Pittsburgh Pirates’ Top 10 Prospects Heading Into 2015

By Douglas Smith

Pittsburgh Pirates’ Top 10 Prospects Heading Into 2015

Ranking the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Top 10 Prospects Heading Into 2015
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates have had one of the best farm systems in baseball in recent years. They have not traded away their best prospects and have started to build offense in recent drafts. Joely Rodriguez, Mitch Keller, and last year's top draft pick, Cole Tucker, just miss the top 10. Many of the names in this list remain constant from last year.

10. Wyatt Mathisen, 3B

Mathisen may be the one surprise entry to the top 10. He moved to third base this season and made a few errors, but seems to be adjusting well enough. Mathisen had some shoulder problems but has overcome the injury to become a reliable bat at a position that is not very deep in the Pirates' organization.

9. Harold Ramirez, OF

Harold Ramirez2
Official Pittsburgh Pirates Twitter Account

9. Harold Ramirez, OF

Harold Ramirez
Official Pittsburgh Pirates Twitter Account

Ramirez had a breakout year for the West Virginia Power, finishing with a .309 batting average. He established a new hitting streak record for the Power in July having hit safely in 23-straight. He does play the outfield, which seems to be set for the Pirates for many years to come.

8. JaCoby Jones, SS

JaCoby Jones
Official JaCoby Jones Instagram

8. JaCoby Jones, SS

JaCoby Jones2
Official JaCoby Jones Instagram

Jones still needs to develop his raw talent, but he has shown that he can be a power hitter. His 23 home runs in Class A was good enough for second in the league. Jones was the Pirates' third-round pick in the 2013 draft and has spent most of his time at shortstop since going pro. He was drafted as a center fielder, but his speed and athleticism gives him the range needed to move to middle infield.

7. Alen Hanson, 2B

Alen Hanson
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

7. Alen Hanson, 2B

Alen Hanson2
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Hanson has bounced around in the top ten of the prospect rankings over the last few years. He had a breakout year in 2012 as a shortstop, but is becoming comfortable at second base. He had a productive year in double-A with a .768 OPS, but the strikeout numbers are high. Hanson is constantly in trade talks, which have cooled some as he battles a hand injury.

6. Reese McGuire, C

Reese McGuire
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

6. Reese McGuire, C

Reese McGuire2
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

McGuire is the future at catcher, but he spent last year in Class A. He cooled off at the plate in the second half of last year, but that should not hinder his progress through the farm system. His defense still gets great reviews as he throws out runners at a good rate and isn't afraid to throw behind the runner at first. He also calls a good game. McGuire is the reason that Mathisen was moved to third, so the Pirates are invested.

5. Josh Bell, 1B

Josh Bell
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

5. Josh Bell, 1B

Josh Bell2
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bell was the Pirates' hitting prospect of the year, but fizzled out in the Arizona Fall League. He is moving to first base and that transition could have hindered his hitting. The 22-year-old is losing some of his power, but the Pirates are more worried about defense right now. He will enter spring training as a full-time first baseman getting extensive batting cage time.

4. Nick Kingham, SP

Nick Kingham
Official Nick Kingham Twitter Account

4. Nick Kingham, SP

Nick Kingham2
Official Nick Kingham Twitter Account

Kingham is the one pitching prospect with a chance to make the opening rotation for the Pirates next season. He moved up to triple-A Indianapolis last year where opposing batters averaged just .210. He finished 5-4 in triple-A with an ERA and FIP that were pretty similar. He has good velocity on his fastball and gets a good deal of ground balls, which is exactly what the Pirates are looking for at PNC Park.

3. Jameson Taillon, SP

Jameson Taillon
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

3. Jameson Taillon, SP

Jameson Taillon2
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Taillon just began a throwing program as part of his rehabilitation from Tommy John Surgery. This was thought to be the year that he would crack the starting rotation in the big leagues, but the injury put that on hold. Taillon has not performed as expected, but many believe the surgery will free up his movement. Time will tell.

2. Austin Meadows, OF

Austin Meadows2
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

2. Austin Meadows, OF

Austin Meadows
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Meadows signed quickly out of high school and has continued on an upward trajectory. He led the Power with a .322 batting averge and .874 OPS over 38 games in 2014. His power numbers went down when he was moved up, but the overall production is impressive. If that continues, he could finish 2015 in double-A Altoona.

1. Tyler Glasnow, SP

Glasnow was the Pitching Prospect of the Year in the system and won a number of other awards across baseball, including Florida State League Pitcher of the Year. He was dominant in high-A with a 1.74 ERA. The 6-foot-7 right hander posted a 11.4 K/9 ratio. Some are calling for Glasnow in the majors, but that progress would be much faster than typical for the Pirates.

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