Pirates Place Three Among Top 20 Prospects in FSL

Baseball America released their list of the top 20 prospects in the Florida State League on Tuesday morning and three players from the Bradenton Marauders made the list.

Austin Meadows ranked high on the list, finishing third overall. He was followed by Reese McGuire at #11 and Harold Ramirez at #12.

Meadows hit .307/.357/.407 in 121 games, ranking among the top hitters in the pitcher-friendly FSL. He received a late-season promotion to Altoona and had a 1.109 OPS in six games, followed by six hits in the four playoff games. Along with McGuire, Meadows will be headed to the Arizona Fall League, which begins play in two weeks.

While Meadows was one of the youngest players in the FSL this year, McGuire is only two months older than him and catchers tend to develop slower than other position players due to the demands(physical and defensive) of the position. That’s good news for McGuire, because he didn’t have a strong season at the plate. He is one of the best defensive catchers in the minors, so at worst his upside would be a glove-first backup. McGuire doesn’t swing-and-miss often, so most scouts believe that will translate to future success at the plate, especially if he can start hitting the ball with more authority. He might not be a Silver Slugger candidate, but combined with his defense, that would still make him a valuable starter.

Ramirez was held back in Extended Spring Training due to conditioning and a skin infection that briefly set him back. He ended up not having enough plate appearances to qualify for the league leaders, but his .337/.399/.458 slash line made him one of the best hitters in the league. Injuries have been an issue during his career, but if he’s able to stay on the field, then he should hit enough to be an All-Star caliber outfielder, who can handle center field. He will play winter ball in Mexico this year, moving up in competition over his usual winter assignment in his home country of Colombia.

The list technically had four Marauder players, as JaCoby Jones was ranked 20th overall. He was traded to the Tigers for Joakim Soria at the trade deadline.

  • Michael Conforto is on this list?! That’s quite a jump he made this year.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    September 29, 2015 8:58 pm

    How McGuire can be rated ahead of Ramirez is puzzling – has to be because McGuire was a first round pick.

  • Every time I read about poor Ramirez and his skin infection, I just feel sorry for him. Bad enough he got held back for being out of shape, but to have it repeatedly reported that he had some fungus. Poor guy! I hope he’s able to leave that behind!!

    • I’m often confused by this. I initially thought he was held back a little by the skin infection rather than being out of shape but I’m starting to think it was a combo. Plus I’m tired and I forget. Maybe John or Tim can weigh in.

      • “Ramirez was delayed with what I was told were conditioning issues in Spring Training. However, he also had a skin infection, which delayed him further. Ramirez returned to playing at the end of Spring Training, but missed some time once extended Spring Training started, which is most likely when the second issue occurred.” – Tim

      • He was held back for about a week with conditioning issues. He was back in the lineups in the lower level games by the end of that period, and then he disappeared until he eventually returned to Bradenton. That was the longer stretch, and that was when I believe the skin issues took place. The conditioning problems weren’t as serious as they were with Heredia.

  • As much as I hate the Cards they are a great organization. They rarely make mistakes with players they draft or sign internationally and there is always another great arm or hitter in the pipeline ready to contribute to a winning team.

  • Unfortunately, the Cards had the #1 prospect:

    Few if any FSL pitchers have flashed the pure stuff of Palm Beach righthander Alex Reyes, whom numerous scouts and managers referred to as having closer-quality dominant velocity and swing-and-miss stuff, only over five or six innings as a time!