2008 Pittsburgh Pirates Top Ten Prospects

2008 Top Ten Prospects Honorable Mentions
1 McCutchen Bixler Meek
2 Pearce Corley Molleken
3 Moskos Davidson Redmond
4 Lincoln Delaney Sakamoto
5 Walker Herrera R Sanchez
6 Astacio Keel Valdez
7 Ford
8 Welker
9 Benoit
10 Bresnahan

(Edit 12:45 PM: Readers let me know I left Romak off. My bad. When he was left exposed I pulled his index card. Put Romak below Walker and drop Bresnahan to the honerable mention list.)

It’s a sad day when I have to dig through so many lower level relievers to try and find some stuff. But these are the guys I think have the best chance to move forward in the Pirates system next year.

Ford is a guess because of his back injury; Astacio could get an early call up if Huntington doesn’t find a right-hand reliever and that could stunt his development. Is Lincoln going to be Lincoln anymore after surgery? I dropped him a rung because I just don’t know. And is Pearce really going to maintain? I’m not so sure I agree with the fans he will but threw him in at #2 because he got the job done.

Honestly, after Lincoln everything starts to get blurry. Walker is an obvious top 5 but does he really fit after being moved out from the dish? Benoit is my wild-card guess and I just like Bresnahan’s stuff. Herrera could be a top 10 but until he proves his value this year, I’m not putting any stock in him. However, I have not seen him pitch either so who knows.

Jared Keel is my sleeper. I’m guessing he’ll start in Hickory to get him on track and since he lives there (the local boy plays here again theme) and then be off to Lynchburg at some point in the year. We’ll see how he does away from his mom then. Just kidding Jared.

Pacheco could be here but he was a bit old for the SAL last year. Boone is another guy I just don’t have that gut feeling about. He has some stats in his favor but I’m not sold. Kyle Bloom – is he finally back? We’ll find out in 2008.

As for JvB, Bullington, Burnett, Perez, Bayliss.. Bullington is by far the better of the group, I think Burnett gets released in camp and then files ten grievances, and Perez and Bayliss are marginal.

JvB? It’s amazing how much abuse he took last year. I think his stuff is a lot better than 2007 showed us but he’s obviously going to take more time to develop it because it’s too trackable. And that worries me about Jeff Andrews as our pitching coach – he should have known that.

Here’s the 2007 top 10 list in review:

                        2007 Top Ten Prospects
BA Bucco Blog John Sickels
1 McCutchen McCutchen McCutchen
2 Walker Lincoln Lincoln
3 Lincoln Van Benschoten Lillibridge
4 Herrera Walker Walker
5 Sharpless Bullington Bixler
6 Pearce Ford Felix
7 Bixler Redmond Redmond
8 Corley Lillibridge Sharpless
9 Redmond Sharpless Herrera
10 Felix Corley Ford

Andrew McCutchen’s final line in 2007:

164 611 90 164 29 5 11 57 236 62 106 29 7 0.268 0.338 0.386

As we look back on the top 10 prospect lists from last year, we see the two big gurus (BA and Sickels) had Mike Felix and Yoslan Herrera who both bombed; all three had Josh Sharpless who took a step backwards and was finally released by the Pirates, cleared waivers and then resigned to issue more walks in AAA; BA and Bucco Blog had Brad Corley who regressed as well; and I had Van Benschoten who bombed but I saw Ford a bit better than the other two.

Todd Redmond took a step back at Lynchburg but I credit that to the Pirates forcing +88 innings on him 2005 to 2006 more than anything. This year his arm will either break off or he’ll hold on and we’ll get a better idea if he can master High-A.

BA had Pearce which I totally overlooked and the two gurus had Brian Bixler ranked while I left him off in favor of Corley. I’m still not sold on Bixler as an everyday player and his 23% K% with a .396 SLG, while also bombing with Team USA, continues to keep me away from him. Is he really a top ten prospect? Perhaps.. perhaps. He still has time to grow.

So none of us did exceptionally well but that’s to be expected in such a marginal system. Hopefully this time next year it will be easier to compile this list.