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TPOP’s 2016 Top 40 Pirates Prospects Ranking – #’s 1-10

You pretty much have to look for Taillon's face on the side of a milk carton these past two years.

You pretty much have to look for Taillon’s face on the side of a milk carton these past two years.

Today we round out TPOP’s top 40 rankings. Special thanks once again to all of our participants. I think we provoked some thoughts while we also got to highlight how much is still in the system.

Kevin Creagh (KC) – TPOP

Michael Bradley (MB) – TPOP

Kurt Hackimer (KH) – winitforus.com and soon-to-be TPOP writer

Steve DiMiceli (SD) – TPOP

10. Ke’Bryan Hayes (3B, 19)

KH – Hayes, Pittsburgh’s other first round pick, is also a good bet to stick around on the left side of the infield because of his strong arm and keen baseball instincts. The 19­ year old son of former Pirate Charlie Hayes is more muscular than most teenage prospects and has a swing that has already warranted Top 100 Prospects consideration from several publications.

KC – Good lineage, had strong debut in 2015, albeit in GCL. Anxious to see his full-season debut this year.

MB – Hayes is one of the reasons that I’m hoping Melancon and Cervelli get us some comp picks.  Hayes had a great first season and looks to have some serious upside.  I’m assuming he’ll be in Charleston this summer and I might have to take a trip down to watch him.

SD – I already bought in on Carloz Munoz’s rookie ball performance. Hayes’s sandwich pedigree should have him higher for me, but I’m in wait and see mode.

9. Kevin Newman (SS, 22)

KH – An already polished product of the historic Cape Cod League, Newman was considered as a safe selection for the Pirates at the 19 spot in the draft. He has line ­drive power, can hit for average, and has a good chance to stick at shortstop. The last part is critical because the Pirates are thin at short, which should allow Newman to rapidly climb the organizational ranks.

SD – Not the pro debut you’d like to see, but he could provide an average or better hit tool and stick at short. That’s not a bad combination.

MB – I’m totally swayed by Keith Law’s conviction to his top prospect status.  Law swears he’s a sure fire ML shortstop with an all fields approach with the bat.

KC – Low upside college SS was 2015 1st round pick. Bat appears to have no power in it.

8. Elias Diaz (C, 25)

SD – At the very least, Diaz should know where to sit in the dug out to get the best view of the game following his phantom call up in September. Looks like a solid backup at worst.

KC – Remains in the mix for catching work in the future for Pirates, but his bat stagnated last year in AAA. Seems more like a 50 game player than a 110 game player.

KH – Defensively, Diaz is the whole package. He’s got a strong arm, a sturdy glove, and the ability to properly manage a pitching staff. Offensively, he didn’t progress as well in 2015 as he did in his breakout 2014 campaign and probably won’t become a star. But his patience at the plate and bat control should allow him to stick around in the majors.

MB – I hear all the hype about his defense, but I think his bat is going to take a long time, if ever, to come around against good ML RHP’s.  I think he’d be a great backup that plays against LHPs, but that could be Chris Stewart too and he just signed for a pittance (i.e. not that valuable).

7. Nick Kingham (RHP, 24)

KC – Out for most of 2016 after Tommy John surgery, but I still think he could be a #3.

MB – Maybe I blow off Tommy John surgery too much, but I think Kingham will be back and will be good.  I watched him throw in Altoona and at worst he’s a Jared Hughes.   At best he’s a solid #3.  I’m thinking Jeff Suppan.

SD – Broken elbow and all, Kingham still has a place in the top 10. I think he could still develop into a middle of the rotation type or a back of the bullpen type.

KH– Kingham probably would have been in the majors last season if Tommy John surgery hadn’t derailed his season. The righty is on the mend and, at 6’6”/230 lbs., has that workhorse frame that could allow him to rack up some 200 ­inning seasons from the bottom half of the Pirates rotation.

6. Harold Ramirez (OF, 21)

KH – Ramirez has a quick swing, strong wrists, and is able to generate lots of contact. His speed should make up for a perceived lack of power, but his thick lower half could reduce that speed advantage as he matures. He probably won’t stick at center, probably doesn’t have the arm for right. Wait. Am I just describing Jose Tabata?

KC – Injury prone, reminds me of Jose Tabata in terms of build. For me, he’s a 4th OF as I don’t think he hits enough to man a corner and not enough range for CF.

SD – Ramirez has done some impressive things playing against older competition.  He had a great summer and was the only bright spot for Columbia in the PanAm games.

MB – Another guy who I’m buying the Keith Law and Baseball Prospectus hype.  They rave about his bat and that’s the most important part of an offensive player.  A Melky Cabrera type could be nice in PNC.

5. Alen Hanson (2B, 23)

MB – Plus glove 2B with 30 steals and 10+ triples.   His splits are much better against RHP which is good with Mercer, Harrison, SRod and Kang now… and Frazier, Gift, Moroff and Newman in a couple years.

KH – The Pirates finally gave up on Hanson becoming a major league shortstop and moved the switch hitter to second base last season. His average hit tool is damaged by below average on­-base skill and power, which may make Hanson more useful to the Pirates as a utility player rather than an everyday second baseman.

SD – Bat still hasn’t broken out in the upper levels after a great year in Low A in 2012. ISO was a bit off this season, but was one of six players who qualified in AAA under the age of 23.

KC – Seems more like a utility infielder for me at this point, but he could still see some time in PGH this year (either out of spring training as bench player or in case of injury).

4. Jameson Taillon (RHP, 24)

MB – The Pirates love makeup and this guy seems to have a lot of it.  Pre-injuries he had a good fastball and a great curve.  If the change is good he could be a solid #2. Or he could be a solid #2 with just the fastball and curve just like Uncle AJ Burnett.

SD – Was major league ready prior to his injury but basically having two years off isn’t going to help his stock any. The layoff likely limits him to the bullpen in Pittsburgh this year.

KH – Due to injuries, it has been two seasons since Taillon has thrown in a meaningful ballgame, but he still has that top of the rotation pedigree that the Pirates dreamed about when they drafted him.  Taillon still needs to make up for lost developmental time in Triple A before he’s added to the major league rotation.

KC – After not pitching competitively for 2 years he has fallen off Top 100 lists, but I still like him as a downgraded #3 now.

3. Austin Meadows (OF, 21)

MB – I like Mark Kotsay as a low comp and Shin-Soo Choo as a high comp.   Per BA he can stick in CF and per my Twitter buddy Eno Sarris he has a “80 body”.   He could be a great asset or trade piece.

KC – I’m disappointed in the lack of power for a player that is probably destined to man a corner at PNC. Great hit tool, hoping he matures into more power.

KH – It’s questionable whether or not Austin Meadows will be able to stick in center field. Fortunately for the Pirates, they have three center fielders in their outfield already. If Meadows’s raw power continues to evolve into on­field pop, he could be the heir apparent to Andrew McCutchen.

SD – I think the Jay Bruce comps have stopped. Meadows has some solid contact skills, but the power needs to develop.

2. Josh Bell (1B, 23)

SD – Maybe going a little crazy here on Bell, but he could develop into one of the better hitters in baseball if power goes from balls in play flying off his bat to balls flying out of the park.

KH – Last year, the switch-­hitting outfielder became a switch­-hitting first baseman. While Bell’s average remained stellar and his strikeout­ to­ walk ratio (1:1) was impeccable, he didn’t generate much power. This could become problematic for him as he prepares to fill Pittsburgh’s perpetual hole at first.

MB – Bell’s floor is now a starting RF who sits against tough LHP.   His ceiling is an everyday middle of the order 1B who can sub in the corners.

KC – Power is tantalizing, but has not shown up in game action yet. Great K/BB numbers and strong hit tool. Defense is extremely rough at 1B.

1. Tyler Glasnow (RHP, 22)

KC – Has all the makings of a low-end #1/high-end #2 with his dominant fastball delivered from his gigantor 6-8″ frame, plus knee buckling curveball. Could see PGH in July.

MB –  I saw Tyson Ross as a comp for him.  That’s OK but his ceiling is so high.  The Pirates and their patient approach will get the most out of him which is going to be special.

KH – For several years, the Pirates have invested heavily in young projectable high school pitchers. Most of them have flamed out, except Glasnow. The righty boasts two plus pitches, a fastball that touches 100 MPH and a devastating curve, and is poised for a mid­season call up to The Show after he works out some kinks in Triple A Indianapolis.

SD – Glasnow is an excellent prospect with a great fastball/curveball combo and some control issues. He strikes a lot of guys out but he also gets hit pretty hard at times, too.

Join us late? Here are are the links to the rest of the rankings!

#11 – 20

#21 – 30

#31 – 40

Follow The Point of Pittsburgh on Twitter @thepointofpgh

About Steve DiMiceli (129 Articles)
Steve is a naturalized yinzer hailing originally from just north of Allentown, PA. He came to Pittsburgh to attend Duquesne University and decided to stick around after graduation. Steve is best known for his contributions to Duquesne hoops community as the owner of the Duquesne Dukes forum on Yuku and as the former editor of We Wear the Ring on the Fansided network. He is an avid Pirates fan, home cook and policy nerd. He is the co-founder of the Point of Pittsburgh. Easily irritated by people who misuse the word regress.

2 Comments on TPOP’s 2016 Top 40 Pirates Prospects Ranking – #’s 1-10

  1. scorpfan // March 14, 2016 at 7:51 PM //

    Steve – I know you were high on the hit tool of Jordan Steranka. How close did he come to your top 40 and where do you see him in 2016? Will he arrive in AA?

  2. Steve DiMiceli // March 15, 2016 at 1:19 AM //

    It seems like every draft there is a late round pick that peaks my interest. Sterenka happened to be the onein 2012 (Scooter Hightower it was last draft). He all around raked in college and I thought there was a chance the Pirates got one on the competition by going to Penn St for a selection. Either injuries derailed him or he wasn’t actually much of a prospect to begin with. Either way, he didn’t even enter my thought process this year and he’s getting a little too old for a breakout at any level.

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