Wow! Yesterday's game was intense.
The Pirates had a top 5 farm system in the MLB heading into the 2014 with many analysts having them either 1st or 2nd. The emergence of Gregory Polanco to the big leagues proves the efforts that the Pirates have put into scouting in the past 5 years. Polanco was highly regarded as a top 15 prospect in all of baseball and a top 3 outfield prospect behind only Byron Buxton and Oscar Taveras. Polanco is a true 5 tool talent and his arm last night preserved a Buccos win.
One player that is having a breakout season and will be on display in today's All-Star Futures Game is switch hitting outfielder Josh Bell. As many of you know, Josh Bell is one of the main reasons why their is a signing bonus cap in the Amateur Draft now. After sending out letters to teams asking them not to draft him, the Pirates rolled the dice and drafted Bell, a consensus top 15 prospect entering the draft. He signed with the Bucs for a record high $5 million and began his pro career. In 82 games in A ball, Bell is hitting a .328/.375/.492 line with 9 HR and 51 RBI. He looks every bit like the player as advertised when drafted.
Another player that is having a very good season is switch hitting shortstop Alen Hanson. Hanson will need to continue to improve defensively at shortstop, but is hitting very well in AA as a 21 year old. His 8 HR, 17 SB, and .274 batting average really don't provide realistic viewpoints on what he is able to do. I've seen close to half a dozen games of Hanson in AA this year and when he makes contact with the ball, it is a quick short stroke and the ball just jumps off the bat.
I won the above card a few months back and even though it's a triple sticker auto card, I have to say that this is one of my favorite cards in my collection because of the 3 top prospects on it. The low numbering to 10 copies helps.