The Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system figured to rank among the best in the game heading into the 2012 season, especially with two potential front-line starters in Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon.
While both hard-throwing right-handers had exceptional seasons and are now within striking distance of the major leagues, it was a few of their lower-level international signees that made the most noise.
Center fielder Gregory Polanco and middle infielder Alen Hanson, who were both signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, enjoyed breakout seasons at Low-A West Virginia. Furthermore, 17-year-old right-hander Luis Heredia flashed his big-time potential with an impressive showing in the Short-Season New York-Penn League.
Beyond that, the only major disappoint was their $5 million, second-round draft pick from 2011, outfielder Josh Bell, who suffered a season-ending knee injury after only 15 games.
In terms of their 2012 draft picks, catcher Wyatt Mathisen and outfielder Barrett Barnes each showcased an advanced approach and promising bat at their respective levels, with Mathisen also exhibiting the athleticism and tools to remain behind the plate.
Here’s a look at the Pittsburgh Pirates’ top 10 prospects headed into the 2013 season.