Obviously you look at the major league squad and immediately notice a difference. One being they are all but a shoe in for a winning season. The talent level is better, the atmosphere is better and it is exciting. But while we are excited about the major league team now, just look at the difference in future excitement that NH has brought to the organization.
When he took over
Top 10 Prospects
1.Andrew McCutchen(not much to say about this, he is a superstar)
2. Neil Walker(after being tossed around numerous positions, he found a solid home at 2nd)
3. Brad Lincoln(reduced to a reliever role. Might be successful, but as the number 3 prospect wouldn't you expect more).
5. Josh Sharpless
6. Steve Pearce
7. Brian Bixler
8. Brad Corley
10. Mike Felix
So 1 superstar, 2 respectable major league players, a couple of bench guys. ( This was the hope of our system?)
1. Gerrit Cole(potential Ace)
2. Jameson Tallion(potential Ace)
3. Starling Marte(Decent to very good starting OF)
4.Josh Bell(Superstar potential)
5.Alen Hanson(serviceable SS with pop to superstar potential)
6. Luis Heredia(Potential Ace to 2nd-3rd guy in rotation)
7. Gregory Polanco((decent to very good starting OF)
8. Alex Dickerson(Projects as a solid 1b)
9.Clay Holmes(skys the limit)
10. Jeff Locke(Decent guy in the rotation)
Then you have a handful of other guys who have the potential to be anywhere from a bench guy to a solid major leaguer. Tony Sanchez, Justin Wilson, Bryan Morris, Kyle Mcpherson, Zack Von Rosenberg, Willy Garcia, Brock Holt, Victor Black, Matt Curry, Ramon Cabrera, Adalberto Santos, Gift Ngoepe, Mel Rojas Jr., Dan Gamache, Jose Osuna, DJ Crumlich, Barret Barnes, Wyatt Mathisen... and so on and so on.
Obviously we can argue order all day long but that really isn't the point. We could get rid of players 3-10 and still have a stronger farm system than we did in 2007. The most exciting part of the whole thing is that we aren't attaching all of our hope to a couple of players as "the future." We have the top tier "superstar potential guys" and then we also have a system flooded with high upside. Keep in mind that Alen Hansen went from no name, to sleeper to top prospect in basically 1.5 years.
It is an exciting time to be a Pirate fan, even if the buccos fall short of the playoffs this year, the future is bright.