The Pittsburgh Pirates had two first round picks in the 2013 MLB draft, and so far, it looks like they used both picks very wisely. With their second pick in the first round, 14 overall, the Pirates selected prep catcher Reese McGuire. He didn’t disappoint in his first professional season. With their first pick, ninth overall, the Bucs selected prep outfielder Austin Meadows.
Meadows, 18, is an extremely talented outfielder; he has all the tools to be a superstar for the Pirates. At just 18 years old, Meadows is already a big man at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, and he has the body type to add more muscle as he matures. Meadows possesses advanced plate discipline, especially for his age, and also has plus-power to all parts of the field, particularly to his pull-side. Like every hitter, his power will grow as he matures.
In his first professional season, Meadows spent time with the Pirates’ Gulf Coast League rookie-ball team and with the Pirates’ New York-Penn League short-season A-ball team, the Jamestown Jammers. In 189 plate appearances with the Pirates’ rookie-ball team, Meadows hit for a .294/.399/.519 slash line with five home runs, five triples, and 11 doubles. In just 22 plate appearances with the Jammers, Meadows hit .529/.636/.882 with two home runs while walking more times than he struck out. In his first season, he hit a combined .316/.424/.554 with a .977 OPS between the two levels.
Meadows clearly possesses the discipline and raw power to be a contributor at some point if he reaches his full potential. The issue may be finding a spot for him in a deep Pirates’ outfield. The Pirates already have Starling Marte in left field, MVP Andrew McCutchen in centerfield, and top outfield prospect Gregory Polanco will take over in right field at some point in 2014. Who knows what will happen with the Pirates’ outfield between now and when Meadows is ready, but it will be interesting to see how the Pirates handle their extremely deep outfield in the future.