Here is our updated Pittsburgh Pirates top 30 prospect list. The minor league season is well past halfway, and now is a good time to reevaluate the prospect rankings.
With August halfway over, it seemed to be a good time to reevaluate Rum Bunter’s prospect rankings. A lot of change has happened since the beginning of the year. The Bucs have dealt away a prospect that was top 30, but they also have acquired some that will gain recognition. Of course, there are also the prospects who have not performed this season, and in turn have seen their value decrease, as well as ones who have put together really encouraging seasons. Also, with the draft picks having over a month of game action it seems a fair time to place them. In general, we use a formula to evaluate how efficient hitting and pitching prospects are and how they project in the future. So here is what we have come up with for our updated top 30 list
Austin Meadows: Meadows was one of the top rated outfield prospect in baseball entering 2017. However, hamstring issues have hampered his season, and this goes along with an abysmal start to the season. Still, his upside as a pure hitter keeps him atop this list.
Mitch Keller: Mitch Keller is the next top-flight arm to come through the system. He has a better chance of being more like Cole or Taillon and not Glasnow, meaning he should have success at the next level. Keller has three plus pitches, and his best tool is his ability to command all three.
Kevin Newman: Newman is a solid middle infielder who will likely stick at short, however, he could slide to second if it makes more sense for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He does not have the most power in the world, but he gets plenty of hits, and in general gets on base. He might not have the upside that some prospects have, but he should be a solid major league player.
Will Craig: The 2016 first round pick was drafted for his advanced bat. So far he has shown that. While his power is still lacking somewhat, Craig is getting on-base at a high clip, with at the time of posting .378. He also is transitioning to first base. Expect his power to develop as he gets closer to the majors.
Shane Baz: The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Baz at number 12 overall in this year’s past draft. Baz was considered the second best right-handed pitcher in the draft. He is considered to have advanced pitches for his age and has the projectable frame you look for in a future front line starter
Ke’Bryan Hayes: Hayes was the Pittsburgh Pirates supplemental first-round pick in 2014. He immediately became the Bucs’ top third base prospect. He remains that today. Hayes has the athleticism you love to see in a third baseman and should have above average power when it is all said and done.
Nick Kingham: The former top 100 prospect is flourishing once again at Triple-A. Kingham received Tommy-John surgery in 2015 and came back in July of 2016. It has taken him nearly a full year for him to get back to where he left off pre-surgery. Kingham has a good two-seam fastball that sits in the 93-94 range with a dynamite curveball that should be used as his out pitch.
Steven Brault: The left handed pitcher has yet to make a real impact at the big league level in his limited opportunities. However, he has been down right dominant in Triple-A, so it leaves something to be desired with the Pirates. Still, he needs to show the ability to pitch deeper into games to make it as a starter.
: The former first round pick has recovered well from 2015 labrum surgery. He tore the cover off the ball in High-A this year and led the Florida State League in stolen bases. However, he has gotten off to a slow start in Double-A. Tucker remains one of the rawest prospects in the system. He has a big frame with a ton of athleticism and projectability.
Taylor Hearn: The second piece of the Mark Melancon trade, Hearn is all about his fastball and size. The 6’5” lefty has a fastball that can touch triple digits. He also has a good slider that projects to be a plus pitch at the next level. Like many young, hard throwers, Hearn has command issues from time to time. This puts into question if he will remain as a starter. Still, his floor should be a dominant back-end of the bullpen arm with his ability to punch hitters out.