Number 5 – Outfielder Austin Meadows
For a long time outfielder Austin Meadows looked like he would become a major part of the future of the Pittsburgh Pirates. From the time he was selected with the 9th overall pick in the 2013 draft, he became one of the top prospects in all of baseball.
After battling injuries for much of his minor league career, the lefty outfielder made his MLB debut with the Pirates in May 2018. In 2018 he logged 165 plate appearances in 49 games with the Pirates. He hit for a .292/.327/.468 slash line to go with a 111 wRC+ and appeared to be a star in the making.
Well, his Pirate career came to an abrupt end on July 31, 2018. It was on this day Meadows was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays as part of the Chris Archer trade. A trade that now stands as arguably the worst in Pirate history.
After having a cup of coffee with the Rays in September 2018, he burst onto the scene in 2019. Meadows reached his star potential batting for a .291/.364/.558 slash line to go with 33 home runs, a 142 wRC+ and a 4.0 fWAR. This led to Meadows making the first of what will undoubtedly be multiple All-Star Game appearances.
Fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates will always wonder ‘what if?’ with Meadows. What if Huntington had not traded him to Tampa Bay? Imagine an outfield anchored by Meadows and Bryan Reynolds for the next 5-7 seasons. One thing that is for certain is if Meadows had not been traded, he would likely be even higher on this list.