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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

BA: Pittsburgh Pirates Top 10 Prospects

1.    Pedro Alvarez, 3b
2.    Jose Tabata, of
3.    Tony Sanchez, c
4.    Brad Lincoln, rhp
5.    Chase D’Arnaud, ss/2b
6.    Starling Marte, of
7.    Tim Alderson, rhp
8.    Zack Von Rosenberg, rhp
9.    Rudy Owens, lhp
10.    Gorkys Hernandez, of

Tripon Posted: November 24, 2009 at 04:15 PM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: minor leagues, pirates, prospect reports, scouting

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Steve Sparks Flying Everywhere Posted: November 24, 2009 at 05:01 PM (#3395628)
I saw D'Arnaud play in high school and can remember thinking he was one of the slickest fielders I'd ever seen. I'm not sure what his defense is like now though. At the time you knew he had the look of a big leaguer.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 24, 2009 at 05:05 PM (#3395636)
I know people are down on Alderson, but I'm still surprised to see him that low. Is that a product of him not playing up to snuff or the Pirates system being deeper?

Gorkys Hernandez was a Top 100 prospect on some lists not long ago. What happened?
   3. Juan V Posted: November 24, 2009 at 05:12 PM (#3395644)
Tony Sanchez as #3?
   4. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 24, 2009 at 05:19 PM (#3395653)
I know people are down on Alderson, but I'm still surprised to see him that low. Is that a product of him not playing up to snuff or the Pirates system being deeper?

He reportedly lost a couple of MPH from his fastball last year. That's part of it. Analysts also tend to downgrade prospects a bit once the Pirates acquire them, for whatever reason. It's pretty widespread and pervasive, though - look at all the people who were willing to totally write off Tabata after the Nady deal, for example.

Gorkys Hernandez was a Top 100 prospect on some lists not long ago. What happened?

People suddenly noticed that he can't hit, and doesn't really project to do so, either.
   5. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 24, 2009 at 05:21 PM (#3395654)
Tony Sanchez as #3?

It's a BA list, and the scout who told the Pirates to draft Sanchez is a former BA staffer.
   6. greenback needs a ride, not ammo Posted: November 24, 2009 at 05:25 PM (#3395660)
As much as I heard about him, I was surprised by how tiny Tabata is. Of course I had had vaguely similar thoughts about McCutchen.
   7. RJ in TO Posted: November 24, 2009 at 05:27 PM (#3395664)
Analysts also tend to downgrade prospects a bit once the Pirates acquire them, for whatever reason.


The 15 year tradition of the Pirates having a hard time both developing players' skills and keeping them healthy?
   8. Rich Rifkin Posted: November 24, 2009 at 05:37 PM (#3395670)
(Alderson) reportedly lost a couple of MPH from his fastball last year. That's part of it. Analysts also tend to downgrade prospects a bit once the Pirates acquire them, for whatever reason.

The oddity is that at the start of last season, Alderson was seen as about the 50th best prospect in baseball. Now he's the 7th best prospect on Pittsburgh? He had a really good season for a 19 year old in 2008. Then he was much worse as a 20 year old. His strike out ratio was down by about 1/3, having moved up to AA (for most of 2009). If he just had a minor physical issue which caused him to lose some of his heat, he is terribly underrated right now. Of course, TINSTAAPP. So perhaps his 2008 season was a flash in the pan?
   9. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 24, 2009 at 05:40 PM (#3395675)
The 15 year tradition of the Pirates having a hard time both developing players' skills and keeping them healthy?

Which would be all well and good if Brian Graham and Lester Maddox and such were still hanging around in the organization, but they aren't. You should judge a team's player development ability on the merits of the people who are currently developing the players.

That said, I don't think it's just skepticism about the Pirates' staff. If you read pre-trade and post-trade scouting reports, there are notable differences in the qualities atttributed to the players under discussion. Even in things that should remain relatively constant, like overall athleticism.
   10. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 24, 2009 at 05:42 PM (#3395680)
The oddity is that at the start of last season, Alderson was seen as about the 50th best prospect in baseball. Now he's the 7th best prospect on Pittsburgh?

Maybe BA just really, really likes Marte. And Lincoln. And D'Arnaud.
   11. RJ in TO Posted: November 24, 2009 at 05:52 PM (#3395687)
Which would be all well and good if Brian Graham and Lester Maddox and such were still hanging around in the organization, but they aren't. You should judge a team's player development ability on the merits of the people who are currently developing the players.


You should, but most of those guys don't have much of a track record yet. Until they do, they're going to be judged by the standards set by their predecessors.

That said, I don't think it's just skepticism about the Pirates' staff. If you read pre-trade and post-trade scouting reports, there are notable differences in the qualities atttributed to the players under discussion. Even in things that should remain relatively constant, like overall athleticism.


That's also an issue of them being evaluated against the standards set by those who came before. The basic assumption is that, if the Pirates wanted these guys, then they're probably not as good as we think they are. It's unfair, but it's a consequence of those same 15 years of futility.
   12. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 24, 2009 at 05:57 PM (#3395692)
Seems like intellectual laziness to me, Ryan. Who needs truth when we've got truthiness? That's almost as good, right?
   13. NJ in NJ Posted: November 24, 2009 at 05:58 PM (#3395693)
It's pretty widespread and pervasive, though - look at all the people who were willing to totally write off Tabata after the Nady deal, for example.

Maybe it was another poster, but I seem to recall you being up in arms about how terrible all the players the Pirates got at the deadline last year were.
   14. RJ in TO Posted: November 24, 2009 at 06:00 PM (#3395697)
Seems like intellectual laziness to me, Ryan. Who needs truth when we've got truthiness? That's almost as good, right?


Hey, I'm not saying it's right. I'm just trying to come up with a reason why it seems to be happening.
   15. JJ1986 Posted: November 24, 2009 at 06:00 PM (#3395698)
Maybe it was another poster, but I seem to recall you being up in arms about how terrible all the players the Pirates got at the deadline last year were.

That was probably Justin; he hates almost every move the Pirates make.
   16. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 24, 2009 at 06:01 PM (#3395699)
Let's play a thought experiment, here:

Dave Littlefield was a terrible GM. Who is more deserving of current Littlefield-related criticism: The team that wised up and fired his ass, or the team that is right now paying him for scouting evaluations of players?
   17. RJ in TO Posted: November 24, 2009 at 06:01 PM (#3395701)
Maybe it was another poster, but I seem to recall you being up in arms about how terrible all the players the Pirates got at the deadline last year were.


I think that might have been Justin Zeth.
   18. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 24, 2009 at 06:04 PM (#3395705)
That was probably Justin; he hates almost every move the Pirates make.

Yeah, that's much more of a Zeth thing. I was pretty pumped about Alderson, and I loved the #### out of Milledge-Hanrahan.
   19. RJ in TO Posted: November 24, 2009 at 06:08 PM (#3395714)
Zeth does seem to be a strong believer in the "If the Pirates are doing it, it must be wrong" school of thought.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 24, 2009 at 06:16 PM (#3395726)
Zeth does seem to be a strong believer in the "If the Pirates are doing it, it must be wrong" school of thought.

Yeah, but he thinks it's an intentional plan to suck and profit. So wrong is actually right for them.
   21. tonywagner Posted: November 24, 2009 at 07:16 PM (#3395820)
look at all the people who were willing to totally write off Tabata after the Nady deal, for example.


I think this is due more to Yankee prospects like Tabata being over-hyped than Pirate prospects being underrated.

Observers were souring on Alderson well before he was traded to the Pirates this year.
   22. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: November 24, 2009 at 09:44 PM (#3395999)
Yup on both.
   23. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 24, 2009 at 10:15 PM (#3396043)
There's still not much about which to get excited here yet. I haven't changed my opinion on Alvarez; I still see Troy Glaus as his ceiling. Tabata's looking something like a tweener - not enough power for a corner and not enough range to play CF. There's some upside in the rest of the top 10, but not much of a basis for evaluation. Marte and Von Rosenberg are the most likely breakout candidates.

-- MWE
   24. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: November 24, 2009 at 10:25 PM (#3396057)
Glaus/ceiling: You say that like it's a bad thing.
   25. RJ in TO Posted: November 24, 2009 at 10:27 PM (#3396063)
I was wondering about that too. So far, Glaus has put up 1400+ games of 122 OPS+ baseball, while playing (depending on the metric) capable to good defense (despite a fairly extensive number of injuries).

I think most teams would be damn happy to get an upside like that out of almost any pick.
   26. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: November 25, 2009 at 12:25 AM (#3396160)
Maybe it was another poster, but I seem to recall you being up in arms about how terrible all the players the Pirates got at the deadline last year were.

It was Justin. I tried to console him that this ownership group does indeed have a plan and they're executing it, but he wasn't really biting. Not that I can blame him.

Tabata in 2nd is emblematic of the fact that this is a middling system.
   27. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 25, 2009 at 01:33 AM (#3396210)
Glaus/ceiling: You say that like it's a bad thing.


That's his "ceiling", IMO - that's the "best" he's likely to be. And he's going to be 23 by the start of spring training, by which time Glaus already had a full season of ML experience under his belt.

I know this is going to sound like a broken record, but the strikeouts are on the high side.

-- MWE

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