Pittsburgh Pirates: Thoughts on Keith Law's Organizational Rankings and Top 100

Andrew KaufmanSenior Analyst IFebruary 6, 2013

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 08:  Gerrit Cole of Team USA pitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium on July 8, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Keith Law has a lot of good content up on ESPN this week, with farm system and top 100 prospect rankings recently posted and team-by-team top prospects on the way (warning: paywall).

The Pirates continue to fare well in Law's rankings, ranking No. 7 overall and placing three players in his top 35 and five in his top 100. As always, there were a few more specific items worth noting.


A Gap Between the Pitching Prospects

Law boasts that the Pirates' star pitching tandem of Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon "rivals that of any club's," but the talent evaluator has begun to indicate a slight difference in their two celings.

Cole, the No. 8 overall prospect, remains a true No. 1 starter in Law's eyes and is the second-highest ranked pitcher on his list, behind only Dylan Bundy. Law raves about Cole's stuff and his only concerns revolve around tweaks to the pitcher's approach. 

Taillon, meanwhile, has slipped to No. 20 on this list, with Law noting that he "may be more of a 1A to Cole's 1 when it's all said and done." The Pirates would clearly still take this 1-2 punch, especially with Luis Heredia cracking the top 100 as well.


The Rise of a Shortstop

One year ago, Alen Hanson didn't even crack Law's top 100. Now, he sits at No. 34 overall after a breakout year at the plate.

Law had been high on Hanson throughout the season, so it is not a surprise to see the shortstop prospect make a prominent debut. 

Perhaps most encouragingly for Pirates fans, Law expresses confidence in Hanson's ability to stay at shortstop, citing his strong arm and overall speed. He is not as concerned with Hanson's errors and believes the player made "noticeable" defensive improvements over the course of the 2012 season.


Missed Opportunities

Five top 100 prospects is nothing to sneeze at, but Pirates fans can't help but look back at what might have been. Law goes out of his away to lament Josh Bell's injury, but there are a few other players to note as well.

Miguel Sano, who the Pirates apparently lost out on at the last second a few years ago, currently slots in as Law's No. 11 overall prospect. Mark Appel clearly is not on this list, but David Dahl, one of the players the Bucs passed on in order to take their chances with Appel, is ranked No. 37.

Wandy Rodriguez has performed well in Pittsburgh, but it is also worth mentioning that former Pirates prospect Robbie Grossman made Law's list of the 10 prospects who "just missed" the top 100.