Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Prospects in Baseball Prospectus Top 50

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

On July 7th, the website Baseball Prospectus released their mid-season top 50 prospect rankings.  The Pittsburgh Pirates found three of their prospects in these rankings.

Baseball Prospectus did not include players who are currently in Major League Baseball.  So players like Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow were not eligible to be on the list. The first two in the rankings are the most obvious.  Austin Meadows and Josh Bell find themselves as the top two rated Pittsburgh Pirates prospects.  This is obvious, as these two now are widely considered the Pirate’s top two prospects in their system. The third player has had quite the rise since the beginning of the year.  Pittsburgh Pirates 2015 first round pick Kevin Newman finds himself rated on Baseball Prospectus list. Here is their rankings and analysis on the players from Craig Goldstein and Baseball Prospectus Staff:

"6. Austin Meadows, OF, Pittsburgh PiratesWhy He’ll Succeed: When you see Meadows on the right day—which has been pretty much every day in 2016—you’ll see an outfielder who flashes above-average tools everywhere but his arm, and the approach just keeps getting better.Why He Might Fail: If he were to have to move from center field, he likely has to play left because of his arm, and continued health woes could sap some of his explosiveness. 31. Josh Bell, 1B, Pittsburgh PiratesWhy He’ll Succeed: Bell is a “true” switch-hitter, meaning he’s equally adept at hitting from both sides of the plate. His excellent hand-eye coordination helps him get ahead in counts while also avoiding strikeouts, putting the ball in play exceptionally well for a hitter of his ilk.Why He Might Fail: Because Bell is going to play first base—at least as long as he’s a member of the Pirates organization—he has a ton of pressure on his bat, and if you’re looking for your prototypical 30-homer first baseman, you should probably look elsewhere. 42. Kevin Newman, SS, Pittsburgh PiratesWhy He’ll Succeed: If his hit tool proves the doubters wrong, emerging as a plus or better bat despite the near-complete lack of power, and he’s able to stick at short, the entire package equates to an above-average player.Why He Might Fail: A move down the defensive spectrum would put more pressure on a bat that is already without hope for pop, and could push the entire profile into utility territory.link: Mid-Season Top 50 Prospects by Baseball Prospectus"

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In the preseason Baseball Prospectus had Austin Meadows ranked as the #22 overall prospect.  However, after dominating Double-A and quickly reaching Triple-A, he has turned into the top outfield prospect in the game.  Josh Bell was ranked as the #49 prospect on BP’s preseason list.  He moved up 18 spots by continuing to consistently produce at Triple-A.  The reason Bell will always be ranked a little lower is strictly because he is a first baseman.  First Baseman never are ranked high because it is a position that is often stereotyped as a position that is offensive and does not require an all-around type player.  I will have more thoughts on Bell ‘s ranking this weekend.  Shortstop Kevin Newman made this biggest jump from the preseason list to the current list.  Newman was not even ranked on Baseball Prospectus’ top 101 preseason list.  To find himself ranked as the #42 prospect says a lot about the type of year he is having.  Newman has shown the ability to hit, get on base, and player solid defense at a premium position.  

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More on the rankings:

The Pittsburgh Pirates saw a few players be removed from the rankings.  Tyler Glasnow who was ranked as the #11 overall prospect graduated from the rankings and same with Jameson Taillon who was ranked #51 (and would have been a slam dunk top 25 prospect were he still eligible).

The Pirates also had two other players ranked in the top 100 preseason rankings who did not find themselves in the mid-season top 50.  Reese McGuire was ranked as the #76 prospect, however he is batting under .260 which most likely why he did not rise into the top 50.    Harold Ramirez was ranked as the #80 prospect in the preseason rankings.  He has been playing excellent defense and has been hitting around .300 all season with a good number of extra-base-hits.  He most likely just missed the top 50 and could find himself there by season’s end if he continues to put up strong all-around numbers.

I plan on diving into Baseball Prospectus’ analysis on the Pittsburgh Pirates prospects three top 50 prospects over the weekend.  I will start with Josh Bell, then Kevin Newman, and end with Austin Meadows.  I will discuss BP’s breakdowns on each player and talk about what I agree with and what I disagree with and give analysis on why.  All in all it is great to see the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to have prospect ranked highly.  No matter how many they graduate they continue to develop quality prospects.

Comment Below on your thoughts on the rankings.