Accountability Check: Pirates 2012 Top 15 Prospects

Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Top 15 Prospects (2/10/12)

In total, I don’t have too many major issues with what I produced for the Pirates last year. There were a couple of players I wish I could have seen the breakout coming with, such as Tyler Glasnow and Nick Kingham, but even their breakouts aren’t enough to leave me disappointed in my effort.

Ranking Cole and Taillon at the top was a no brainer and I don’t have a hint of regret siding with Cole in the top spot. Both are elite-level prospects and they should be viewed in a #1 and #1A light.

I stuck by the tools of Starling Marte last year and he rewarded me with a breakout campaign and by performing well in a big league trial. He still has impact potential and could be a fixture alongside Andrew McCutchen for quite a while. Josh Bell’s injuries sapped his debut season but his raw physical gifts warranted a high ranking.

Having seen a lot of Luis Heredia last summer, I am comfortable with where I had him ranked. His ceiling is sizeable but he also comes with an enormous amount of risk, tempering any thoughts of an aggressive placement on this list.

Of the prospects I ranked last year, my belief in Stetson Allie’s raw arm strength stands out as one of the biggest errors. Allie’s talent on the mound was considerable but his inability to transition from thrower to pitcher led him to head back to third base where his prospect stock took a major tuble.

The other problem I have with last year’s list is the low rating of Alen Hanson and the absence of Gregory Polanco. I tempered my expectations with Hanson last year, citing his unlikely future on the left side of the infield. He should have been higher and will be higher in this year’s rankings, but not among the top prospects in the system because I still don’t see a shortstop profile.

With Polanco, I had plenty of notes on him and considered him at the back of the Top 15 based on the raw tools package alone, but I had few scouts that felt a breakout would come this quickly, thus keeping me from including him. His explosion this year was nothing short of spectacular and it will be reflected in his higher ranking.

While I can quibble over my high ranking of Stetson Allie, the lower rating of Alen Hanson or the absence of Gregory Polanco, I feel the right players were on this list last year and that with the information available at that time, the list made sense. I can’t claim to be able to predict every player that’s going to break out, but I do like to find them every once in a while. With the Pirates, that wasn’t the case, but I’m still pleased with the overall effort.

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