Keith Law released his updated top-50 prospects and three Pirates made the list:
SP Jameson Taillon, No. 13
OF Gregory Polanco, No. 17
SS Alen Hanson, No. 36
Taillon is 3-7 with a 3.75 ERA in 17 starts for the Altoona Curve. Taillon is up seven spots from his preseason ranking but Law continues to point out the lack of life on Taillon’s fastball and that he can be too easy to hit.
Gregory Polanco continues to emerge as one of the top prospects in the game. Polanco has moved from No. 55 in Law’s preseason ranking to now No. 17. There’s some scouts out there who feel Polanco is the Pirates top prospect. Law calls Polanco a high probability hitter. Law also mentions that Polanco’s batting practice before Sunday’s Futures Game was one of the best of any hitter, showing more power than scouts had seen from him before.
Shortstop Alen Hanson remained in the top-40, sliding two spots from No. 34 to No. 36. Law feels Henson can be a potential above-average regular at the MLB level.
What caught my eye with Law’s rankings was Mark Appel coming in at No. 9.
The Pirates are buyers at the trade deadline for the third straight year but this year is different. There’s some in the organization who strongly believe the Pirates can compete in the National League for a world series. For a small-market team, the thinking can be that you go all in if you truly believe there’s a deal out there that you feel will put you over the top.
That has some throwing out the names of Jameson Taillon and Gregory Polanco as trade bait because with MLB’s financial system, there’s no guarantee for a small market team like the Pirates that they will be a consistent contender the next three to four years despite the organization looking like they should be.
Even in the right deal, trading Polanco or Taillon is something I don’t feel the Pirates will have the stomach for, nor should they, but if Mark Appel would have signed last summer, it could have had a major impact for the Pirates this year at the trade deadline.
Having Appel in the system, likely would have made the Pirates willing to listen on Taillon in a possible deal that they feel could put them over the top.
With no Appel who would have been in the majors near the same timeframe of Taillon, trading Taillon is just too risky despite the Pirates being serious contenders.