Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Pirates Prospects Rankings Through The Years

It is that time of year again. The time when the preseason prospect rankings come out from all the big outlets and that means that the season is right around the corner. As a Pirates fan the thought of the rankings coming out has been a scary situation in the past. I outlined during last season how putridly awful the Pirates system was back before the current front office and to be honest if you don't like throwing up then I wouldn't click on it (you should click on it anyways, you won't really throw up. I think).

Anyways, the Pirates have faired much better in the recent past with the organizational ranking and this year was no different. Here is where the Pirates looked like in rankings from Baseball Prospectus, Keith Law, and MLB Network above others. Here is how the Pirates panned out in those rankings:

Baseball Prospectus (7)
Jameson Taillon (19)
Gregory Polanco (24)
Tyler Glasnow (42)
Reese McGuire (59)
Josh Bell (77)
Nick Kingham (80)
Austin Meadows (89)

MLB Network (6)
Gregory Polanco (13)
Jameson Taillon (16)
Tyler Glasnow (27)
Austin Meadows (45)
Alen Hanson (67)
Josh Bell (74)

Keith Law (7)
Gregory Polanco (13)
Tyler Glasnow (20)
Jameson Taillon (27)
Austin Meadows (35)
Nick Kingham (73)
Alen Hanson (74)
Reese McGuire (97)

Really interesting to see the variety of what these outlets rank. Obviously all of them are high on the few guys at the top but at the bottom we see a lot of variance. Austin Meadows was anywhere from 35 to 89 and Reese McGuire was on and off lists.


Just to see how these things progressed in terms of how the organization is viewed here are how the Pirates faired in the past on some lists:

2013

MLB Network (4)
Gerrit Cole (9)
Jameson Taillon (15)
Alen Hanson (54)
Gregory Polanco (65)

Baseball Prospectus (5)
Gerrit Cole (3)
Jameson Taillon (11)
Gregory Polanco (44)
Luis Heredia (53)
Alen Hanson (66)

Keith Law (5)
Gerrit Cole (8)
Jameson Taillon (20)
Alen Hanson (34)
Gregory Polanco (55)
Luis Heredia (84)

Baseball America (5)
Gerrit Cole (7)
Jameson Taillon (19)
Gregory Polanco (51)
Alen Hanson (61)
Luis Heredia (78)

2012

MLB Network (4)
Jameson Taillon (8)
Gerrit Cole (11)
Starling Marte (40)
Josh Bell (69)

Baseball Prospectus (6)
Gerrit Cole (9)
Jameson Taillon (13)
Luis Heredia (42)
Josh Bell (43)
Starling Marte (56)
Robbie Grossman (76)

Keith Law (5)
Gerrit Cole (10)
Jameson Taillon (16)
Josh Bell (67)
Starling Marte (72)
Robbie Grossman (86)

Baseball America (4)
Gerrit Cole (12)
Jameson Taillon (15)
Josh Bell (60)
Starling Marte (73)

2011

MLB Network (1)
Jameson Taillon (9)

Baseball Prospectus (3)
Jameson Taillon (8)
Stetson Allie (39)
Luis Heredia (81)
Tony Sanchez (93)

Keith Law (2)
Jameson Taillon (30)
Tony Sanchez (63)

Baseball America (3)
Jameson Taillon (11)
Tony Sanchez (46)
Stetson Allie (76)


2010

Baseball Prospectus (3)
Pedro Alvarez (6)
Tony Sanchez (75)
Jose Tabata (90)

Keith Law (3)
Pedro Alvarez (35)
Jose Tabata (57)
Tony Sanchez (82)

Baseball America (2)
Pedro Alvarez (8)
Tony Sanchez (79)

2009

Baseball Prospectus (3)
Pedro Alvarez (4)
Andrew McCutchen (25)
Jose Tabata (91)

Keith Law (3)
Andrew McCutchen (18)
Jose Tabata (32)
Pedro Alvarez (38)

Baseball America (3)
Pedro Alvarez (12)
Andrew McCutchen (33)
Jose Tabata (75)

2008

Baseball Prospectus (3)
Andrew McCutchen (24)
Steve Pearce (43)
Neil Walker (94)

Keith Law (3)
Andrew McCutchen (12)
Neil Walker (89)
Brad Lincoln (97)

Baseball American (3)
Andrew McCutchen (14)
Neil Walker (61)
Steve Pearce (89)

2007

Baseball Prospectus (2)
Andrew McCutchen (15)
Brad Lincoln (83)

Baseball America (3)
Andrew McCutchen (13)
Brad Lincoln (69)
Neil Walker (74)

Now these are fun to look at and talk about how these players might impact the future of the team. You can look at guys like Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez and see that they lived up to the hype in most situations but then you look at guys like Steve Pearce and Jose Tabata and you can really see how this is a flip of a coin.

Prospects don't always work out. That is an understatement. Just because the Pirates have over double the players in the top-100 lists doesn't meant they are automatically going to be good and have great players that are ranked in the top-25. The fact remains that the Pirates have done a much better job through the year giving themselves a better chance to develop the top of the line talent like McCutchen.

I am more of a prospects guy who love this stuff so many this is more interesting to me than it might be to someone who only cares about the wins and losses of the big club but at some point guys like Polanco, Taillon, Meadows, etc. are going to need to be contributors if the Pirates are going to have any sort of long term success. It is no secret that they can't go out and spend with the top money teams so the minors leagues is how they have to do it.

You can click on the link in the first paragraph and see how laughably bad the Pirates farm system was and then look through the prospect listings to see how they have improved, at least on paper. We are starting to see the fruit of that on the field and that makes this stuff a lot more fun to follow.

If you are looking for a more league-wide approach Sports on Earth had a semi-breakdown of prospect lists since 1994. Good stuff.

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