Previous update: July 14, 2010
With spring training drawing near, it's time for me to update the prospect lists. As I have in the past, I do want to say that this really isn't my strongest area of Pirate expertise. A big reason why I've been doing the prospect lists is to force myself to pay more attention to the minor league system and how the players grow and progress, but since it takes years for players to pay dividends or flame out, it's a slow process. If you really want prospect analysis, I'll happily point you to Pirate Prospects and recommend his book, which I'm anxiously awaiting.
All that out of the way, it's hard not to be excited by the amount of pitching the Pirates have in their minor league system right now. Ten of the top 11 pitchers on my list have been added into the system in the Neal Huntington era; two by trade, seven by draft, and one international signing. Taillon is a legitimate ace-level prospect, Allie and Heredia both have incredibly high ceilings, and Owens, Morris, Locke, and Wilson are progressing nicely in the middle part of the PIrates' minor league system. It's amazing to think that just a couple of years ago all the Pirates had was Brad Lincoln and then nothing.
As far as doing the rankings, I almost want to break the players up into categories and rank them. Ranking the unproven guys from the last two drafts is relatively straight forward, as is ranking the guys in the upper parts of the system. Marrying the two rankings is a bit tougher, at least for me. Stetson Allie is wildly talented, but I think Rudy Owens is a slightly better prospect at this point, given how well he's pitched through Double-A. The key, of course, is at this point. Obviously these things are fluid and change with performance.Honestly, though, I'm happy the Pirates have made ranking their pitching prospects so tough. As I noted last week, they've got about as much talent as anyone in terms of pitching, and that's with Taillon and Allie and Heredia ranked conservatively.
Anyways, I've updated each player's page with new comments, but kept the old ones as a way to track my opinion of these guys through the minors. Unfortunately, I had to remove the link to Minor League Splits because the site is now defunct. I'm going to start working on the hitter's update today and will hopefully have it ready by Friday. And of course, if you disagree with anything here or have any questions, I'd love to give the new comment system a workout.
WHYGAVS Top 21 Pirate Pitching Prospects