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Austin Meadows was sidelined for half a season with hamstring issues, but showed off some strong hitting in West Virginia when he returned.

Austin Meadows to Make His Return to the Field on Monday

With Gregory Polanco in the majors, the top hitting prospect in the system is now outfielder Austin Meadows. We have yet to see Meadows in action this year, due to hamstring problems that have kept him out for the first four months of the season.

A few weeks ago I reported that Meadows had started on-field activities, and was making his way back to where he could play in games. The expectation at the time was that he’d start off by playing a few games in the GCL before going to West Virginia for the final two months of the season. Meadows now looks ready to take the field, as he tweeted out the following this morning.

I haven’t received confirmation, but I’m expecting Meadows to still play in the GCL for a few rehab games, based on everything he’s told me leading up to this, and based on the typical minor league rehab approach for the Pirates. (UPDATE: Confirmed. Meadows tells me that he’ll be in the GCL, and expects to play five innings.) They typically have players play five innings for two games, seven innings for two games, then a full nine inning game for one or two games before returning to active status. That would put Meadows about a week away from West Virginia, starting next Monday.

The final two months should be fun to watch what Meadows can do in Low-A. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has to return to the level next year, since he missed so much time this year. A similar situation came with Josh Bell, who missed a lot of the 2012 season with a knee injury. He returned to West Virginia for all of the 2013 season, then moved up to Bradenton this year. Unless Meadows absolutely destroys Low-A pitching, I could see the same development path.

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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 AccuScore.com, 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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  • thecobra39

    This is great news. Looking forward to seeing Austin’s progress the rest of the season.

  • R Edwards

    Great news concerning Meadows – its been a tough year for injuries. Has anyone heard anything recently concerning Barnes??

  • freddylang

    A small part of me thinks he can dominate at low A and still get to High A start next year. I just feel like he is a kid that will adjust quickly because of his physicality and how he looked late last year. He still has time to get close to 200 AB too. I would actually even consider bringing him up to Bradenton for some extra playoff AB if they make it.

    • Ian Rothermund

      I don’t doubt it either, but there’s no real need to rush him either. I don’t see having to spend an entire year with West Virginia once he gets back, but I don’t think it could hurt his development to have him playing in WV all year next year.

    • leadoff

      I don’t think the Pirates are in any hurry with him, if he made it to AAA tomorrow, he would be parked there for a very long time.

  • szielinski

    I’d say Bell has earned the name: Best position player prospect. He’s becoming a complete hitter that we can reasonably expect to retain the improvements he’s made this year. His good walk and strikeout rates diminish the risk present in his perceived true talent level. Meadows, on the other hand, has swing and miss tendencies in his bat. He’ll need to overcome those or, minimally, show they are manageable as he moves up the ladder.

  • moose7195

    bout time

  • LetsGoMarauders

    Great! I’ll be able to see him in action Tuesday when they come home. Thanks!

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