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.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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LetsGoMarauders

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

moose7195

bout 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.

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.

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.

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.

R Edwards

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

thecobra39

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

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