MLB.com released its updated Top 100 Prospects list, and six of the names belong to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.
Leading the group is right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole at number eight on the list. The soon-to-be 22-year-old began the season in A+ ball, but was promoted to AA-Altoona on June 19 and then sent to AAA-Indianapolis for their recent playoff run. He will more than likely start 2013 in Indianapolis and should reach the majors after a few months there. MLB.com ranks Cole the third right-handed pitching prospect.
Behind Cole is righty Jameson Taillon at number 16 on the list. At age 20, Taillon spent most of the season at level A+. He didn’t dominate there as much as most would have like to have seen, posting a 3.82 ERA over 125 IP, but was promoted to Altoona on August 17 and proceeded to impress in his three starts. Taillon struck out 18 batters and walked just one over 17 innings, allowing opposing hitters just a .183 batting average. Those 17 innings are a small sample size and Taillon will likely start 2013 in AA, but they were certainly encouraging.
The next Pirate on the list is Starling Marte, who turns 24 in a month. He hit .286 with 12 home runs and 21 stolen bases in 99 games in Indianapolis before being called up to the majors in late July. Before a strained oblique sent him on the DL, Marte was hitting .253 with four home runs and four stolen bases in 95 big league at bats. Marte ranks as MLB.com’s sixth outfield prospect.
Following Marte were three Pirates who weren’t listed on the site’s pre-season Top 100: short stop Alen Hanson, pitcher Luis Heredia and outfielder Gregory Polanco.
Hanson, 19, hit .309 with 16 home runs and 35 stolen bases in 489 at bats with level A-West Virginia, earning him a spot as MLB.com’s 54th prospect.
Heredia, who probably has the highest ceiling of any prospect in the Pirates system, posted a 2.71 ERA with 40 strikeouts and 20 walks with the State College Spikes. He turned 18 in August and is ranked 73 on the list.
Polanco comes in as the number 94 prospect on the list. The lefty turns 21 on September 14 and also had a nice season at West Virginia, hitting for a .325 average with 16 home runs and 40 stolen bases.
The big league Pirates open a three-game set with the Chicago Cubs tonight at 7:05.
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