Monday, August 23, 2010

Ranking the Top 10 Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects

For all of the doubters, take a look at where the Pirates overall organizational depth is right now, compared to where it was at this point three seasons ago.

While it doesn't currently show at the major league level, Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington and staff has done a tremendous job of loading up the organization with young talent.

For a change, the Pirates have "real" prospects in the organization and that's a positive sign that things will eventually turn around. Now that another successful draft is over for the Pirates, I thought I'd take a look at the Top 10 Prospects currently in the organization.

This list was harder to cut down to ten than I originally thought, so enjoy and feel free to comment with your top 10.

10. SS Chase D'Arnaud- D'Arnaud isn't having one of his best seasons, currently batting .246, 3 HR, 40 RBI at Altoona. He's still one of the best athletes in the system though.

He's a slick fielder who has shown the ability to hit at other stops. It should only be a matter of a year or two before D'Arnaud is starting in PNC Park.

9. LHP- Rudy Owens- Owens is a lefty who opened every one's eyes a season ago with a 10-1 season at West Virginia. He doesn't have over powering stuff, but throws strikes and has great command.

At Altoona, Owens currently is 10-6 with a 2.67 era and has an impressive 118 strikeouts to only 22 walks.

8. RHP Bryan Morris- Morris was acquired from the Dodgers in the Jason Bay trade and after dealing with injuries, has shown everyone what the big deal about him is all about.

He started the season in Bradenton and quickly was promoted to Altoona. He's hit a wall as of late and will likely be shut down to his innings count, but has an outside shot at a big league rotation spot next season.

Morris features a fastball in the low 90's and has good command of his pitches; including a very good curve ball.

7. LHP-Jeff Locke- Locke was acquired as the big piece of the Nate McLouth trade and has done a lot this season to open up some eyes. Locke started the season at Bradenton where he went 9-3 with a 3.54 era.

Locke has a solid four pitches and throws strikes. He since was promoted to Altoona where he's gone 2-1 with a 3.07 era. Combined at the two stops, Locke has struck out 123 batters in 127.1 innings pitched and only allowed 22 walks.

6. OF- Andrew Lambo- Lambo was acquired from the Dodgers along with James McDonald at this seasons trade deadline in exchange for Octavio Dotel. This will go down as the best trade Huntington has made yet as Pirates GM.

Lambo was the Dodgers number one prospect a season ago, but was suspended for 50 games for PED's and fell out of favor in Los Angeles.

Lambo is a five tool player that has potential stud written all over him. In 14 games since being acquired, Lambo is hitting .340 with 2 HR and 7 RBI. Scouts have raved about the young outfielders all around talent.

5. OF- Starling Marte- Marte is another five tool talent that is part of a future Pirates outfield. Marte was slowed this season by a broken bone in his hand, but after an early season promotion to Bradenton, the 22-year old is hitting .320 with 25 RBI and 17 steals.

Marte might be the most gifted all around talent in the entire organization.

4. RHP- Luis Heredia- The Pirates made waves by recently signing the 16-year old Mexican prodigy, which could wind up being one of the Pirates best international signings ever.

Heredia projects to be around 6"6, around 200 lbs. and already throws in the mid-90's. He won't be rushed, but on potential talent alone, he ranks very high on the list.

3. C- Tony Sanchez- Sanchez ranks a little higher on the list because he likely will reach the major's by 2012. The 2009 first round pick is said to be big league ready defensively and his bat has been a pleasant surprise, hitting .312 with modest power this far in his young career.

Sanchez took a pitch to the face which cost him some time, otherwise he likely would be in AA by now. Chances are he opens the season in Altoona next year and with a solid showing could force the Pirates hands on a quick call up.

2. RHP- Stetson Allie- An organization desperate for pitching, nabs the two best arms in the 2010 draft. I've seen all these guys pitch, including Allie and the kid has a lightning bolt for an arm.

The one thing the organization was lacking is starters with ace potential and Allie is now one of two that fit the bill. He has some things to learn, including some command issues, but you can teach command. You can't teach 100mph.

1. RHP Jameson Taillon- The Pirates made the pick they had to make in Jameson Taillon and they gave him a record $6.5 mil. Taillon is a guy that can get it up to 98 mph and has four out pitches and can throw them for strikes in any count.

Taillon has the tools to be Josh Beckett like, something the Pirates have been missing for far too long. If he and Allie become a solid 1-2 punch within 2-3 years, the Pirates will be well on their way to being competitive once again.

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