Jim Callis of Baseball America recalibrated his Top Ten Pirate Prospects after the draft and Gerrit Cole's call-up. His new list:
1. Jameson Taillon, RHP;
2. Gregory Polanco, OF;
3. Austin Meadows, OF;
4. Josh Bell, OF;
5. Tyler Glasnow, RHP;
6. Reese McGuire, C; 7. Alen Hanson, SS; 8. Nick Kingham,RHP;
9. Luis Heredia, RHP; and 10. Tony Sanchez, C.
He also mentions Allie Stetson, 1B, and Dilson Herrera, 2B, as top-end players.
We'd add the currently injured Kyle McPherson to the roster, but it does a fairly accurate job of showing the pecking order. GW is not a fan of including draft picks, especially HS players. We think of last year's Wyatt Mathieson every time we hear about Reese McGuire. While they may both end up top-end catchers, they're certainly not there yet. But that's a quibble; any list is as much about potential as production.
GW does like the positional mix, and even more, that the pipeline is finally starting to produce. Cole, Jeff Locke, Bryan Morris, Justin Wilson, Starling Marte and Jordy Mercer have joined the big club to stay in the past two seasons with Tony Sanchez on the cusp. Gregory Polanco and Jameson Taillion, while not guarantees, could be in Pittsburgh by mid-2014, along with Vic Black and McPherson. It's the key to small revenue success and is finally beginning to click.
There are a lot of outfielders with potential in the system - guys like Andrew Lambo and Jerry Sands at Indy, along with youngsters like Barrett Barnes, Elvis Escobar and Harold Ramirez - and we wouldn't be surprised to see a couple of them dangled as we approach the deadline if the Bucs go looking for another late-end reliever or RH outfielder down the stretch.
It's taken a long time arriving, but the system is getting closer to critical mass, where it can provide a top level player every season or two for the parent club.