With the suspension of Starling Marte, it is time to see Austin Meadows in Pittsburgh
Yesterday, the Pittsburgh Pirates received a potentially devastating blow for their 2017 season. Starting center fielder, and the team’s best player, Starling Marte was hit with an 80 game suspension due to testing positive for a banned substance.
This leaves the Pirates without their best all-around player until July. Losing Marte is a big blow to a team that was already without their biggest power threat in Jung Ho Kang. The Pirates will be hurt both offensively and defensively with the loss of Marte, as he is one of the best two-way players in the game.
Also, moving Andrew McCutchen and his -28 defensive runs saved (DRS) in center field from a year ago back to center field is no bueno. Especially since he was transitioning very well to right field where he was a +1 DRS player this season.
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The 21-year old Meadows can play all three outfield positions and is one of the top 10 prospects in all of baseball. Despite being off to a slow start at Triple-A this season, a 35 wRC+ in 10 games, Austin Meadows is a better option to get significant reps in the outfield while Marte is out than Osuna or Adam Frazier are.
Austin Meadows has the ability to be a true 5-tool player. Meadows is a great contact hitter, he gets on base, he will develop power, he has a great arm, and he is a plus defender in the outfield. Additionally, Meadows is the future face of the Pirate franchise.
The 2017 Pirates should still be in compete to win now mode, especially with how well starting rotation has done so far this season. Out of the options to replace Starling Marte, Austin Meadows gives them the best chance to do that.
Now, while fans will not want to hear it, the dreaded Super Two status comes into play with Meadows. The Pirates can work around that though quite easily.
The way they can do this is to send Austin Meadows back to Triple-A when Starling Marte returns to the team in July. By doing this, Meadows will not accumulate enough Major League time this season to become Super Two eligible down the road.
And, right or wrong, Super Two will almost always be a factor with the Pirates and their decision making. That said, they did ignore it this year by having Tyler Glasnow make the Opening Daty rotation which will make him Super Two eligible down the road.
By promoting Meadows the Pirates also allow him to begin to face Major League pitching. This will allow him to begin to learn to hit Major League pitching while accumulating to playing the Majors. It also helps to make Meadows a viable everyday option in the postseason, should the Pirates reach the postseason, since Marte will be suspended for that as well.
But, most importantly, he flat out gives them the best chance to win baseball games while Marte is out.
With Starling Marte suspended until July, Austin Meadows should be playing every day in Pittsburgh. Nothing against Adam Frazier or Jose Osuna, but Meadows is a much better player with a much higher ceiling than these two players.
The Pirates can also work around Super Two status with Meadows by optioning him back to Triple-A when Marte returns. It is time to see Austin Meadows in Pittsburgh.