Pittsburgh Pirates: MLB Pipeline Ranking Change

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minors: A few weeks ago, MLB Pipeline released their top 10 positional lists and Top 100 Prospect List.  However, due to a recent injury, the list has seen a change. Specifically to one of the Pittsburgh Pirates prospects.

A few weeks ago, when MLB Pipeline released their prospect lists, Pittsburgh Pirates right hander Tyler Glasnow saw himself ranked towards the top.  As far as right handed pitchers list, Glasnow was ranked as the number two overall pitching prospect in baseball.  Last year, MLB Pipeline designated Tyler Glasnow as the third best pitching prospect.  This year, Glasnow saw himself rise above Lucas Giolito, but he remained behind Cardinals prospect Alex Reyes.

Well now, MLB Pipeline has released an update.  On the first day of pitchers and catchers working out, it was announced that Alex Reyes was feeling elbow tenderness.  After two medical opinions, it was confirmed that the top pitching prospect in baseball would need Tommy-John Surgery.  Reyes, who was considered the number 1 pitching prospect in baseball, will be lost now for the whole 2017 season, and will likely miss some of the 2018 seasons.  Meanwhile, a surgery like Tommy-John is major.  There are no guarantees that Reyes will have the same top-flight stuff that he showed last year in the MLB debut.  Due to this, MLB Pipeline dropped Alex Reyes in their rankings and now have him listed as the number three right handed pitching prospect in baseball.

Meanwhile, for Pittsburgh Pirates fans, Tyler Glasnow is now the top pitching prospect in baseball.  On top of that, Tyler Glasnow now moves into the number eight overall spot on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospect rankings.  Reyes, who obviously was ranked ahead of Glasnow, fell to 14th om the list.

Tommy-John Affects Potential

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Although the rankings do not really mean anything in the long run, it is interesting to see how Tommy-John is still viewed as a significant procedure that can very well affect a pitcher’s ability.  Over the last few years, pitchers and Tommy-John have become routine.  Said top pitching prospect receives Tommy-John surgery, rehabs, and seems to end up pitching well when he returns. The same can be said for Yu Darvish, Stephen Strasburg, Jose Fernandez, John Lackey, and so on.  The Pittsburgh Pirates saw this in the 2016 season with Jameson Taillon.

However, it is not that easy, and the surgery still has a major impact on the pitcher.  We can also look at cases like Zack Wheeler, Mike Minor, Andrew Bailey, Jarrod Parker, and Josh Johnson.  Alex Reyes still has a high ceiling as a pitching prospect, but because he is having the major operation, it is not as much of a guarantee he will ever reach that potential he had pre-surgery. Once a pitcher receives the surgery a first time, there becomes a fear it could happen again.  Guys like Parker and Johnson, at one point considered two of the top young arms in the game, have had their careers derailed by multiple procedures.  Tyler Glasnow moves up because his potential remains while Reyes’ potential now could decrease.

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Final Thoughts

Alex Reyes is still a very good pitching prospect, but because he is having the major operation, it is not as much of a guarantee he will ever reach that potential he had pre-surgery.  Tyler Glasnow moves up because his potential remains while Reyes’ potential now could decrease.