Pirates Top 10 Prospect List Has Holes. Big Holes.


Baseball America, well John Perrotto,  posted the Annual look at  prospect rankings for the Pirates organization today.  Sure, it looks better than it has in years.  Absolutely, much work has been done. 

But the Pirates have a long way to go.   For every McCutchen that came out of such lists there was a Chad Hermansen.  And a JR House, and this guy named Bullington who is now a 30 year old KC Royal, and John Van..well, you get the idea.   Most of us at Rum Bunter are insanely optimistic, but even we took a deep breath after looking at the predictable list.  So before you expect all of these prospects to become the next Andrew McCutchen, take a look at our thoughts.

The top ten lists are all the rage in the offseason.  Look at number ten for example.  Gorkys Hernandez.  Hmmm, the guy deemed the best defensive outfielder can’t hit a lick.  Hasn’t hit a lick, and doesn’t show signs of being able to hit.  (What is a lick anyway?)  He was a top five pick last season on Atlanta’s list.  Now he has dropped five spots?  Sorry, moving backward isn’t a good sign.  Why is he in the top ten?  Because he can catch?  Because he was in the McLouth trade?  Well just like Hershey’s stock, we aren’t buying it. 

Number nine Rudy Owens is a great, great guy with the best attitude in the system.  But let’s be realistic Pirate fans.  It will take an act of Congress for him to be a starting pitcher in the bigs. (There is the challenge we promised)  Look closer and you will notice he isn’t on the Projected 2013 Lineup in any of the starter spots( No 1 is Brad Lincoln, No.2 is Charlie Morton, No. 3 is Ross Ohlendorf, No. 4 is Zack Duke, and No. 5 is Paul Maholm.)  Owens projects as a bullpen arm and we certainly trust we are dead wrong because he has become a favorite of the Rum Bunter team.

Zack Von Rosenberg is number eight.  The 6’5” RHP is straight outta high school and he’s number eight?  Take a breath.  Let’s get a look at his reportedly strong command of three pitches this year in State College before we place the kid in a top ten list.  Come on.  The fact that he is even in the top ten shows you how weak the system still is.  Or how much Perrotto is buying into the hype placed on the 89-91MPH fastball throwing shoulders of Von Rosenberg.  Has anyone watched this pitcher?  We haven’t.  So we’re not buying the top 10 pick.

Tim Alderson fell to number seven in the Pirates list after being at number four on the SF Giants list last season.  Ah, that’s not good.  God, we hope we are wrong.  Alderson also doesn’t crack the 2013 projected lineup in any of the starters roles.  In our opinion, out of all the players on the list, Alderson has the most pressure to put up an impressive, dominating season for the Pirates.  Get that leg kick in high gear and prove those scouts wrong big fella.

Starling Marte earned number six after a stellar season.  This guy is someone to get excited about and has worked especially hard to earn his way toward the show.   Is he a big league player?  Ahhh, prove it kid.

At this point, the list dramatically improves in our eyes, but don’t start planning on playoff tickets anytime soon, there obviously is still  much work to be done before these players prove ready for PNC Park.

Chase D’Arnaud does everything well.  God Speed Chase.  The Pirates desperately need D’Arnaud beside Pedro.  Quickly.   He showed several times during the AFL Futures Game that his strike zone discipline is above average even against the best talent.  But being awarded best athlete is a stretch, we’re not sure he would even be in the top three. But heh, we aren’t really looking for athletes are we?  We need ball players.  And if there was an award for best all around ball player, it would be hard to argue against D’Arnaud.  He does seem a little streaky.  Just don’t pull a Shelby Ford, God, that would be a terrible setback.   Jeff Bannister has worked with D’Arnaud and loves his future at SS.  The guys with the Spikes  couldn’t stop praising him.  Again, God Speed.  Don’t count on any setbacks.  Chase can flat out play.

Brad Lincoln is at number four.  Gotta admit.  We saw fifty plus innings of Lincoln this year.  Yeh, we agree with Perrotto on the Best Curveball award on the list, but we disagree with the number one starter pick.  The guys at Rum Bunter have just too many visions of big innings at the next level.  Lincoln’s performance in the Gold Medal game was a shining example.  Of all the prospects on the list, we feel Lincoln could be the biggest letdown.  He has so much on his shoulders, and we weren’t convinced this season that he is a number one starter.  Back of the rotation?  Absolutely.  Heh, I guess Perrotto had to put someone in the number one slot.

Tony Sanchez comes in next and it’s hard to argue what the kid did in his first year as a professional.  What is not to like about Sanchez so far?  He wanted to sign.  He played ball above average everywhere he went.  His attitude was tremendous.  (Sounds like the anti-Robinzon Diaz whose attitude was shit when he was sent to AAA and his bat was too)  If Sanchez keeps working as hard as he did this season, everyone is confident he will fly through the Pirates system.  The Pirates will not have to be concerned with looking for a durable, starting catcher for many, many years. 

Jose Tabata (no.2) and Pedro Alvarez are at the top of the list.  Deep down and based on absolutely zero scientific facts or statistics, just from watching Tabata play, I think he will hit better than Pedro in 2010.  A lot better.  The competition between these two will make Pirate games awfully enjoyable this spring.    Alvarez has shown tremendous power.  Tabata shows everything except power.  Alvarez is on a strict conditioning program. And the early word is that he is killing it.  Alvarez has bought in to what the Pirates want him to do, and is showing so much improvement that the talk about him at 1B will be a laughable matter next spring when we see him in Florida.  Have you ever seen Tabata?  The man just breathes and his biceps grow.   Chiseled. 

It’s nice to have two guys like this in black and gold isn’t it?

So how many days is it until Spring Training so these guys can prove us wrong?