Pittsburgh Pirates: Spring Notes on Meadows and Weiss

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

With the World Baseball Classic going on over the last two weeks, the Pittsburgh Pirates have gotten to take extended looks at some minor league prospects.

The Pittsburgh Pirates lost their whole outfield, catcher, and starting second baseman to the World Baseball Classic.  Due to the conflicting schedule between the tournament and Spring Training, the Pittsburgh Pirates have gotten to use more prospects than usual this Spring.  Although it may not mean much in terms of this season, it still is interesting to see some of these players for the first time on TV and Radio.

Austin Meadows

The biggest prospect to get a chance to show off his talent is Austin Meadows.  Meadows, who is a consensus top ten prospect in baseball, is having a really strong showing thus far.  Meadows has produced nine hits in 28 at-bats so far this spring.  That equates to a really solid batting average of .321. On top of that batting average, he has also put together an insane .457 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .536, giving him an OPS pushing 1.000 at .993.

Also, Meadows has eight runs batted in, three of which came on his only home run of the spring.  Another one of his RBIs came yesterday, when he hit a ball into right field to bring home a game-tying run.  This was a big time, clutch hit, and that is great to see from a young player. Meadows will not be up until there is a spot for him to play. However, it obviously is great to see him putting together a strong spring, especially after struggling down the stretch last year in Triple-A, along with dealing with health issues.

Erich Weiss

The other Pittsburgh Pirates prospect who has gotten a lot of playing time is Erich Weiss. Weiss is not near the prospect that Austin Meadows is.  He was not a top draft pick, nor has he ever appeared on any prospect lists.  However, he has put together a solid minor league career and is showing some upside this Spring.  Weiss was an eleventh round draft pick back in 2013 out of the University of Texas.

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In the minors, Weiss has mainly been playing third base along with some second base.  However, he has also seen some time in the outfield this spring. This could suggest that the Pittsburgh Pirates view Weiss as a future utility type player.  However, if Spring Training is any sign of his progression as a hitter, he could see a bigger role moving forward.  So far this Spring, Weiss has almost been as impressive as Meadows.  In his 19 at-bats, he has posted a .316 batting average, gaining six hits in those at-bats.  Of the six hits, he has one home run, a double, and three runs batted in.  All this has earned him an on-base percentage of .458, a slugging of 427, giving him a .985 OPS.

Thoughts on their Spring Training

Yes, it is a small sample size. However, it is noteworthy of a player who has a career minor league batting average of .280 and an OBP of .358. Weiss is likely to open the year at Triple-A after posting a strong 127 games at Double-A in 2016. If Weiss can take his hot bat to Indianapolis, he very well could get a chance to help the 2017 Pittsburgh Pirates off the bench at some point later in the season.

Next: Prospect Michael Suchy

The same can be said for Meadows.  Spring Training numbers are what they are, exhibition numbers.  They do not count toward any of the player’s stats, and there are variables at play, such as facing other minor league players, facing players who are working on things, and in general, a more relaxed playing environment.  However, it definitely is not a negative thing to see these two Triple-A prospects performing in front of the major league coaching staff.