Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects Who Could Crack FanGraphs Top 100


The Pittsburgh Pirates farm system has plenty of talented prospects. But which ones could appear on FanGraphs top 100 list for 2022?

The Pittsburgh Pirates ended 2021 as FanGraphs second-best farm system. It was also by a fair margin as they had a system worth $357 million and the Tampa Bay Rays, the third-best system per their rankings, was worth just $319 million. Them, along with the Baltimore Orioles were the only systems to be worth at least $300 million.

FanGraphs is also starting their prospect rankings for the start of 2022. Currently, they only have the Los Angeles Angel system ranked. However, soon they will do their top 100 prospect list. While I do like FanGraphs lists as they are usually deeper and give a broader picture of each team’s system over MLB Pipeline, I do want to point out their FV valuation can sometimes be skewed.

Currently, they only have 29 total prospects ever becoming better than the league average player per fWAR per season. 2.0-2.5 fWAR is usually considered the average, and I just don’t see only 29 of their ranked prospects becoming better than 2.5 fWAR players.

Regardless, the Pittsburgh Pirates should have a handful of top 100 prospects on the list. The first ones are the pretty obvious ones. Henry Davis, Nick Gonzales, and Liover Peguero are the team’s top three position player prospects. Quinn Priester is their top pitching prospect. Gonzales could potentially see the largest jump in rankings. FanGraphs hasn’t updated their list in a bit and he has been stuck at #98 for a while. However, he should easily reach into top 50 prospect territory, if not top 30 prospect territory. Priester ended the season as their 35th best prospect, Davis ended 2021 as FanGraphs 27th best prospect, and Peguero finished out at the #66 spot. Those rankings probably aren’t going to change much, if at all, especially for the first two.

Roansy Contreras is considered by many to be the second-best pitching prospect the Pittsburgh Pirates have in their farm system. After a phenomenal performance at Double-A, he eventually got the call to Triple-A and then made his major league debut in the final series of the 2021 season. He saw a massive uptick in velocity, as well as improved break. He made one of the biggest jumps in rankings going from just a 40-FV prospect at the beginning of 2021 to the 49th best prospect. Top 50 is a pretty remarkable ranking, though he probably sticks around there for their new rankings, maybe reaching the 45th spot at most.

Another lock to be a top 100 prospect is Oneil Cruz. Cruz and Contreras got similar treatment from the Pittsburgh Pirates. After a strong showing at Altoona, Cruz was given the nod to Triple-A Indianapolis. He had 11 hits in 29 plate appearances with 8 walks at Indy before getting the call to the majors in the final series. He continued to mash, crushing a home run and collecting two singles in 9 plate appearances. One of those singles ended up being one of the top 10 hardest-hit balls of the season last year. Cruz came in at #70, but after his outstanding end to the 2021 season, which included him getting called to the majors, he might get back into top 50 status.

One last guy that FanGraphs seems to be more bullish on than most is Miguel Yajure. He, along with Contreras came over in the Jameson Taillon swap. He ended up ranking as the #69th best prospect per FanGraphs’ rankings. He hasn’t struggled at any level yet in his career, but he was injured for a good chunk of 2021. At the very most, he might fall a few spots to the top 80-70 range, but not enough to warrant concern.

One player I don’t think returns to the top 100 is Tahnaj Thomas. He consistently sits on the border between 100 and 90, but after a poor season at High-A Greensboro, he didn’t do anything to help his stock, more so hurt it. He ended 2021 as the 90th best prospect per their rankings. They’ve been much higher on Thomas than most, even going so far as to make him their 71st best prospect mid-way through 2020.

The Pittsburgh Pirates do have some guys that should be on top 100 watch. One is switch-hitting backstop, Endy Rodriguez. Rodriguez won Low-A MVP award after having a phenomenal 140 wRC+, .410 wOBA, and .892 OPS. Rodriguez has a 40+ FV on FanGraphs, but could easily reach 45-45+ FV. Going into this year, he only had 66 career games under his belt and this year he appeared in 95 of Bradenton’s 119 contests. Not only should his outstanding performance help him, but also being able to perform well throughout a full season should help his stock.

I also think that Carmen Mlodzinski has a fair chance of reaching 45 FV. He did solid at High-A Greensboro and skipped Double-A at the very end of the season. He has the stuff and sits on the border of 40+ and 45 FV. Jared Jones is another guy who sits on the 40+ to 45 FV line. If FanGraphs considers Tahnaj Thomas a top 100 prospect right now, then I don’t see why they can’t consider Jared Jones at least a 45 FV prospect. He throws nearly as hard, has a wider array of offerings, and the only area he lacks compared to Thomas is projected command. Jones sits at just a 35-projected and Thomas is eventually projected to have 60-grade command.

One last guy worth mentioning that could push top 100 status is Bubba Chandler. He was arguably a top 15 pick in the 2021 draft but fell to the Pirates in the third round because of his football commitment to Clemson. He’s a two-way shortstop that was already hitting the mid-90’s with his four-seamer, over a year before his 20th birthday. Chandler has a serious chance to be a top 100 prospect. If not at the beginning of 2022, then likely at some point midseason.

Next. Best Pirate Pitching Prospects Under Age 20. dark

The Pittsburgh Pirates have a prime opportunity to get multiple top 50 prospects with Davis, Priester, Gonzales, Contreras, and possibly even with Cruz and Peguero. However they’ll also have some other notable names like Yajure, Thomas, and the likes of Chandler, Rodriguez, Mlodzinski, and Jones trending upward.