Pittsburgh Pirates Top 10 Prospects Chat

John Perrotto: Hi there everyone. Thanks for joining us. Let’s get started.

@Jaypers413 (IL): Thanks for the chat. Did Yeudy Garcia get any love for this list? What's his projection, and do you think he's ready to start next season at Bradenton?
John Perrotto: He came very close to making it and likely would be in the top 10 in many other organizations. He should definitely start next year in Bradenton. Considering how far out of nowhere he has come, I’d like to see a little more but I think he could be a potential mid-rotation starter or perhaps a closer because of that fastball.

Grant (NYC): Does Kevin Kramer stick at shortstop in the coming years? Was he on your 11 to 20 list?
John Perrotto: Not on the 11-20 and I think third base winds up being his destination. I think his defensive isn’t going to be quite good enough to play shortstop in the major leagues. Of course that was once said about Jordy Mercer, too, so you never know for sure.

Dave (Pittsburgh, PA): When does Alen Hanson make his Bucs' debut, and at which position? Is he still on your top 30?
John Perrotto: I think he now profiles as a utility infielder. A lot of scouts I talk to just don’t think he will hit enough to be a major league regular.

Frank (Chicago, IL): Could you tell us more about Willy Garcia? Thx for chatting.
John Perrotto: He’s a very toolsy player with good power and a good arm. He still have some rough edges to work out. If he does, he has a chance to be a regular outfielder in the major leagues.

Grant (NYC): Did Kingham's TJ surgery push him off the list, or was it more a case of others vaulting ahead of him? Is he still a viable back-end SP?
John Perrotto: A combination of both pushed him back. I think he’s still a viable back-end starter once he gets healthy.

Kelly (St. Cloud, MN): Have you heard why Meadows left the AFL early? Injury?
John Perrotto: Personal reasons. Pirates didn’t seem very concerned about it and he got enough at-bats out there to make it worth his while.

Blaine (Indiana): As a Braves fan, I think the Braves and Pirates line up well for a Shelby Miller for Austin Meadows package. What is Meadows' upside? .300 hitter with 20hr? Has a very handsy swing that is taking away his power. Thanks!
John Perrotto: That’s a intriguing possibility. I think you’ve hit it on the head, .300 with 20/20 and good CF defense.

Rich (NJ): Do you feel Jose Osuna will develop the power necessary to become an everyday MLB first baseman? If not, what do you see as the most likely future outcome?
John Perrotto: I wouldn’t rule out it but I’m not betting on it, either. At some point, a player has to break out and he hasn’t. And it’s getting late.

Rich (NJ): Do you have an update on Cole Tucker's recovery and how concerned are you & the team that the injury will negatively impact his immediate and future development?
John Perrotto: He is so young and so athletic that I don’t think the shoulder will be a career-altering injury and I don’t think missing a year will totally stunt his development.

Joe (San Diego): Where would you rank LHP Steven Brault in the Pirates organization? Seemed to have an excellent year in AA
John Perrotto: He’s in that 11-20 range. The Pirates really liked him when he was with the Orioles and he even exceeded their expectations this year.

Kenny (California): Kuhl, Brault and Tarpley put up good numbers. Seems like they should be in the top 10. I know Pirates are deep but ors these guys have a future in Pittsburgh
John Perrotto: They are all good prospects and probably would in the top 10 in some other organizations. However, I don’t see who they should be ahead of in the current top 10.

Kenny (California): Taillion in Pittsburgh this year
John Perrotto: If he stays healthy and shows he is fully healthy, I think he will get a September callups, at the very least.

joe (pittsburgh): Hey john...my question is in regards to the future of the pirates outfield...it looks like austin meadows maybe ready for the majors in 2 years or so..in your opinion do u feel as if he'll be trade bait for a major run?..or do u feel its more likely that there will be an odd man out in our stating outfield currently..meaning cutch,marte,or polonco?.I'm hearing meadows is a bonfide stud! Thanks...go bucs!
John Perrotto: That’s a great question and it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out. I know that doesn’t answer your question but I think a lot of it will depend on if they remain contenders. However, I could see a case where they trade one of their current outfielders, try to get a bundle back, then have Meadows under control for six-plus years. It would make a lot of sense.

Austin (Texas): What kind of player could Harold Ranirez bring in a trade?
John Perrotto: I think a pitcher with mid-to-back-end rotation potential or an average-to-slightly above average regular at another position.

Mike (Flowood, MS): What are the Pirates' plans for Adam Frazier?
John Perrotto: Clint Hurdle loves versatile players — Sean Rodriguez played in 139 games this season — and Frazier would seem to be a potentially outstanding super utility player if he continues to develop.

Ryan W (Scranton PA): Trey Supak and Mitch Keller both were highly regarded on draft day, and while neither impressed greatly in Bristol, they were far from disasters. Will they make the jump to low-A this year and what will be the biggest issue for them to work on this year?
John Perrotto: They are both still well-regarded and will pitch for West Virginia in the SAL next season. Like most young pitchers, they need to gain consistency in all phases.

Dave (New York City): Hey John, thanks for the Chat! Josh Bell is listed as OF/1B. Do the Pirates or you envision him ever playing any OF once he gets to Pittsburgh, or is he much more likely to play only First Base? Has his defense at 1B improved enough to eventually be respectable, or is he an 'NL DH waiting to happen'?
John Perrotto: First off, apologies for deleting two prior questions I meant to answer — battling a little flu bug here today: I think Barrett Barnes can break out but he needs to soon because he isn’t getting any younger. He also has to stay healthy. I like Logan Hill, an outfielder who was the 25th-round pick from Troy this year, as someone who can zoom up the charts. He can really hit and has power and patience. As for this question, Bell’s short-term future — at the very least — is almost certainly at first base but the Pirates haven’t shut the door on him at least some action in the outfield.

Walt (Plano Texas): I went to opening day of the AFL this year and had the opportunity to speak at length with Austin Meadows and Reese McGuire. Is there a reason the Pirates keep these guys for additional fall instructs and not give them a breather for a couple weeks before AFL starts? They looked tired coming into AFL while all other players were returning from a couple weeks mental and physical break. Thanks!
John Perrotto: The Pirates like to have their young prospects experience what the rigors of a major league season would feel like, which is why they don’t give their AFL players much of a break.

Tim Stephens (Proctorville, Ohio): Did Elias Diaz's offensive breakthrough mean he will be the backup in Pittsburgh in 2016 or does he need more seasoning in Triple-A?
John Perrotto: That’s what the Pirates are pondering now. They really like Chris Stewart as their No. 2 but they also think Diaz could handle the backup role. We’ll find out later in the month when it’s time to tender contracts if they decide to keep Stewart for one more year and give Diaz more developmental time.

Johh (NC): I'm curious for opinions on a few Pirates pitchers not on this list. Where do evaluators stand on Steven Brault, Stephen Tarpley, and Mitch Keller?
John Perrotto: Evaluators think all three can be major league starters with the chance to at least be average, perhaps better.

DR (East Coast): Anything from scouts on Michael Suchy or Jordan Luplow? They looked impressive in the Sally.
John Perrotto: Luplow is considered the better player and moving to third base helped his profiles. Suchy certainly has a shot at being a big-leaguer, too, but most scouts like Luplow better.

Dan (MD): Carlos Munoz--is the power legit enough for him to be a top 1B prospect?
John Perrotto: Maybe. I’d like to see more of him at a full-season league because I get too excited.

VandyGuy (VandyLand): Gotta ask if there's any word on Jacob Stallings. Looks like he might carve out a career as a backup. Are the receiving skills there?
John Perrotto: He doesn’t overwhelm with tools but he has a great baseball IQ. He’s the type of guy who eventually gets to the majors, if perhaps only for a cup of coffee — and likely becomes a manager once his playing days are over.

Justin (NY): What does Wyatt Mathisen profile as at the MLB level?
John Perrotto: He’s starting to look more like a ‘tweener to me.

Michael Stern (Rochester NY): Between Tucker and Newman the Pirates have drafted a SS in the first round the last 2 years in a row. Who do you see as the favorite right now to become the eventual starter in Pitt. down the road? Who has the higher ceiling bewteen the two and is most likely to reach it.? Thanks for the chat !
John Perrotto: I think Tucker stays at shortstop because of his exceptional tools and Newman winds up at second base.

Bjorn (Seattle, WA): Josh Bell has been regarded as having plus power ever since he was drafted back in 2011. Who in the majors do you see as a comp to his offensive upside if he is able to tap into his plus power?
John Perrotto: I think he winds up a Michael Brantley-type with a bit more power.

Andrew (Pittsfield, MA): Is Glasnow ready to be in the rotation on opening day? Would the team do that even if he is?
John Perrotto: He needs to tighten up his control a little, so I’d start him off at Indianapolis. And, yes, even if he was ready the Pirates would start at Indy to stall his service time clock.

Frank (McCandless): What do you see happening with the Pirates 2B situation? If Walker is traded and Kang is not ready by Opening Day, who do you see playing there until Kang is back and Harrison can move to 2B?
John Perrotto: They would play Harrison at second, and go out and get a stop gap at third base until Kang was ready.

Tim Stephens (Proctorville, Ohio): Steven Brault's consistency as he's moved through the system is impressive. What's his ceiling?
John Perrotto: I’d say a No. 3 starter but the arrow is pointing up.

Jeb (Des Moines): How good can Tyler Glasnow be?
John Perrotto: A No. 1 starter and one of the best in baseball.

Tim Stephens (Proctorville, Ohio): Will Stephen Tarpley's stuff play at higher levels?
John Perrotto: That remains to be seen but he is young, still has some projectability and has a pretty good feel for his craft at a young age.

Bill (DC): Is Taillon still projected to be a 1/2 starter? Is the drop a reflection of lost time or concern about reaching ceiling?
John Perrotto: How he bounces back after missing two seasons is going to be one of the system’s biggest story lines in 2016. I don’t think there is any way of knowing for sure.

Greg T. (Lake Central): All season long, not one BA staffer answered any questions about Jordan Luplow during the BA Hotsheet chats...even thought the dude was HOT many times throughout the year! Just wondering why he never gets any pub and love from you guys? I mean, the guy was a polished, high-draft pick, college hitter, then he raked in 2014, wasn't ranked in the top-30 of the org. and then raked again in 2015 (for the SAL standards)!!!! What gives???
John Perrotto: Well, he is going to get some love in Handbook. He didn’t make the top 10 but he’s in the top 20. People — including me — are finally starting to notice him, albeit probably a little slower than we should.

Bill (DC): Pleasantly surprised to see Hayes crack top 10 but he has a long way to go. What are the biggest factors in ranking him this high?
John Perrotto: Long-term projection. He has a big-time power potential once he gets more confidence in turning the bat loose in game situations. Also a strong arm at third base if he can retain the athleticism needed to stay at the position.

Blackbeard (The High Seas): Austin Meadows: does the power come next year, or does it never come at all?
John Perrotto: At some point. He’s too big and strong not to start popping more home run.

Blake (Steel City II): Never heard of you before here on BA's website--and I'm not sure you'll be back writing for the Pirates because you obviously haven't done your homework and research to leave off Alen Hanson! What a joke!
John Perrotto: I’ve been covering baseball for 28 years and been the Pittsburgh correspondent for BA for nearly 25. I must be fooling somebody.

Pete (Jackson Co.): Meadows should eventually be better than both Polanco and Marte, right? So can the Pirates trade one of these guys next July for some starting pitching!?!? Please?!?!
John Perrotto: I don’t think his ceiling is that of Marte, who I truly believe is close to blossoming into superstardom, but I do think he could be better than Polanco.

Matt (Pittsburgh): Has Max Moroff opened some eyes in the organization to warrant a future spot on the 25 man?
John Perrotto: He certainly has. This was a good growth year at Altoona. If he follows up at Indy in 2016, he’ll be knocking on the big-league door in 2017.

Matt (Pittsburgh): Are there going to be enough 40 man spots for all these prospects coming up?
John Perrotto: The Pirates have been clearing as many spots as possible in the past few weeks but there is a chance somebody doesn’t make the cut and gets nabbed in the Rule 5 Draft. It’s one of the downsides to having a good system.

Troutmaskreplica (Hawaii): Gage Hinsz and Stephen Tarpley thoughts?
John Perrotto: Both have a chance to be good big-league starting pitchers. Hinsz’s stuff a little better but Tarpley is ahead of him right now because he has more experience and polish.

graveline (greensboro, nc): Any hope for Luis Heredia? I know he was a bigger prospect than Roberto Osuna coming out of mexico, but seems to have struggled every step of the way
John Perrotto: He’s still young enough to turn it around but I’m starting to lose faith.

Jim (Huntington Beach): Does Glasnow get a June call up next year or is Aug/Sept more likely?
John Perrotto: I think it all depends on their needs and his development. If the rotation springs a leak in June and Glasnow keep improving then I think it’s a no-brainer he’ll get the call.

Rich (NJ): I have been following Sebastian Valle since his days in Lakewood. Do you feel he has a MLB future?
John Perrotto: The thing is about catchers is that they are in such scarce supply that even a guy who has been kicking around for a while like Valle could get a chance in the right situation. I wouldn’t bet on it but I also wouldn’t bet against it. He has some talent.

John Perrotto: Well, that’s all the Qs. Thank you so much for all the good question. It’s always a yearly highlight to participate in this chat.