H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY
No system in baseball can boast the one-two punch of Cole and Taillon, and with talented position prospects sitting on the next tier, the Pirates have one of the most impact-heavy systems in the game.
Their top ten includes Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon at the top, of course, followed by Gregory Polanco, who BP calls "a first-division talent" who seems likely to stick in center field. The list also includes Wyatt Mathisen at No. 7 and super-tall pitching prospect Tyler Glasnow at No. 8. It also names Dilson Herrera, Adrian Sampson and Clay Holmes as prospects to watch next season. (Jason Parks, the author of the piece, said yesterday on Twitter that he'd received a report on Herrera that made him "want to light a bunch of candles and take a bubble bath.")
His command needs to be refined, as does his changeup and arsenal utility (sequence), but not many arms in baseball can brag on three well above-average offerings and a prototypical body used to deliver that arsenal. Adjustment is the name of the game in the big leagues, as high-level hitters can hit high-level pitching, so Cole will need to learn to pitch with touch as well as torch. The total package could be elite, the rare no. 1 starter that every team in baseball covets, yet only a few are lucky enough to control.
I don't think the Pirates have done a good enough job drafting, but it's still becoming increasingly clear that their focus on the minor leagues is bearing fruit. There's still a ton of risk here, since so many of the top players are still in the low minors, but it's hard not to get excited reading this.