MLB Pipeline Updates Their Draft Prospect Rankings

MLB Pipeline updated their draft prospect rankings on Monday night. They now include 200 spots, up from 150 in their previous update. They also made some changes near the top of the rankings.

The Pittsburgh Pirates will be making the first overall pick when the MLB draft starts on July 9th. They also have the highest draft bonus pool this year.

This is a great year to be picking among the top five spots. Most scouts and draft experts are saying that any of the top five picks would be #1 overall picks in most years. The Pirates are trying to decide who is the best among that group, but they can be wrong and still end up with a first overall type talent.

This entire process has seen LSU outfielder Dylan Crews at the top of the draft class, whether it has been rankings or mock drafts. His gap over the rest of the group has likely closed for most people, as his teammate Paul Skenes has been dominating on the mound, while Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford finished the regular season with a better OPS than Crews.

The new ranking from Pipeline has Crews, Skenes and Langford in that order among the top three spots. They are followed very closely by prep outfielders Walker Jenkins (fourth) and Max Clark (fifth).

At this point it is safe to say that the rest of the field doesn’t matter for Pirates fans. At least until you get closer to the 42nd spot, where the Pirates make their second pick. The top five in this draft class are in a tier of their own. You could probably have a blank tier below them at this point, before you go tier three for Tennessee pitcher Chase Dollander (ranked sixth), just to emphasize the spread.

Florida and LSU still have games coming up, starting later this weekend. So there is still time for movement among the top three spots.

Here’s an impressive homer from Langford from over the weekend:

Here’s a homer from Crews:

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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.

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I was reading that article until I got to

There is no question that Pittsburgh general manager Ben Cherington deserves a lot of credit for having taken one of the thinnest prospects pools in major league baseball after taking over the mess that previous general manager Neil Huntington left behind and turned it into a very competitive and talented group of players.

This is just silly fanboy stuff. In Fangraphs’ updated 2019 rankings, for example, our prospects included Keller, Cruz, Hayes, Bae, Brubaker, Ortiz, Castro, Priester, Delay, Burrows, Sabol, Triolo and several others we still have hopes for (Siani, Bowen, Gorski, Selby, Fraizer, …). The promising IFA classes of the last few years also had mostly been locked up, and Brubaker and Reynolds had just broken in, Reynolds earlier than many expected. Even with graduations, one of the top draft pools in each of the last three drafts, and trades of talented veterans Marte, Musgrove, Taillon, Bell, and Frazier, half of our top 10 from this past offseason were prospects In that ” one of the thinnest prospect pools”, a “mess” that Fangraphs ranked 9th in prospect value just prior to Cherington being hired.

Were there problems with development? I think so–Huntington stuck with Stark and his methods too long. But the above statement is such revisionist history that it completely undermines the credibility of the writer and the site.


And to be clear, I am more positive than negative on what Cherington has done with the talent, I just don’t think anyone needs to prop up Cherington by tearing down Huntington when much of the core of what we hope will soon be a contender consists of Huntington’s acquisitions. Can we just say instead that Cherington has helped build on a solid foundation of talent?


No need to worry about 1-1 since what we say is meaningless. The Pirates will do what they do best, screw it up.




They are not the Rays or even the Orioles, they are the Pirates, no matter whom they choose don’t expect much. Six years from now somebody will say “Hey what ever happened to that 1-1 pick the Pirates had a few years ago”.

Last edited 3 months ago by piratemike

This is not the year to take a H.S. kid at 1. Too much talent with Crews, Langford and Skenes to roll the dice with 18 yr old.


bring on max clark. why not


All of these articles having the number one pick be someone other than Crews are just ways to get people to read them . Crews has been the best player for nearly 3 years now and nitpicking short time periods trying to find a reason to take someone else is ridiculous. Someone else might turn out to be a better player in several years but Crews is the best prospect and most likely to succeed. The Pirates have to draft him.


Kiley McDaniel just did his second mock and had Pirates taking Max Clark first. Although he did say Crews was most likely, and Clark being the 2nd most likely pick for the Pirates referencing some chatter that he’d heard around the league.

I really like the idea of Clark, lefty potential 5 tool CF. The high school part and the lack of home run power make me a little uneasy. Feels like an extra gamble with the LSU boys sitting there – you better be right.

He did think if we took Clark we could save about a million and get an top prospect in 2nd round.


To me, Clark is an easy fifth of five. I’m skeptical he’ll have any power, and it doesn’t sound like there’s any standout big tool either. Which is different from any of the other four.


My bet it’s chatter with some posturing, I think Boras is linked to 4 of the top 5 prospects. Clark is the one he’s not linked to.


I like Crews more than Langford, but damn he can crush a ball. The only area I’ve seen him have problems is breaking pitches on the outer third of the plate and anything on the outer black.


If you take Langford you must have Jobu to handle the curve…..


Still got a chicken and FL is a lot closer than Indy.


I haven’t seen him miss to much that caught a lot of the plate, but he hasn’t crushed them either unless they were hanging. Outer third definitely need Jobu lol


If there’s a college player and a HS player who are similarly rated, I would take the college player unless the consensus of the Scouts is the HS player has significantly higher ceiling.

Also, if I’m BC I don’t allow myself to get scared of taking a Pitcher if they’re rated better than any hitter at 1-1.


Isn’t it fascinating how that’s the consensus view in the draft but it flips to the polar opposite in pro ball?


That is interesting. I never really thought of it that way. Soon as you draft a pitcher 1-1 I guess the mental clock starts until when they need Tommy J. Or I guess anytime you draft or develop a pitcher. I never worried about it with this fella.

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This is what peak athletic form looks like, deal with it. 😉


Was going to do a full body picture but figured the determination in his eyes would say it all. I truly wonder what Jimbo was looking at in that picture? The options are endless. Pizza vendor? A gal? The porta potty?


I tried finding the classic Jimmy A belly shot but the internet appears to have forgotten it to history.


Here is a good shot of Jimmy “announcing his presence with authority”. Looks like James painted his right pointer finger nail.

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Last edited 3 months ago by bianco599

I shudder to think what is going on in BC’s mind right now with regard to the draft. I think that you go with Crews without a doubt. But I was just looking at the trade regarding Jacob Stallings (at the height of his career and wanted by Miami) and they got Thompson, Connor Scott and Kyle Nicolas. Not a very good judge of talent with Thompson gone, Scott a non-producer, and Nicolas looking like a bust. Will we make another mistake when the system has provided us with a potential bonanza? Where can the Pirates hire scouts who can actually judge talent? It is a conundrum but other teams seem to do it.


Drafting or trading for prospects is a ‘crap shoot.’ Henry Davis was drafted. Endy Rodriguez was acquired in a trade with the Mets. They’re working out just fine, but just like you, it seems to me that we fail all too often. Perhaps we’re paranoid.


That move isn’t really relevant to the draft. Couldn’t we just as easily look at a mediocre moves by any team and draw that conclusion? The Cardinals traded away Arozarena. Does that mean they can’t judge talent either?


They also traded away Slyke and Spanky. I want whoever was the GM of the Bucs back then to return. And we got Jack Flash for Jason Christiansen. Cardinals are fools.


I don’t know about that. Syd Thrift was also the one who let Bobby Bonilla get away in the Rule 5 draft. He was lucky enough to get him back, but should not have happened. He also made the Johnny Ray trade. When the Cards traded Van Slyke, they had soured on him. He was a top prospect, who in 4 years with them had not done well. They were disappointed with him. They were trading for Pena, who had been 1 of the best catchers in baseball over the last few years. They had no need of LaValliere, since they were bringing in Pena. The trade made sense at the time for them. Pena had a disappointing time in St. Louis, but at the time they were getting a catcher that had won a Gold Glove, 3 of the last 4 seasons, and also made the All-Star team the last 3 years.

In the case of jack Wilson, he was not a Top prospect for them. They already had Edgar Renteria who was a great SS for those years. They did not need Wilson. Wilson was a great defensive ss for us, but it did take him some time to learn to hit for us. The Cards had Renteria, a good hitter, and a very good defensive ss.


Great breakdown. Just glad all of that back ground stuff was going on because the Cardinals traded the Bucs 3 of my favorite all time Pirates. Maybe BC can deliver me another favorite from the Cards? The fools part was also a joke. The certainly know what they are doing.


That’s apples and oranges comparison. Can’t compare acquisitions via trade to those in draft. And quite honestly, it’s far too early to judge results of BC’s drafts.


Is it really?


You have noticed that Jake had a 223 BA, 292 OBP and 585 OPS last season. This year it’s down to 154, 221/439. Meanwhile, Nicholas is still a top 20 prospect who may benefit from a move to the pen.

Wilbur Miller

Nicolas is in his third year in AA and rapidly going backwards. The pen might help, but top 20? Definitely not.


But that’s his current ranking. He’s still only 24 which isn’t terrible as it appears tht he was rushed to AA. In May his BABIP was 385 showing he was a bit unlucky. His ERA the last 28 days is 2.74. I’d say that he is a bit unlucky since the beginning of May and is demonstrating some good results. He also struck out 11.7 per 9 and So/W ration is 3.

Wilbur Miller

28 days conveniently cuts out the two previous outings, both of which were terrible. His last two starts have been outstanding, which if it continues is nice. But other than those two games, he’s been consistently mediocre to bad all year. And, again, this is his third year in AA. Him being rushed might be a good argument if he’d struggled initially, but he’s actually gotten steadily worse over that time.

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