Baseball America released their top 30 prospect list for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the 29 other teams.
In the midseason update for Baseball America’s top 30 rankings, Nick Gonzales ranked as the Pittsburgh Pirates number one prospect. He has has since fallen to number three in their new 2021 top 30, with Ke’Bryan Hayes ranking number one and Oneil Cruz ranking third. Hayes hit .376/.442/.682 in 95 plate appearances with the Pirates last year and played great defense. Cruz has elite power and has shown that he can still handle shortstop. Gonzales, the 2020 first round pick, has a good bat and is a top 100 prospect. It’s hard to argue with Hayes being number one given what he did, but there is some debate on Gonzales and Cruz.
Quinn Priester has jumped up three spots since the midseason and has really seemed to pop up boards this offseason with a fastball and curveball offering. JT Brubaker is the biggest riser, climbing from 21st to 16th. The right-handed pitcher throws a plus slider and showed positive development last year in the Major Leagues, looking to be a backend starter or bullpen arm.
Hudson Head is the highest ranked prospect the Pirates received back in a trade this offseason, ranking sixth with the outlet noting his athletic ability. He has overtaken Travis Swaggerty (ranked 14th) as the Pirates top center field prospect. Miguel Yajure, the headliner in the Jameson Taillon trade to New York, ranks 10th and is the Pirates fifth best pitching prospect.
Other players from the Taillon trade are Roansy Contreras (ranks 13) and Canaan Smith (ranks 27th). While Maikol Escotto appears to be a developing power hitting middle infielder, he did not make the list. He’s one to watch in the midseason update. Omar Cruz is the only other player from the Joe Musgrove trade to be included, ranking 23rd. Rule five pick Jose Soriano ranks 18th and the pair of pitchers acquired for Josh Bell, Eddy Yean and Wil Crowe, rank 19th and 20th respectively.
Ben Cherington has added a lot to this farm system and it seems to be getting deeper. With Hayes graduating soon, it would appear Cruz will be the new number one prospect in the system with Nick Gonzales and Oneil Cruz not too far behind. The players acquired in trades this offseason have also shot up on the Pirates prospect rankings. This is a good sign for their future.