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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (7) | 2012 (13) | 2011 (19) | 2010 (15) | 2009 (18)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [94-68] NL Central
AAA: [80-64] International League – Indianapolis
AA: [63-79] Eastern League – Altoona
A+: [57-77] Florida State League – Bradenton
A: [82-58] South Atlantic League – West Virginia
A(ss):  [43-52] New York-Penn League — Jamestown

Graduated Prospects
Gerrit Cole (RHP); Justin Wilson (LHP); Bryan Morris (RHP)

The Run Down
This Pittsburgh farm is a definite top tier system for fantasy, loaded with impact potential on both sides of the game.  After watching homegrown talents like Starling Marte and Gerrit Cole graduate into the big leagues over the past two seasons, we’re already accustomed to looking toward the Pirates for youthful fantasy help, and that trend should continue in 2014 as Gregory Polanco and Jameson Taillon appear ready for big league arrival.  Looking deeper, though, there’s impact talent at every level of this org, and even after Polanco and Taillon push through to the majors, prospects like Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows figure to fill those voids nicely.

Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1.  Gregory Polanco, OF:  Polanco hit .285/.356/.434 with 12 HR and 38 SB through 127 games across three levels (A+, AA, AAA) in 2013.  He’s a top 10 overall fantasy prospect in my book, bringing impact potential in AVG, OBP, HR, and SB.  The 22-year-old is still filling out his 6-foot-4 frame, and as he matures in that regard, his in-game power should begin to take form.  He offered a glimpse of that potential in his first trip to the plate this spring:

 

#16 in my top 25 for 2014, Polanco is a potential 30/30 outfielder if everything clicks, and he’s set to surface in Pittsburgh at some point this summer.  ETA:  2014

2.  Jameson Taillon, RHP:  Taillon was unhittable at times in 2013, but thanks to some command troubles, his season as a whole was a bit inconsistent, and his year-end line read: 3.73/1.32/143 in 147 IP between Double-A and Triple-A.  Don’t let the ratios discourage you, though, the 22-year-old is still one of the most promising arms in the minors.  With plus raw stuff and a 6-foot-6 frame, Taillon projects as a true front-end starter.  He came in two spots behind Polanco in my top 25 for 2014, and here’s what I had to say:  “Taillon’s path to the majors will very much resemble that of his teammate, Gerrit Cole’s.  His fantasy impact seems likely to resemble Cole’s, too.  Grey has his Jameson Taillon outlook here, and is slotting him at #97 in his SP ranks.”  ETA:  2014

3.  Tyler Glasnow, RHP:  Glasnow’s fastball-curve combo is an advanced weapon and it helped him to a ridiculous 13.3 whiffs per-nine through 24 Low-A starts in 2013.  The rest of his line wasn’t too shabby either:  2.18 ERA, 1.03 WHIP.  There’s front-end upside here, but Glasnow still has much to prove in the minors.  He’ll begin 2014 at High-A, and if all goes well, he’ll be ready for a look in the upper levels by mid-season.  ETA:  2016

4.  Alen Hanson, SS:  Hanson hit .274/.329/.427 with 48 XBH (8 HR) and 30 SB through 559 PA between High-A and Double-A in 2013.  He’s a stick-first middle infielder and most scouts have him pegged as a second baseman at the highest level.  15/30 upside with good average makes Hanson valuable dynasty league piece.  He’ll get started at Double-A in 2014, and he could be ready for a look in the bigs by year’s end.  ETA:  Late 2014

5.  Austin Meadows, OF:  Drafted 9th overall last June, Meadows offers across-the-board impact potential for the fantasy game.  The 18-year-old posted an OPS at .977 during his 48-game pro debut, but, as we know, it’s probably unwise to make too much of short-season numbers.  Meadows will play full-season ball in 2014, and he’s a candidate to break out as a top 25 prospect and jump to the top of this Pittsburgh list next year.  ETA:  2017

6.  Josh Bell, OF:  After losing nearly all of 2012 to injury, Bell returned to West Virginia in 2013 and posted a line at .279/.353/.403 with 52 XBH (13 HR) in 519 PA.  The 21-year-old will step up to High-A Bradenton this spring, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him reach Double-A by mid-season.  He’s yet another Pirates outfielder with impact potential for the fantasy game — power and average are Bell’s best attributes.  ETA:  2016

7.  Nick Kingham, RHP:  Kingham seems kinda boring when you consider him among young starters like Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, and Tyler Glasnow, but he’s a fine prospect in his own right and he’d be a top 5 guy in most other farms.  Standing 6-5, 220, and brining three above-average offerings (FB, CB, CH) the 22-year-old projects as an innings-eater with good K production, but there’s potential for more.  He’ll get his 2014 started at Triple-A this spring, in line for arrival in Pittsburgh before year’s end.  ETA:  Late 2014

8.  Harold Ramirez, OF:  The 19-year-old Venezuelan has drawn superb reviews from evaluators during his brief professional career, showing plus potential in the speed and power departments.  Ramirez will play full-season baseball in 2014, and he’ll be an exciting prospect to keep track of.  ETA:  2017

9.  Barret Barnes, OF:  This marks the 5th outfielder on this list, and that’s to say nothing of big leaguers like Andre McCutchen and Starling Marte.  The Pirates have a surplus of outfield talent and Barnes is part of it.  The 22-year-old will bring an attractive power-speed combo to the High-A level this spring.  He’ll be looking to stay on the field for the entire season after a hamstring injury cut his 2013 short.  ETA:  2016

10.  Reese McGuire, C:  As a glove-first catcher, McGuire is an excellent real life prospect, but his fantasy stock isn’t quite so promising.  The 18-year-old was the 14th overall pick last June and he’s in line to debut at the full-season level this spring.  Looking long-term, McGuire has potential to offer fantasy relevance as an everyday catcher with decent average and modest pop.  For now, he’s not a guy to be reaching for in dynasty formats.  ETA:  2017

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates MiLB Preview

  1. Thorbs says:
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    Good stuff, man – I would swapped Kingham up above Josh Bell, but for whatever reason I just see a James Shields ceiling for Kingham.

    2 quick Qs:
    1. How do you compare Meadows and Frazier? Some “experts” point to Frazier’s raw talent with the stick, others look at Meadows work ethic and approach to the game.
    2. Deal’s done, but I ended up moving Bruce/A-Cab (who I wasn’t going to keep) for Arenado/Minor/Heaney. I feel fine with the big leaguers involved, but did I make a mistake moving a “Choo-in-Colorado” ceiling in Dahl for Heaney?

    • @Thorbs: 1. I won’t deny the impact that plus makeup can have on a player’s development, but measurable tools tend to carry you further than attitude will… Frazier brings a more promising outlook at this point… I’d take him over Meadows every time in a dynasty…

      2. It’s possible, but Heaney is the safer guy at this point and he’s set to surface this year… I don’t think you should lose any sleep over this one just yet…

  2. Edward Scherzer Hands says:
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    Hi,

    Who would you keep for this year? 12 team H2H: OBP, 1bs, 2bs, 3bs, runs, HRs, RBIS, SBs, W, L, CG, SVs, K, ERA, WHIP, BSVs. I can only keep 4 and keep them for one more year after next (and lose 3 rounds on them).

    Zach Wheeler-round 18, Ryu-round 15, Homer Bailey-round 6, Holland-round 16, Taveras-round 17, Eaton-round 16, Xander Bogaerts-round 15, Frieri-round 18

    Thanks!

  3. tyler says:
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    i have the 11th pick in 20 team dynasty league initial minor league draft:
    already gone: tanaka taveras baez buxton bogarts abreu polanco springer hamilton bryant.

    i am thinking sano or russell with an outside look at d’arnaud (it is a two catcher league …which in a 20 team league means scarcity) or pitching carlos martinez/ tajuin walker.

    not sure i have the team to win this year….
    so sano or russell long term better asset? and does 20 team 2 catcher make d’arnaud more valuable then both?

    • @tyler: well Sano’s out for the season w/ TJ surgey, and that’s a MAJOR developmental setback for a prospect who really needed upper levels ABs… I’d go for Russell

  4. Bream Dreams says:
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    Does Kingham get called up when Morton goes down with an injury? Carlos Martinez of the Cardinals. is he the world killer I thought he would be last year? Is Martinez worth a keeper in keep for as long as you want 12 team 17 keeper h2h points based league?

    • @Bream Dreams: I figure Taillon gets the first look in Pit, but Kingham will be in the convo… Martinez is filthy — look for a lot of 5 or 6 IP, 10 K outings from him if he’s starting games this year… I think he’s probably worth holding in a keeper that deep, but it depends on the rest of your team…

  5. Swfcdan says:
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    You missed my last response so ill put it in here.

    Wonder if you could chime in on this keeper question bud, with our contracts soon to be announced in my long time keeper. Got a nice keeper in Kipnis and torn over to go 2 years (£12) on him or 3 years (£14). Thinking 2 years because you can only have 8 keepers per year, and the contracts carry over (so Kipnis would count as 1/8 in 2015). Grey says 3 years but im still not so sure, think power/speed guys with limited power that people go gaga over are a bit overrated really (e.g Segura too).

    What do you reckon, is Kipnis too good value to not go 3 years?

    • @Swfcdan: Yeah, I think the value is too good to pass up — ink him for 3.

      • Swfcdan says:
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        @Scott Evans: Thanks, I am locking him up for his best years after all. Him and Davis for 3 years also ($12) make two very nice long term keepers!

        Good news about C-Mart getting a shot at starting, well not all good news with his pornography stash being found out by Matheny. I guess you really can say he is filthy.

          • Swfcdan says:
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            @Scott Evans: Don’t know if you read Fangraphs but there is a very interesting piece on G Springer, about how his K rate is basically unprecedented for major leaguers. Take a look:

            http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/preparing-for-the-george-springer-experiment/

            Thats whats put me off him, as reading that it sounds like he’s much more likely to be a bust than a stud. But it is a new experiement essentially so who knows…

            • @Swfcdan: High risk/high reward player… I don’t blame anyone for steering clear…

              • Swfcdan says:
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                @Scott Evans: Yeah it’s even extreme risk/extreme high reward with him. Could say best case scenario is a 40-40 season, worst case he doesn’t even stay in the minor leagues. Gonna be very interesting to watch, but im glad im doing it with him not on my teams!

                • Swfcdan says:
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                  @Swfcdan: *Major leagues even, doubt he’ll be out of baseball.

  6. The Thumb says:
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    Thoughts on Taijuan’s injury? I have my draft tonight and was really looking forward to getting him in the late teens. Is he still worth a flier and then a DL stash or does the shoulder scare you too much? Thanks!

    • The Thumb says:
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      @The Thumb: and would you take Wheeler/Kluber that late instead then? I just have difficulty trusting those guys.

    • @The Thumb: It’s definitely concerning & he’s probably off my stash radar unless he comes pretty cheaply… still great upside, but shoulder soreness is always scary… I’d rather have Wheeler at this point, but it’s much closer when it comes to Kluber…

  7. seph meier says:
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    Do you think Polanco gets called up before the all star break?

  8. Doc Pounder says:
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    With the Pirates estimated payroll the 3rd lowest in baseball for 2014, do you believe it would be in their best interest to try and get better @ 1st and RF through trading or FA acquistions, or wait a few months for Polanco?
    With their success last year, don’t you think they should have TRYED to get better this winter, or are they just stashing the money and hoping to get lucky again this year?

    • @Doc Pounder: I’m always in favor of a team being efficient with spending & developing cost-controlled talent, and that’s precisely what the Pirates have done in recent years… it’s a long-term model built to create sustainable success & I think they’ll get there… trading that cost-controlled talent or spending big on the FA market would sort of break from that model, and it wouldn’t be wise IMO… Pirates should take another step forward this year…

  9. Zaclo24 says:
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    How would you rate Nick Williams and Adam Walker in the Outfeilder group of prospects. Because they are my current LF and RF spots on my minor league dynasty roster and I was wondering if I can upgrade them, or if they are solid players. *Note it is a 20 team league with 1 spot for each position. So essentially would you rate them in the top 10-20 for their respective positions?

    Thanks Scott always look forward to your posts!

    • @Zaclo24: Walker is risky, but brings legit 30+ HR upside, which is nice — I’d say he’s in the T20 RF conversation… Williams is a great prospect, definitely worth holding — T10 LF in my book… in a dynasty league this deep, you could be a lot worse off…

  10. Sky

    Sky says:
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    Dat gif…still loving on Baez for my one NA spot in the keeper but that got me a bit twitterpated.

    • The Thumb says:
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      @Sky: Baez up by June?

      • Sky

        Sky says:
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        I think/hope/pray that’s the case. Scott probably has a better take on him, though.

    • @Sky: Baez over Greg Polanco, but not by as much as you’d think… Polanco not far from that super-elite, Buxton/Taveras/Baez/Bogaerts status…

      • Sky

        Sky says:
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        That swing looks pretty magical. Can’t argue that logic

  11. Chris says:
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    If you could have 2 of 3 out of Dahl, Meadows and Frazier, who would you roll with?

  12. xtremehulk says:
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    I have the #2 overall in my dynasty league. Most of the players off the your top 25 are already drafted. Available are Appel, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Noah Syndergaard.

    Can you rank these guys. Also, Why is Bryant not in your top 50? In your Cubs minor league preview, the guy sounds dominant.

  13. Zaclo24 says:
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    the top 50 list is for prospects who have chances at playing in the majors this year, atleast I’m pretty sure. Also he hasn’t done the Cubs Minor League preview yet, considering they have one of the best farm systems right now.

      • Zaclo24 says:
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        @Swfcdan: Damn it now I look dumb… I totally missed the Cubs preview… shun me from here on out…..

    • xtremehulk says:
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      @Zaclo24:

      Im aware what the top 50 list is for. I just found in odd that Bryant was absent from it. Hence, why I asked Scott his opinion on his ranking. If he isnt in the top 50 (maybe he doesnt project to play in the majors in 2014) then that’s the explaination I’m looking for.

      • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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        @xtremehulk: pretty sure that’s it, not likely to play this year

      • Swfcdan says:
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        @xtremehulk: Think a cup of coffee is his best hope this year. Then probably a midseason callup next year.

      • @xtremehulk: Precisely… tough to include a guy who hasn’t played above A-ball on that list…

  14. goodfold2 says:
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    Heredia got too fat and fell off top 10 PIT guys, huh? How’s his outlook, i inherited him in 30 team porn level deep league.

    • @goodfold2: He’s #11… and yeah, he’s a bad-body guy, and I’m not the biggest fan… still has great stuff & good upside (he’d rank T10 in most other orgs), so I’d probably hold him for now…

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Scott Evans: oh i most def got better guys to throw away when/if i hit my 20 guy till end of 2014 minor guy cap.

  15. Zaclo24 says:
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    How much further down is Stetson Allie?

    • @Zaclo24: Allie is an intriguing guy & I wanted to rank him, but too many questions to justify it… he’s probably #12 or #13… big raw power… I’ve heard whispers about a potential shift to catcher, which would suit his plus-plus arm… that would boost his value into the T10, but for now, there’s a ton of pressure on his bat to produce at 1B…

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Scott Evans: 2013 BP does not (just got the new one TODAY!) say nice things about that guy.

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