Over a year ago Rum Bunter released our Pittsburgh Pirates post-2020 top 10 prospect list. A few weeks ago, we released our pre-2022 top 10 list. So what has changed since then?
Earlier this month, we released our top 10 Pittsburgh Pirates prospects based on the opinions of our writers here at Rum Bunter. The very first top 10 Pittsburgh Pirates’ prospects list I released was back on October 26th, 2020, a year and 4 months ago. The farm system looks quite different since then as the Pirates have added a ton of prospects.
Given the quite different look, I thought it would be fun to see the differences between the list from the end of the 2020 season compared to our list going into the 2022 season. Things have changed a fair amount, but I first want to look at the similarities.
Among the players that are on our list from 2020 compared to 2022, we have Carmen Mlodzinski, who was an honorable mention in 2020 and 2022, Travis Swaggerty, who went from no. 7 to no. 9, who fell from 4th to 6th, Nick Gonzales, who still ranks at #3, and Oneil Cruz, who rose from no. 2 to no. 1. Quinn Priester and Liover Peugero swapped places as Peguero went from no. 4 in 2020 to no. 6 in our most recent update while Priester rose from no. 6 to no. 4.
Just because some prospects fell doesn’t mean that they lost value or have become worse. Since we made the first list, the Pittsburgh Pirates have added many prospects. The 2020 list did not include any of Endy Rodriguez (no. 10), Anthony Solometo (no. 8), Bubba Chandler (no. 7), Roansy Contreras (no. 5), or Henry Davis (no. 2).
The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Rodriguez and Contreras through trade months after the first list was produced while Solometo, Chandler, and Davis all came out of the most recent draft. You have to accommodate for the amount of new talent in the organization.
Now let’s take a look at some of the prospects who fell off the list. The first notable name is Ke’Bryan Hayes, who was our no. 1 prospect at the end of the 2020 season, though fell off simply because of losing prospect status. The highest-ranked prospect from the 2020 list that is still in the system is right-hander Tahnaj Thomas.
Thomas fell from no. 5 to no longer on our updated list. Numbers 8, 9, and 10 all are no longer on our top 10 prospect list. That included right-handers Brennan Malone (no. 8) and Cody Bolton (no. 10), as well as middle infielder Ji-Hwan Bae (no. 9).
The honorable mentions category certainly had some interesting names. Sluggers Mason Martin and Rodolfo Nolasco were part of this section. Nolasco arguably gained more value after a phenominal, albiet small showing at the Florida Complex League. Though was pushed off our new list, likely because of the amount of outfield talent that was added over the past year-plus. Martin has fallen significantly after a solid but unimpressive season in 2021 where he struck out just under 35% of the time and had a sub-8% walk rate. Rodolfo Castro also received some recognition in 2020, though he is another prospect who was forced off the list. Jared Oliva has also seen his stock take a steep dive over the last two years.
So now that we’ve taken a look at the players who have fallen off, who are some players that are now part of our top 10 list? Earlier we listed Rodriguez, Solometo, Chandler, Contreras, and Davis, but a few others appear in our honorable mention section. Jared Jones and Miguel Yajure were part of the honorable mentions. J
ones was a 2020 draft pick, and Yajure was acquired in the Jameson Taillon trade later that off-season. Maikol Escotto also was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Taillon trade. Another right-hander who has seen his stock rise over the past year is Michael Burrows, who wasn’t on our original list.
Overall, it’s nice to see the improvements made to the farm system. It shows that the farm has made a tremendous amount of progress since 2020. It also gives the Pittsburgh Pirates a good future outlook as many of the prospects that were ranked lower in 2020 have climbed prospect boards.