Baseball America posted their last top 20 prospects list on Thursday morning, finishing with the International League. The Pittsburgh Pirates were well represented on the list, with four players among the top ten prospects. That’s impressive because the IL looks to be the deepest league, heavy with top prospects.
Tyler Glasnow led the way for Pirates, as he ranked fifth in the league. He is followed by Austin Meadows two spots later, then Jameson Taillon eighth, and Josh Bell is tenth. They include players who have lost their prospect eligibility, basing their list strictly on whether the player was in the league long enough, so Taillon made the list.
I’ve seen their criteria listed two ways, saying once that a player just has to spend 1/3 of the season in the league, while another mentioned they had to get one plate appearance per game played for the team. By that last standard, Austin Meadows had 145 plate appearances and Indianapolis played 144 games, so he just qualified for the list. If you missed it last Thursday, he was third on the Eastern League list.
As for Glasnow, he posted a 1.87 ERA in 110.2 innings, with 133 strikeouts and a .175 BAA for Indianapolis. Due partially to his command issues (62 walks), he spent more time in Triple-A than anticipated this season. The 23-year-old threw 23.1 innings for the Pirates this season, finishing with a 4.24 ERA and 24 strikeouts.
Meadows had some issues in Indianapolis at the plate, in addition to being slowed by a hamstring injury and ending his season with an oblique injury. He hit .214/.297/.460, which still gave him an OPS well over the league average, doing it as one of the youngest players in the league. Meadows was still able to show off the tools that have him ranked high on two lists for BA. He had 16 extra-base hits in his limited, while going 8-for-10 in stolen bases. Before being slowed by the hamstring injury, he also showed off his impressive range and abilities in center field.
Jameson Taillon has already lost his prospect eligibility due to 100+ innings in the majors, but before he left the International League in June, he put on an impressive display. Taillon posted a 2.04 ERA and an 0.81 WHIP in ten starts, with 61 strikeouts in 61.2 innings. That led to his promotion, and at 24 years old and two full seasons missed due to injuries, he still was able to put up a 3.38 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 18 starts for the Pirates.
Bell also spent a lot of time in the majors, falling just short of losing his Rookie of the Year eligibility by being on the bench in the last game of the season. While in Indianapolis, he hit .295/.382/.468 in 114 games. With the Pirates, he had a .775 OPS in 45 games, finishing with a 21:19 BB/SO ratio, which was an improvement over his Triple-A BB/SO ratio. While he improved this season on defense, he is still a below average first baseman, but he has the bat to be valuable at that position. He also played some right field this year, and could see time there next season, though he’s below average there as well.