On Saturday afternoon in the Arizona Fall League, Glendale had two Pirates in the lineup, as they took on Peoria on the road. Reese McGuire caught and batted third, while Austin Meadows was in right field, batting cleanup. Brett McKinney came out of the bullpen. Glendale lost in the ninth, giving up two runs in the bottom of the inning for a 5-4 defeat. They now have an 8-6 record.

In the first, McGuire came up with a runner on second after back-to-back doubles to start the game. He flew out to center field, advancing the runner to third base. Leading off the fourth, McGuire singled up the middle. With two outs and no one on in the sixth, he lined a single into center field off a 94 mph fastball. In the eighth, he doubled for his third hit of the day. McGuire is batting .333 in 24 at-bats this fall, though he’s just 1-for-11 against left-handed pitchers.

Meadows had his first multi-hit game in the AFL on Friday, but Saturday was another poor game for him. He came up in the first with a man on third and one out. Meadows couldn’t get the runner home, striking out swinging on a change-up. After the Reese McGuire single in the fourth with no outs, Meadows came up and grounded into a force out, with McGuire being retired at second base. In the sixth, he flew out to right field to end the inning, stranding McGuire on first base.

In the eighth, Meadows came up with runners on second and third and one, with his team down by two runs. He grounded out to the pitcher, but a throwing error ended up scoring both runs. Meadows received an RBI on the play. He then stole second base, before scoring on another error, giving Glendale a 4-3 lead at the time. He finished 0-for-4, dropping his average down to .146 through 41 at-bats.

Brett McKinney came in to pitch the fourth with Glendale down 2-1. He gave up a home run to the lead-off batter on a 92 mph fastball. McKinney struck out the next hitter on the eighth pitch of the at-bat, after throwing seven pitches to the first batter. He then got a ground out to first base, followed by a grounder to third base for the final out. The last two batters saw just four pitches. McKinney has touched high 90’s this year, usually sitting in the 92-94 range. On this day, his fastball was 90-92 and he threw a lot of off-speed pitches.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. At 20 he has plenty of time to catch up to lefties, but he is still putting the ball in play against LHP’s 1W/2K’s. Against RHP’s he has been an absolute monster – .538/.625/.923, 1.548 OPS, incl 3W/0K’s. Hope it continues, because he may need this to get the bump to AA for 2016.

    • I am guessing you are referring to McGuire, and I am sure he will work on hitting lefties this next year. He makes contact, strikes out very little, and has a good eye at the plate. Also remember catchers are learning to handle pitchers, knowing batters, and at 20 he is doing an amazing job. His hitting will catch up. McGuire and Meadows have been playing against older players since the beginning of their Pirates careers. I think McGuire’s spring training will determine whether he moves up from Bradenton to AA from the beginning.

  2. John (and NMR too),

    Could you, maybe, address what you think about Michael Conforto’s transformation since his MLB debut? He was a similar hitter to Bell (at least in the lack of homers) in the minors but he’s come up and made some adjustments and has increased his power, especially pull-power. Is this something we can expect to see from Bell and what does he have to do to achieve this?…and, lastly, is this something we could see from Polanco as well?

    Polanco and Bell are both BIG, BIG men who make contact at solid rates and have advanced hitting tools and pitch-recognition and patience…it’s the power that is lacking and both seem to be suited to power increases with swing adjustments (Maybe even drastic increases in Bells case).

    • I don’t think the Bell comparison is exact. This guy was a hell of a player at Oregon state. Much more polished than a lot of guys his age. Not afraid of the lights either. Played in LL, CWS, now WS. I think he has the “intangible” asset, Tim likes. Imo, anyway.

      • I guess it was more thst he supposedly made swing adjustments to tap into power he was supposed to have and never showed in minors.

        • The sweet spot on an aluminum bat is bigger than wood. As he gets a little stronger his numbers should go up.

        • I’m only familiar enough with Conforto to tell you that prospect guys were split in him with some uncertain if he’d ever get to his raw power because of swing and approach.

          Stephen Piscotty, however, was much the same and a lot has been written about what the Cards successfully changed to break him of the Stanford Swing. Search for Derek Goold’s stuff on him.

          Josh Bell, I believe, certainly has it in him to make similar improvements but my point all along has been that they will have to be intentional changes. Power won’t simply come to him with age. He’s going to have to make deliberate changes to his swing plane that boost his fly ball rate.

          • Exacto mundo NMR. I’ve been trying to point this out since Bell was in AA, but I guess not many were listening….or reading.

          • Yeah, I think, again, you hit the nail on the head…Pirates prospects to me seem to take forever to develop and then once they get here (Polanco) are not fully ready/anything close to a finished product. I think Bell, especially with his approach and pitch recognition, and his body type should be a guy we expect big power numbers from. Instead we have a guy who has huge question marks still even as he’s at AAA. I don’t know…I just really struggle with seeing the pirate approach with hitting prospects.

            • I’ve made the argument before myself, but it’s just really, realllllyyy hard to definitively say the organization is *bad* at developing hitting. I just don’t think we know enough about all the variables involved. I’ll make that concession.

              What I do think is inarguable is that the Pirates are not *good* at developing hitters, relative to the rest of the league. We know what *good* looks like, because we have(had) Searage & Benedict. The Pirates may not be appreciably worse than the rest of the league at developing hitters, but they most certainly are not better.

              I don’t agree with a lot of what I see as an outsider, but I’m still just a guy on the internet.

    • Conforto barely played one year in the minors. I don’t think there is any comparison to him and Bell. You might be better served using someone like Jeff Bagwell who hit for very little HR power in the minors and then exploded in the majors (a lot of smart people think Roids had a lot to do with it).

    • Conforto was barely in MiLB long enough to form any opinion on his power at those levels. And 15 HRs in 589 ABs across 3 levels isn’t really an indicator of little fence power.

    • I’ll actually go on record as saying I’m perversely glad to see it happen.

      If there’s anyone in the system I’d call a lock, it’s Meadows. Seeing him struggle gives me hope he’ll be challenged and become a more complete player before reaching the majors.

      However, I do wonder weather it’s fatigue….

      48 games, plus high school in 2013.
      45 games in 2014
      127 games, plus fall league action this year.

      The kid just might be worn down.

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