Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed, you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.
All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It can be found here.
|30||Yerry De Los Santos||22.2||A||RHP||2021||40|
Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.
The Pirates international approach under new Director Junior Vizcaino has been one of high-volume, with lots of mid-six figure types rather than huge bonus babies. Assume these are all medium-frame types unless otherwise noted. Bowen was the team’s 2019 11th rounder. He signed for $400,000 in lieu of a multi-sport career at Michigan State. His bat is quite raw but he has about average raw power and is going to try to play second base. He’s a dev project. Valdez, 22, is a lanky infielder who projects to 3B or the outfield corners. He already has at least average raw power and he looks physically projectable, but players this age are sometimes done growing. Lopez had a big year in the DSL but I’m not sure he stays on the dirt. If I’m wrong, then he belongs in the 35+ tier this year. Maguire was signed out of Australia a few weeks ago with money acquired via trade. He’s a 16-year-old outfielder with surprising bat control. Custodio, 18, has the best feel for contact in this group and a good shot to stay in center field. Terrero signed for $600,000 last July. He’s a compact, contact-oriented center fielder. Fajardo is much like Jerez and Tejeda on the main list but he’s more physically mature, and tougher to dream on. Dixon is a raw swinger but he’s a good-framed 70 runner.
Toribio, 20, is a pitchability righty with an average curveball and changeup, heater up to 95, sitting 92-94. Melendez was a 2018 minor league Rule 5 pick and is now on his third org at age 22. He sits 92-96 from a three-quarters slot and his slider is plus when it’s located correctly. Mezquita, 18, has a giant frame and is sitting 90-93, touching 95, but with little idea where it’s going. Gonzalez, too, but he’s less projectable. Selby, 22, has a longer arm action but he’s thrown strikes for two years. He’s up to 96 and has an above-average slider.
Ogle is up to 96 and will show you a 55 breaking ball. He’s 22 and has had some injuries. Alemais missed almost all of 2019 due to shoulder surgery. He’s a plus defensive shortstop when healthy and might end up having Nick Ahmed’s career. Waddell is a sinker/slider/changeup lefty up to 95. He has starter experience and could be a viable long man. Weiman throws a ton of strikes out of the bullpen and is perfectly viable injury depth right now. He’ll need to perform if he’s given a big league opportunity because he doesn’t throw very hard. Kranick is a fastball-heavy relief prospect who’s up to 96 as a starter, sitting 92-94. It may play better in relief. Tolman is a lefty stick without much power who can play second base, a lesser version of Kevin Kramer. Fraizer didn’t play much at U of A due to a broken hand but he tweaked his swing and hit .400 over the 19 games he did play. He looked like a fourth outfielder type in my looks but they were limited during his junior year. Koch has 40-man catcher upside.
I mentioned last year that I thought the core of the next competitive Pirates team was in place. Cole Tucker still has a chance to grow into impact power late, and he’s almost certainly going to play great defense. Bryan Reynolds‘ debut was excellent, Josh Bell’s 2019 first half offered a look at his capabilities, and several of the top prospects on this list are going to arrive pretty quickly. The club’s more evenly allocated approach to amateur talent acquisition (several over slot high schoolers on Day Three of the draft, lots of $400,000-$800,000 bonus types internationally) is juxtaposed with their pro department’s big game (and frame) hunting tendencies (Tahnaj Thomas, Lliover Peguero, Brennan Malone, Yordi Rosario, Wilkin Ramos); they seem hellbent on acquiring upside that the org’s ownership wouldn’t be willing to pay for on the open market. This club has to home grow stars and is clearly looking for them as they ship big league pieces off in the short-term.
Pittsburgh’s new front office now has seeds from the Theo Epstein/Jed Hoyer tree (Ben Cherington, the new GM), the Red Sox’s more recent leadership (Vizcaino comes from Boston), Houston’s operation (Oz Ocampo), and the Twins’ and Rays’ field staff (new manager Derek Shelton). It’s a lot of new ideas from some of the more successful orgs in baseball. This is one of the game’s better systems with both high-end talent up top and real depth created by the last couple years of focus on farm building.
Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.