Baseball America has started their league top 20 lists, and today was the first league they reviewed that involved the Pittsburgh Pirates. BA released their Gulf Coast League top 20 for the 2013 season, and two of the top prospects were first round picks Austin Meadows and Reese McGuire. In fact, they were two of the top prospects on the list.
Meadows ranked first overall on the list, becoming the first Pirates prospect to rank at the top of a Baseball America league top 20 since Pedro Alvarez was named the top prospect in the Eastern League in 2009. Baseball America said that Meadows is a patient hitter with a smooth and easy swing. They pointed out his swing and miss tendencies, which was one of his few flaws this year, although as they pointed out, it’s not an excessive problem.
Meadows profiles as a guy who can hit for above average power in the majors, and showed off his power this year in the GCL with a .525 slugging percentage. BA says he will probably move to a corner in the future due to his size, but that’s not an issue considering all of the center field options the Pirates already have. He’s got the arm strength to handle right field in the future.
Reese McGuire wasn’t far behind Meadows, being named the third best prospect in the league. BA noted his strong defensive skills and tools, which were on display this year as McGuire threw out 44 percent of basestealers in the GCL.McGuire also has good blocking and receiving skills, and is extremely mature handling a pitching staff for a guy out of high school.
The big question with McGuire is whether he can hit going forward. He started off on a hot streak, hitting for average and power. As the season went on the average stuck around, but the power wasn’t there. He consistently made solid contact with the ball, and hit a lot of line drives to all fields, using the middle of the field and the gaps a lot.
The Pirates drafted Meadows (9th) and McGuire (14th) in the first round of the 2013 draft. Meadows was the compensation pick for not signing Mark Appel last year.
Last year the Pirates had four players in the GCL top 20. Wyatt Mathisen (5th), Dilson Herrera (7th), Tyler Glasnow (9th), and Jin-De Jhang (19th) all made the list, although none were as high as Meadows and McGuire this year. Baseball America releases a “Five Years Ago” list with all of their rankings. This year’s flashback looked at the 2008 GCL list, which featured Jarek Cunningham ranked number 20 as the only Pirates prospect on the list.