Pittsburgh Pirates: Top 10 Prospects For 2013

Pirates ProspectsHeadlined by Gerrit Cole, who was ranked No. 5 on the Baseball News Source Top 10 Prospects List for 2013, the Pittsburgh Pirates‘ farm system that is envied by many Major League Baseball organizations. The reason why? High-ceiling starting pitching.

Drafted first overall out of UCLA in 2011 after he spurned the New York Yankees (who selected him 28th overall out of high school in 2008), the 22-year-old Cole projects as a frontline starter, as does 21-year-old right-hander Jameson Taillon, the second overall pick out of high school in 2010.

Luis Heredia, Kyle McPherson and Justin Wilson are three more intriguing arms in the Pirates system.

Here are Pittsburgh’s top 10 prospects entering the 2013 season:

1) Boasting three plus pitches, Gerrit Cole soared through the Pirates farm system in 2012, opening the campaign at advanced Single-A Bradenton (where he made 13 starts), moving onto Double-A Altoona (where he recorded 12 starts) and making one start at Triple-A Indianapolis. Overall, he recorded a 2.80 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP, a .230 opponent’s batting average and 136 strikeouts in 132 innings.

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2) Since he made his pro debut at West Virginia in the low Single-A South Atlantic League, Jameson Taillon has been tested by the Pirates, and he has passed with honors. At three levels – low and advanced Single-A and Double-A) in two seasons, Taillon has a 3.71 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 8.2 strikeouts and 2.3 walks per nine innings. He throws four pitches for strikes, keeping hitters guessing.

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3) An international free agent out of Mexico, 18-year-old right-hander Luis Heredia made his Gulf Coast League debut at the age of 16 and then pitched in the short-season New York-Penn League last year, logging a 2.71 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 14 starts. Poised and mature, Heredia has three plus pitches , including a fast ball that can reach the mid-90s.

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4) Shortstop is a position of need for the Pirates, and 20-year-old Alen Hanson could fill that void as early as 2015. The Dominican Republic native made his full season debut in 2012 at low Single-A West Virginia, batting .309 with 16 home runs, 62 RBI, 13 triples, 35 stolen bases and a .909 OPS. The five-tool prospect can play shortstop and second base, but the Pirates believe he can remain at shortstop.

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5) Another multi-tooled prospect, 21-year-old Gregory Polanco swiped 40 bases while batting .325 with 16 home runs and 85 RBI at West Virginia last season. He will get a more challenging test this year in advanced Single-A. The left-handed hitting outfielder has a strong arm, and the Pirates think he will showcase even more power.

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6) Considered difficult to sign, Josh Bell slid into the second round in 2011, and the Pirates took a risk and were able to ink him with an above-slot offer. A switch-hitter with power potential who projects as a corner outfielder at the Major League level, the 20-year-old Bell had a shortened pro debut season in 2012 due to surgery on a torn meniscus in his left knee.

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7) Now owning six minor league seasons of experience after he was plucked in the 14th round out of the University of Mobile in 2007, 25-year-old right-hander Kyle McPherson saw his first taste of the majors when he posted a 2.73 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 10 games (including three starts) last year. Interrupted by a shoulder injury in 2012, McPherson has a chance to reach the majors again at some point this year.

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8) A supplemental first rounder (45th overall) out of Texas Tech last summer, 21-year-old outfielder Barrett Barnes has raw power, speed and athleticism. He projects as a corner outfielder in the majors and hit .288 with five home runs, 24 RBI, 10 stolen bases and a .857 OPS in 125 at-bats during his pro debut in the New York-Penn League in 2012.

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9) The Pirates have been deliberate with 25-year-old left-hander Justin Wilson since selecting him in the fifth round out of Fresno State in 2008. Over four minor league seasons, he has pitched respectably at every spot, including a 3.78 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP, a .189 opponent’s batting average and 138 strikeouts in 135.2 innings last year at Triple-A Indianapolis. Wilson made his Major League debut, logging a 1.93 ERA in eight relief appearances, though he did allow 10 hits in 4.2 innings while surrendering three walks for a gaudy 2.79 WHIP.

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10) Thought to have a firm commitment to Auburn University, Clay Holmes was lured with an above-slot offer after the Pirates drafted him in the ninth round in 2011. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound right-hander had a 2.28 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP and a .176 batting average against while pitching in the New York-Penn League last season.

 


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2 Responses

  1. […] »Pittsburgh Pirates: Top 10 Prospects For 2013 […]

  2. […] 18, Heredia is the youngest of the Pirates’ blue-chip prospects. He is still very raw, which is to be expected at his age, but at 6’6″ he has the build […]

 
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