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Walker, McCutchen in WTNY Top Prospects List

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Here's Wait 'Til Next Year's list of the top 75 prospects in baseball (via Primer). As we might expect, there aren't a lot of Pirates. Neil Walker is at #44 and Andrew McCutchen gets an honorable mention. WTNY author Bryan Smith is probably more excited about these guys than I am, though. I like Walker a lot, but I'll wait to get too excited until I see how he returns from his injury. Smith says:

I criticized the Pirates in the past for drafting Walker... However, after 50 extra-base hits this past year, I will now retract any criticism. The Pirates showed foresight, not frugality, in drafting Walker...

Neil's ceiling is in the superstar category offensively... However, before I get too excited, I will have to see more than 20 walks in a season. Since there are very few other offensive problems to refine, I do think this is a problem that Walker can overcome in the next 2-3 seasons.

I think he probably can, too, but I question whether the Pirates will encourage Walker to improve his plate discipline.

On McCutchen:

Both McCutchen's speed and his discipline are refined tools. At the plate, he managed to draw 37 walks (against 30 strikeouts!) in 210 at-bats. Not only does McCutchen make great contact, but his discipline also provides a future batting leadoff.

I've seen some Pirate fans write that McCutchen is comparable to Marquis Grissom, but that's not right. Grissom has never walked more than 52 times in a season. Grissom's lifetime OBP is .318. McCutchen's upside is a much, much higher OBP than that. His plate discipline is already outstanding, and it'll stay that way if the Pirates don't try to ruin it.