The Pirates continued to add to their bevy of upper echelon prospects, adding one of the more underrated bats in the draft in Connor Joe as well as prep shortstop Cole Tucker and right-hander Mitch Keller. Josh Bell’s breakout season, in combination with Gregory Polanco’s promotion and Jameson Taillon’s injury, pushes the young outfielder to the #1 spot
For a look at the club’s Top 10 Prospects heading into the year click HERE
1. Josh Bell, OF, Age: 21
In my book, The 2014 Prospect Digest Annual, I listed the slugging – and finally healthy – corner outfielder among the biggest potential breakouts heading into the season. And, well, Bell delivered. In 79 games in high Class A, he’s mashing to the tune of .330/.375/.500 while rarely striking out (12.4% K-rate).
2. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Age: 20
After a dominant showing in low Class A last season, Glasnow, who fanned a staggering 36.3% of the hitters he faced, continues to miss an extraordinary amount of bats (9.97 K/9) and, unfortunately, the strike zone too (5.12 BB/9). Front-of-the-rotation material – assuming the control/command comes around at some point.
3. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Age: 22
The former second overall pick was knocking on the Pirates’ door before undergoing Tommy John surgery. Taillon is reportedly a few weeks away from beginning his throwing program. A wait and see approach, obviously.
4. Austin Meadows, OF, Age: 19
Meadows finds himself back in rookie ball after one of the more dominant debuts last season. He’s logged just five games this season, going 5-for-17 with a pair of doubles and a triple.
5. Nick Kingham, RHP, Age: 22
Kingham’s one of the more underrated arms in the minor leagues. Just 22-years-old, the 6-foot-5 right-hander has breezed through 26 starts in Class AA and has logged five more in Indianapolis. Solid mid-rotation arm.
6. Alen Hanson, SS, Age: 21
The switch-hitting shortstop looked like a burgeoning star after a ridiculous showing with West Virginia (.309/.381/.528) a few years back. Since then, Hanson’s been quietly solid, nothing more. He’s hitting .274/.311/.438 while producing at roughly the league average in his second stint in Class AA.
7. Reese McGuire, C, Age: 19
Unlike the handling of Meadows, the organization opted to push the 19-year-old lefty-swinging backstop to full season ball and the decision looks, well, not so smart at this point. McGuire is hitting a paltry .253/.309/.295 with just seven extra-base hits.
8. Connor Joe, OF, Age: 21
One of the more polished bats – and highly, highly underrated – in this year’s class, Joe bounced around the diamond for the University of San Diego, seeing time at both first base and catcher. Looks like the Pirates will push him to a corner outfield spot. For Joe’s full pre-draft analysis click HERE.
9. Cole Tucker, SS, Age: 18
A slight reach for the Pirates with the 24th overall pick, Tucker profiles as a defensive-first shortstop with doubles power. He’s off to a solid start, hitting .306/.468/.333 in his first 11 games.
10. Mitch Keller, RHP, Age: 18
The younger brother of Orioles prospect Jon Keller, Mitch’s ceiling is much, much higher. He was committed to UNC.
Photo Courtesy of Hayne Palmour IV / UT San Diegovia via utsandiego.com.