MLB.com unveiled over the weekend its annual list of Top-100 Prospects, and according to professional baseball’s panel of experts, the Pittsburgh Pirates lead all 30 Major League clubs with seven prospects featured among the game’s elite.
Leading the way was top-ranked right-hander, Tyler Glasnow, who was tabbed No. 12 overall in the top-100 list, No. 4 among all pitching prospects and No. 3 among righty farmhands. The 21-year-old topped out at Hi-A Bradenton during just his second full season of pro ball in 2014, where he finished the campaign ranked first in the Florida State League in ERA (1.84), second in strikeouts (157) and tied for third in wins (12).
Glasnow’s meteoric rise to the top of the prospect rankings has featured back-to-back awards as the Pirates’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year, selections to three league All-Star teams plus Baseball America’s Minor League All-Star squad (2014), two FSL Pitcher of the Week titles and a nod as MiLB.com’s best starting hurler (2014).
The righty may be a year or two or reaching the Triple-A Tribe, but his strikeout “stuff” is not — After making both his 2014 and Hi-A debut on April 25, Glasnow led all of the minors with 157 whiffs over 124 1/3 innings with the Marauders.
Says MLB.com’s scouting report:
“Glasnow has shown an ability to blow away hitters on a consistent basis, proof of which comes in the form of his 12-strikeouts-per-nine-innings career ratio heading into 2015. He does so with a fastball he can consistently get up into the upper 90s, maintaining that plus velocity throughout his starts.”
Joining Glasnow as Pittsburgh’s top position player is reigning Pirates Player of the Year and recently-converted first baseman, Josh Bell. The 22-year-old is coming off a breakout 2014 campaign in which he led all Pirates farmhands in hits (138) and average (.325) while also driving in the seventh-most runs (60).
Also like his fellow Bradenton standout, Bell took home his own respective honors as the club’s Offensive Player of the Year after batting .335 with a team-best 14-game hitting streak last season.
Bell, a likely candidate for Triple-A during 2015, enters the upcoming campaign ranked as the No. 1 first base prospect in the minor leagues.
“Bell has the ability to consistently barrel up balls from both sides of the plate with a smooth swing and an advanced approach. He is expected to continue growing into his power, and as he matures, his extra-base ability will develop into home run pop.”
Additional Buccos rated among the top 100 was a trio of potential 2015 Tribers in RHP Jameson Taillon (No. 31), RHP Nick Kingham (No. 74) and INF Alen Hanson (No. 92), and a pair of later-arriving Indians prospects in outfielder Austin Meadows (No. 46) and catcher Reese McGuire (No. 64).
The latter two hit .322 in 38 games and .262 in 98 games, respectively, with Lo-A West Virginia in 2014.
View MLB.com’s full Top-100 Prospects List HERE.