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Bullpen Banter Midseason Top 75 Prospect List

Written By on 24th June, 2013

Once again, it’s come time for us to release our midseason prospect list. It’s been another incredible baseball season for the player development side of the game, both in terms of players blossoming in the minors, and for those who have reached the promised land of the Major Leagues. Now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty details of figuring out who the best of the best have been, and the list below represents our collective thoughts on just who the best prospects in the game are right now.

With the midseason list, we have a few different rules than with our big offseason list. The biggest one that you should know is that any major league service time for a player disqualifies them from consideration. That means guys like Carlos Martinez or Zach Wheeler, who would normally be ranked very highly, won’t be found on this list (ed.- As of when the lists were compiled and this piece originally written, Kyle Gibson had not yet been promoted to the majors, so it was decided that he would remain in the ranking). Also, all picks from the 2013 draft are eligible to be ranked, whether they have signed yet or not. As has become our tradition with publishing these lists, I present the Bullpen Banter ranking philosophy, put into words by Jeff Reese:

Assembling a top prospect list is a quixotic venture. Every prospector has his own subjective preferences and biases; some use various formulae to try to simplify the task, but the goal is always the same. We are attempting to project the top 100 future major league players out of a vast pool of incomplete players whose skill level is always in flux. A player’s “stock” can go through wild fluctuations throughout a season, and I would venture to say that it’s rare to find a legitimate prospect that doesn’t go through such an ebb and flow. This is the primary reason why we find little utility in statistical evaluations that we endorse when applied to major league players. Comparatively, major league players’ talent and, more importantly, skill level is a constant. Similar to Spring Training statistics, a minor league player may be working on certain aspects of his game rather than doing everything in his power to help his team succeed, making the raw statistical line little more than noise.

Any attempt at assembling the best among this group is going to simply be a photograph of the current state of things at an arbitrary moment in time. The brief period between the end of winter leagues and the start of spring training gives us a window to coalesce our thoughts, but we must never lose sight of that fact; nor may we think that a player’s exclusion equates to him being a “non-prospect.” ~ Jeff Reese

Now without further ado, I give to you the official Bullpen Banter Midseason Top 75 Prospect List:


Check back in soon for a roundtable discussion from our authors.

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Bullpen Banter is a conglomeration of writers from across the country, offering its readers scouting content and video of baseball prospects at the professional and amateur levels.

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55 Comments on "Bullpen Banter Midseason Top 75 Prospect List"

  1. Profile Photo
    Carl June 24, 2013 at 9:32 am -

    First, thanks for taking the time to put together this list.
    While there are 100 ways to view prospect lists, I personally like to review these lists with the assumption that a GM is listing “the player I’d like to have for my franchise”, because that question seems to take into account ceiling, risk, position value, defense, etc.  With that said, on first glance, there are a lot of surprises here.
    First and foremost, Gray stands out as being ranked way too high.  Recent draftees certainly get extra hype coming into the prospect mix, but there are many sources that will suggest that Gray is a likely bullpen arm.  There are few, if any, that suggest that Gray is the better franchise piece than Appel, who, rightly, is the highest ranking 2013 draftee.  Ranking Gray in the top 12 seems overly optimistic.
    Second, Castellanos doesn’t get enough love at #29, a few spots LOWER than you had him in the preseason.  Consider: Castellanos is just 3 months younger than Oscar Taveras.  Is Oscar the better prospect? Yes, clearly.  But comparing the two closely reveals that Castellanos is really not that far off (at least offensively).  Unlike Taveras, Castellanos has more than doubled his BB rate in AAA this season, while also lowering his K rate by more than 30%.  He has also increased his ISO substantially.  Also unlike Taveras (.230/.306/.535 vs. LHP), Castellanos has shown no sizeable splits against same side pitching.  Again, OT is the better prospect, and also gets plenty of extra value for defense and sex appeal, but I’d be surprised if, when polling 30 MLB GM’s around the game, Castellanos is almost relegated to the last pick (#29).
    Third, De Paula might be the most interesting and controversial ranking on this list at #32.  Can’t argue with the results so far, but let’s hope it continues.  Yankees fans should be happy that De Paula made the list as Mason Williams, Tyler Austin, Slade Heathcott, etc. are nowhere to be found.  #YankeesHype
    Finally, a few questions:
    Where would Bundy rank if he didn’t have 1 2/3 IP in MLB?
    If Franco moves to 1B, how does that impact his “stock”?
    What kind of offensive upside are we looking at for J. Soler now that Puig has set unrealistic expectations for every future Cuban debut?
    Again, thanks for taking the time.  Great work, great site.

    • Profile Photo
      Al Skorupa June 24, 2013 at 1:47 pm -

      Thanks for reading, man.

      Gray: As we do a lot of amateur coverage many of our writers have never been afraid to rank draftees aggressively. Basically, the difference between Gray and Appel was splitting hairs, but I had Gray 1:1 on my draft board and he got the slight edge here from me. I don’t think many people view Gray as a reliever these days. He’s been awesome and he’s a very different pitcher than in previous years. Most scouts I discussed them with thought Gray was probably a higher ceiling guy than Appel because of how big his fastball is, too. The appeal of Appel (ahem) was really that he’s more of a known commodity with a significantly longer track record than Gray. I’ve seen Appel a couple times… really like him, but see him as more of a #2 starter. I would even say Gray has more #1 potential, but he’s also more risky (which I think was a factor for the Astros).

      Castellanos: I can’t speak for everyone, but he moved up quite a bit for me personally. I had him 48th in the offseason. My evaluation of him hasn’t signficantly changed, but graduations and performance have bumped him up (he ended up 24th on my personal midseason list – those will likely be published later in the week). 

      Yankees/De Paula: Hearing very good things and his performance is obviously very impressive. High ceiling arm. Those other guys (Williams, Austin and Heathcott) aren’t far off our top 75 at all, for what it’s worth. It’s been a stock down year for most of them, but their absence mostly has to do with us stopping the list at 75. Williams and Austin would have made our top 100. I saw Heathcott earlier in the year and he looked very raw for Double-A. The tools are there, but he needs at-bats. Probably more of a top 150 guy for me. Still a quality prospect.

      Bundy: We had some discussions about this, and for me at least he would be in the top 5 and potentially 1st overall. Not everyone felt that way, though.

      Franco: I didn’t have serious discussions with anyone about him, but I’m seeing him tomorrow and when I mentioned that to some contacts I got a few comments. Sounds like he can play 3B to me, but we shall see what he looks like when I lay eyes on him. Moving to 1B is always a killer for prospect value to me, but Franco seems to have genuinely taken a step forward with his approach and selectivity this year. It’s just very hard to project a guy as a “special” bat at 1B, and that’s really what you need to be to rank as a top prospect there.

      Soler: Haha… the bar has been set high! Don’t forget Cespedes, too. Soler is younger than those guys – who came over in the prime of their careers. Soler is a legit prospect who was always going to need development time. He has the potential to be a middle of the order masher down the line.

      Thanks again for the kind words – AS

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      John Verburg June 24, 2013 at 3:52 pm -

      Thanks for the comments. I want to talk about Castellanos specifically. I probably have seen him as much as anyone here, and while I certainly won’t dispute the points you’ve made about the bat, I would suggest the difference defensively between Taveras and Castellanos is pretty vast.
      Castellano’s movements to me can best be described as lumbering. And right now, his defense hasn’t even progressed to the point where its even acceptable in left field. As he continues to grow and slow down even further, the projection at least defensively isn’t a pretty one. I can’t speak for the other writers who had him higher than I did, but to me his lack of defensive usefulness at this point played a role.

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      stoltz_baseball June 24, 2013 at 4:09 pm -

      I can comment on De Paula. He came in at #43 for me. Has three quality pitches including a wipeout slider, but a very stiff landing that impairs his command of all of them. Also, the FB isn’t all that huge–tops out at 94, sits 88-92, which is fine (especially considering it moves) but not exactly eye-popping. He’s got to cut the walks, and the strikeouts will come down against batters who can lay off the slider. I like him–hence the fairly high ranking–but he’s not exactly a wunderkind.

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      Jeff Reese June 25, 2013 at 8:26 am -

      Evan and I were the only two to rank Appel ahead of Gray. He’s made such remarkable progress as a Junior that I don’t project Gray as a reliever, but Appel has made significant progress of his own. I think he has the better odds of being a TOR arm than Gray even if the ceiling is marginally lower.

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    bdh467783 June 24, 2013 at 1:07 pm -

    Jesse Biddle and Renato Nunez are 2 that I think are top 75 worthy, other than that I dont see much that sticks out.

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      Al Skorupa June 24, 2013 at 1:52 pm -

      Funny you say that, as I’m seeing Biddle tomorrow as well! He ranked 50th for me, but our authors weren’t as convinced. Big kid with good stuff, throws hard and misses bats. Sign me up.

      Nunez was a guy we discussed as we prep’d for the list making, but didn’t make the last cuts. It’s been an impressive start to the year with a difficult assignment and his stock is way up, but couldn’t quite break the top 75 or 100 yet. His approach at the plate is still a work in progress. 

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      stoltz_baseball June 24, 2013 at 3:59 pm -

      Biddle was #76 on my list.

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    Tjco1006 June 24, 2013 at 1:33 pm -

    Henry Owens is the only omission that surprised me.  

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      Al Skorupa June 24, 2013 at 1:56 pm -

      Believe it or not, Owens came in at #76. We had some big Trey Ball fans on the staff all Spring and he edged out Owens… which made for an interesting (if unintended) contrast, as they’re both prep southpaws the Red Sox drafted.  I’m a big Owens fan and had him 40th overall. Not sure he has a real front of the rotation ceiling or anything, but he could be a very good MLB starter. Size, plane, velo, left-handed, quality secondaries and hitters just have a devil of a time picking up the ball out of his hand. 

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    Siegfried June 24, 2013 at 2:22 pm -

    what about cesar puello?  he seems he should be in top 75

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      Siegfried June 24, 2013 at 2:24 pm -

      and taylor jordan?
      sorry…where are my manners?
      nice work on the list…thank you

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      Al Skorupa June 25, 2013 at 1:04 am -

      Chris Blessing is a Puello fan. Both him and Evan Rentschler ranked him in their top 75. He’s a tough guy to place for me. Haven’t seen him live. I know he has the tools and has started to turn it into performance… but there were other players I liked more. Hopefully I’ll get a look at him soon (and Syndergaard now on Binghamton as well). 

      Taylor Jordan has worked his way into becoming a nice piece for the Nats, but he’s a 24 year old TJ survivor who started the year at High-A (and was there for the first time… not repeating the level). Not really a top 100 prospect profile for me.

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    Cory June 24, 2013 at 2:23 pm -

    Eddie Rosario, 2nd baseman?

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      John Verburg June 24, 2013 at 3:28 pm -

      I think if we stretched the list, a guy like Rosario would probably be in a bunch of top 100′s and top 125′s for sure. I think there is a little more upside in some of the guys that did make the list. And not making it really isn’t a knock on a guy like Rosario at all.

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      Al Skorupa June 25, 2013 at 1:09 am -

      Rosario is a gamer. Recently saw him for a couple games and liked what I saw. Good athlete and he’s going to get better and better at 2B. He does wrap his hands a little too much for my tastes… real long lead, but quick hands that explode through the zone. Nice, loose swing. He looks like a solid regular to me… a guy I’d really like on my team. I’m just not sure there’s a whole lot of impact potential in there. He’s a solid hitter and he’ll hit for some extra bases… there were just other guys I’d rather have. I do like Rosario significantly. Definitely in my 76-125 range. 

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    july June 24, 2013 at 2:50 pm -

    what about julio urias? great list btw !!

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      Conor Dowley June 24, 2013 at 3:50 pm -

      Urias cropped on on several lists and would have been in the 80′s if we went further out. I personally left him off my list, but he was considered in the back end of it. I haven’t seen him myself and I only have a couple of reports on him from people I talk to, so despite the impressive numbers I just wasn’t comfortable putting him in just yet.

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        july June 25, 2013 at 10:48 pm -

        cool , alriight thanks for answering keep up the good work !  curious were would yasiel puig rank? thnx!!

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    MonkeyEpoxy June 24, 2013 at 4:14 pm -

    Mike Olt. Had anyone see him since after whatever vision problems he’d been plagued with? He couldn’t be that far out of the top-75, could he?

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      MonkeyEpoxy June 24, 2013 at 4:14 pm -

      oh. Derp. Any major league experience disqualifies.
      Ignore me

      • Profile Photo
        Al Skorupa June 25, 2013 at 1:12 am -

        Just a note on this… we realize excluding anyone with service time is a little strange way of doing it. We started doing that a few years ago and liked how it works. The guys who get excluded are pretty well known commodities. It’s sort of nice to see where the next group of players will rank rather than seeing Jurickson Profar and Wil Myers still in our top 10, you know? Always happy to discuss and answer any questions about players omitted this way, too!

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    Steven A June 24, 2013 at 4:17 pm -

    Brad Miller seems to get no respect!  Offensively he ranks right up there with as far as shortstops go.

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      Conor Dowley June 24, 2013 at 5:26 pm -

      I really like Miller, but I think that’s overstating his case somewhat. He’s got great contact skills, but he doesn’t have much power. Add that to some defensive concerns (which I think are somewhat overstated, but I can see where they come from), and that leads to a drop in the rankings. 

      Personally, I would have had him in the 80′s if I had bumped my list out, which is a lot closer than one might think when you get in to that range.

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        Steven A June 24, 2013 at 6:05 pm -

        Thanks.  Although I would argue that he doesn’t have much power.  He’s already got 11 homers this season…5 or 6 coming since his promotion to AAA.

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          Conor Dowley June 24, 2013 at 8:10 pm -

          The PCL has a lot of favorable stadiums to hit homers in. Of those five HR’s he’s hit since his promotion, two were in Colorado Springs (which is higher up than Coors Field!), and one was in Sacramento. Both parks have had favorable HR production over the years. Two were at Cheney, which is nice because that stadium is not as easy to hit homers in, but I still wouldn’t put even an average power projection on him.

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            rotofan June 25, 2013 at 1:21 am -

            Love the work on the list and the engaging replies but I also think you are underestimating Miller and especially his power potential.
            It’s true that in college Miller showed almost no power and was purely a contact guy — but it’s equally true that he has since changed his batting stance in a way that has resulted in considerably more power. Here’s an excellent link to that change:
            As for his AAA homers, Sacremento has been one of the hardest places to hit a HR in 2011 and 2012 relative to the PCL according to park factors at Minor League Central. Colorado Springs was below average in 2012 and well above average in 2011.
            Then there’s his 6 home runs this year in AA in the Souther League, which has been the hardest place to launch a homer among AA and AAA keagues. He hit those in 6 different ballparks, only one of which was easier to hit a homer by league standards in both 2011 and 2012.
            I’m not sure what you mean by average power and whether that is adjusted by defensive position but I expect Miller to hot for about as much power as a recent Mariner prospect, Kyle Seager, who posted similar power numbers in the upper minors and who hit 20 HRs last year and is on pace again for that number this year. Last year, 4 shortstops hit more  than 20 homers, none more than 25. Four topped 20 in 2011 and 2010 while 3 did so in 2009.
            Prospect rankings don’t lend themselves to precision so I take no great issue in Miller’s exact ranking. I just think your view of his power potential may not have caught up to the changes in his swing and production.

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    e June 24, 2013 at 5:28 pm -

    nick williams over lewis brinson….close?  what puts nick williams ahead?

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      stoltz_baseball June 24, 2013 at 8:02 pm -

      Big gap between Williams and Brinson for me. Williams is a far superior and more complete hitter at this point. Brinson is very limited offensively right now, as he has worlds of trouble with breaking stuff and pitches down in the zone (hence the astronomical K total). A lot of tools, of course, but quite unrefined. Williams has similar upside (albeit with less defensive potential and more power potential) but a much higher floor.

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    Jonny June 24, 2013 at 6:02 pm -

    what do you think is lindors fantasy potential? how much has his hitting improved? thanks for the rankings!

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      stoltz_baseball June 24, 2013 at 8:03 pm -

      It’s pretty solid. He could hit near .300, draw a lot of walks, and hit a dozen homers, maybe more. Should post solid steal numbers as well.

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    Steven B June 24, 2013 at 9:46 pm -

    Hey Guys,
    Whereabouts would Jackie Bradley rank if he was still eligible?

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      Conor Dowley June 24, 2013 at 10:25 pm -

      I think he probably would have been in my top 30, maybe a little higher. I had him at 57 coming in to the year, so it’s a nice little bounce up.

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    Andy Singleton @Peoplez_MLFS June 24, 2013 at 10:27 pm -

    It’s always nice to see an updated list during the season, so kudos for making the time and effort. I dont really dispute any of your Top 75 and think they all have a case for being there. I will say you are very aggressive with some of the younger guys (Buxton, Correa, Russell in particular) given the guys still on this list and a little more seasoned and polished (Castellanos for instance). The 3 things that stood out to me most tho were the omission of Carlos Martinez, Billy Hamilton all the way down at #74, and the shock IMO of ranking Depaula #32 and Montero at #57. As a Yankee fan I am excited to have Depaula in the system and love what he has done. However, he was old for A and his recent promotion is still pending his deservedness of being ranked that high. Also, I truly believe Montero may just be the best of the Mets young arms (and yes that includes Harvey). To see him that low is crazy to me, especially with Syndergaard at #20. All in all tho a good list – would love to see a comment or blurb on the players. Thanks

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      Conor Dowley June 25, 2013 at 12:59 am -

      Carlos Martinez was not an omission; as he has major league service time, he is inelligible. Otherwise, he would have been very high on this list. 

      I obviously can’t speak for the others, but guys like Buxton and Correa have so much talent and potential that it’s impossible to keep them down, even if they are a little unpolished. It’s probably worth noting that on every single list that was submitted to put this compiled list together, Buxton was the #1 prospect ranked.

      As for Castellanos, since you specifically brought him up, he may be more polished at the plate, but he’s still had his issues there, and his defensive work has been abysmal to date. That leads to major question marks about where his future lies, both in terms of position and organization.

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        Pete June 26, 2013 at 11:03 am -

        If you had to rank Carlos Martinez on this list where would he be?  Would you rather have him or Robert Stephenson in a keeper league?

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          Conor Dowley June 26, 2013 at 5:16 pm -

          I’d lean towards Martinez on that either/or, though Stephenson is plenty impressive in his own right. I’d definitely have him in my top 25 at the least.

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    Seth June 25, 2013 at 12:11 am -

    What happened to Cowart this year? Everyone around here has been very high on him since he was drafted but he has had a very ugly season to this point.

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      Al Skorupa June 25, 2013 at 1:19 am -

      The move to Double-A is often considered the biggest jump in the minors, and with good reason. Cowart is seeing better secondary stuff from pitchers who know what they’re doing and have begun to practice the advanced tricks of their trade. Selectivity and approach at the plate were a weakness for Cowart previously – but it was a weakness his tools and natural talent overcame. Now he can’t get by on the talent alone and needs to make adjustments at the plate. I’m a firm beleiver that he will do so in time. I still see Cowart as a guy who will be an above average hitter and defender at 3B. Don’t forget he just turned 21 on June 2nd. This was a challenging assignment and it was intended to challenge him. It’s more important that he tightens up his plate discipline than for him to have a sexy slash stat line every year.

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      Jeff Reese June 25, 2013 at 8:36 am -

      If it were up to me, he’d be ranked on this list too (55th on mine). Al does a great job of stating his case. Cowart exploded last year and then was promoted aggressively to start 2013. As someone who was a bit raw coming into pro ball, struggling for half of a season doesn’t bother me much. Even if it takes a repeat of the level in 2014 before the lightbulb comes back on, he’s got plenty of time to turn the tools back into production.

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    derekmal June 25, 2013 at 8:27 am -

    This is one of the better lists I have seen.  It seems to mirror my own personal lists moreso than any other prospect lists out there.
    Keep up the good work.

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      Jeff Reese June 25, 2013 at 8:37 am -

      Thanks for reading! We truly appreciate it.

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    Daniel June 26, 2013 at 3:14 am -

    Would Oswaldo Arcia be a top 25 prospect if he was still in the minors

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      Jeff Reese June 26, 2013 at 9:08 am -

      I don’t know if he’d quite make the top 25, but he’d probably be in that 25-35 range.

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    Kevin Mattern June 30, 2013 at 6:29 pm -

    Great list gentlemen! Quick question, was Jesse Hahn in consideration for your list or is he too old?

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      Conor Dowley July 17, 2013 at 9:12 pm -

      Thanks, and sorry for not getting to your question for so long. I can’t speak for the others, but I want to see Hahn continue looking as he has at a higher level before giving him more serious consideration. That said, he’s much closer to this list now in my book than he was coming in to the season.

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    PittsburghChicken July 17, 2013 at 6:25 pm -

    I enjoyed the list.  7 Pirates - especially nice.  How would you rank the overall minor league systems?  Does that indicate that Pittsburgh is first?

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      Conor Dowley July 17, 2013 at 9:09 pm -

      Thanks! As to the organizational rankings, we didn’t really update those at all outside of some general conversation while we were making the list. However, it’s safe to say that the Pirates currently have a strong system, albeit one that’s a little top-heavy. However, with that kind of talent at the top, it’s not a bad position to be in.

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        Jeff Reese July 19, 2013 at 10:51 am -

        I wouldn’t even call it top-heavy any more. That used to be a fair criticism, but the Pirates have continued to add good depth along with the breakout of their elite prospects. Now, most of that depth is low in the minors, but there are plenty of interesting guys throughout West Virginia & Jamestown’s roster, and then there are those that have resuscitated their status (Andrew Lambo & Tony Sanchez are the most obvious). It’s safe to say they’d be within my top 5 if I were to rank the systems today.


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    John August 6, 2013 at 10:07 am -

    Great list guys! Im curious as to the reasoning in ranking Polanco over Springer though. Springer’s numbers are pretty hard to ignore right now. Why would you take Polanco over him? Thanks!