INDIANAPOLIS -- Baseball America has named outfielder Gregory Polanco (No. 1) and right-handed starter Jameson Taillon (No. 2) as the top two prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization entering the 2014 season. Both farmhands concluded the 2013 campaign with the Indians and could potentially return for stints with the Tribe in 2014.
Polanco, who appeared in the final two games of the 2013 regular season with Indianapolis, was also tabbed by Baseball America as the "Best Hitter for Average," "Fastest Baserunner," "Best Athlete" and "Best Defensive Outfielder" of all farmhands in the Pirates system. The highly-touted prospect batted a combined .285 with a career-high 30 doubles, two triples, 12 homers and 71 RBI in 127 Minor League games with High-A Bradenton, Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis last year. After earning a selection to the Florida State Midseason All-Star Game and later hitting .264 in 68 games for the Curve, Polanco made his Triple-A debut with the Indians on Sept. 1 in Louisville. Pittsburgh's top farmhand then concluded the 2013 regular season with a 2-for-5 effort on Sept. 2 against the Bats, collecting his first Triple-A hit, run scored and steal in Indianapolis' finale.
Taillon, the No. 2 overall Pirates prospect, was also listed as possessing the "Best Curveball" of all Pittsburgh farmhands by the same publication. The right-hander was promoted to the Tribe on Aug. 5 and finished the 2013 campaign ranked second in the International League with 37 strikeouts and fifth with 37.0 innings pitched since making his debut. Although Taillon recorded a 5.25 ERA through his first two Triple-A outings, the top pitching prospect rebounded to finish the campaign with four straight quality starts and a 3.24 ERA during that span. He then capped off a strong 2013 season by one-hitting the Durham Bulls through 5.0 scoreless frames in Game 3 of the IL Playoffs on Sept. 6 at Victory Field.
Also included among Baseball America's "Best Tools" list was former Indians outfielder Andrew Lambo, who was listed as the "Best Power Hitter" among all Buccos prospects. The slugger belted an IL-best 17 homers with a league-leading 37 RBI in his first 54 games with the Indians last season, and prior to his first big league promotion and eventual MLB debut, Lambo paced all of Minor League Baseball with a combined 31 total home runs. Although Lambo concluded the season in Pittsburgh, he still took home honors as both the Indians' Offensive Player of the Year and the Pirates' Minor League Player of the Year.
Rounding out Baseball America's Top 10 Organizational Prospects list is RHP Tyler Glasnow (No. 3), OF Austin Meadows (No. 4), RHP Nick Kingham (No. 5), SS Alen Hanson (No 6), OF Josh Bell (No. 7), C Reese McGuire (No. 8), OF Harold Ramirez (No. 9) and RHP Luis Heredia (No. 10).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.