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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (13) | 2011 (19) | 2010 (15) | 2009 (18) | 2008 (26)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [79-83] NL Central
AAA: [89-55] International League – Indianapolis
AA: [72-70] Eastern League – Altoona
A+: [60-77] Florida State League – Bradenton
A: [61-79] South Atlantic League – West Virginia
A(ss):  [35-41] New York-Penn League — State College (Jamestown beginning 2013)

Arizona Fall League PlayersScottsdale Scorpions
Vic Black (RHP); Brandon Cumpton (RHP); Tyler Waldron (RHP); Matt Curry (1B); Gift Ngoepe (SS); Adalberto Santos (OF)

Graduated Prospects
Starling Marte (OF); Yamaico Navarro (INF); Jared Hughes (RHP); Jeff Locke (LHP)

The Run Down
There are systems out there that have more quality depth than Pittsburgh in the starting pitching department, but no other club boasts a one-two pitching punch that can match Pirates’.  Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon are future front-line starters and they’ll both be knocking on the big league door this season.  Pirates fans have lots to look forward to, as Cole and Taillon prepare to surface in the bigs alongside a solid and youthful core of offensive talent that includes Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Starling Marte, and Pedro Alvarez.  Given what they currently have and what’s set to arrive, it’s difficult to imagine this Pittsburgh team not contending for a NL Central division title within the next few years, but with the Reds and Cardinals set for long-term success, and the Cubs creeping back toward relevance, the competition will be supreme.  But regardless of whether or not they’re playing postseason baseball in Pittsburgh, the Pirates organization figures to continue its recent trend of helping us fantasy owners.

Top Ten Prospects
1.  Gerrit Cole, RHP:  Cole came in at #22 on my Top 25 Prospects for 2013.  He would’ve ranked considerably higher if the Pirates were open to the idea of Cole earning a spot in the rotation to begin the season.  They’re not.  He’ll instead pitch at Triple-A Indianapolis to work on consistency, but it’s extremely likely that Cole will reach Pittsburgh at some point this year.  Once he’s up, he’ll be a must-own in all formats.  Cole is one of a handful of prospects who project as a true big league ace, and he figures to help across the board in fantasy.  ETA:  2013

2.  Jameson Taillon, RHP:  Also in that handful of future aces?  Jameson Taillon.  The 21-year-old reached Double-A last August, and was pitching at a high level for the three-start stint.  At 6-6, 225, he’s an intimidating presence on the mound, and he comes at hitters with a plus-plus fastball and a great curve.  If the Pirates are in the hunt down the stretch, it’s possible that we see both Cole and Taillon in their rotation.  But if they’re out of contention, it might not make sense to rush Taillon and start his clock.  ETA:  Late 2013

3.  Alen Hanson, SS:  In his first year of full-season baseball, Hanson, at the age of 19, hit .309/.381/.528 with 62 XBH (16 HR), and 35 stolen bases in 558 PA.  It was quite the breakout for the switch-hitting shortstop, who projects as a high-impact MI in the fantasy game.  ETA:  2015

4.  Luis Heredia, RHP:  Another big-bodied starter, Heredia was dominant at State College in short-season NYPL play.  At 6-6, 205, the 18-year-old already features a plus fastball offering and a good change.  He’ll step up to full-season ball in 2013, where he’ll be among the younger pitchers in the league.  Expect to see his strikeout numbers improve — just 5.4 K/9 in 2012 — as his secondary stuff catches up to his fastball.  ETA:  2016

5.  Gregory Polanco, OF:  Polanco posted an outstanding line at Low-A West Virginia in 2012:  .325/.388/.522, 16 HR, 40 SB.  The 21-year-old Dominican is an impressive athlete with raw tools at the plate.  He’ll be tested versus more advanced pitching as he approaches the upper levels.  ETA:  2015

6.  Josh Bell, OF:  Bell played only 15 games at Low-A before a knee injury ended his professional debut last April.  Still just 20 years old, he likely returns to West Virginia in 2013 where he’ll try to substantiate the pre-2012 hype.  If all goes well, Bell should hit for power and for AVG from a corner outfield post.  ETA:  2016

7.  Dilson Herrera, 2B:  Dilson in a bat-first MI who turned heads last year with impressive production in instructional ball.  He’ll turn 19 next month, and Pittsburgh will likely opt to give the young Columbian a full-season assignment.  He’ll turn into an intriguing fantasy prospect if he continues to hit as he pushes through the lower levels.  ETA:  2016

8.  Nick Kingham, RHP:  Over his last 10 starts with West Virginia last year, Kingham posted a 2.36 ERA and a K/9 at 8.3.  He’ll look to build from that late 2012 success early on in 2013.  The 21-year-old stands 6-5, 220, and brings a solid fastball-change combo.  Kingham looks like a safe bet to develop into a durable mid-rotation-type.  ETA:  2015

9.  Barret Barnes, OF:  The 45th overall pick last June out of Texas Tech, Barnes debuted at short-season State College and managed an OPS at .857 in 38 games.  There are some questions about the overall hit tool, but the 21-year-old flashes good power and he runs well.  Provided things go well at Low-A to begin the year, Barnes could climb the ladder quickly toward Pittsburgh.  ETA:  2015

10.  Jose Osuna, 1B:  As with most 1B prospects, there’s little room for error in Osuna’s development — he’s going to need to hit enough to fit the MLB first base profile, or he’s not gonna cut it as a regular.  The 21-year-old Venezuelan slugged .454 in his first taste of full-season ball, but scouts are encouraged that figure will improve as development continues.  He’ll move up to High-A Bradenton in 2013.  ETA:  2015

35 Responses

  1. Russ says:
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    Where does Alex Dickerson end up? MLB.com has him among their top 10 1B prospects

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I prefer Osuna’s profile over Dickerson’s. Osuna brings a little more pop in his bat & fits the 1B mold a little better. They’re close & I’m not surprised other publications like Dickerson. Just a matter of preference for me — Dickerson is either #11 or #12

  2. apoxonbothyourhouses says:
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    Polanco should be #3 and Hanson #4.

    Polanco oozes tools and his skills are catching up.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I don’t entirely disagree, but my ranks always come with a fantasy spin & I see Hanson as an elite MI option, whereas Polanco’s potential in the outfield, while quite good, might not make him into a top-tier OF asset. #s 3-5 were all very close & any ordering of those three would be fair.

      • AJ Leight says:
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        @Scott Evans: You really see Hansen being that good? I’m just not used to my Buccos coming across that kind of talent, seemingly out of nowhere. I’m very hesitant to believe it, but would be more than ecstatic if he panned out. Does his presence affect whether or not Walker gets an extension? Or do you think he’ll stay at shortstop? I’ve heard from numerous sources that 2B is his eventual home, but I honestly couldn’t tell you why.

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          Both Hanson & Polanco busted out of nowhere & they’ll obviously need to continue on a high level of play in 2013 in order to substantiate the new hype. But what what they accomplished in their first year of full-season ball can’t really be downplayed. Re: Hanson at 2B, too soon to tell, for me. I hear some sources saying second will be a better fit, but hear from others that hands & range are plus, arm a tick above average… Either way, if his development continues to go well, he’ll be a nice fallback option to have when it comes time to negotiate a Walker extension.

  3. FKuzmich says:
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    Thanks for the write-up, Scott. Sounds like there will be a rotation battle during Spring Training for the Bucs, with some mix of Sanchez, Liriano, McPherson, and Locke battling it out. Do you think that either McPherson or Locke will break camp in the rotation, and if so, will either be fantasy relevant?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Both have a decent shot. I like Locke’s fantasy upside more the McPherson’s, but neither is particularly appealing at this point.

  4. Wallpaper Paterson says:
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    Are those two Indians still in their system?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Singh is — he posted some good #s out of the Low-A ‘pen last year… looks primed for High-A. Patel flamed out in instructional ball a few years back.

      • Wallpaper Paterson says:
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        @Scott Evans: Thanks. Both were longshots to make the majors. Seems that is still the case.

  5. Kenneth says:
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    Appreciate reading your thoughts on all these players. Question for ya. In a dynasty league, what are your thoughts on trading G. Cole for Zunino? They both look like mid-season additions who can start making an immediate impact. I already have Santana and Mesoraco at catcher. As a Mariners fan, it would be nice to replace Mesoraco with Zunino.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I would hold Cole. He has the potential to be one of the top pitchers in baseball, and while Zunino is a good bet to pan out as a very good big league catcher, I see much bigger upside with Cole.

    • Aaron James says:
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      @Scott Evans: @Kenneth: I couldn’t agree more with Scott. I’m a big Zunino fan and I’ve made sure to target him in all of my keeper leagues, but I just think Cole will be a better SP than Zunino is an offensive catcher. Not to mention the difficulty of playing catcher in the pros, and how quickly a prospect fades away because he isn’t able to lock down the defensive side of the position. Calling a game, throwing out baserunners, and all the intangibles that a catcher must develop can take its toll on the player’s offensive skills. With that said, both seem to have bright futures – I just wouldn’t part with a prospect like Cole to take the chance on Zunino. Try to give up a something different, maybe?

  6. TheNewGuy says:
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    Hey man just checkin in re my next pick in my prospect draft.

    Took Correa 1st overall and now my next pick is at 10 (due to trading picks). Im still wanting another bat with this pick, so who do you like the most outta Dahl, Soler and Russell? Thinking either Dahl or Soler as I have a SS already, plus they have the major park advantages. Could ya rank em? Thanks dude.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I like Dahl over Soler… Russell a distant third. Soler might be a little safer, but I see greater upside with Dahl.

      • TheNewGuy says:
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        @Scott Evans:
        Interesting sounds like Dahl’s the pick then if he’s available. I take it you’re down on Russell because of the park he’d play in eventually? Lots of sites I’ve read are raving about his hitting ability.

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          I’m not down on Russell. I just have Dahl & Soler in a higher tier. And if you’re set with shortstop depth, I’d go with the outfield masher.

          • TheNewGuy says:
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            @Scott Evans:
            Hey man thoughts on Gyorko and R Stevenson? Seems Gyorkos the one major league ready bat who’s slipped through our net, seems like a very good bat but will he be able to play 2B for the Pads, maybe as soon as opening day?
            Stevenson seems a young fireballer with a potential ace future too. You high on these guys?

            • Scott Evans

              Scott Evans says:
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              I like both. Gyorko could offer great production from MI position. Stevenson is a few years away, but if he can improve command & consistency, he looks like a front-end guy.

  7. I really like Dahl’s numbers but to judge from a few youtube clips of the two, I prefer Addison Russell. He just seems so much more explosive than Dahl who looks to me like a solid player with limited power and speed rather than a star. That said, I wouldn’t bet my life–or anybody’s–on my evaluation! I ain’t no scout.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Both are really nice prospects, but for fantasy purposes, Dahl’s ceiling higher. Can’t ignore the Coors factor.

  8. Luis says:
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    Perfect timing with the Pirates Farm system write up. I’m in a 20 team dynasty league. My team is rebuilding and I just got offered Taillon and Marco Estrada for Mike Moustakas. The problem is that Moose is my only 3B for next year. I have Matt Davidson, but he’s probably not starting the year at 3B for ARI. I’m in dire need of pitching though. Especially young starting pitching. Should I pull the trigger?

    SP’s:
    Marcum
    Haren
    Minor
    Straily
    Johan S.
    H. Alvarez
    T. Cingrani

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Oof, I really like Moose, but given your current starters, you can go for it… I’d probably see if you could improve on Estrada before pulling the trigger, though.

      • Luis says:
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        @Scott Evans:

        What do you think about Brandon Phillips and Moose for Frazier and Taillon?

        • Luis says:
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          @Luis: The GM’s in this league really undervalue Phillips because he’s older. I’m not going to challenge this year I think. Im still rebuilding. I inherited this team and it was old and talentless, and Ive been rebuilding ever since. Long process. Thanks for the tips.

          • Scott Evans

            Scott Evans says:
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            Again, I think you can do better for that package of Phillips & Moose… I’m always a proponent of rebuilding from the bottom up, but when you’re giving away two proven guys, you’d should be getting more than one promising prospect. I think you could do it for Frazier + Taillon + another good prospect.

        • AJ Leight says:
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          @Luis: Wow, I think that’s really off-balance. I see it as basically giving up Phillips for Taillon, and I’ll take a proven contributor at 2B over a prospect SP who is 18 months away from giving you any return. Up to you, but I would think you could do better.

  9. TheNewGuy says:
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    Thanks for the response man thought youd left us hangin there for a min ;)

    Pretty happy as ive nailed both Correa and Dahl with my first 2 picks.

    Now got a little wait as I traded my round 2 pick to upgrade it, so gotta wait till 3rd. Wanna grab a pitcher now so can you rank these pitching prospects for me, thanks dude:

    R Stevenson (Stephenson?), Gausman, Meyer, Rosenthal, Wacka, C Kelly, Fried, Zimmer, Giolito.

    So many good arms out there hope thats not asking too much man.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Yeah, crazy day yesterday, sorry for late responses…

      Zimmer, Rosenthal, Gausman, Stephenson, Meyer, Fried, Wacha, Giolito, Kelly

      • TheNewGuy says:
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        @Scott Evans:
        Awesome, thanks man. Interesting seeing Zimmer 1st.

      • TheNewGuy says:
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        @Scott Evans:
        Painstakingly slow draft. Still got most of those guys above available, apart from Zimmer and Gasman.

        About Rosenthal, what do you see his role being in 2013? Love his arm, who couldn’t but can he make the rotation or will he need to spend this year as a less valuable set-up guy behind Motte. Could a Chapman like future be on the cards (pun intended!) or is that too optimistic. Suprising how such a late round pick has turned into such a potential diamond!

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          Rosenthal was quite a surprise last year, but I heard some whispers about his potential early on last spring. Cards execs love him & would like to see him start. Chapman is a good comp, but Rosenthal’s mechanics might be a little smoother. Hard to predict his role for 2013 — could start if there’s a need, could be a premier setup guy — but future for him is bright as either front-end starter or elite closer. Love him.

  10. Tecmo Ballz says:
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    Tony Sanchez still have a chance to make it?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      No impact potential for him anymore, but he’s still around. Could Arrive this year if Martin gets hurt.

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