Pittsburgh Pirates: Concerns About Austin Meadows at Triple-A?


The Pittsburgh Pirates top prospect Austin Meadows has flown through the minor league levels.  He has hit well at every level and proved why he is a top prospect. However, he found himself scuffling a bit at Triple-A.

Austin Meadows started the season on the disabled list.  Toward the end of Spring Training, Meadows was hit in the face and suffered a fractured orbital bone.  This caused him to miss most of the first month of the season.  After he recovered from that the Pittsburgh Pirates assigned the outfield prospect to Double-A Altoona.

How did Meadows perform at Double-A?  He tore it up.  The 21-year-old appeared in 45 games for the Altoona Curve.  In those games he hit an impressive .311.  What makes that batting average so impressive is that he was considered 3 years younger for the level.  To go along with his .311 batting average, he also got on-base at a strong clip of .365.  One thing we know the Pittsburgh Pirates organization loves is players who can get on base.  With that Meadows is the full package.  He slugged an incredible .611, hitting 16 doubles, eight triples, and six home runs.  That equates to 30 extra base hits in 45 games, quite an impressive number.

Top Prospect in Baseball

Those numbers made Austin Meadows one of the two top outfield prospects in all of baseball, according to many mid-season lists.  With that Meadows was bumped up to Triple-A to finish the year.  Upon arriving there, Meadows hit a home run in his first game.  It seemed that he was going to continue his success, but then he started to fall off.  He was really struggling, hitting around .200 through his first two-week in Indy.  He then was placed in the disabled list with a hamstring issue.  This could explain why he was struggling at the plate.  Often times when you see a really good player struggle, it is because an injury is bothering them.  How many times do you see this with a struggling pitcher, who ends up going on the disabled list.  Same can be said for hitter.  Many thought this was plaguing Andrew McCutchen all season.

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Return from DL

Meadows returned from his injury and saw his batting average jump to .250.  He seemed to be healthy and adjusting to Triple-A play.  Meadows did not sustain his progress however and ended up slumping bad.  He finished the year batting a meager .214 in 37 games.  There is reason for optimism however.  He was considered five years young for the league.  Also, it is typical for players to struggling when they move up a level of play, especially in the upper minors.

Since being draft, Austin Meadows has been considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball. Meadows had some health issues to start in Triple-A and it effected his performance.  When he came back he started to hit, but then struggled down the stretch.  It could have been because he was struggling with the Triple-A adjustment.  It could also be that he reaggrevated his hamstring issue.  Regardless, he is rated as one of the best prospects in all of baseball.  Next year he will return to Triple-A and will gain even more experience there.  So there is no real reason to be concerned about Austin Meadows.  Let see him in more than 35, injury plagued games.

Finally, all stats are courtesy of Baseball Reference