Pittsburgh Pirates Top 10 Prospects

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Top 10 Prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates' Farm System

Derick E. Hingle-USA Today Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates may not have broken their streak of 20 consecutive losing seasons in 2012, but they came close. And once again the Bucs teased fans all the way through the All-Star break that they might indeed be a legitimate contender to win the NL Central.

Well, fear not, Pirates fans. Pittsburgh has a bright looking future with some of the best prospects in the game working their way through the Pirates farm system.

If pitching is at a premium in MLB right now, then the Pirates are going to be loaded for bear. The starting trio of A.J. Burnett, James McDonald and Kevin Correia could be getting a boost from a couple of the pitchers who will be highlighted here. And center fielder Andrew McCutchen could have some help on either corner if a couple of these hot young Pirates prospects crank it up in 2013.

The Pirates have been rebuilding from within, and in 2013 the fans at PNC Park may actually start to see it pay off. The team that has been the woulda-shoulda-coulda of the division the last two seasons may start to tip the balance of power.

Pittsburgh might not be quite read to overtake the Cincinnati Reds yet, but with some of this young raw talent, they'll definitely challenge for a wild card spot, and may be the team to beat in a couple of seasons if they can hold on to their free agent stars.

Here's a look at the top 10 Pittsburgh Pirates prospects, and how they could possibly fit into the Pirates short and long term plans.

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#10 Alex Dickerson

Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

Dickerson could be the Pirates future at first base. He's taken to the position very naturally and he's gotten some notice with his hitting skills, including exceptional plate discipline. He could be one that moves quickly up the ladder to Pittsburgh. 

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#9 Barrett Barnes

Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

Barnes was a supplemental first round selection out of Texas Tech. He's an outfielder with some real raw power at the plate and a lot of athletic ability. He'll be one to watch coming through the Pirates system over the next couple of seasons. 

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#8 Kyle McPherson

Anthony Gruppuso-USA Today Sports

After five years in the Pirates system, McPherson may be ready for the big club. He's got a great fastball, curve and chang-up, and has shown he can log some serious innings.  He was called up twice last year, once for his debut in August, and then again when the rosters expanded in September. 

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#7 Justin Wilson

Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

Wilson has gradually moves his way up the ranks of the Pirates farm system and may be ready for a shot at the bigs. His one developing issue has been control, but he has done well out of the bullpen in the higher minor league ranks, and he's got that deadly combination of a live fastball and devastating breaking ball that might be perfect in a reliever's role.

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#6 Josh Bell

Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

Bell is a switch-hitter who has the ability to hit for power and extra bases from either side. Although in high school he played center field, his skill set is more suited for right field, with a great arm and the ability to go deep at the plate.

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#5 Gregory Polanco

Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

The Pirates have another quality outfielder in the fold in Polanco. He's got great speed on the basepath and in the outfield, and has shown a lot of plate discipline and a great eye for the strike zone at an early age. He's also got one of those cannon arms that can throw out baserunners from just about anywhere. 

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#4 Luis Heredia

Jason Bridge-USA Today Sports

Heredia was signed out of Mexico, and made his debut in the Gulf Coast League at age 16 in 2011. He's still very young, and has a lot of work to do, but he's already getting some serious heat on his fastball, hitting the mid-90s at times. He's got a long way to go before he gets to Pittsburgh, but he's got a bright looking future. 

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#3 Alen Hanson

Jason Bridge-USA Today Sports

Hanson made his U.S. debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2011, and is one of the famed "five tool players" that teams covet. He's already shown some exceptional speed and glove work, and his power stroke is starting to come along. He played both second and shortstop last year, but only played short for West Virginia in 2012. 

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#2 Jameson Taillon

Denny Medley-USA Today Sports

Taillon was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 Draft. He's a right-hander with some electric stuff. He is working on a four pitch arsenal -- fastball, curve, slider and changeup -- and is able to throw them all for strikes. 

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#1 Gerrit Cole

Brad Barr-USA Today Sports

Cole was the No. 1 pick in the 2011 Draft and it's easy to see why. Eventually he'll be a #1 or #2 starter, his stuff is just that good. Primarily he pitches with his fastball, slider and changeup. He's working out the delivery mechanics in the minors now, but it shouldn't take Cole too long to make it to Pittsburgh.

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