Baseball America released their top 100 prospects today, and four Pittsburgh Pirates made the list. The release of Baseball America’s list means that pretty much all of the major prospect lists have been released. We’ve already heard from Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, Keith Law, and Baseball Prospectus. John Sickels is expected to release his list on Friday. For now, let’s take a look at how the Pirates prospects have stacked up on each list.
*Mentioned as one of ten prospects who just missed the top 100
The lists had anywhere from four to six people ranked. Baseball America and MLB.com each had four players in the top 100. Luis Heredia was mentioned as one of ten players who just missed the cut for Baseball America, while MLB.com didn’t release any such lists. Baseball Prospectus had all six of the above players ranked, while Keith Law had five and had Heredia in his ten players that just missed.
Gerrit Cole was named the top prospect in three outlets. MLB.com was the only outlet that put Jameson Taillon ahead of Cole. Cole and Taillon were pretty consistent with their rankings, both staying in the 8-16 range. The Pirates only had three other players who drew top 50 consideration. Josh Bell and Luis Heredia both made the Baseball Prospectus top 50, while Starling Marte made MLB.com’s top 50.
A breakdown and analysis of each individual player:
Cole - His ranking was around the same area for each outlet, ranging from 9th to 12th. He fell behind a few guys from the 2011 draft, although as Jim Callis notes you could make an argument for any one of Cole, Trevor Bauer, or Dylan Bundy to be the top guy from the 2011 draft class.
Taillon - MLB.com strayed, ranking Taillon 8th overall. That was actually the highest ranking any Pirate received on any list. The other three lists had Taillon in the 13-16 range.
Bell - Baseball Prospectus was the highest on Bell, ranking him 43rd. The other three lists had him in the 60-69 range. It’s easy to dream about Bell’s upside, but until he plays a game and starts proving himself it wouldn’t be reasonable to see him ranked higher than this. If he lives up to his hype on the field this year it wouldn’t surprise me to see him make a huge jump up the lists.
Marte - Marte was hit or miss. MLB.com had him as the 40th best prospect. Baseball Prospectus had him ranked 56th. Keith Law and Baseball America had him lower, at 72nd and 73rd respectively. He’s a consensus top 100 prospect, but I feel weight placed on the plate patience issues are what separate the high rankings from the lower ones.
Heredia - Technically Heredia only made one list, coming in at number 42 on the Baseball Prospectus rankings. However, Keith Law and Baseball America both had him as one of ten prospects to just miss the cut. Heredia is still raw, and his value is based more on potential than results. There’s a ton of upside, which justifies a top 50 ranking if you want to dream on his potential. But if you’re looking for more results, he’s appropriately placed outside the top 100. He’s only 17 years old. If he would have made the Baseball America rankings, he would have been the youngest player on the list. Only three players on the list were under 19, and none were under 18.
Grossman - He finished on the back end of the lists for Keith Law and Baseball Prospectus, but was unranked by Baseball America and MLB.com. There’s no question that Cole and Taillon are good. Bell and Heredia have a ton of upside, but not a lot of experience, which explains the splits in opinions for those two. Marte is good, but the split in his rankings seems to be a question of how good he is. With Grossman, scouts have been split for awhile. Some like the total package, and think he can do enough to warrant being a starter. Some feel he doesn’t have the speed to play center field, where his numbers work best, and doesn’t have the power numbers to have value in a corner. My guess is that’s what led to the split in opinions for Grossman on the above lists.
Links and Notes
**Jim Callis of Baseball America looked at where the top draft prospects would fit in with the current top 100 prospects. The rankings for some of the guys we’re following on the site: Mark Appel (22), Lucas Giolito (26), Byron Buxton (32), Deven Marrero (39), and Mike Zunino (54).
**Zunino was the only draft prospect that played tonight. He had a big game against Bethune-Cookman, going 2-for-3 with two home runs and two walks. Zunino and Florida play again tomorrow, taking on UCF.