Austin Meadows Ranks Fourth Among the Top Outfield Prospects

MLB Pipeline wrapped up their rankings of the top ten prospects at each position, finishing with outfielders on Thursday afternoon. Last year, Austin Meadows was named the eighth best outfield prospect by MLB Pipeline. This year, he ranks fourth overall. The video in the link has high praise for Meadows, giving him strong marks for his approach at the plate, center field defense and speed. They also believe he will add power to his game as he fills out and gets more experience.

Meadows hit .310/.360/.420 this season, playing 121 games with Bradenton and six with Altoona. He was among the youngest players in the league at both levels. In the playoffs, he hit .400 in four games, with two walks and a homer. Meadows continued on after the season, going to the AFL, where scouts loved the tools. He didn’t do well at the plate in the Arizona Fall League, but that didn’t stop Jim Callis from naming him the second best prospect in the league. Meadows will start the season with Altoona this year and could see Indianapolis by the end of the season. With the outfield the Pirates currently have in place in the majors, there is no need to rush him through the system.

The Pirates were well-represented on Pipeline’s top ten list, putting a player on six of the eight lists, including two catchers. You can find links to the previous articles here. They will release their top 100 on Friday night on MLB Network starting at 9pm. We will have something up following the show.

  • Pirates also did well in the Baseball Prospectus top 101. Glasnow was 11th, Meadows 22nd, Bell 49th, Taillon 51st, McGuire 76th, and Ramirez 80th. Colorado had 7 of the top 101, Cubs,, Dodgers, Braves, and Phillies all had 6, Reds had 5, Brewers 4, and Cardinals 1.

  • Pirates did very well in the MLB Pipeline farm system rankings. 7 guys among the top 10 in their position, with Bell and Glasnow #2, Meadows and McGuire #4, Hayes #5, and Diaz and Hanson #6. The Reds also had 7, but their ranks were 2,5,5,7,7,9,and 10. The Dodgers (1,1,5,6,7), Rockies (3,4,6,6,7), Red Sox (1,2,5,10,10), and A’s (5,8,8,8,10) all had 5 top 10’s. The Tigers, Royals, Angels, Padres, and Mariners got shut out.

  • I like Meadows.

  • Just saw the Rays traded Jake McGee to COL for Corey Dickerson. Dang. That’s 2 guys I had wanted PIT to trade for….traded for each other.

    • And who would you take out of our OF to find a spot for Dickerson? Or would you play him at 1B (yet another on-the-fly position shift)?

      If you’re going to try to trade for a cheap 1B, how about Alex Dickerson from SD – they would surely give him to you for someone like Kevin Kramer or Mitch Tolman.

      • 4th OF. There is a glaring need there. And if someone gets hurt, then what?

      • Alex Dickerson was a bad 1st baseman. Bad enough that he was moved to the OF…where he wasn’t very good either.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    January 28, 2016 7:31 pm

    Ramirez should have at least gotten a mention on this list…I think he’s a better prospect than Judge, who appears to be a one trick pony. Most of these guys benefit were highly drafted prospects, so it is very difficult for a relatively under the radar International signee to crack these kind of lists…

    • You keep pushing this narrative without mentioning poor little Harold was a seven figure bonus baby himself…

  • I cannot wait to see this kid in Pittsburgh.

  • Tim & John, for some time, you have been very big on Meadows and it looks
    like the national experts agree. If we would be in the bad situation where we
    lose one of the big 3 for 6 weeks or so this summer (because of my proverbial
    too many inside pitches to Marte & Cutch), since we don’t have a real
    strong replacement at AAA, would we consider moving Meadows up?

  • With them now picking 25th to 30th for the (hopefully) foreseeable future, The FO will get to prove themselves. If they can still manage a top 10 prospect in just one or two positions, the Bucs will be in good hands. From what we have seen, I feel very positive.

    • I’d say the main opportunity for the FO won’t be so much in the draft as it will be the chance to trade expensive assets for prospects. Cutch in two years, Cole in three, etc., to replenish the minors as the high drafted folks begins to graduate.

      • The draft and internationall signings are always the best way to get talent. Most starting players in the major leagues were not 1st round draft picks thus our drafting position isn’t particularly relevant, its just an excuse

        • Oh please…

          • Timothy Wolfe
            January 30, 2016 7:41 pm

            oh please what NMR? – seriously, please do me the favor of looking at the top 5 players at each position, that’s roughly 45 players. How many of them were chosen top 15 in the first round of the draft……its a bullshit argument and it has always been a bullshit argument

            • I couldn’t imagine a more worthless argument. What, exactly, would that even prove?

              Here are the facts, if you choose to educate yourself:

              • I don’t give a damn about averages- there are 50 damn rounds to the draft, which means there are tons of opportunities to get great players after the first round. If you want to be a moron, pull up our own roster right now and tell me the % of starting players that were #1 draft picks. you have 40 times more chances to pick a good player after the first round than in it. Mercer, not a first rounder, Hanson, international free agent, Marte international free agent Kang, international free agent, Polanco International Free agent, Cervelli, Rodgers………..shall I go on, please tell me where all these #1 draft pick players we need in order to be succesful……….. IT IS AN EXCUSE! Melancon, Watson……..where are all the #1 picks NMR????? Last year we had 3. Alvarez, Cole, and Cutch. I’m sure I can go into the draft and find plenty of succesful players taken from the 18th pick on in all those years if you need me to.

      • The tampa bay rays approach. great way to remain competitive, terrible if you actually want to win championships. I just don’t like it unless it makes sense for the team (trading from a surplus of talent the most expensive talent to replenish other lacking depth areas with talent for example)

        • Being competitive is the first step in winning a championship.

          I know it’s been beaten to death…but look at Cutch. If the Pirates have a chance to get 3 blue chippers for him and, we can assume, two of them will pan out.

          What’s more valuable, a season and a half of Cutch or or thirteen combined years of two guys? I’d take that the latter in a heartbeat…especially if there’s already someone waiting in the wings who will soften the blow of losing Cutch…ie., Meadows.

          What it takes is having a solid scouting department and adept developers of talent.

          • There isn’t one correct answer here, gentlemen. It’s all about timing.

          • We are already competitive. Being competitive has been accomplished, now you have to take the next step. We are not. Can you argue this? It’s like we are saying that, in order to be good, we have to accept we’ll never be great. Yeah, no.

            • What’s the next step? Seriously.

              The top six spending teams opened last year with a combined payroll of $1,190,884,804. That’s almost 1.2 BILLION dollars.

              All that outlaid cash was good enough for a 2-4 record in the playoffs. Their biggest sin? Having bought players to “get to the next step”…and now they’re stuck with bloated contracts and over-the-hill players.

              HanRam, Panda, Pujols, A-Rod, Werth, V-Mart…the list goes on and on of teams that bought at peak value and are saddled with contracts they can’t get rid of.

              Do you really think a small market team can get away with that?

              You want to keep Cutch on the team? Fine. When this contract is up he’s going to be looking for, at least, a 5 year deal…and maybe 6. Even though he’ll be entering his decline years, if his body holds out after ’18, he’ll still be looking at a minimum of $24M/year.

              Do you really want to see this team commit $144M plus the $41M they already owe him?

              Is one possible run at a championship worth being saddled with the contract of a declining player for half a decade?

              Heck, ask the Angels who’ve gotten 9.1 WAR from Pujols over four seasons and $75M and still are on the hook for 6/$175M.*

              *Note…during that same time, Marte has put up 13.7 WAR and cost a little under $3M.

              Who else should the Pirates keep to ‘get to the next step’? Cole. Sure, but he’s going to want a 7 year deal when he hits FA. So, let’s buy out his arbitration years at $10M each and his FA years at a, very conservative, $28M per.

              The PED ERA has ended, players don’t get better in their mid-30s.

              So, 7-8 years from now, this dynamic duo will probably be the new Sabathia/Teixeira….and, with a small market team like the Pirates, suck up 25-33% of their payroll.

              Seriously…this team just finished a 2+ decade losing streak. There’s no reason to start again by putting the them in a position where they’re crushed by the weight of bad contracts and start the cycle all over again.

              Sell the players when their value is at its’ peak. Replenish the system…keep the talent flowing and sooner or later the team might luck into a World Series win. Start handing out contracts to ‘get to the next step’ and, next thing you know, this franchise will be in disarray again.

              • I have no idea what that rant is about because I’ve never once said that we should run up our payroll in any of the 2000 posts i’ve made on this site in the last 3 years. I’m really not going to even reply to anything else you said because your rant is so absurdly extreme. All I’m talking about here is keeping your good players and drafting well with the bonus picks you get, and maybe filling your rotation with Latos whom is a cheap, high upside player and maybe signing some outfield depth and paying 3 million a year to a 4th outfielder. Meanwhile you are here talking about pujols money and just plain ridiculous garbage. I’m not talking about signing any of our free agents, i’m just not talking about trading them either, i’m talking about using them to win championships while we have them.

                • So, what you’re saying is…what?

                  You’d rather keep these guys until the end of their contracts…then let them walk for a draft pick?

                  What’s that going to do to the overall talent level of the system?

                  Let’s look at Cole…he doesn’t even have to improve…if he just maintains his current performance levels, how likely are the Pirates to replace his production with a #30-#40 draft pick? And, even if they get lucky with the pick…what? 4 years in the minors and 2-3 to get established? So “IF” you can get a comparable player in return, maybe he can replace his production six years down the road? And that route is better than losing a year or so of his services, getting guys drafted 20-30 places higher, and who already deep into the developmental process?

                  Having a stellar talent and to let them walk away for a single draft pick…when you’re already drafting at the end of the round is foolish…not as foolish as paying them into their decline years, but pretty close.

                  For the sake of argument, let’s say going into ’18, Meadows has solidly progressed and he can be expected to put up a season about as good as Polanco did last year…roughly 2.5 WAR. And, let’s say Cutch is getting about 6 WAR.

                  If the Pirates could get two blue-chippers and a high ceiling/risk guy, I’d say the 3.5 total WAR you’re losing by dealing Cutch and playing Meadows is easily balanced by the return….especially for a guy you’re losing in a season anyhow.

                  I would not suggest dumping a guy with no adequate replacement ready–that’s just blowing up your team. But, what is important, is the Pirates are never going to be able to financially compete with, at least, half the teams in the majors, so they’re going to have to find a way to infuse talent. Can they do it through the draft? Probably not. Can they do it by backfilling holes with reclamation projects like Latos? Again, probably not…especially since the secret is out on that and the prices for them are starting to rise beyond the Pirates’ comfort zone….i.e., Fister 1 year, $7-$12M.

                  Now that the farm system is producing high ceiling players (who were drafted when the team had higher picks and less draft budget constraints) the time is coming when the Pirates will have to take advantage of that asset.

                  • Blaine- for the love of heyzeus- calm down. You need to just chill out a little bit and listen versus flipping out like a typewriter on the fritz anytime someone doesn’t agree with you. My only goal, is that someone understands my point. I don’t care if you agree or not, I just want to make sure I’m being clear on my point of view. I have nothing else to say that needs to be repeated at this point.

                    • Not flipping out at all…I type quickly.

                      I get your point…I really do.

                      By the way…

                      You can’t quit me.


                    • no- your points are well thought out. I don’t want to damage the long term future, but i’m not against going for it just a little here for the next few years knowing that in 2019-2021 we might be looking at a 4th place team. Even when you have players “ready” austin meadows as a rookie will not be able to replace Cutch no matter what, so if you do trade Cutch, you are pretty much giving up on winning the championship that year no matter what you say unless you get major league talent back that can make up that difference while also stocking the team with prospects, i’m never against taking a trade which is that lopsided, but it’s unlikely we would get it in this day and age.. I just don’t see any player, whether it be cutch or cole= getting you that much back where it would be worth more than the 1st round pick in compensation plus the year of production from that player and the additional revenue which the team gets from being that much more succesful in terms of real money. Unfortunately, if any actual analysis has been done on this in the past, i’m unaware of it and i’m not sure how reliable it would be if it existed anyway. Just remember, the goal is to win the world series, but also to do so in a way that doesn’t damage the team for 10 years down the road- by keeping your top players through their contract, you can still do both, but by trading those top players, you cannot do both.

                  • I want to win championships, you want to finish above .500 for as long as possible so you don’t have to bear through a .350 win season or two along the way and are willing to never win a world series with all the talent we have in order for that to happen. Point made- moving on…..

                    • I’d love to see the Bucs win one as well, if not more…but not at the cost of sacrificing future seasons. I’m not looking at a .500 team, but I really don’t care about a 110 win team, either…they just have to make the playoffs as often as possible and it’ll happen.

                      My guess is they aren’t getting there this season…too many rookies they’re going to try to break in.

                    • yeah, i don’t care how many games they win either- but you can usually tell the difference between the team that wins enough games to make the playoffs and has a chance to win the world series or at least get there- and a team that really has no chance. For example compare the Mets to the Astros last year. It’s about constructing the team in a way where it can win enough and be able to win a big series……and it currently is not constructed to win a playoff series in my opinion. You can’t win a 7 game series with 2 starting pitchers- and don’t say the royals just did- because they are superior enough in other areas to make up for it. Currently we are an offensive minded team, that has very little homerun power- with a bullpen that will be able to hold games which we are ahead, but not be able to pitch from behind enough to come back in games when we aren’t. We also can’t control the running game, have an average infield defense, a complete and total lack of depth at nearly every position at the ML level, and an inability to do nearly any of the baseball fundamentals well whether you look at cutting off balls properly, throwing to the right bases, base running well, bunting, and situational hitting just to name a few. Barring us going out and spending another 10-15 million to sure up this team, we need something close to a miracle to have any change of winning the division, and could very easily end up an 81-81 team if injuries hit us in any significant way

                  • anytime your team decides that a one year contract of 8-10 million dollars to make the difference between having a reasonable chance at winning a division vs. being lucky to make the playoffs- it has to make that move.

                    • I don’t disagree with that at all. I was only stating the recent trend of reclamations has caught on and the Pirates are starting to get squeezed out of the picture financially. So it wasn’t something that could be considered a viable part of a long-term strategy.

                    • I see what you are saying Blaine, but I disagree because it has been our strategy for quite awhile. We just have to be willing to spend a little more to do it. We can afford to. If our front office is saying well……..Latos will cost us 9 million on a 1 year deal and we are only going to spend 6, and because of that, we are going into the season with vogelsong instead- then we have some really serious prioritization issues. If we are thinking….we don’t need a 4th outfielder because we have players that have an outfielders glove in their posession- that’s a problem. It angers me, because neither of these are difficult or costly things to fix for 1 year needs. There is no reason we couldn’t have given that deal for Fister for example, whatever his velocity is- he is a good pitcher, he isn’t a thrower, and as much as he struggled with pretty much no stuff last year- he actually held his own pretty well when compared to other pitchers whom have lost their velocity (sabathia and lincecum for example)

              • Try getting on the same page

      • I agree completely. Can you imagine the uproar? It will have to be done for the good of the organization.

  • Let me guess, Cubs and cardinals

  • As unhappy as many are with the off season, we’ll be pumping prospects out for years to come. Either that or great bait.

    • if we were goign to use our prospects as bait- this is the year we would have done it as our needs this year are more than we will likely have for years going forward.

  • Dang, how many teams can say that they have a top 10 prospect at almost every position?