Pirates' Bounty of Young Arms Has the Potential Makings of a Dominant Staff

Christopher AlmerasCorrespondent IIJanuary 2, 2013

Taillon and Cole form a potentially dominant pitching duo
Taillon and Cole form a potentially dominant pitching duoJamie Squire/Getty Images

One of the many sayings in baseball is that good pitching beats good hitting. This principle has led to some tremendous runs for teams with pitching depth in pitching talent. The Atlanta Braves of the 1990s and more recently the San Francisco Giants are great examples of how far great pitching staffs can take a team.

Every team is looking for the right pieces of this formula to become a World Series contender. Some use their advantage in the financial resource department to try and buy it, while others try and stockpile young arms to develop. No matter what road a team takes in trying to assemble a dominant pitching staff, there are no guarantees on how it will all work out.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been looking to build a high level pitching staff by developing young arms taken with high-draft picks. With the legitimate talent of young arms coming through the ranks, the Pirates may be assembling a pitching staff the rest of baseball will envy over the next few years.

The first piece to the puzzle is former top-overall pick Gerrit Cole. Cole is an All-Star caliber No. 1 starter. He is a multiple pitch guy who throws hard and most importantly throws strikes. He has the potential to be the type of staff ace that can carry a team when he pitches.

The second piece comes in the form of Jameson Taillon. The former Texas high school standout has been brought along slowly by the Pirates organization and rightfully so. Like Cole, Taillon grades as a future staff ace. Another hard thrower with multiple pitches, Taillon has continued to progress up the minor league ladder.

Taillon still has some work to do before he is ready for the show, but the 21-year-old has plenty of time to continue his development.

Having two potential aces like Taillon and Cole is enough to make any pitching staff a handful, especially in a playoff series. Arizona rode Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling to a World Series title, and baseball history is littered with dynamic duo pitching combinations.

Adding to the bright outlook for the Pirates future pitching staff is 18-year-old Luis Heredia. Heredia has tremendous arm strength. At 6'7"and listed at 225 lbs, the kid is an imposing physical presence on the mound.

His talent is raw but limitless. He is another pitcher who has ace potential, but whether he reaches that status will depend on how well he develops his secondary pitches. At an age where most players are finishing their high school careers, Heredia has already logged two years in the minors.

Others who could round out a truly impressive staff include Nick Kingham, Tyler Glasnow and Clay Holmes. All three throw hard and would project as potential No. 2- or 3-type pitchers on most staffs.

The bottom line is the Pirates have put together an impressive amount of young pitching talent in their minor league system. As we all know, not every one of these will reach their potential. Some will get moved to the bullpen or even traded in an effort to fill other holes in the lineup.

What Pirate fans are hoping is that enough of these guys make good on their potential to give Pittsburgh a pitching staff that at the very least rivals the Doug Drabek/John Smiley-led staff of the early 1990s. With a little bit of luck, these guys could be the foundation to perhaps take the Bucs one step further then that team was able to go. No matter what, at least Pirates management is following a plan that actually makes sense.