As we have noted in our season recaps, some of the lower level teams were really thin around the bottom of their top ten prospects list. We were filling out those lists with players of note, rather than making tough decisions that kept actual prospects off the list. Altoona on the other hand, had no trouble getting to ten prospects. They were a loaded team this season, boasting a couple of the best prospects in the system, along with plenty of depth. The list took a hit when both Reese McGuire and Harold Ramirez were traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, but you will see below that even the "other notables" section has some top 50 prospects in the system.
The Bradenton top ten list included seven position players. Altoona has an even split of pitchers and hitters in their top ten, plus the notable section at the bottom has a nice mix of offense and pitching. You basically have a full pitching staff and every position covered. Four of the players listed below in the top ten ended the season with Indianapolis, and the other six could all make the jump there to begin the 2017 season. The Indianapolis list will be a strong one as well, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates a lot of young talent at the top of their farm system.
TOP 10 ALTOONA CURVE PROSPECTS
The cutoff for eligibility on this list was 140 at-bats, 40 innings pitched, or 20 relief appearances. Those limits kept Frank Duncan and Elvis Escobar from qualifying for the list. We also didn't include traded players, so neither Reese McGuire nor Harold Ramirez were considered for the list. Unlike the lower-level lists, this list factors in actual results a bit more than potential and upside. The latter is still factored in, but this is the level where we want to see players start producing on the field and showing their tools in games.
1. Austin Meadows, CF - Meadows didn't last long with Altoona. A Spring Training eye injury caused him to miss the start of the season, and then he was promoted to Indianapolis after just seven weeks. In between that time, Meadows put up a .311/.365/.611 slash line, ending his time in Altoona with a 24-game hitting streak. Meadows showed everything you want to see from a prospect, doing it as one of the youngest players in the league. He hit for average and for power, with 30 extra-base hits in 45 games. He used his above average speed effectively on the bases and showed great range on defense in center field. The biggest concern with him now seems to be his health. His Spring Training eye injury was a fluke, but he suffered a hamstring injury with Indianapolis, then had an oblique injury at the end of the season. That last injury cost him a chance to make up time in the Fall Instructional League and the Arizona Fall League. It also isn't the first time he has had a hamstring injury. If he can stay healthy though, then the sky is the limit for Meadows.
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