Which prospects will Pirates add to 40-man?
Club has to decide who to protect before deadline for Rule 5 Draft
PITTSBURGH -- While they will continue to monitor the free-agent market and evaluate their trade options, the Pirates have a few decisions to make regarding their own roster over the next week.
The deadline to protect players from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft is Nov. 20. Before then, the Pirates will have to add at least a few top Minor League prospects to their 40-man roster to avoid losing them.
The Rule 5 Draft will take place on Dec. 10. There are dozens of eligible players within the Pirates organization alone, but only a few get picked each year, because teams run the risk of losing their selections if they don't keep those players on their roster for a full season.
Right now, the Pirates have 34 players on their 40-man roster. That technically gives them six spots to work with, though filling all six would limit their ability to add players from outside the organization.
Here is a look at some of the Minor League prospects the Pirates might consider protecting over the next week.
Tyler Glasnow, RHP: This is about as obvious as it gets. Glasnow is the Pirates' No. 1 prospect, the No. 7 prospect in all of baseball and a potential top-of-the-rotation starter. He made his Triple-A debut this year, and he could help the Pirates as soon as next season. He'll be protected.
Josh Bell, 1B: Another no-brainer. Bell, who also finished last season with Triple-A Indianapolis, is the Bucs' No. 3 prospect and MLBPipeline.com's No. 1 first-base prospect. His defense at first base could use some work, and the Pirates believe more power will come with time. But Bell is the Pirates' future at first base, and that future may not be far away. He's a lock to be protected.
Harold Ramirez, OF: When he's been healthy, the Pirates' No. 7 prospect has put up outstanding numbers in the Minors. He hit .337/.399/.458 in 80 games for Class A Advanced Bradenton this season, and he only turned 21 two months ago. It's worth considering the Pirates' plentiful outfield depth and Ramirez's distance from the Majors, but he seems like the kind of prospect worth protecting.
Barrett Barnes, OF: The 24-year-old is the Pirates' No. 16 prospect. He's had trouble staying on the field throughout his young career. But when he's been healthy, he's performed well, showing flashes of his high upside. Barnes advanced to Double-A Altoona last year.
Clay Holmes, RHP: Holmes, 22, is the Pirates' 17th-ranked prospect. He recovered from Tommy John surgery and returned to the mound this year, posting a 2.74 ERA in six starts for Bradenton.
Luis Heredia, RHP: Heredia is coming off a rough season with Bradenton. He went 5-6 with a 5.44 ERA in 21 starts, allowing 11 hits per nine innings pitched. Signed to a huge bonus out of Mexico at 16 years old, he hasn't quite lived up to the hype. Only 21 years old, the Bucs' No. 27 prospect is still young and talented enough to contribute for the Pirates someday. But it's hard to imagine another team gambling on that day being in 2016.
Max Moroff, INF: Moroff, 22, isn't one of the Pirates' top 30 prospects, according to MLBPipeline, but he's an interesting case nonetheless. He hit .293/.374/.409 with 17 stolen bases for Altoona last season, and he has played second base, shortstop and a little bit of third.
Other players to watch: RHP Angel Sanchez, RHP John Kuchno, C Jin-De Jhang, C Jacob Stallings, 1B/OF Jose Osuna, INF Dan Gamache.