as well as adding other names of note, so there’s a lot to read here.
Unlike the other lists released yesterday, Fangraphs has not posted their top 100 prospects list yet, so we didn’t already have some idea of the top of their list. Their top ten, in order, includes:
Termarr Johnson, Endy Rodriguez, Henry Davis, Luis Ortiz, Quinn Priester, Liover Peguero, Mike Burrows, Bubba Chandler, Jared Triolo and Ji-hwan Bae.
I won’t go through the entire list. It’s a free article, so anyone can read it, and each player in the top 43 has a report you can check. I’ll point out some interesting placements.
After finishing yesterday’s article by noting that I was surprised no one has mentioned Carlos Jimenez yet, we get a Carlos Jimenez ranking. Fangraphs has him 17th overall in the system, ahead of some bigger name prospects.
Those bigger name prospects that might surprise you are Anthony Solometo (20th), Malcom Nunez (22nd) and Nick Gonzales (23rd). Travis Swaggerty made a top ten yesterday, but he’s 31st here.
Matt Gorski is a notable omission from the top 43. He seems like the most notable from that group, though some others might think Matt Fraizer, Connor Scott, Hudson Head or Sergio Campana belong in that group. Andres Alvarez, who was invited to big league camp, didn’t even get an honorary mention.
Jun-Seok Shim, who is considered to be the top international signing by the Pirates this year, ranks 19th in the system. He didn’t get the biggest bonus in this current class, but he was also considered to be a steal.
From last year’s international signing class, Yordany De Los Santos ranks 12th, and Tony Blanco Jr ranks 18th.
From the 2022 draft class, you have Johnson, followed by Thomas Harrington (13th), Hunter Barco (21st), Michael Kennedy (27th) and Jack Brannigan (33rd).
I mentioned this yesterday, but the focus in Asia recently has Bae (10th), Shim (19th), Po-Yu Chen (26th) and Tsung-Che Cheng (34th) among the top prospects.
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.
I had missed this accompanying article the other day but found BC’s comments on Johnson being in the DR interesting and encouraging (though I already loved that he’s in our system):
The consensus seems to have a weaker system than we would expect.
Hope the prospect wonks are wrong.
On the one hand, if someone like De Los Santos or Polanco (who didn’t even make FG’s list) or Blanco Jr. breaks out like the Reds’ De La Cruz or the Brewers’ Chourio did last year, then suddenly we’d get a nice bump. Longenhagen made an interesting comment that it’s hard to evaluate international talent on rebuilding teams because they’re not pushing their prospects to showcase them for trades of major league players (this is a whole separate topic but I’ve wondered if sometimes we’ve fallen for young prospects pushed by other organizations simply for that reason when that showcasing may have actually hurt their development).
OTOH, if things go well this year we should be lower next year because top 10 prospects Endy, Ortiz, Burrows, Triolo, Bae, and maybe even Priester will have graduated. We might have enough talent to backfill behind these guys, but in any case it’s nice to see so many of our top 10 on the cusp of making the majors.
Gorski-drafted in no man’s land that is the 2019 draft, yep the year you play a few games while watching the FO get escorted out that just brought you there. He’s not the only one who couldn’t wait to start
2020, the first chance to impress who just inhereted you
Not so- THE COVID
2021-SENT TO HIGH A GBO to start first full year has K-2 issues
but had 18 2B, 17 HR, 18 SB in 95 G, 35 of 80 H were XBH all while playing a perfect CF
sounds like 5 tool if he can fix the that K thing,
Spent off season tweeking his swing and his approach at the plate which was to see more pitches, be more selective
Both worked, he started back at GBO many thought it was K-issue but really he was blocked from the UPPERS and they wanted him get consistant AB’s..WELL HE GOT THe AB’s
Look at his numbers are umbelievable he was the only one that could have ended with better numbers than Endy, had 26 HR’s, Gorski had
close to that on June 29th when he tore up his quad muscle
ONE MORE TIDBIT, he did make his first error in CF since the 3rd week after he was drafted.
Just Saying, keep sleeping on him
Five tool? He’s basically playing in a minor league Coors Field and he’s 24 in high A. He may be a role player for a couple of years, best case.
Yup 5 tool basically playing half the 37 in GBO
Where you been AW?
Gorski just turned 25 and he’s in Indianapolis,
GRASSHOPPED 2 levels in 75 G
Next time maybe know what your talking about so someone doesn’t read and think Gorski’s numbers were tainted by COORS in GBO
Why call out someone for smashing 17 HR in 126 AB
When your going YARD every 7 AB’s for 7 weeks, does it matter
the field your raking? Thats like making a hole-in-one and someone saying well must have been an easy course
Also the coors of minors had zero to do with 50 SB, 7CS over the last two combined seasons with 7 OF assists in half season
w/Fielding % in .990’s
37G- High A
38G- AA- .277/.354/.489/.843
All kids drafted out of college in 2019 are in the same boat and victem of circumstance. In what way could they have sped up the level climbing. When your first full year is 2021, it is what it is
College kids on an average take a couple years and these guys are all knocking at the door after 2 full years
Beware college hitters who are old for their level. See Matt Fraizer
EASTERN is the most talented LEAGUE.
A plethra of HIGH END Pitching talent
where ARMS dominate making it the last true test for most hitters
Below are the league’s top 5 BA
Altoona led League in hitting .248
League ave .237
Man, I need to start paying more attention to the pitching articles beyond the top guys. I barely remember some of those names. I still think Endy is head and shoulders #1 until I see more from Johnson.
If Endy’s power shows up in MLB, it will be hard for Johnson to be a better player for the simple reason Endy plays Catcher.
Great work by Tess Taruskin
Looks like the Bucs will get the top spot at Fangraphs once all 30 teams have been ranked
Of course that will likely be after Opening Day
Exactly where are you getting this *top spot at Fangraphs*?
And why do you keep parroting this? It’s like some weird troll job.
It’s like you’re trolling the Pirates for not having the top farm and you’re trolling Fangraphs for not having all 30 teams scouted in time for your standards. Dude, WTF?!?
In his world, $250M is worth more than $325M.
In his world, he’s living under a bridge.
Catch when you have a minute you might want to help Arky fix his calculation
He’s too busy fixing your numerous errors that Pgh has the top farm system.
Who is the 50-grade hitter shown below?
Three 55 hitters at $46M apiece. Total: $138M
One 50 hitter at $28M.”
Oh shoot you’re right! They don’t have one!
And it doesn’t help your case either for your best farm system myth. Two 50 arms (Ortiz and Quinn) rather than one bat and one arm. So they drop 8M (50 arms are 21M apiece) to 264.5M instead. Which puts them behind LAD and Cleveland! Damn!
Oh well, I’ll drop it
This isn’t the first time I’ve found something interesting that others don’t 🙂
“ Looks like the Bucs will get the top spot at Fangraphs once all 30 teams have been ranked”
Almost everything in your post below is false
I was slightly light on the total for Pgh. Here I’ll break it down for you.
Three 55 hitters at $46M apiece. Total: $138M
One 50 hitter at $28M.
One 50 pitcher at $21M.
One 45+ hitters at $8M.
Two 45+ pitchers at $6M apiece. Total: $12M.
Three 45 hitters at $6M apiece. Total: $18M.
Two 45 pitchers at $4M apiece. Total: $8M.
Zero 40+ hitters.
Four 40+ pitchers at $3M apiece. Total: $12M.
Seven 40 hitters at $2M apiece. Total: $14M.
Eight 40 pitchers at $1M apiece. Total $8M.
Eleven 35+ who are $500k apiece. Total: $5.5M.
Grand total of above: $272.5.
One 65 hitter at $62M.
One 60 hitter at $55M.
One 55 pitcher at $34M
One 55 hitter at $46M.
One 50 hitter at $28M.
One 50 pitcher at $21M.
One 45 hitter at $8M.
Five 45 hitters at $6M apiece. Total of $30M (at this point they’ve passed Pgh and we haven’t gotten out of the 45’s).
One 45 pitcher at $4M.
Three 40+ hitters at $4M apiece. Total of $12M.
One 40+ pitcher at $3M.
Five 40 hitters at $2M apiece. Total of $10M.
Seven 40 pitchers at $1M apiece. Total of $7M.
Nine 35+ for a total of $4.5M.
Grand total of Baltimore: $324.5M. That’s over $50M in value difference, or the equivalent of having an extra 50 hitter and 50 pitcher. Pittsburgh is well behind Baltimore. And if the one commenter who tracks the totals in the comments is to be believed, Pgh is behind the Dodgers as well.
Thanks for doing the math
I think it’s 2 50-grade pitchers and 0 50-grade hitters
Otherwise it looks good
So the difference between the O’s and the Pirates is smaller than a grade 65 hitter
How much longer do you think Gunnar will stay on the prospect list?
2nd week of April?
And then what?
Nope. They’re 52M behind Baltimore. A 50 grade hitter is $28M and a 50 grade arm is $21M. That’s 49 total, with the Bucs being 52M behind. If you want to be exact, they’re a 50 bat, 50 arm, and 40+ arm behind.
Your point about Gunnar would have some merit, except for one thing: the Bucs are likely to have their own rash of graduations with Endy and Ortiz losing eligibility when they get promoted. So Baltimore goes down in value with graduations and so does Pgh.
In fact, if Baltimore loses Henderson and Rodriguez to graduations, while Pgh loses Endy and Ortiz, Baltimore is still ahead.
I was trying to fix your math error with the grade 50 prospects (both are pitchers)
Your calculations had one pitcher and one catcher
No they’re not even close by dollar value. They’re in the $250-265 range. Well behind Baltimore. In fact I think they’re fourth among the teams they’ve completed and barely in fourth. Arizona will be ahead of them too.
I think the article suggested somewhere in the Top 5. The Orioles have more higher ceiling talent, and a majority of that talent will play most of the season in Baltimore. Arizona more or less the same. I think the Pirates are somewhere in the 3-6 range along with the Dodgers, Rays and Guardians. That’s good company to keep.
Alvarez was a clear whiff. Putting up the patience/power/speed results he did at Altoona with positional flexibility he’s a 40. Just flat out overlooked.
I’m also surprised Polanco wasn’t even an honorable mention.
slightly above league-average as a 25 yo while collapsing in the second half ain’t gonna get much traction.
One of my favorite sleepers and visually appealing but it’s a hell of a big climb to a 40.
Alright Murph, your ultimate challenge:
source a compilation of yordany de los santos highlights.
Anyone peep that EL now grades Mike Burrows’ changeup as his best pitch?
saw that, super excited to see what he does this year, but durability might always be an issue.
i don’t understand how any batter makes contact at this point.
So they’ve pegged him as a short relief option for awhile. Gotta be due to just the injury hiccups right?
Has to be an injury thing. Before figured it was a two-pitch thing. But if the changeup is graded better than the other two, no reason he isn’t bumped up to starter unless you’re concerned about injuries.
Injuries and he was really a two pitch guy, the change is fairly new and seems to be very good.
All this makes me really want to take the best player at 1-1. Full slot, I don’t care. Get a star.
Let’s get the next Gerrit Cole and make him pitch to contact (ducks).
Ray? Is that you?
Agreed, system is deep now take a high end prospect although, That TN pitcher is a college guy maybe they can get him for slot or close too?
I *really* hope Cherington is all over Yoshinobu Yamamoto. At 24 and with his stuff a 5 year $170M age 25-30 seasons.
No offense, How long have you been a pirates fan? Not happening. Maybe a Kang like contract they will shell out, but they won’t even give Reynolds (yet) and established veteran 120 mill$
We’re never signing a Gerrit Cole deal. This is a 25 year old’s prime. He’s got a shot at being an ace hitting 99 with his 4 seamer, has a rainbow curve and his splitter is actually his best pitch.
This is literally as cheap as ace upside in our window gets because Dollander is too late.
I agree 100% I just don’t see us paying up the money for him, I hope I’m wrong…
A second thing I find interesting is that despite the many prospects acquired in trades, only 7 of our top 43 are trade acquisitions*. They’re an important part of the organization, but even with a teardown the large bulk of talent has come through the draft and IFAs.
*This does understate things a fair bit as it ignores that Reynolds, Cruz, Suwinski, and Contreras all came to us via trades for prospects.
Isn’t that more of an indictment of the trades, since BC targeted talent farther away? It feels like since there should be more (also a flat NO on counting Reynolds or Cruz as part of that).
Speaking of Cruz, maybe the one case where we should be thrilled to get a high-upside, high-risk player far from the majors is trading relievers. That’s what brought us both Cruz and Endy 🙂 But we should expect more when trading starters and position players.
The irony for me is that of the two really good prospects to come out of the Cherington trades, neither were “high upside” targets in any reasonable sense.
Neither Roansy nor Endy had enormous tools, massive body projection, or big statistical success against older competition.
If Roansy and Endy were “high upside” at the time they were traded, then there are hundreds and hundreds of “high upside” prospects out there. Effectively valueless in their ubiquity.
It could be an indictment on the types of trades that BC made, which I’ve never been a big fan of because of how many prospects wash out. It seems like if you’re trading a talent like Marte, say, you should get the kind of upside Peguero and Malone had but with more certainty. Those high-upside, high-risk players are pretty easy to acquire when you have talented players like Marte, Musgrove, Taillon, Bell…
I included Reynolds and Cruz for two reasons:
The point is academic but are we assigning credit for Reynolds and Cruz to Cherington’s rebuild now?
While the ’21 draft stands out for many, some analysts and some on here liked the ’22 draft just as much. The FG rankings seem to support that (I know John lists ’22 above, I’m just repeating his list here for comparison):
21: Davis (3), Chandler (8), Solometo (20), White Jr. (28), Kellington (43)
22: Johnson (1), Harrington (13), Barco (21), Kennedy (27), Brannigan (33)
21: 55, 45+, two 40s, 35+
22: 55, 45, two 40s, 35+
I you had to choose one, which draft would you choose? I think I lean ’22, and that’s due to more college players and that Johnson seems most likely to become a star.
Guys in the draft class always get fluffed. Unless they all break out these will drop too. I really only think the top of the top from a draft class should be up there.
They do, and I debated on commenting about the shiny new toy bias. But, I asked myself if I’d still lean ’22 and I would. Barca and Harrington could be steals and I’d bet on them over Chandler and Solometo only because both had success at the college level, though Chandler is very exciting and could make that statement look stupid in a couple of years. And while Davis was a decent pick because it allowed us to spread money around, Johnson was simply a great pick.
Plus, while we might expect the rankings of the ’22 players to drop–that’s certainly the conventional wisdom, given that Harrington was flying under the radar due to only recently converting to pitching and pitching at a low-major and Barca has the injury questions, I could also see reasons that evaluators would rank them with a bit more caution than they otherwise would. I mean would anyone put a 50, say, on a pitcher out of Campbell or a pitcher coming off of surgery?
Last year’s list had the ’21 guys at 2, 10, 15, 24.
Next year’s ’22 guys will almost certainly drop as well.
When the industry standard is now to shove guys with absolutely zero track record way up lists and then watch them fall, comparing a class with a full pro season against a recently drafted one is pretty meaningless IMO.
Interesting question in general, but the rankings are probably skewing your perception here.
Comparing draft classes by their Fangraphs rank is pretty useless, too.
How about we exercise some patience and wait until they start performing in MLB to see which one is better?
No fun in that though.
If we rooted for a baseball team that actually attempted winning baseball games there’d be far less hours in the day to ruminate over such matters!
Truer words never spoken.
I listened to the Baseball Tonight podcast from earlier this week where Olney interviews Cherington, and BC flat out admitted he ran the team to purposely not win games. I mean we all knew this to be true, but I was floored he actually admitted it.
He did say the organization has entered into a different phase where the players who will make up the core of a contender will be at ST, and he realizes he will need to supplement via trade/FA. He didn’t say next winter, but it sure sounded that way if you read between the lines.
One takeaway: some scout should get a bonus for signing Dombkowski as an NDFA.
One thing is clear, there’s a black hole in the SS position. If Reynolds gets traded that’s a position that should be targeted, not pitching. Ok to insert why not both? GIF below!
Maybe L.P. Turns into a light hitting defensive wizard, aka Clint Barmes.
The defense seems to be the problem, but as I’ve written many times before, he’s a young dude, hopefully he does turns into what many saw before last season.
Literally the headline…
“appear set up the middle of the diamond for the foreseeable future.”
Did I miss it or was Rivas not mentioned in the top 49 entire up? What is up with ty?
Seems like EL didn’t get much of a report on the Complex league kids this time around. Maybe its his source being a bit more conservative than usual. To me they had several interesting kids down there with Terrero, Castillo, Valdez, Rivas, and Polanco as bats and some flyer type arms.
Love that Ortiz write-up.
“Comfortably projects as a starting pitcher now.”
Also very encourage with Hank’s write and patience being the key.
Pretty surprised there’s not even a mention of Shalin.
Several surprises. Shocked at how low they rate Solometo’s fastball & Future Value. Not happy with the lowness of Nick G’s rating, but they make a good point in their analysis.
Usually trust Fangraphs the most, but they are occasionally wrong, especially in their ratings for Suwinski’s defense & speed.
Never really understood where the “deception” was in Solo’s delivery. He’s basically in a sidearm slot, which tend to be super easy to pick up and lead to heavy platoon splits.
Ur right on the platoon splits, generally a sidearm delivery makes it tough on the same handed batter (tough for LHB vs LHP), but somehow gives the opposing batter an advantage (better for RHB vs LHP). This is usually due to the breaking pitch playing up vs the same handed batter, but for some reason gets hammered vs opposing hitters. This narrows the arsenal & gives the batter an advantage.
Just disappointing to see such a low grade when he had better #’s than others ranked higher than him.
The comps for Nick were . . . alarming.
They reference his In Zone Contact % or Z%, but I don’t see it listed in his FG player profile, & it looks like they only list it for guys in the MLB under Plate Discipline heading.
Any insight on the Z% as I’d like to compare it to other Milb guys but not sure where to look if it’s not on FG (or maybe it is, but only to paying members)?
Found a leaderboard for team overall Z% on FG & interestingly, the Pirates ranked 30th in the category at 65.3% just lower than NYY at 66.2% (not sure if it’s better to have a high % or low).
Pretty sure only teams have that data and the national outlets source it from them. Bummer, I know.
Just read the article over at FG and the one thing that stood out to me was the low fastball marks across the board.
That and the lack of hit tools.
I didn’t realize Peguero did the Youkilis choke up with two strikes. Also hope Priester ends up better than they project.
No Gorski? Wow! But, they might be right, with that K percentage.
Only five prospects with a 50 and above rating in a supposed Top five system?
Our #1 picks, like Swaggerty an Gonzales sure doesn’t say much for our drafting.
Swaggerty and Gonzales have never had a healthy season to date. I would be interested to see what they could do if they could stay healthy and get some consistency.
If you read the article (and others like it), it is more than injuries. They have some holes in their swings. And Gonzo ain’t exactly Jose Lind at 2b.
Yep. Staying healthy is a skill. And if you have holes in your game, that whole profile stagnates.
Jimenez finally getting some
Longenhagen ranked Ortiz in the low 20s last year and no other outlet even sniffed him, ergo Jimenez will be in the show by the end of ’23.
It’d be a hoot if Jimenez opened at Altoona.
Needs to show a huge command improvement for that to happen!
Hall of Fame track by end of 24.
But signs a 10 year contract before that!
Can’t wait till opening day for all of the teams in the system and see how all of these guys progress or god forbid regress. Batter Up!!!!
TBH, I get excited some just looking forward to seeng the rosters and where the players are assigned. That can reveal a lot of how the Pirates feel about some players.
Yeah, that’s a key data point. Like Ortiz skipping Greensboro.
VERY eager to see whether any DSL guys skip the FCL.
Wonder what would’ve happened if Ortiz pitch in Greensboro last year, would homers kept him there the whole season? The stats there are a joke.
Who do you think are the best candidates for that treatment?
From the DSL? YDLS, clearly. Miguel Sosa maybe. Plaz is probably too young. Silvera, Pitterson Rosa, Yojeiry Osoria. Maybe some reliever types, like Jesus Clode.