It’s prospect season! That’s the time of year between the end of the winter meetings and when pitchers and catchers report dedicated to organization ranking lists and Top 100’s. It’s down time for everyone but the nerdiest of fans. We at The Point of Pittsburgh decided to join the fun. Where most lists stop at ten or thirty, we’re going all the way up to forty making ours the nerdiest list around.
Each of us completed our individual lists and then aggregated them into a complete list. Today, we’ll look at the top ten. Ages in parentheses are as of July 1st, 2015. We projected what level the player will spend the majority of the 2015 season, as well. In case you missed them, here are some links:
10. Harold Ramirez (20) OF, A+
Kevin Creagh – Has all the tools to be a starting OF, but I am a sizeist. It’s hard to see his 5’10” frame (yes, I know Cutch is the same height) starting for the Pirates long-term. Probable trade chip in the future
Steve DiMiceli – I think people overlook what he’s done at his age. He’s a potential Five Tool centerfielder, and even though you wouldn’t know it from the Pirates organization, they don’t grow on trees.
Michael Bradley – Potential 4 tool guy (minus the power). Injuries robbed him of time in ’14 but he’s still very young.
9. Elias Diaz (24) C, AAA/MLB
Michael – A plus backup catcher floor with a ceiling to be an average starter. Diaz breakout in ’14 gives the “FranChrisco” tandem some depth and provides a bridge to McGuire.
Steve – Has the defensive makings of a solid back up catcher, but I’d like to see the bat play a little higher at AAA before I’d call him the heir apparent for the starting catching role as some presume.
Kevin –If he continues to progress at AAA in 2015, Diaz could be 2016’s opening day catcher. Bat could be above-avg for position
8. Adrian Sampson (23) RHP, AAA
Steve – Sampson is another great example of why you shouldn’t lose your crap on a player when the Pirates move them quickly. Looking like a great back-of-rotation innings eater, but I bet he’ll reach that ceiling somewhere else.
Kevin – Broke out in 2014, probably a #4 long term. Could see the Majors in 2015 down the stretch
7. Reese McGuire (20) C, A+
Kevin – Touted as catcher of the future. Defense said to be Major League ready right now, but alarming lack of power (even doubles) is a flag for me. Yes, he’s young, but it was an empty average in 2014
Steve – His solid contact skills and defense will carry him through the minors but his ceiling is Ryan Hanigan if he doesn’t develop a little pop.
Michael – When you have a player that scouts enjoy watching play defense you know you have a gem. McGuire supposedly handles pitchers like a ML vet and has hit enough to keep getting promoted. He hasn’t shown a giant platoon split yet and is crazy young for an American born player. Ceiling is HIGH but his bat could fail.
6. Alen Hanson (22) 2B, AAA
Steve – I still have questions about whether or not the bat will translate to the majors, but he still has upside even at second base if he gets it together.
Michael – While he might be lower on everyone else’s list, the fact that he could contribute TODAY gets him this high. He’s super young, doesn’t have a large platoon split, could play some short and has JHay potential.
Kevin – Brings a nice blend of power/speed to 2B position. Attitude concerns lead me to believe that Pirates would move him in the right deal. Kang may have been a hedge for such a move
5. Josh Bell (22) RF/1B, AA/AAA
Kevin –If the power develops this year, could be 2016’s 1B. Move to 1B dings his value a touch, so #5 feels right
Michael – Probably the lowest you’ll see Bell ranked. His hit tool is OK, his defense is OK, his patience and power is OK for a corner. He’s not super young anymore. He’s an good prospect that could turn into a Nick Swisher type or a switch hitting Travis Snider.
Steve – While his second half power outage was concerning, Bell makes for a rare combination of pop and plate discipline. He could be heading towards that high ceiling of his.
4. Nick Kingham (23) RHP, AAA/MLB
Michael – While he’s a pitcher and has some of the same drawbacks that pitchers do, his risk is less. First, he’s succeeded at AA and a little at AAA. Second, he has the command and control it’s just a question of whether his stuff is good enough.
Steve – There is no such thing as a safe pitching prospect, but my goodness does Kingham feel like it. He likely won’t be more than a 3 but his ability to eat innings will play anywhere in the rotation.
Kevin – Solid #3 for me, also on verge of Majors
3. Austin Meadows (20) OF, A+
Kevin – Dynamic talent that was beset by hamstring injury in 2014. If he performs as expected, should be #2 on this list next year behind Glasnow
Steve – Meadows is still so far away, but if he can stay healthy while mashing A+ pitching as a third year pro, I suspect he’ll earn elite status.
Michael – The ceiling (5 tool star), the fact he can stick in CF and mainly the fact that he’s not a pitcher vault him up to #1 (for me).
2. Tyler Glasnow (21) RHP, AA
Michael – He’s number two mainly due to the fact that very few pitchers reach their ceiling or stay healthy. Gerrit Cole was more talented than him and still is only a 2 WAR player so far.
Kevin – May have higher upside than Taillon, but control still a slight concern, plus needing to prove it at AA. Enviable problem to choose between them
Steve – Glasnow has the highest ceiling in the system, but I still have concerns with his floor thanks to control. I think he’s a major leaguer but will he start?
1. Jameson Taillon (23) RHP, AAA/MLB
Kevin – Still a #2 level pitcher for me, on verge of Majors, fastball-curve combo should make him AJ Burnett
Steve – Tommy John surgery doesn’t even scare me anymore. Taillon looked like he could jump into a major league rotation as a solid 4 when I saw him pitch in Altoona. He’s a great combination of ceiling and floor.
Michael -Tommy John and the lack of a third plus pitch overcome the makeup, the body and his stellar appearance as a Canadian pitcher in the World Baseball Classic.
Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveDiMiceli