Pittsburgh Pirates: Baseball America Top 100 Prospects

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Minors: Last night, Baseball America released their top 100 prospect list.  The Pittsburgh Pirates had five prospects on this list.

Every year, Baseball America releases their top 100 prospect list.  Baseball America is noted for their research on prospects from the prep level all the way up to the Major Leagues.  Although MLB Pipeline is through MLB.com, Baseball America is just as credible.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have five players ranked in Baseball America’s Top 100 2017 prospect list.  The most intriguing thing about the list is toward the top.  Here is the list:

#55, Kevin Newman, Shortstop

Newman ranked as MLB Pipeline’s number 59 overall prospect.  He finds himself a few spots higher according to Baseball America, but not significantly higher.  He started 2016 in High-A, posting posted a robust slash line of .368/.428/.494 in 41 games.  Newman held his own, and then some, for the Curve. At Double-A, Newman posted a solid slash line of .288/.361/.378.  While his power numbers did not translate to Double-A, he still put up a strong OBP, and only struck out 9.0 percent of the time, while walking 9.7 percent of the time.  Newman will likely start in Doube-A this year, but the Pirates could be aggressive and push him to Triple-A quickly.

#35, Josh Bell, First Baseman

Josh Bell ranked number 27 overall on MLB Pipeline’s list, so he does find himself lower on Baseball America’s.  Bell, who is a career .309 hitter in the minor leagues, made his big league debut in 2016.  He became the team’s regular first baseman down the stretch run of the season, appearing in 45 games. Bell is likely rated a little lower in the rankings because he will be losing prospect status in just two at-bats. The other reason could be because he did not show much progress defensively last year.  However, he will be the Bucs opening day first baseman, and many expect him to finally fill the offensive hole that the Bucs have struggled to find at first.

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#23, Tyler Glasnow, Right-Handed Pitcher

On MLB Pipeline Tyler Glasnow ranked as the number nine overall prospect.  Baseball America has him significantly lower.  The reason is because their staff does not feel pitchers of his size are able to have success in the major leagues.  During his MLB time, he made four starts, and appeared in seven total games.  In those seven outings, Tyler Glasnow pitched 23 1/3 innings. In these 23 1/3 innings pitched, he posted a 9.26 K/9, 5.01 BB/9, 0.77 HR/9, and he had a WHIP of 1.50. This led to Glasnow posting a 4.24 ERA, 4.26 FIP, and a 4.57 xFIP.

Glasnow mainly pitched in the minors last season.  In those starts, Glasnow went 8-3 with a 1.93 earned run average, with 144 strikeouts in 116.2 innings, and limited opposing hitters to a .176 batting average.  Glasnow will get a shot to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation this spring, barring any additional acquisitions.

#22 Mitch Keller, Right-Handed Starting Pitcher

Mitch Keller finally finds himself gaining national attention.  First came MLB Pipeline, giving him the nod at number 48 overall.  Baseball America is even higher on him.  Keller was absolutely dominant in the 2016 season, and he earned himself a promotion to High-A for their playoff run.  Keller struck out 147 hitters, while only walking 24, giving him a 22 percent strikeout to walk percentage.  Baseball America mainly notes, Keller might have the best command of all his pitches in the minors, and his pitches as a whole are all plus offerings.

#6, Austin Meadows, Outfielder

Austin Meadows ranked as the number ten overall prospect on MLB Pipeline’s list.  The 2013 first round pick has torn up each level in the minor leagues so far in his young career.  Although, he did struggle somewhat in his limited, injury-riddled action at Triple-A last season. In his limited time at Triple-A, Austin Meadows slashed just .214/.297/.460/.757. However, his .335 wOBA and 113 wRC+ were both above league average.  Chances are, Austin Meadows will find himself in the MLB at some point in the  2017 season.  The key will be for Meadows to remain on the field, if he does, his numbers should rebound at the Triple-A level.

Next: Pittsburgh Pirates Austin Meadows Factor

Finals Thoughts

There are a few things that stand out here. The first is Austin Meadows being the sixth overall prospect in baseball.  This shows that Baseball America essentially views him as about as close to can’t miss as it gets.

The other intriguing thing about the list, is the fact that they have Mitch Keller ranked in front of Tyler Glasnow.  Glasnow’s somewhat mediocre MLB debut last year is most likely the reason.  However, the Baseball America guys did note that they felt Keller was the more complete package between the two.  Regardless, this gave the Bucs two of the top four pitching prospects on their list.