Sunday, November 20, 2011

2012 DBS Top 30 Pirate prospects - #5 to 1

Everyone keep calm and try not to rush the's the finale of the annual DBS Top 30 Prospects.

As always, 130 AB's or 50 IP or 30 relief appearances in the majors disqualifies potential candidates from the list. The age in parentheses is the 2012 season age for the player, using the July 1st cutoff date.

5. Josh Bell (19) OF, A -- Bell received a record-breaking amount of bonus money for a 2nd round draft pick in 2011 ($5 million). That's "we think you're going to be a star" money. He is probably the best power threat in the whole system. So why isn't he higher? Bell has yet to swing a bat in anger and his lack of arm/range will confine him to LF (RF in spacious PNC Park). I've seen his videos on Youtube of his defense and he looks awkward and lanky. All that said, it would not be surprising to me if he is #1 on this list next year...even if Cole and Taillon are still eligible.

4. Luis Heredia (17) RHP, SS -- He's only 17. (Seventeen!!). Yeah...Winger!!! Uh....right...Heredia. For all of the 2012 season, Heredia will be 17 years old, which is the equivalent of a high school junior. He'll be at State College and will hopefully pitch around 60-70 innings. Even though he is an International phenom, his progress will be slow for the next 2 years. I could see him spending all of 2013 in West Virginia, maybe maybe splitting time between Bradenton and Altoona in 2014, and then all year in Indy in 2015. That will have him debuting in 2016 and the ripe old age of...21. Jeebus.

3. Starling Marte (23) OF, AAA -- The future of CF. I could probably end it right there, but I'll infect your brain with his numbers from this year. Marte hit .332/.370/.500 (870 OPS) at a park in Altoona that is not conducive to offense. Marte actually had a road OPS significantly higher than his home OPS. It also helps that his defensive range is spectacular and his arm is a small howitzer. Even though Neal Huntington recently said that Marte needs a full year at AAA, it wouldn't surprise me to see him blitzkreig AAA and be here in July 2012.

2. Jameson Taillon (20) RHP, A+ -- I had to decide which future ace to put 1 and which one to put 2. It's nothing that Taillon did wrong to be here instead of Cole. In his first full year, Taillon pitched 92 innings, gave up 89 hits, walked only 22 and struck out 97. He worked on commanding his pitches and not striking out everyone he faced. All while sitting 93-94 and hitting 97 at times. His curveball is major league ready right now and his changeup is developing as a plus pitch.

1. Gerrit Cole (21) RHP, A+/AA -- Cole is only 1 year older than Taillon, but his fastball is already sitting 96-97 and he routinely touches 99 and 100. His changeup and curve are both plus pitches right now. He was dominant at times in the Arizona Fall League, even in 3 inning stints, so it would not be surprising to see him start the season at Altoona. If Cole does what everyone expects Cole can do, there is an outside, remote, maybe but don't tell anyone chance that he's here in September 2012. More realistically is that he is here in June 2013 and fronting the rotation.

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