Pittsburgh Pirates: Austin Meadows and Kevin Kramer Starting Strong

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

Two of the Pittsburgh Pirates top prospects are off to strong starts at Triple-A.  Both players could impact the team this season.

The Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians, are off to a so-so start with a record sitting at 12-11. However, the team has a lot of prospects to pay attention to, such as Austin Meadows, Kevin Kramer, Kevin Newman, and Clay Holmes.  They are all off to solid starts and are the main reasons why the team is over .500 right now.  However, the two that are really performing well so far this season are Austin Meadows and Kevin Kramer, both of whom could see playing time on the Pittsburgh Pirates this season.

Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows was in desperate need of having a bounce back season.  Last year, he saw himself struggle in the games he was able to play in, but saw most of his season lost on the disabled list.  With a decline in numbers and inability to stay healthy, many started to question if he would ever reach his lofty ceiling.  However, this year Meadows has shown what he can do when he is healthy.  The former ninth overall pick has played 18 games so far in Triple-A.  Through those games, he has batted .319/.382/.449.  The top offensive prospect has also seven extra base hits and has only struck out 10 times while walking six times.  He looks like the player that many have been expecting to see.

Kevin Kramer

Meanwhile, Kevin Kramer was a second round pick in 2015, and at the time looked to be in a way buried on the prospect depth chart.  However, Kramer burst on the scene last year in Double-A and has not slowed down since. Through Kramer’s first 21 games at Triple-A, he has slashed .301/.363/.446 with two home runs and nine RBIs.  He has struck out 24 times, which is over once per game.  However, he is a left-handed hitter with pop so that will happen, especially at such a young age.   Still, he is hitting over .300 and getting on base at a strong clip, if he puts up that slash line one can deal with the strikeouts.

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Both these prospects have a chance to make the big leagues this season.  Meadows likely will be called up if there is a DL trip for one of the current starting outfielders.  While Kramer could be called up later in the season for a similar reason.  Neither will be called up to play off the bench as both will benefit more from playing every day in Triple-A.  Also, it likely will not be until the middle of June at the earliest due to Super-Two status.