Baseball America released their mid-season Top 50 prospects to the public this morning. There are four Pirates on the list: Gerrit Cole at #6 (up from preseason #12), Jameson Taillon at #15 (#15), Starling Marte at #36 (#73), and Alen Hanson at #40 (unranked, preseason).
The two that really stand out are Marte and Hanson. A lot’s (rightly) being made of Marte right now because he’s knocking down the door and he’s going to be a Pirate sooner rather than later, but it’s really important to note that he’s already drawn as many walks this year as he did in all of 2011 (his walk rate is up from 3.8% to 6.2%) and he’s retaining the power that he first really started to show last year with 16 doubles, 11 triples, and 9 homers in 80 games. It’s going to be an adjustment for him when he first sees Major League pitching and I think he’s going to struggle (and possibly struggle badly) occasionally, but at this point his raw talent is absolutely undeniable and it seems pretty clear that just about everyone is more confident in his ability to make the transition at this point than they were a few months ago.
As for Hanson at #40, well, it’s just nice to see some real validation that his breakout is legitimate. Not that I was worried that it wasn’t at this point (19 years old, 25 doubles, 9 triples, 14 homers in full season ball … that’s a legitimate prospect) but the validation is always welcome.
I’m going to update my WHYGAVS prospects lists just as soon as the draft signing deadline passes, in case you were curious. Really, just waiting on one thing at this point.