Day 2 of our prospect countdown gets us into the meat of the system. There is more talent on the board and more consensus among our participating writers. It’s mostly composed of surprise 2015 middle or late round performers, with a couple of unheralded international signings mixed in. You could imagine some of these players have a real chip on their shoulders.
Let’s get right back into the rankings. If you’re joining us late, check out yesterday’s 31-40 list for a more complete intro. I will reintroduce our participants, of course.
Kevin Creagh (KC) – TPOP
Michael Bradley (MB) – TPOP
Kurt Hackimer (KH) – winitforus.com and soon-to-be TPOP writer
Steve DiMiceli (SD) – TPOP
30. Gage Hinsz (RHP, 20)
MB – Hinsz is coming from the Big Sky state instead of Florida so I’m giving him a pass on his growing pains. He has the frame and mechanics to be a good starter but he needs to have a good year in full season ball.
SD – Control needs to improve, but he’s allowed one home run in 46 career minor league innings.
29. Jose Osuna (1B, 23)
KC – Prospect fatigue has set in with Osuna, who does just enough to stay relevant, but not enough to be interesting.
SD – Monster performance in Venezuela after another steady, but unspectacular, regular season. Line drive pull hitter with potential for a lot more power.
28. John Sever (RHP, 22)
Editor’s Note: Yes, we are aware that he retired. However, we included him anyway to help show the impact of his loss on the system. Very, very surprising for a guy who seemed to be rising pretty quickly at least on the surface.
KC – High upside middle reliever candidate.
SD – What’s more amazing than the number of decent to good Pirates pitching prospects with recent Tommy John, is the number of decent to good Pirates pitching prospects without it.
27. Jordan Luplow (3B/OF, 22)
KC – Had monster final two months of season with OPS each month in high 900’s. Bears watching in High A for his transition from OF to 3B.
SD – Luplow’s move to third base makes him a lot more interesting. I’d love to see him continue his late season work in Bradenton and maybe Altoona this year.
26. Jin De Jhang (C, 23)
SD – Scientists are trying to find a way to merge Jhang and Reese McGuire. The closest they’ve come is Jhang’s D with McGuire’s bat. There is still work ahead!
KC – Repeated High A in 2015 with much better results. AA will be real test for him this year to determine if he has a future as a backup catcher.
25. Trevor Williams (RHP, 24)
MB – Seems like a middle reliever but could be a 5th starter or late inning reliever with some luck. Would have liked to have kept Jim Benedict but this was a good door prize.
SD – I remember when being the shiny new toy used to mean something in prospect rankings. Sorry Trevor, you’re about 4 years too late.
24. Montana DuRapau (RHP, 24)
MB – DuRapau had one of the best seasons of all Pirates farmhands. Most pitchers like to have a 3 or 4 to 1 K/BB ratio. DuRapau’s last year was over 7. He’s solely a reliever but he could get a September call-up if he keeps this up.
KC – Reliever touched 3 levels in 2015 with great success at each, will pitch at AA this year.
SD – Montana levels faster than an Eastern European you pay to play World of Warcraft for you.
23. Clay Holmes (RHP, 23)
KH – Another on the laundry list of Tommy John patients within the Pirates system, Holmes went under the knife in 2014 and returned to Bradenton near the end of 2015. If he can continue to refine his command, he could find himself in a similar role to Nick Kingham in the future.
MB – Holmes is coming back from TJ after missing all of ’14 and the beginning of ’15. He is a horse that could be another Kingham if he gets back to where he was when he was dominating in ’13.
SD – Holmes came back from TJ with improved control in a small sample. 2016 will be interesting to see if the Pirates take the training wheels off a little.
22. Barrett Barnes (OF, 24)
KC – Oft-injured OF has been passed in pecking order. Potential 4th/5th OF at this point.
SD – There is no logic for me to keep Barnes this high on my list. Please don’t ask me to defend it.
21. Carlos Munoz (1B, 22)
SD – The rubbish bin is littered with Appy League sluggers who flame out, but holding his own in winter league elevates Munoz for me.
KC – Overage 1B that slug in a short-season league don’t have a huge track record of success. Hopefully Munoz will make Low A this year so that Pirates can see if they have something or not.
More tomorrow with #11-20.