By Jason Shetler
The Pirates certainly have their fair share of elite level prospects in their system with Tyler Glasnow, Josh Bell, Austin Meadows and Jameson Taillon to name a few. There’s also some other prospects who have the potential to make an impact. Here are five Pirates prospects that could fit that billing.
Carlos Munoz: While Luis Heredia was the Pirates most notable signed prospect out of Mexico in 2010, another Mexican signee from that year was Carlos Munoz. The 21-year-old first baseman has put up impressive numbers during his time in the organization, and 2015 was no different, as he put up a very strong .426 on base percentage with a .992 OPS in 64 games combined with the short season Bristol Pirates and West Virginia Black Bears. Munoz should begin 2016 in his first full season with the Low A West Virginia Power, and could be a Top 10 prospect for the Pirates at some point down the road.
Jordan Luplow: As good as the Pirates farm system has been, their weakest position for prospects had been third base. 2014 third round selection Jordan Luplow appears to be a legitimate third baseman. Luplow spent last season playing for Low A West Virginia where he had a .366 on base along with an .830 OPS in 106 games. He’s expected to start the season with High A Bradenton.
Ke’Bryan Hayes: Charlie Hayes was the Pirates third baseman in 1996. His son Ke’Bryan was drafted by them almost two decades later. The Bucs chose Hayes in the first round supplemental portion of the draft last year. The soon-to-be 19-year-old really held his own in his debut season, posting a .408 on base with an OPS of .754 in 56 games combined with the Gulf Coast League Pirates and West Virginia Black Bears. He also displayed above average defense at third base, as he put up a .961 fielding percentage. Hayes will likely start out this year with Low A West Virginia. A solid season should make him a Top 5 prospect for the Pirates as early as 2017.
Stephen Tarpley: The Baltimore Orioles selected Stephen Tarpley with their third round pick in the 2013 MLB Draft. The 22-year-old lefty was dealt to the Pirates last offseason as part of the Travis Snider deal. Tarpley pitched really well in 2015 for Low A West Virginia. In 20 starts for the Power, he posted a 2.48 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP and a K/9 of 8.1. Tarpley can reach 94 mph with his fastball, and gets a good amount of groundballs due to the sink on it. He’ll begin this year with High A Bradenton, and it won’t be long until he becomes one of the Pirates premiere pitching prospects.
Yeudy Garcia: The Pirates discovered quite a diamond in the rough with pitcher Yeudy Garcia. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013, he burst onto the scene last season for Low A West Virginia where he had a 2.10 ERA along with a WHIP of 1.07 and held opponents to a very impressive .204 batting average against in 30 games, 21 of which were starts. His fastball sits in the mid-90’s, and he touch as high as 98 mph. For his efforts, Garcia was named the 2015 Pirates Minor League Pitcher of the Year. He should begin this season pitching in High A Bradenton.