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Pirates Prospects' Prospect Guide continues to be a great resource

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USA TODAY Sports

Tim Williams sent me a copy of the Pirates Prospects 2014 Prospect Guide last week. I really enjoy getting the book each year, and this year is no exception.

The book contains extensive writeups on all the Pirates' top 50 prospects, from Gregory Polanco to Yhonathan Barrios, as well as writeups on many of the rest of the minor-leaguers in the system, including recent minor-league signees and international prospects who haven't even made their stateside debuts yet.

I especially like reading about the back end of the top 50, which is mostly guys like Barrios who Tim and the staff at PP like but who haven't necessarily put up huge numbers yet or gotten lots of exposure elsewhere. I can't remember where Polanco ranked in the prospect guide two or three years ago, but Tim was one of the first people to talk him up, and I appreciated knowing about him when I went to minor-league spring training and saw a young player who perhaps hadn't completely grown into his body but whose build and athleticism clearly stood out. Next year, maybe Elvis Escobar or Dovydas Neverauskas or Neil Kozikowski will break out, and if you go to Pirate City or to a minor-league game with a copy of the Prospect Guide, you'll have a much better shot at being among the first to appreciate them.