Baseball America is one of the most popular websites for finding information and rankings on Major League Baseball prospects. They often release rankings of the top overall prospects as well as each team's top 10 prospects. Recently Baseball America updated all their lists and these are the top 10 prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization according to them.
10. Jeff Locke, Left-handed PitcherWhen the Pittsburgh Pirates traded Nate McLouth the front office got a lot of heat from fans but in that trade the Pirates got Jeff Locke, who is now their 10th best prospect, along with one of their current starters (Charlie Morton) and a prospect that Baseball America ranks as their best defensive outfielder (Gorkys Hernandez).
9. Stetson Allie, Right-handed PitcherStetson Allie gave up 19 runs in just 26.0 innings pitched in his first season in the minors. Hopefully the 2010 2nd round draft pick will get it together eventually but he has dropped to ninth on Baseball America's list after being third last season.
8. Robbie Grossman, OutfielderRobbie Grossman batted .294 with 13 home runs, 56 RBI and 24 stolen bases at Bradenton this past season. Grossman, drafted in the sixth round in 2008, is one of the few players on this list that was not drafted in the first three rounds of the draft. Baseball America ranks Grossman as the Pittsburgh propsect with the best strike-zone discipline.
7. Tony Sanchez, CatcherTony Sanchez was the 1st round pick in the 2009 draft. Hopefully Sanchez will pan out because I believe the Pirates had about 87 different players field the catcher position last season. Last time Baseball America did a Top 100 overall prospects list Sanchez was the second Pirate on the list and was ranked #46.
6. Kyle McPherson, Right-handed PitcherLast season Kyle McPherson started in A+ where he went 4-1 with a 2.89 ERA with 60 strikeouts and just 6 walks. McPherson then moved up to AA where he went 8-5 with a 3.02 ERA, struck out 82 and walked only 21. Baseball America ranks this 14th-rounder as the Pirates' pitcher with the best changeup and the best control.
5. Luis Heredia, Right-handed PitcherLuis Heredia was not drafted by the Pirates but was signed as a free agent out of Mexico for $2.6 million. Heredia went 1-2 with a 4.75 ERA in 12 games in the Gulf Coast League but he is still only 17-years old.
4. Starling Marte, OutfielderStarling Marte was certainly the Pirates prospect with the best numbers last season. At AA Marte batted .332, hit 12 home runs with 50 RBI, scored 91 runs and stole 24 bases. Marte represented the Pirates in the Future's Game and Baseball America ranks him as the Pirates' best hitter for average.
3. Josh Bell, OutfielderThe Pirates made a risky pick when they drafted Josh Bell in the second round of the 2011 draft. Some teams wanted Bell in the 1st round but passed on him, convinced he was going decline playing in the Minors to play at the University of Texas. The Pirates drafted him anyway and gave him a bonus too good to pass up, stealing a young first-round level draft pick in the second round.
2. Jameson Taillon, Right-handed PitcherJameson Taillon was the 2nd overall pick in the first round of the 2010 draft. On Baseball America's last Top 100 prospect list they ranked Taillon as 11th overall ahead of some high profile prospects such as Matt Moore, Michael Pineda, Freddie Freeman, Zach Britton and Kyle Drabek. Taillon pitched 92.2 innings in 2011 and allowed 41 earned runs (3.98 ERA), 97 strikeouts and 22 walks. Not bad numbers so far for a 19-year old.
1. Gerrit Cole, Right-handed PitcherGerrit Cole was chosen first overall in the 2011 draft. On August 15th Cole signed with the Pirates with a signing bonus of $8 million. Baseball America ranks Cole as the Pirates pitcher with the best fastball and the best slider.
Pittsburgh Pirates Rankings at Baseball America
The last several generations of Lee Andrew Henderson's family were Pittsburgh born and even though he was born in Alabama he has been a long time fan of the Pirates, Steelers and Panthers. Lee Andrew Henderson can be found on Twitter at @LeeAHenderson
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