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Pittsburgh Pirates Top 20 prospects for 2017: Mid-Season Review

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Here’s our mid-season review of the Pittsburgh Pirates system.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Pittsburgh Pirates
Josh Bell
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

We continue our mid-season organization reviews with a look at the Pittsburgh Pirates Top 20 Prospects from the beginning of 2017. The index for other team reviews can be found here.

This list was originally published December 31st, 2016.

MLB: New York Mets at Pittsburgh Pirates
Tyler Glasnow
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

1) Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Grade A/A-: Age 23, fifth round pick in 2011 from high school in California; remains unhittable in Triple-A (1.49 ERA in 36 innings, 55/15 K/BB) but can’t find consistency in the majors (7.45 ERA in 54 inning, 50/29 K/BB, 75 hits); numbers are undoubtedly ugly for Pittsburgh but I still believe in his potential and am loathe to give up on him.

2) Austin Meadows, OF, Grade B+/A-: Age 22, first round pick in 2013; hitting .248/.313/.358 in Triple-A before going down with hamstring injury; defense remains best attribute; shows good pop and speed to go with it when he’s healthy but has trouble staying healthy.

3) Mitch Keller, RHP, Grade B+/A-: Age 21, second round pick in 2014 from high school in Iowa; 3.70 ERA in 58 innings in High-A, 50/18 K/BB, 45 hits; scouting reports from April and May were glowing but he’s been less impressive since missing most of June with a back injury; remains a top prospect.

4) Josh Bell, 1B-OF, Grade B+: Age 24, second round pick in 2011 from high school in Texas; hitting .241/.322/.472 with 17 homers, 38 walks, 69 strikeouts in 320 major league at-bats; solid rookie campaign and he can improve further from here.

5) Kevin Newman, SS, Grade B: Age 23, first round pick in 2015 from University of Arizona; hitting .262/.313/.362 in 340 at-bats in Double-A, 22 walks, 40 strikeouts; playing very well defensively; the Grade B was a notch too high but I remain optimistic about him long-term.

6) Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Grade B/B-: Age 20, first round pick in 2015 from high school in Texas, son of former MLBer Charlie Hayes; hitting .276/.356/.348 with 23 steals, 32 walks, 51 strikeouts in 279 at-bats in High-A; young for the level; no power yet but controls zone well, effective runner, outstanding glove at third base; still like him too.

7) Taylor Hearn, LHP, Grade B-: Age 22, drafted by Nationals in fifth round in 2015 from Oklahoma Baptist; acquired in July 2016 Mark Melancon trade; 4.12 ERA in 87 innings in High-A with 106/37 K/BB, just 65 hits; went on the disabled list last week with a strained oblique; generating good buzz with improved slider to go with 94-99 heat.

8) Nick Kingham, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 25, fourth round pick in 2010; had Tommy John surgery in 2015, still hasn’t quite gotten back to old standards, 5.16 ERA in 59 innings, 58/22 K/BB, 66 hits; I wouldn’t give up on him at all.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates
Steve Brault
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

9) Steven Brault, LHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 25, 11th round pick by Orioles in 2013 from Regis University in Colorado; acquired in 2015 trade; pitching excellently in Triple-A with 2.06 ERA in 100 innings, 95/36 K/BB, 77 hits; just needs an opportunity.

10) Cole Tucker, SS, Grade B-/C+: Age 21, first round pick in 2014 from high school in Arizona; nice year in High-A, .285/.364/.426 in 277 at-bats, 34 walks, 70 strikeouts, 36 steals; solid glove with speed, OBP, increasing power; don’t overlook him.

11) Will Craig, 3B, Grade B-/C+: Age 22, first round pick in 2016 from Wake Forest; .284/.388/.404, 44 walks, 78 strikeouts in 327 at-bats in High-A; more homers would be nice but he does have 20 doubles; playing well defensively at first base.

12) Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Grade C+/B-: Age 24, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2013 at age 20; not having a good year in Double-A, 5.98 ERA in 53 innings, 46/35 K/BB; missed a month with an oblique strain; still working on off-speed stuff to go with upper-90s fastball.

13) Travis MacGregor, RHP, Grade C+/B-: Age 19, second round pick in 2016 from high school in Florida; projectable but rather raw type, pitching in rookie ball in Appalachian League, 4.43 ERA in 22 innings, 15/11 K/BB.

14) Alen Hanson, INF-OF, Grade C+: Age 24, claimed on waivers by the Chicago White Sox in June; hitting combined .218/.271/.300 in 110 at-bats between the two teams; looks like a role player at best now.

15) Max Moroff, INF, Grade C+: Age 24, .269/.385/.569 in Triple-A, hitting just .132/.230/.208 in 53 major league at-bats; I don’t think he’ll ever hit for high average but he’s not a .132 hitter either and has pop to go with a versatile glove.

16) Elias Diaz, C, Grade C+: Age 26, Venezuelan catcher, hitting .266/.306/.380 in 79 major league at-bats; should have long career as a reserve.

17) Luis Escobar, RHP, Grade C+: Age 21, signed out of Colombia in 2013; 4.19 ERA in 86 innings in Low-A with 109/38 K/BB, 70 hits; needs better command but K/IP and low hit rate aren’t lying about the potential of his fastball/curveball combo.

Miami Marlins v Pittsburgh Pirates
Trevor Williams
Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

18) Trevor Williams, RHP, Grade C+: Age 25, second round pick from Arizona State by Marlins in 2013, traded to Pirates in October 2015; holding down rotation spot with 4.69 ERA in 81 innings, 59/22 K/BB; capable of better.

19) Frank Duncan, RHP, Grade C+: Age 25, 13th round pick in 2014 from University of Kansas; traded to Arizona Diamondbacks after this list was written; getting killed in Triple-A with 6.23 ERA in 100 innings, 59/30 K/BB, 135 hits; would be better in the bullpen.

20) Barrett Barnes, OF, Grade C+: Age 25, compensation round pick in 2012 from Texas Tech; back to his old ways of constant injuries, has missed most of year with hamstring injury; hitting .247/.352/.342 in 73 at-bats in Triple-A.

OTHER GRADE C+
Gage Hinsz, RHP: 5.56 ERA in 81 innings in High-A, 46/27 K/BB.
Clay Holmes, RHP: Solid year in Triple-A, 3.58 ERA in 78 innings, 75/38 K/BB.
Kevin Kramer, 2B: Hot start in Double-A, .297/.380/.500 in 202 at-bats; now on DL with broken hand.
Jared Lakind, LHP: 6.81 ERA in 36 Double-A innings; released earlier this month and signed with Marlins as free agent.
Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP: 3.18 ERA in 40 innings in Triple-A, 37/14 K/BB; can be solid relief option.
Braeden Ogle, LHP: Just getting started in rookie ball; 3.60 ERA in 25 innings, 17/12 K/BB.
Jose Osuna, 1B-OF: In the majors, hitting .247/.290/.459 in 146 at-bats.
Miguel Rosario, RHP: 1.27 ERA in 43 innings in Double-A, 40/28 K/BB.
Edgar Santana, RHP: 2.06 ERA in 39 innings in Triple-A, 38/9 K/BB, another relief option.


Feel free to ask about any other players as well as 2017 draftees in the comments section.