Pittsburgh Pirates Minors: Baseball America Top 10 Prospects
The Pittsburgh Pirates farm system is the most important part of their organization. What prospects are now part of their top 10?
At one time, the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system was considered one of the strongest in all of baseball. In recent years, the system has lost its status with players graduating to the majors, drafting with later picks, and through trades. However, the Pittsburgh Pirates still have a solid system to pull from and a lot of interesting top prospects coming up through the system.
Baseball America is one of the top prospect and amateur sites in the country. They do a great job of analyzing prospects, scouting potential draft picks and international signings, and in general, giving information that is hard to find regarding players where information is hard to come by on. With that being said, the site always puts out a semi-annual Top 10 prospect rankings. They have released their Top 10 rankings for the Pittsburgh Pirates organization today. Here is who they have ranked starting at 10 (for more analysis):
10. Jason Martin, Outfielder
Jason Martin was the fourth piece in the Gerrit Cole trade last offseason. He had a breakout season last year in Double-A when he hit .325/.392/.522 through 68 games. He took a big step back when he was promoted to Triple-A, but will get a fresh start this season.
9. Bryan Reynolds, Outfielder
Bryan Reynolds was also acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates last offseason but in the Andrew McCutchen trade. After missing the first week or so of the season he saw himself put up a strong year at Double-A. Reynolds hit .302/.381/.438 for the Curve in 88 games.
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8. Calvin Mitchell, Outfielder
The Pittsburgh Pirates have quickly turned around their lack of prospect outfield depth and Mitchell might have been their biggest breakout prospect in terms of outfielders last season. He played in Low-A as a 19-year-old and hit .280/.344/.427 with 10 home runs in 119 games.
7. Kevin Newman, Shortstop
The Pittsburgh Pirates first round pick in 2015, Kevin Newman hit .203/.350/.407 through 109 minor Triple-A games. After that, he was promoted to the Pittsburgh Pirates were he struggled. Chances are high that Newman will start the year back in Triple-A.
6. Cole Tucker, Shortstop
The year before Newman was drafted, the Pittsburgh Pirates took Cole Tucker in the first round of the 2014 draft. Tucker did not put up the numbers he would have hoped for at Double-A, however he led his team in hitting during this past Arizona Fall League.
5. Kevin Kramer, Second Base
The second part of the Seinfeld double play, Kevin Kramer has always been overshadowed being he was the second round pick in the 2015 draft while Newman was the first round pick. Still, Kramer has done nothing but improve at the minor league level and showed it during his 129 games at Triple-A when he hit .311 with 15 home runs. Like Newman, Kramer looked overmatched during his big league début and likely will return to Triple-A.
4. Travis Swaggerty, Outfielder
Travis Swaggerty was the Pittsburgh Pirates first round pick in 2018 out of South Alabama. He had a solid showing in his professional début hitting .288 through his first action at Short Season ball. He was bumped up to Low and struggled but will likely start in High-A this season.
3. Oneil Cruz, Shortstop
Oneil Cruz came to the Pittsburgh Pirates via the Los Angeles Dodgers when they acquire Tony Watson. He now likely has the biggest upside in the system being he plays shortstop and has a huge frame standing at 6’6”. However, defensive questions and his swing and miss rate could hold him back. Still, he looked every part of a top prospect last year hitting .286 with 14 home runs in 103 games in Low-A.
2. Ke’Bryan Hayes, Third Base
Ke’Bryan Hayes was a 2014 draft pick during the Compensatory Round right after the first round. The son of former big leaguer Charlie Hayes, Ke’Bryan has quickly established himself as one of the best defensive third base prospects in the game. Last year he started to tap into the offense with the Curve, hitting .293/.375/.444 and 45 extra base hits in 117 games.
1. Mitch Keller, Starting Pitcher
Mitch Keller has become one of the top pitching prospects in baseball and is considered a top 25 prospect overall. He was rewarded for his strong minor league track record when he was given the start for Team United States in the Futures Game. Keller once again dominated at Double-A last year pitching to a 2.72 ERA in 14 starts with the Curve. However, he was bumped at to Triple-A and struggled in 10 starts throwing to a 4.82 ERA. Although he was much better in his last six starts throwing to a 2.82 ERA to end the season.
The Pittsburgh Pirates system is starting to get top heavy with position players, as Keller is the only pitcher inside the Top 10. Hopefully, the team has a few more pitchers on the list by midseason with some of the position players getting close to graduating.