Lost in the mix yesterday was an article from Baseball America, comparing the international prospects in each team’s top 30. The article is for BA subscribers, and can be found here. In the article, Ben Badler looked at how many international players were included in BA’s top 30 for each team. The Pirates had 10 international prospects out of their top 30 players, which was the ninth best.
Badler highlighted Alen Hanson, Gregory Polanco, and Luis Heredia as the key players from the group. He went on to say that the trio could stack up against just about anyone’s in baseball. Badler also pointed out Dilson Herrera as another gifted hitter, and mentioned that the Pirates weren’t afraid to go against the industry consensus with guys like Elvis Escobar, Harold Ramirez, and Michael de la Cruz.
Wilbur Miller brought up a good point about this list yesterday at Bucs Dugout. He noted that the list was a bit misleading, since the easiest way to populate your top 30 with international players is to draft poorly. He pointed out that the Rangers have 15 on their list, but also have good results drafting. He also pointed out that the Tigers were on the other end of the spectrum, with 14 on their list, but a poor farm system.
The comments made by Badler suggest that this group is more than just a byproduct of weaker draft results. Badler has been high on Hanson and Polanco all year, calling them two of the biggest breakout prospects in the minors. Saying that the trio of international prospects stacks up against just about anyone else’s trio is also strong praise. Badler also seems to be high on Dilson Herrera, naming him number one on the list of international players in minor league baseball who could have a Hanson/Polanco like breakout in 2013.
There have been question marks about the draft results, with the Pirates spending a lot of money but not getting a huge return from their investment. For the international market, the growing consensus seems to be that this is an area where the Pirates are succeeding. They’ve got Starling Marte in the majors, Polanco/Hanson/Heredia as top prospects in the minors, and a few breakout candidates behind those guys, such as Herrera and Jin-De Jhang.