Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Top 20 Prospect Rankings

By: J.P. Schwartz
Twitter: @Jaypers413

Every year around this time I like to rank each team’s top overall prospects. My criteria are based on A: Past Performance and B: Future Potential (50% of each per prospect)

Disclaimer: I am not a professional scout, nor did I attend any minor league games this year. These lists are the product of my own research of online scouting reports and statistics, and are compiled purely for entertainment purposes.

Send your questions or feedback to me on twitter @Jaypers413

To qualify for these lists, a prospect must have no more than 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues.


1. Gregory Polanco OF

2. Jameson Taillon RHP

3. Tyler Glasnow RHP

4. Austin Meadows OF

5. Reese McGuire C

6. Nick Kingham RHP

7. Alen Hanson SS

8. Harold Ramirez OF

9. Josh Bell OF

10. Michael de la Cruz OF

11. Luis Heredia RHP

12. Jin-De Jhang C

13. Wyatt Mathisen C

14. Barrett Barnes OF

15. Clay Holmes RHP

16. Cody Dickson LHP

17. Adrian Sampson RHP

18. Gift Ngoepe SS

19. Tony Sanchez C

20. Jose Osuna 1B

Interview With Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching Prospect Nick Kingham

By: Andrew Martin
Twitter: @HistorianAndrew

Stockpiling quality young pitching is always a priority for a losing team trying to change their fortunes and culture. The Pittsburgh Pirates, who last had a winning season in 1992, have recently drafted highly touted arms like Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole to jumpstart their rebuilding process. However, the team is also high on Nick Kingham, another recent draftee, who they believe has a bright future in Pittsburgh.
Kingham, a tall right-handed starter, was taken in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB Draft out of high school in Las Vegas. According to Pirates prospect site Buried Treasure, Kingham was planning to attend the University of Oregon, but was convinced to turn pro when Pittsburgh offered him a generous signing bonus.
About to turn 21 later this week, Kingham possesses a low-nineties fastball and promising secondary pitches. He impressed in his first two professional seasons in short-season ball, combining for a 2.07 ERA. This past year he made 27 starts in Class-A, and held his own, posting a 6-8 record and 4.39 ERA, while striking out nearly a batter an inning.
Last year I had a chance to interview Kingham and get to know the up-and-coming Pirates prospect a little better.

How did you first become interested in baseball? My parents; my Dad grew up playing high school ball. He never played college, but he got me my first interest in it. I started playing it and stuck with it.

Did you have a favorite team or player when you were growing up?
Nope. No favorite team and no favorite player. I was just a fan of the game.

Do you model yourself after any current player?
(Josh) Beckett would be the closest now. I mean it is who I like the most now, but it is pretty hard to emulate somebody that great. I try.

How did you know the Pirates were interested in drafting you?
My scout called me when I was at work with my Dad. He called to tell me that they had drafted me and that they would be in touch. I heard from them two weeks later.

After you signed, did you do anything special for yourself or your family?
We had a few people over two nights before I left, but nothing too special.

What type of pitches do you throw?
Just a fastball, curve and change right now. The fastball is definitely the most important pitch. It’s sitting 91, 92, but reaching 94 or 94.

How has minor league life been?
It’s different. It’s a grind, but no complaints at all. You have to love what you do.

Be sure to check out Nick Kingham’s Baseball Cards

Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Mid-Season Top 5 Prospect Rankings

By: J.P. Schwartz

As we are now halfway into the season and the signing deadline for 2012 draft picks has passed, here is my revised list of top 5 prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

Remember, a prospect must have fewer than 130 ABs or 50 IP in the Major Leagues to qualify.
(Stats through 7/30/2012)

1) Gerrit Cole – P
Highest Level: AA Altoona Curve
2012 Stats:
MILB: 7-5, 3.00ERA, 99IP, 29BB, 101K, .235BAA

2) Jameson Taillon – P
Highest Level: High-A Bradenton Marauders
2012 Stats:
MILB: 5-7, 4.09ERA, 110IP, 34BB, 88K, .231BAA

3) Alen Hanson – 2B
Highest Level: Low-A West Virginia Power
2012 Stats:
MILB: .311, 28(2B), 11(3B), 15HR, 53RBI, 28SB

4) Starling Marte – OF
Highest Level: MLB Pittsburgh Pirates
2012 Stats:
MLB: .250, 2HR, 4RBI
MILB: .286, 21(2B), 13(3B), 12HR, 62RBI, 21SB

5) Josh Bell – OF
Highest Level: Low-A West Virginia Power
2012 Stats:
MILB: .274, 5(2B), 1HR, 11RBI

Send your questions or feedback to J.P. on twitter @Jaypers413

Q&A With Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Wes Freeman

By: Andrew Martin

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been in rebuilding mode for the better part of two decades, ever since the heydays of Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla. The franchise has yet to hit upon a successful blueprint to bring them back to winning ways, but in recent years they have accumulated some interesting prospects who may be the catalyst for the resurgence. One prospect to keep a particular eye out for is outfielder Wes Freeman.
Freeman was selected out of high school in the 16th round by Pittsburgh in the 2008 MLB draft. Like other high school players, Freeman was treated with kid gloves for his first couple of seasons, playing mainly in the instructional Gulf League. However, in 2011, he played a total of 55 games at two different levels of A-ball, posting an impressive .299 batting average, with 6 home runs, 24 RBI, and 12 stolen bases. Combined with the strong arm he has shown in the outfield, the Pirates may very well have a five tool player on their hands.
This past season, I had an opportunity to interview Freeman, and got to know the player who has a good chance to rocket up the prospect rankings this coming year.

How did you first become interested in baseball?
I’ve got two older brothers who were probably the ones that directed me to the baseball path. They played, so I kind of fell into that with my family.

Who was your favorite team and player when you were growing up?
I liked the Rays for the last ten years I guess. Favorite player? I don’t know. (Carl) Crawford was a good one, but I like Josh Hamilton right now.

Do you model your own game after Hamilton or any other player? I don’t model after anybody physically. As far as on and off the field, the type of guy he is character-wise, yeah man. There’s a few guys. Jeter’s a great guy and Albert Pujols is one of my favorite personalities.

Have you ever been involved or seen any unusual plays?
I was in left field earlier this year and ended up tagging a guy out at third on a double down the right field line. The third baseman vacated and I got to cover the bag and tag him. I hadn’t done that before. That was kind of an unconventional play.

Now that your career is underway, is there anything about the life of a professional baseball player that surprises you?
I would say how serious people take it. A lot of people that I run in to, it seems like it is more of a job and a life or death situation to them when it’s really just baseball. Some guys I don’t think let it be as much of a game as it should be.

Be sure to check out the selection of Wes Freeman Baseball Cards.

2012 Pittsburgh Pirates Top 15 Prospect Rankings

By: J.P. Schwartz
@Jaypers413 on Twitter
JP’s FreedomCardboard Blog

2012 Pittsburgh Pirates Top 15 Prospect Rankings

Every year at this time I like to rank each team’s top prospects. My criteria is based upon both past performance and future potential to his parent team. This is my ranking of the 2012 Pittsburgh Pirates Top Prospects. If you have any questions about my rankings, feel free to shoot me a message on twitter @Jaypers413

To qualify, a prospect must have fewer than 130 at-bats or 50 innings in MLB

#1 Jameson Taillon RHP
Born: 11/18/1991
Highest Level Reached: Low-A West Virginia Power
2011 Combined Stats: 2-3, 3.98ERA, 92.2IP, 22BB, 97K, .249BAA

#2 Gerrit Cole RHP
Born: 9/8/1990
Highest Level Reached: 1st Overall Pick 2011 MLB Draft
2011 Combined Stats: Did Not Play In 2011

#3 Josh Bell OF
Born: 8/8/1992
Highest Level Reached: 2nd Round Pick 2011 MLB Draft
2011 Combined Stats: Did Not Play In 2011

#4 Starling Marte OF
Born: 10/9/1988
Highest Level Reached: Double-A Altoona Curve
2011 Combined Stats: .332, 38(2B), 8(3B), 12HR, 50RBI, 24SB

#5 Luis Heredia RHP
Born: 8/10/1994
Highest Level Reached: Rookie League GCL Pirates
2011 Combined Stats: 1-2, 4.75ERA, 30.1IP, 19BB, 23K, .257BAA

#6 Alex Dickerson 1B
Born: 5/26/1990
Highest Level Reached: Short-A State College Spikes
2011 Combined Stats: .313, 16(2B), 1(3B), 3HR, 19RBI (3rd Round Pick 2011 MLB Draft)

#7 Tony Sanchez C
Born: 5/20/1988
Highest Level Reached: Double-A Altoona Curve
2011 Combined Stats: .241, 14(2B), 1(3B), 5HR, 44RBI

#8 Rudy Owens LHP
Born: 12/18/1987
Highest Level Reached: Triple-A Indianapolis Indians
2011 Combined Stats: 9-7, 5.05ERA, 112.1IP, 32BB, 71K, .289BAA

#9 Bryan Morris RHP
Born: 3/28/1987
Highest Level Reached: Double-A Altoona Curve
2011 Combined Stats: 3-4, 3.35ERA, 3 Saves, 78IP, 33BB, 64K, .252BAA

#10 Kyle McPherson RHP
Born: 11/11/1987
Highest Level Reached: Double-A Altoona Curve
2011 Combined Stats: 12-6, 2.96ERA, 161IP, 27BB, 142K, .226BAA

#11 Clay Holmes RHP
Born: 3/27/1993
Highest Level Reached: 9th Round Pick 2011 MLB Draft
2011 Combined Stats: Did Not Play In 2011

#12 Nick Kingham RHP
Born: 11/8/1991
Highest Level Reached: Short-A State College Spikes
2011 Combined Stats: 6-2, 2.15ERA, 71IP, 15BB, 47K, .238BAA

#13 Stetson Allie RHP
Born: 3/13/1991
Highest Level Reached: Low-A State College Spikes
2011 Combined Stats: 0-2, 6.58ERA, 26IP, 29BB, 28K, .208BAA

#14 Jose Osuna 1B
Born: 12/12/1992
Highest Level Reached: Short-A State College Spikes
2011 Combined Stats: .328, 15(2B), 3(3B), 4HR, 33RBI

#15 Zack Von Rosenberg RHP
Born: 9/24/1990
Highest Level Reached: Low-A West Virginia Power
2011 Combined Stats: 5-9, 5.73ERA, 125.2IP, 23BB, 114K, .290BAA

Disclaimer – I did not attend any minor league games this year, nor do I claim to have any scouting experience. These lists are the product of my own research of statistics and online scouting reports.

Pittsburgh Pirates Pitcher Jeff Locke Went From His Town’s Worst Little League Team To The Big Leagues

Pittsburgh Pirates rookie pitcher Jeff Locke will enter 2012 looking for his first big league win. He went 0-3 in four starts with the Pirates last season. Despite not yet getting a win, Locke reached the dream sought after by many when he made his major league debut. In the story link below, Locke provides an in depth look at his baseball journey from suiting up for the worst team in the Mount Washington Valley Little League, being highly scouted in high school, 2006 draft day when he was selected by the Atlanta Braves, his journey through the minor leagues and finally his debut last season with the Pirates. It’s an interesting timeline look at Locke’s path to the majors.

Jeff Locke’s journey to the Majors — ConwayDailySun.com

2011 Pittsburgh Pirates Top 15 Prospects Post Season Report Card

With the 2011 minor league season complete we check in on the progress of each of the Pittsburgh Pirates preseason Top 15 prospects as ranked by our prospect ranker J.P. Schwartz. The post season grading report was done by the publisher of Top Prospect Alert, not Mr. Schwartz, and reflects only the 2011 season and not future upside or downside of the individual prospect. Our 2012 preseason rankings will be published in the coming months.

#1 Jameson Taillon GRADE: B
Taillon went 2-3 with a 3.98ERA for the Low-A West Virginia Power. He walked 22 and struck out 97 in 92.2 innings of work. Opposing batters hit .249 off of Taillon on the season.

#2 Stetson Allie GRADE: C-
Allie went 0-2 with a 6.58ERA for the Short-A State College Spikes. He walked 29 and struck out 28 in 26 innings of work. Opposing batters hit .208 off Allie on the year.

#3 Luis Heredia GRADE: B-
Heredia went 1-2 with a 4.75ERA for the Rookie League Gulf Coast League Pirates. He walked 19 and struck out 23 in 30.1 innings of work. Opposing batters hit .257 off Heredia.

#4 Tony Sanchez GRADE: C+
Sanchez batted .241 with 14 Doubles, 1 Triple, 5 Home Runs and 44 RBI’s for the Double-A Altoona Curve. He walked 47 times and struck out 76 times in 118 games.

#5 Starling Marte GRADE: A
Marte batted .332 with 38 Doubles, 8 Triples, 12 Home Runs and 50 RBI’s for Double-A Altoona. He also stole 24 bases. He walked 22 times and struck out 100 times in 129 games.

#6 Jeff Locke GRADE: B
Locke went 8-10 with a 3.70ERA between Double-A Altoona and the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. Locke walked 55 and struck out 139 in 153.1 innings. Opposing batters hit .249 against him. In 16.2 innings with the big league Pirates covering four starts, Locke went 0-3 with a 6.48ERA.

#7 Andrew Lambo GRADE: C-
Lambo hit a combined .236 with 28 Doubles, 11 Home Runs and 58 RBI’s between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis. He hit just .184 in 60 Triple-A games. Lambo walked 43 times and struck out 107 times in 129 games.

#8 Zack Von Rosenberg GRADE: C-
Von Rosenberg went 5-9 with a 5.73ERA for Low-A West Virginia. He walked 23 and struck out 114 in 125.2 innings. Opposing batters hit .290 off Von Rosenberg on the season.

#9 Bryan Morris GRADE: B-
Morris went 3-4 with a 3.35ERA and 3 Saves for Double-A Altoona. He walked 33 and struck out 64 in 78 innings. Opposing batters hit .252 against Morris on the season.

#10 Chase d’Arnaud GRADE: B-
d’Arnaud batted .217 with 6 Doubles, 2 Triples, and 6 RBI’s for the Pirates. He walked four times and struck out 36 times in 48 big league games. He also stole 12 bases. At Triple-A Indianapolis, d’Arnaud batted .267 with 12 Doubles, 6 Triples, 4 Home Runs and 37 RBI’s in 74 games. He also stole 20 bases at Indy.

#11 Mel Rojas Jr GRADE: C+
Rojas Jr batted .246 with 16 Doubles, 7 Triples, 5 Home Runs and 46 RBI’s for Low-A West Virginia. He also stole 23 bases. Rojas Jr walked 46 times and struck out 119 times in 131 games.

#12 Rudy Owens GRADE: C-
Owens went 9-7 with a 5.05ERA for Triple-A Indianapolis. He walked 32 and struck out 71 in 112.1 innings. Opposing batters hit .289 off Owens on the season.

#13 Colton Cain GRADE: B
Cain went 6-8 with a 3.64ERA for Low-A West Virginia. He walked 31 and struck out 81 in 106.1 innings of work. Opposing batters hit .234 against Cain on the year.

#14 Jorge Bishop GRADE: D+
Bishop batted a combined .179 with 2 Doubles, 1 Home Run and 11 RBI’s between the Rookie GCL Pirates and Short-A State College. He walked 13 times and struck out 16 times in 39 games.

#15 Exicardo Cayones GRADE: C-
Cayones batted a combined .228 with 5 Doubles, 3 Triples, and 12 RBI’s between the Rookie GCL Pirates and Short-A State College. He walked 15 times and struck out 34 times in 38 games.

Video Of The Milwaukee Brewers Horse Head Fan Being Ejected From Miller Park

A few days ago, I read this story on Deadspin about a Milwaukee Brewers fan who was ejected from Miller Park during the Brewers recent game with the Pittsburgh Pirates for refusing to remove his Horse Head mask. According to the Deadspin account the man showed up for a couple of innings, drank beer through the mask, and then was removed from the stadium in the seventh after refusing to remove the mask. Here is video of the Horse man’s ejection. Warning: Video contains profanity.

2011 Major & Minor League Baseball Brawl Video Timeline

With the 2011 season over and the playoffs about to start, here is a look back at the year that was in Major League and Minor League Baseball brawls and benches clearing incidents. If you see any that we are missing, please send us the link on our twitter page @MinorLeagueBlog. Enjoy the videos.

3-8-2011 – Milwaukee Brewers vs Los Angles Dodgers

4-26-2011 – Hagerstown Suns vs West Virginia Power

5-11-2011 – Baltimore Orioles vs Seattle Mariners

5-13-2011 – Greenville Drive vs Charleston River Dogs


Music Video Honors Pittsburgh Pirates Harvey Haddix 12 Inning Almost Perfect Game

Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Harvey Haddix pitched a 12 inning Perfect Game against the Milwuakee Braves on May 26, 1959. The only problem was that Lew Burdette was equally as dominating, shutting down the Pirates for 12 innings as well. In the bottom of the 13th, with Haddix still on the mound and the Perfect Game still in tact, a Don Hoak fielding error ended perfection, and two batters later Joe Adcock ended the game with a walk off Home Run that was later changed to a double. Haddix ended up losing one of the greatest games ever pitched in major league history. To add insult to injury, Haddix has his Perfect Game taken off the books in 1991 when Major League Baseball changed the rules defining a no hitter to be a complete game of nine innings or more in which in which the game ended without allowing a hit. The band The Baseball Project, who you can follow on Twitter @BaseballProject immortalized the game with their song “Harvey Haddix”. Give it a listen.