5 Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects You Must Watch During Spring Training
5 Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects To Keep Your Eye On In Spring Training
Depending on who you ask, the Pittsburgh Pirates may have the best farm system in baseball. If you ask me, I think they do have the best and deepest system. The system has a lot of extremely high-upside players, as well as several others that project to be solid contributors for the Pirates for many years.
The top three Pirates prospects are, in no particular order, Tyler Glasnow, Gregory Polanco and Jameson Taillon. These players all have the potential to be All-Stars at some point in their careers. Glasnow has taken over Taillon at the top of the Pirates' pitching prospects rankings. Taillon has essentially been viewed as the second-best pitching prospect for the Pirates throughout his entire career except for the year he was drafted, when he was the best pitching prospect for the Bucs. For the past two years, it was Gerrit Cole that was ranked higher than Taillon, and now it is Glasnow.
Polanco has an extremely high ceiling and a fairly decent floor. He seems to be one of the safer prospects these days due to his great ability to draw walks and limit strikeouts. One thing that tends to stick with a player for the duration of his career is plate discipline.
To go with the top three, the Pirates also have other extremely good prospects, particularly Alen Hanson, Nick Kingham, Luis Heredia and Josh Bell. Two players that were drafted in the 2013 draft, Austin Meadows and Reese McGuire, will soon be atop of the Pirates' prospect rankings -- they are going to be special.
With the Pirates having such a rich farm system, it is impossible for them to invite every single prospect to Spring Training. However, they will be inviting some of the best. Read on to find out five prospects to keep your eye on during Spring Training.
5. Tony Sanchez
Tony Sanchez received quite a bit of playing time in 2013, especially towards the end of the season when he was catching basically every start made by lefty Francisco Liriano. Unfortunately for Sanchez, his status as a prospect is placed upon him again after the Pirates made a wise trade for former New York Yankees catcher Chris Stewart. Sanchez has always been viewed as a very good defensive catcher, but he also showed a decent bat in 2013.
4. Andrew Lambo
Let me preface this by saying this: I am not the biggest fan of Andrew Lambo being the favorite to be the Opening Day starter for the Pirates at first base. Now, time for me to rave about him right? That's what makes this fun. Lambo, while having a high quantity of strikeouts, did hit for 32 home runs in 2013 between double-A and triple-A. He was once a former top prospect for the Los Angeles Dodgers, so he clearly has the talent to be a decent player. There are legitimate defensive issues, but if his power does translate to the Majors, his defensive problems can be masked to a degree.
3. Gregory Polanco
Gregory Polanco represents the Pirates' best position player prospect. He is about as "toolsy" as an outfielder can be. Defensively, he has a great arm with amazing range. He is a good contact hitter and a very good base runner with a chance to develop 25-30 home run power. Most importantly, however, is his ability to get on base. In double-A in 2013, Polanco walked just as many times as he struck out.
2. Alen Hanson
Alen Hanson is a versatile infielder, but profiles mostly as a shortstop in the Pirates' organization. Like Polanco, Hanson is full of tools. Defensively, he has the ability to make the great play, but sometimes gets a bit careless -- something that happens with a lot of young players. Offensively, Hanson is very, very good. He has shown the ability to draw walks at times, but he is an impact bat at the top of a lineup. He has the ability to hit for more power than one would think for a guy his size, and he can also hit for a decent average and run the bases very well.
1. Jameson Taillon
Jameson Taillon is on the verge of making his MLB debut. At some point in 2014, Taillon will be making an impact for the Pirates. The tall right-handed hurler features a mid-to-high 90s fastball, a power curve and a decent changeup with a chance to develop into a devastating one.