The prospects ranked 3-5 all were disappointing on different levels. At #3 overall was infielder Alen Hanson. Hanson broke out in 2012 and established himself as one of the best young infield prospects in Baseball. The switch hitter quickly started to gain comparison to having a similar makeup to Jose Reyes. Instead, Hanson would see his stock fall just as fast as it went up, he was DFA'd in 2017.
At #4 would be the other prospect who broke out alongside Alan Hanson. "El Coffee", Gregory Polanco was considered to be as close to as a can't-miss prospect as the Bucs had in their system. He would continue this reputation until he would reach the Big Leagues. Unfortunately, Polanco only had a career batting average of .241 and was let go by the end of the 2021 season.
At #5 was pitcher Luis Heredia. Heredia was the highest-profile International signing by the Pirates in years. He signed out of Mexico and was brought in by then Head Scout Rene Gayo. Heredia was never good for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was in poor shape upon joining the Pittsburgh Pirates and was not throwing nearly as hard as initially reported. Heredia would struggle with command of his pitches and in general to stay healthy over his 7 years in the Organization. His ERA as a starter was over 4 in the minors and he was released after the 2017 season.
Gayo would later be fired by the Pittsburgh Pirates and eventually banned by Major League Baseball. It was never reported specifically who the players were, but Gayo apparently was providing false information to the Pittsburgh Pirates Front Office on prospects specifically from Mexico. He was essentially convincing the Bucs to sign these players and was making money from the Mexican League teams who had his rights. This was a way for both Gayo and the Mexican League Team to make extra cash.
This is tough to look at. When considering that 3 of the top 5 did not work out it makes sense why things went south for the Bucs. Cole and Taillon obviously had successful careers here, but of course, the team moved on from them when they became expensive. Overall, 3 of the top 5 prospects were more status in name than high-potential players. Click here for the full list