With two potential front-line starters in Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon, and a total of five players ranked in Prospect Pipeline's top 100, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system ranks among the best in the game headed into the 2013 season.
While both hard-throwing right-handers had exceptional 2012 campaigns and are now within striking distance of the major leagues, it was actually a few of their lower-level international signees that made the most noise last season.
Center fielder Gregory Polanco and middle infielder Alen Hanson, who were both signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, each turned in a monster season at Low-A West Virginia, while 18-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.
Here’s a look at the Pittsburgh Pirates’ top 10 prospects headed into the 2013 season.