Money owed, years of service, age, position scarcity, pitchers vs. hitters, etc. etc… it all matters in assessing value.
Continuing with our trade value rankings of the Pirates organization. You can read the primer and #25-21, #20-#16 and #15-#11 to catch up. Age in parentheses is the player’s age as of the standard July 1st cutoff date. On to the rankings:
10. Jameson Taillon (23) – AAA/MLB – SP – 6 years of control, pre-arbitration
Seems like we ?ve been talking about Taillon for a long time. Being a 1st round draft pick made him a Pirate household name a lot earlier than other prospects. We got a glimpse of his ceiling in the World Baseball Classic in 2013 when he stuck out Ryan Braun. Taillon has two things holding back his value. First, he ?s still looking for that third plus pitch to go with his plus fastball and plus curve. The second is obviously the Tommy John surgery in 2014. Even with those two detriments his value is extremely high. The Pirates might have a 3 WAR/yr pitcher for the next 6+ years and that would return a bundle in a trade.
9. Tyler Glasnow (21) – AA – SP – 6 years of control, pre-arbitration
Tyler Glasnow reminds me of a Pirate prospect from a long time ago named Chad Hermanson. Hermanson was a SS prospect that hit 104 HRs and stole 74 bases in four seasons as a 18-21 year old from A to AAA. Hermanson did have glaring weaknesses, though, as his defense was too poor at SS and his K ?s were too high. Now while Glasnow is a pitcher and not a SS, he has the same type of eye popping stats that are causing all in baseball to talk of his considerable upside. Glasnow ?s K/9 of 13.3 and 11.3 in ?13 and ?14 would be envied by relievers and are unreal as a starter. The problem is that his lack of control makes him far from a sure thing. While Glasnow might find the swings and misses harder to come by as he ascends from AA up to the Majors, the #1 starter potential and the 6+ years of control make him him one of the Pirates most valuable pieces even though he has yet to pitch above A ball.
8. Austin Meadows (20) – High A – OF – 6 years of control, pre-arbitration
I don ?t know one Pirates prospect ranking where Meadows is ranked ahead of Glasnow, but as far as trade value many clubs would rather have Meadows. First, Meadows is not a pitcher and if you read the TPOP piece on prospect values you ?d see how much more pitching prospects bust than hitting prospects. Meadows was a great high school prospect and was in the talk to go #1 overall in the 2013 draft when he ?fell ? to #9 and the Pirates. Meadows is a true 5 tool prospect with many thinking he can hit for power and stay in CF with above average patience and 10-15 SBs. If you ?re looking for a Pirate comp think Nate McLouth in ?08, which is a valuable player for 6+ cheap years.
7. Josh Bell (22) – AA – 1B/OF – 6 years of control, pre-arbitration
While Meadows may have the higher upside than Bell, Meadows is two levels lower, thus making Bell more likely to get to the show. If this were the mid 90 ?s, Bell would be in the discussion to come north from spring training as his bat is almost Major League ready and he ?d fit in well defensively in PNC ?s RF. But the Pirates already have three CFs in the outfield and Bell will shift to 1B (at least to get reps) and stay at AA for now. Bell ?s bat is what people like, as he is patient, strikes out infrequently and is a switch hitter. He hits better left-handed, but he has a lot more reps than right-handed, so there is promise that it might come around. Bell, like Cole Tucker, is very mature for his age and has done well in the minors despite missing most of ?12 with a torn meniscus.
6. Josh Harrison (27) – ML – IF/OF – 3 years of control, 1st time through arbitration
Harrison might have come out of nowhere in 2014 for some casual fans, but most Pirate fans have noticed Harrison ?s cameos the last few years. The really hardcore fans who knew Harrison ?s minor league stats might not be surprised by his 2014 as he had shown a propensity for hitting as he made his way through the minors. What surprised many, including myself, was how well he played defensively in both the infield and outfield in 2014. Harrison is a plus defender at 3B, can play an average RF and 2B, and even a passable SS. His leadoff type bat, his position flexibility and his three years of cheap control make him a great asset.
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