Earlier today, polite and Canadian and polite Marc Hulet published his 2014 organizational prospect list for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
It goes without saying that, in composing such a list, Hulet has considered the overall future value those prospects might be expected to provide either to the Pirates or whatever other organizations to which they might someday belong.
What this brief post concerns isn’t overall future value, at all, but rather such value as the prospects from Hulet’s list might provide were they to play, more or less, a full major-league season in 2014.
Other prospect projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cincinnati / Cleveland / Colorado / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / Miami / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York AL / New York NL / Philadelphia / St. Louis / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Texas / Toronto.
Steamer Projections: Pittsburgh Batting Prospects
Below are the current 2014 projections for select Pittsburgh batting prospects. All projections have been prorated to 550 plate appearances (and 450 for catchers) for sake of uniformity. Defensive figures (denoted by Def) account both for positional adjustment and UZR, and are presented relative to league average. Note that, in many cases, defensive value has been calculated entirely by positional adjustment based on the relevant player’s minor-league defensive starts in 2013. Prospects are listed in order of projected WAR. The symbol # denotes the relevant prospect’s ranking on Hulet’s list. Figures might diverge slightly (although not signficantly) from those which appear on player pages.
Steamer Projections: Pittsburgh Pitching Prospects
Below are the 2014 projections for select Pittsburgh pitching prospects. Projections for starting pitchers have been prorated to 150 innings; for relievers, to 50 innings. Prospects are listed in order of projected WAR, which has been calculated by using kwERA — that is, an ERA estimator which utilizes only strikeouts and walks — so as to remove the vagaries of park effects, and probably also because the author has no idea what he’s doing. Listed ages are as of June 30, 2014. The symbol # denotes the relevant prospect’s ranking on Hulet’s list. Figures might diverge slightly (although not signficantly) from those which appear on player pages.
• It’s entirely unlikely that when he announced that the “last shall be first,” that Jesus of Nazareth was particularly concerned with Pittsburgh outfielder Jaff Decker. What one finds, however, is that Decker appears last on Marc Hulet’s collection of top-15 Pirates prospects and yet first among those same prospects so far as a WAR projection in 2014 is concerned. Acquired from San Diego in November, Decker has recorded considerably above-average walk rates in the minors — and, despite an unimpressive 42 wRC+, still produced a respectable 3:4 walk-to-strikeout ratio over his first 31 major-league plate appearances last year.
• Perhaps less prepared to produce wins in 2014, but still likely to record a significant number of them before his career is over, Gregory Polanco‘s projection for the coming season is muted owing mostly to a combination of a low-ish BABIP figure and also probably to the haphazard positional adjustment he’s been assigned by the present author (which adjustment assumes time split between center field and a corner-outfield spot). Reports suggest that Polanco has added considerable muscle during the offseason. For that and probably other reasons, it wouldn’t be shocking to see his home-run rate increase.
• All things being equal, a high strikeout rate is better for a pitcher than it is worse. That Tyler Glasnow features the highest projected strikeout rate, then, among Pirates pitching prospects — a group which includes the celebrates Jameson Taillon, for example — is notable. Of course, in this case, all things aren’t entirely equal: over 111.1 innings at High-A, Glasnow recorded a 13.5% walk rate — a figure which is reflected in Glasnow’s less inspiring projected walk rate.