Pittsburgh Pirates: MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects for 2017
# 10, Austin Meadows, Outfielder
Austin Meadows ranked as the number nine overall prospect in baseball last year. The 2013 number nine overall pick ranked as the number 2 overall outfield prospect by MLB Pipeline at the mid-season update. This year, Meadows finds himself ranked number 10 on the list, and the number three overall outfield prospect. Literally, Meadows and National’s outfield prospect Victor Robles flipped spots. This is mainly because Meadows struggled with health last year. He missed the beginning of the season with a fractured orbital bone. Then, after being promoted to Triple-A, he started to have a nagging hamstring issue that caused him to play inconsistently.
In his limited time at Triple-A, Austin Meadows slashed just .214/.297/.460/.757. However, his .335 wOBA and 113 wRC+ were both above league average. Meadows also flashed his great power potential. His .460 slugging percentage shows this, as does the .246 ISO he had at Triple-A last season. This was after he completely crushed Double-A pitching. In 45 games at Double-A, Meadows posted a slash line of .311/.365/.611 with 40 extra base hits. Furthermore, combined between Double-A and Triple-A, Austin Meadows hit 12 home runs in 335 plate appearances last season. This puts him on pace for about 25 home runs over a full season worth of plate appearances. Meadows also posted plus defense at both levels, at least when healthy. One thing though, is he has a below average arm and a big frame. He will play a corner spot for the Bucs, as Starling Marte will move to center.
Due to Super Two, Meadows, will not debut until mid-June at the soonest. Hopefully, he is able to remain healthy and get plenty of experience at Triple-A. This was one issue with Meadows last season at Triple-A. He was trying to play through an injury, and was not able to produce at his full capability. This year, look for him to return to the elite hitter he is at Triple-A. In fact, Greg Amsinger and the MLB Pipeline guys, said Meadows was the most advanced left-handed hitter in the minors. With that, his debut will likely depend on what happens to Andrew McCutchen. If the Bucs decide to deal Cutch during the season, that is when it is most likely to see this star prospect.