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The last 10 years of Baseball America's Pirates prospect lists

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In one of the Keith Law comment threads, there was discussion of past Pirates prospect lists. So, to see how the Bucs' farm system has evolved in the past decade, I dug them all up. Here are the results, beginning with the season in which Dave Littlefield was fired.

2007:

1. Andrew McCutchen, OF
2. Neil Walker, C
3. Brad Lincoln, RHP
4. Yoslan Herrera, RHP
5. Josh Sharpless, RHP
6. Steven Pearce, 1B
7. Brian Bixler, SS
8. Brad Corley, OF
9. Todd Redmond, RHP
10. Mike Felix, LHP

Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker aside, this is a sad list. As Wilbur frequently points out, Herrera was more of a publicity stunt than a serious prospect; he allowed 20 runs in 18.1 innings with the Bucs. Sharpless was a reliever from the minute the Pirates drafted him. Corley had struck out 109 times and walked 18 the previous season at Class A. (He did, however, have 100 RBI, which I remember being used as an actual argument in his favor at the time.) Redmond's upside was that of a fifth starter. (To his credit, he has briefly achieved that upside.) Felix was a small lefty the Pirates took in the second round in 2006. They made him a reliever in 2007 and his career quickly became a mess of control problems. And so on. Ironically, the one guy below the top two who has a genuinely good MLB season to his name is Steve Pearce, in whom the Pirates showed little interest.

2008:

1. Andrew McCutchen, OF
2. Neil Walker, 3B
3. Steve Pearce, 1B/OF
4. Brad Lincoln, RHP
5. Daniel Moskos, LHP
6. Shelby Ford, 2B
7. Jamie Romak, OF
8. Brian Bixler, SS/2B
9. Duke Welker, RHP
10. Brad Corley, OF

2008 marks the token appearance of Danny Moskos on the Pirates' top ten list. Then the 2007 fourth overall pick posted a 5.95 ERA in Lynchburg, and that was that.

2009:

1. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
2. Andrew McCutchen, LF
3. Jose Tabata, OF
4. Brad Lincoln, RHP
5. Bryan Morris, RHP
6. Neil Walker, 3B
7. Jeff Sues, RHP
8. Shelby Ford, 2B
9. Daniel McCutchen, RHP
10. Robbie Grossman, OF

I'd nearly forgotten who Shelby Ford was and was surprised to see him on two lists. I also probably hadn't thought about Jeff Sues (who is the mystery man pictured above) in five years -- he was a reliever who had one good year as a 25-year-old at Lynchburg and Altoona. In this list, though, one can begin to see Neal Huntington's fingerprints -- he was responsible for acquiring Alvarez, Tabata, Morris, Daniel McCutchen and Grossman, with Alvarez and Grossman arriving in his first draft in 2008.

2010:

1. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
2. Jose Tabata, OF
3. Tony Sanchez, C
4. Brad Lincoln, RHP
5. Chase D’Arnaud, SS/2B
6. Starling Marte, OF
7. Tim Alderson, RHP
8. Zach Von Rosenberg, RHP
9. Rudy Owens, LHP
10. Gorkys Hernandez, OF

This list would have looked pretty promising at the time, although now it's clear it was filled with all kinds of false starts -- pretty much everyone except Marte could be called a disappointment in some sense (although that might be a little unfair to Alvarez, who produced at a reasonable level for several years and whose expectations were probably unfair to begin with).

2011:

1. Jameson Taillon, RHP
2. Tony Sanchez, C
3. Stetson Allie, RHP
4. Starling Marte, OF
5. Luis Heredia, RHP
6. Bryan Morris, RHP
7. Rudy Owens, LHP
8. Jeff Locke, LHP
9. Zack Von Rosenberg, RHP
10. Chase d’Arnaud, SS/2B

If you want to see why even some hardcore "apologist" Pirates fans briefly turned on Huntington in the couple years after this list came out, you can see why -- much was expected of many of these players, and few of them met those expectations. The best player on this list, Marte, was a Littlefield acquisition. Sanchez was a bust, and it looks like Heredia will be too. Morris was the last remaining interesting piece from Huntington's most important trade to that point. Von Rosenberg, like Sanchez, was from the Bucs' ugly 2009 draft. Von Rosenberg is currently a walk-on in the football program at LSU.

2012:

1. Gerrit Cole, RHP
2. Jameson Taillon, RHP
3. Josh Bell, OF
4. Starling Marte, OF
5. Luis Heredia, RHP
6. Kyle McPherson, RHP
7. Tony Sanchez, C
8. Robbie Grossman, OF
9. Stetson Allie, RHP
10. Jeff Locke, LHP

Now, finally, we're really starting to get somewhere. This list has two current MLB stars (Cole and Marte), a solid contributor (Locke) and two other players (Taillon and Bell) who still have upside.

2013:

1. Gerrit Cole, RHP
2. Jameson Taillon, RHP
3. Luis Heredia, RHP
4. Gregory Polanco, OF
5. Alen Hanson, SS
6. Josh Bell, OF
7. Kyle McPherson, RHP
8. Justin Wilson, LHP
9. Barrett Barnes, OF
10. Clay Holmes, RHP

2014:

1. Gregory Polanco, OF
2. Jameson Taillon, RHP
3. Tyler Glasnow, RHP
4. Austin Meadows, OF
5. Nick Kingham, RHP
6. Alen Hanson, SS
7. Josh Bell, OF
8. Reese McGuire, C
9. Harold Ramirez, OF
10. Luis Heredia, RHP

This is the first list consisting entirely of Huntington-era acquisitions. (Littlefield drafted Kyle McPherson in 2007.) You can see here Gregory Polanco's rapid rise, as well as Heredia's rapid fall. Also, notice Tyler Glasnow coming out of nowhere to claim the third spot on the list -- so far, he's been successful where all the tall, projectable pitching draftees before him failed. The Pirates' farm system before the 2011 draft (when the Bucs took Cole, Josh Bell and Glasnow) was arguably not nearly as good as it should have been, given the amount of money they were spending, but Glasnow delivering on even half his upside would do a great deal to make up for that.

2015:

1. Tyler Glasnow, RHP
2. Jameson Taillon, RHP
3. Austin Meadows, OF
4. Josh Bell, OF/1B
5. Reese McGuire, C
6. Nick Kingham, RHP
7. Alen Hanson, SS/2B
8. Cole Tucker, SS
9. Mitch Keller, RHP
10. Harold Ramirez, OF

2016:

1. Tyler Glasnow, RHP
2. Austin Meadows, OF
3. Josh Bell, OF/1B
4. Jameson Taillon, RHP
5. Harold Ramirez, OF
6. Reese McGuire, C
7. Cole Tucker, SS
8. Kevin Newman, SS
9. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B
10. Elias Diaz, C

2016 is Jameson Taillon's sixth year on the list. Glasnow tops the list for the second consecutive year, with Austin Meadows likely taking his place once Glasnow graduates in June or so. Ke'Bryan Hayes could be a candidate to shoot up the list next year if he has a good season in Charleston.