We know; everyone's excited about camp getting ready to crank it up; it's the real Opening Day. But before we check in on the pitching and position battles, we thought we'd give you a look at the Pirate prospect list. It's highly touted of late - everyone feels the Bucs have a top ten system - and it's something that will end up on the backburner once the ballplaying starts until draft day rolls around. The up-and-comers are:
Keith Law ESPN (Insider subscribers only): RHP Gerrit Cole, RHP Jameson Taillon, SS Alen Hanson, CF Gregory Polanco, RHP Luis Heredia, OF Josh Bell, CF Barrett Barnes, RHP Nick Kingham, C Wyatt Mathisen and RHP Clay Holmes.
Jonathan Mayo MLB.com: RHP Gerrit Cole, RHP Jameson Taillon, SS Alen Hanson, RHP Luis Heredia, CF Gregory Polanco, OF Josh Bell, LHP Justin Wilson, RHP Kyle McPherson, CF Barrett Barnes, 1B Alex Dickerson.
Jason Parks Baseball Prospectus: RHP Gerrit Cole, RHP Jameson Taillon, CF Gregory Polanco, RHP Luis Heredia, IF/LF Alen Hanson, OF Josh Bell, C Wyatt Mathisen, RHP Tyler Glasnow, RHP Nick Kingham, OF Barrett Barnes.
John Perrotto Baseball America : RHP Gerrit Cole, RHP Jameson Taillon, RHP Luis Heredia, CF Gregroy Polanco, SS Alen Hansen, OF Josh Bell, RHP Kyle McPherson, LHP Justin Wilson, CF Barrett Barnes, RHP Clay Holmes.
Tim Williams Pirates Prospects: RHP Gerrit Cole, RHP Jameson Taillon, CF Gregory Polanco, SS Alen Hanson, RHP Luis Heredia, OF Josh Bell, CF Barrett Barnes, RHP Tyler Glasnow, RHP Kyle McPherson, RHP Nick Kingham.
Everyone's Top Six are the same: Cole and Taillon are 1-2, Heredia, Polanco and Hansen take the next three spots in varying order, and Bell is sixth. We're not quite sure why all the love for Bell yet; we'd like to see the kid play a little first, even if he is a potential 30 HR guy. So was Brad Eldrich.
We were surprised to see how much love Justin Wilson got; he seemed to be the forgotten guy at Indy. Barrett Barnes took some of the sting out of the Mark Appel swing-and-miss. And we like the fact that the back end is a mix of guys; it means the system is a bit less top heavy than it once was, even if there is a gap between the levels.
GW isn't going to dazzle fans with his own list; these guys did a fine enough job. But we will drop two names to watch in 2013 - 2B Dilson Herrera and RHP Robbie Rowland.