Prospect Links: Gregory Polanco, Austin Meadows, ZiPS

There has been a lot of prospect discussion today on Twitter involving the Pittsburgh Pirates and their prospects. Most of this is a result of the top 100 lists that were released last week. Here are some of the highlights.

**First, over at U Gotta Believe, Imokemp posts a series of GIFs with highlights of Gregory Polanco’s speed and hitting. There are several GIFs where Polanco beats out infield hits using bunts, and also one where he steals a base. It’s probably going to be frustrating for Pirates fans to see Polanco attempting to bunt. However, I feel that adds a new dimension to his game. His speed makes the bunt a weapon, and makes that something for the infield defense to respect. Meanwhile, he’s got the power and the hit tool to line one through a drawn in infield. Basically this is a way of saying that Polanco can beat you in many ways with his bat.

**Baseball Prospectus was lower on some of the Pirates prospects than most, at least in terms of where they fell in the top 100. But that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily low on the system. Jason Parks says that they’re his #3 minor league system.

**Parks also gave his reason for being lower on Austin Meadows than most:

One of the things I like about this time of year is that you get various opinions on prospects. It would be boring if everyone felt the same way. And I don’t think that a different opinion is necessarily wrong, just like I don’t think that a consensus opinion is right. In fact, opinions aren’t right or wrong in general. They’re just opinions. I always highlight the opinions from BP, among other outlets, because I respect their work. The 2014 season will give us a better indication of how well Meadows can hit, since he should be playing in low-A, rather than the lowest levels of the minors.

**Jim Callis says that Polanco has a higher ceiling than Meadows.

I’d agree with that, especially when you consider that Polanco has a ton of speed and profiles as a guy who could be a plus center fielder. Meadows can play center field, but profiles more as a corner guy in the long-run. I think they’ll both be very good players.

**Dan Szymborski has an article over at ESPN, projecting Keith Law’s top 100 prospects using ZiPS projections. The number two prospect on the list is Polanco, who rated number 13 in Law’s list.

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • jaygray007

    Gotta respect the Swayze twitter picture for Parks. That guy cracks me up.

    The Polanco vs Meadows ceiling call by Callis kind of surprised me. I guess i just had the “8 WAR potential” thing from Law stuck in my head with Meadows. Then again, i guess if Polanco turns into an outstanding defensive CF with .300/.360/.500 lines, with 25 dingers and 30 steals, then that’s probably ~8 WAR territory too. Plus he obviously has the higher floor. His absolute floor is probably in the neighborhood what Tabata is now offensively… .260/.330/.400 … but with already-better defense.

  • Stephen Stasa

    “probably going to be frustrating for Pirates fans to see Polanco attempting to bunt”

    Only if it’s a sacrifice (with a runner on second… and no outs… and Marte coming to bat). I love seeing guys bunt for hits though. Like you said, bring the infield in and make it easier to slap one past them. Plus, if you can bunt for a hit, you have to speed to make a single effectually a double.

  • leadoff

    They don’t talk about Polanco’s good plate coverage much, but that is a big deal to me because they have few guys on the major league team that can do it. Too many of their hitters strike out on called third strikes off the plate, in other words they let the umpire strike them out instead of the pitcher. They have to be able to hit the pitch that is off the plate.
    Meadows, to me looks like a Jay Bruce clone, but what do I know.