Keith Law released his top 100 prospects today, and the Pittsburgh Pirates had five players on the list.
Gerrit Cole was ranked the highest, coming in at number eight. Cole was the second best pitcher on the list, with Dylan Bundy ahead of him ranked third overall. Law noted that Cole should be ready for the Pirates rotation after a half year in the minors, mentioning that 2012 was the first year Cole called his own games. He also mentioned that Cole has a plus-plus changeup. A lot of people have been split on the quality of Cole’s changeup, but Law has been consistent that it’s a plus pitch, even when Cole was a junior at UCLA.
Jameson Taillon was ranked 20th overall, and was the eighth best pitcher on the list. Law mentioned that Taillon isn’t far behind Cole’s arsenal, but that he doesn’t miss as many bats. He also pointed out that the Pirates have done a lot to clean up Taillon’s delivery.
Alen Hanson came in at 34th overall, while fellow West Virginia breakout prospect Gregory Polanco ranked 55th. Law noted that he sees no reason why Hanson can’t stay at short, which is a stance he has held all year. He said Hanson’s bat and speed give him star potential if he stays at short. As for Polanco, Law said that he could be a 25-plus homer guy if everything clicks, with a high average and great center field defense.
Finally, Luis Heredia ranked 84th, after just missing MLB.com’s top 100 list. Law said that he doesn’t see ace potential with Heredia, calling him more of a number two or three starter. He called Heredia’s curveball below average. At the end of the 2012 season, Heredia switched from a slower, loopier curve to a harder curve that sat in the low 80s. The switch was aimed at getting more strikeouts and giving Heredia a better pitch to work with. I’m not sure if Law is talking about the old curve — which Heredia seems to be moving away from — or the new curve. If it’s the old one, then the Pirates have already started to move away from the pitch, for a lot of the reasons Law talked about.