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Much like the position player top 20 this is just a recap and a shot as of this time so you may notice a few inconsistencies (although I think there is only one on this list).
1. Jameson Taillon
2. Tyler Glasnow
3. Nicholas Kingham
4. Luis Heredia
5. Stolmy Pimentel
6. Blake Taylor
7. Joely Rodriguez
8. Cody Dickson
9. Clay Holmes
10. Brandon Cumpton
11. Jason Creasy
12. Kyle McPherson
13. Phil Irwin
14. Jonathan Sandfort
15. Buddy Borden
16. Duke Welker
17. Casey Sadler
18. Ryan Hafner
19. Zach Thornton
20. Neil Kozikowski
Upper Level Right Handed Starters
Top 3 Prospects
1. Jameson Taillon: As Iím sure most of you know Taillon is the Pirates top pitching prospect in the organization. He was selected 2nd overall in the 2012 draft out The Woodlands High School in Texas. His arsenal of pitches include a mid 90s fastball that can reach the upper 90s, a curve ball thatís when itís on is considered one of the better ones in baseball and a changeup that he is still working to develop. I get the sense that Taillonís is inconsistent with his curveball as scouts opinions range from calling it simply a plus pitch to one of the better curves in baseball. My guess is it depends on when these scouts watch him. Taillon made his pro debut the following season in A ball and had a fairly successful year posting good strike out and walk numbers although he was hit a bit harder than one might think do to an issue he has with elevating his pitches. The following season he started off strong in A+ and then just sort of became ok at the level; the Pirates still promoted him to AA at the end of the season and he pitched outstanding there. Last year he started in AA and had similar results to what he did in A+ the previous season. He posted solid K and BB numbers, drew rave reviews but his numbers were simply good not great. He got a taste of AAA at the end of the year and performed nearly the same. It might be a little concerning that the eye popping numbers just arenít there for Taillon but then again they werenít there for Cole either. It is possible this is all a byproduct of how the Pirates develop pitchers. At the beginning of the offseason it appeared the likely plan with Taillon was to have him spend half a year at AAA before joining the big league club but elbow discomfort has put that all on hold as the team tries to figure out to what extent he will need to rest. Hopefully the injury does not prove to be serious and heíll start pitching in AAA sometime in May with a possible July or August call up to Pittsburgh.
2. Nicholas Kingham: The Pirates drafted Kingham in the 4th round of the 2010 draft. Right now Kinghamís arsenal includes a mid 90s fastball, a good curve and an average change up. In a lot of ways minus the hype that surrounds them Kingham is very similar to Taillon. He doesnít quite have his upside but both are prep pitchers out of the 2010 draft with similar arsenals and similar builds. Kingham... [Read More]
| Mar 26, 2014 - 9:58 AM
It was just announced via Ken Rosenthal and Jim Duquette that the Pittsburgh Pirates and Starling Marte have reached an agreement on an extension that will keep the 25 year old Starling Marte a Pittsburgh Pirate through his prime years, into his early 30's, at a sweet reasonable price of a little over $5 million per year.
Considering that guys like Garrett Jones were getting $3.5 million per year this offseason and are well past their prime, what the Pirates got for Starling Marte who is just getting ready to enter his, is a remarkable deal. When you consider the deal that the Pirates struck with Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata, Neal Huntington and company have become masterful negotiators at shoring up contracts that are very favorable to the Pirates.
The question now is if they can force Scott Boras into these sweet deals with Pedro Alvarez and Gerrit Cole or if they will have to pony up some more cash to get the stubborn Scorr Boras to accept?
Mid Level Right Handed Starters
Top 3 Prospects
1. Tyler Glasnow: The Pirates drafted Glasnow in the 5th of the 2011 draft. Glasnow fit the typical Neal Huntington profile of a tall projectable right handed pitcher who the Pirates believed would add velocity as he filled out. So far Glasnow has proven to be probably the most successful of the group. He had his ridiculous breakout campaign last season where he struck out 36.3% of the hitters he faced and held the opposition to a miniscule .142 average. Glasnowís arsenal includes a fastball that touches the upper 90s, a very good curve and a changeup he is still refining. Glasnow does have some control issues to iron out and his changeup still needs a good bit of work but right now he has the look of a top shelf pitching prospect and probably has a higher ceiling than any pitcher in the Pirate system not named Gerrit Cole. Glasnow is currently working through what appears to be a minor back issue so he wonít be ready for the start of the season but should join the A+ level shortly with the possibility of getting a taste of AA later in the season.
2. Luis Heredia: Heredia is the Pirates biggest international signee to date as the Pirates gave him a 2.6 million dollar signing bonus in 2010. Just 16 years old at the time Heredia was already hitting the low 90s with his fastball. The Pirates aggressively sent him to rookie ball in his debut season in 2011. His stat line wasnít the greatest but this was a guy who was 16 years old for the majority of the season and he was 2-3 years younger than the majority of his competition. He moved up to short season ball in 2012 with much better results. The 2013 season had the look of a potential big breakout year but he showed up to camp out of shape and it took him longer than expected to join the Pirates A ball affiliate. He posted decent results but scouts reviews of him werenít glowing and his control problem was back. At this point it is difficult to know just what the Pirates will do with him but best guess is they will start him back in A ball and let him work his way up to A+. Considering he will spend most of the year at 19 this isnít really a bad thing. Heredia still possesses that huge upside that he had at the time he was signed but now it appears some of the shine has worn off and the likelihood of him realizing that upside seems to be fading.
3. Clay Holmes: Just a... [Read More]
Low Level Right Handed Starters
Top 3 Prospects
1. Jonathan Sandfort: Sandfort like 99% of all other pitchers at his level is all about projectability. Originally drafted by the Pirates in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft Sandfort was not a pick made with the intentions of saving money for Appel as he signed for the full slot amount. Sandfort throws a low 90s fastball, a curve and is working on a changeup. At 6í 6Ē Sandfort has a big frame and will hopefully add a few mph on to his fastball as he fills out. After signing the Pirates placed Sandfort in rookie ball and he made 8 starts totaling just 15 IP. Sandfortís numbers donít look terrible but he walked a lot of batters and missed very few bats. Sensing he wasnít ready to move up the Pirates assigned Sandfort back to rookie ball in 2013. This time around his numbers ended up slightly worse but he showed much improved control and missed a fair number of bats. Sandfort made definite progress in 2013 and still comes with a lot of upside. The Pirates will likely push him to the short season league and see how he fares against age appropriate competition.
2. Neil Kozikowski: The Pirates drafted Kozikowski in the 8th round of this past draft. Kozikowski really flew under the radar not appearing on any of Baseball Americaís rankings and also not even having a write up at first. The Pirates evidently seen something they liked though as they gave him a 425K signing bonus well over the 155,400 slot amount. Like most others here above Kozikowski is a projectable right handed pitcher that currently throws in the high 80s with a decent curve but no real change up. Also in his arsenal making him a little different is a cutter. Upon signing the Pirates sent him to get a taste of rookie ball and he performed well showing great command even without striking out a lot of hitters. The Pirates seem to like Kozikowski a good bit so I expect heíll get a push to short season ball but the new team in Bristol is also a possibility.
3. Billy Roth: The Pirates drafted Roth in the 16th round of this past draft. He was a strong two way prospect as he showed good power from the right hand side but most scouts and apparently the Pirates felt he projected best long term as a pitcher. The consensus seemed to be that Roth would likely honor his commitment to Arizona but the Pirates managed to sign him away for... [Read More]