The Pittsburgh Pirates had two picks in the first round of the MLB Draft on Thursday night. They had two picks because Mark Appel, this year’s first overall pick by the Houston Astros, didn’t sign last year after being drafted by the Pirates.
The Pirates decided to go high-risk, high-upside with their first two picks of the draft. With the ninth pick, the Pirates took Austin Meadows, a high school outfielder. Meadows was ranked by Baseball America as the best athlete in the draft, the second-best hitter and they say he has the best strike zone judgment. As a high school senior at Grayson High School in Georgia, Meadows hit .535 with 14 doubles, four home runs and 28 RBIs.
With the Pirates’ 14th pick, they selected another high school player. Reese McGuire is a prep catcher that was rated by Baseball America as the fifth best position player in this draft. In his senior year of high school in Covington, Washington, McGuire hit .436 with 13 doubles, four home runs and 20 RBIs. Defensively is where McGuire excels. He has good receiving skills, a plus arm and above average blocking skills. He has the potential to be an all-star caliber catcher at the MLB level.
I am not a fan of drafting high school catchers in the first round, simply because a lot of them don’t make it to the MLB level. However, McGuire seems to be on a different level than most prep catchers. The Pirates struck gold in this draft in my opinion, especially with getting Meadows with the ninth pick.