Pittsburgh Pirates: Getting to know Austin Meadows
The Pirates are recalling their top hitting prospect, but just who is Austin Meadows?
The Pittsburgh Pirates have placed outfielder Starling Marte on the disabled list with a strained oblique and, according to Bill Brink of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, will promote top prospect Austin Meadows from Triple-A Indianapolis as a corresponding move. Meadows was selected by the Pirates with the ninth overall pick in the 2013 draft and should prove an exciting watch while filling in for Marte.
But just who is Austin Meadows? Though he ranks as the No. 2 overall prospect in the Pirates organization, the lefty has flown under the radar while other prospects in Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. and New York’s Gleyber Torres rule the roost. The hype surrounding him is real despite that and if Meadows can immediately perform at a high level at PNC Park, then Pirates fans could have even more to be excited for as they maintain pace in a tight NL Central.
Meadows’ road to MLB
Meadows grew up in Loganville, Georgia, not far from downtown Atlanta. His high school teammate was none other than New York Yankees outfield prospect Clint Frazier, who was taken four picks ahead of him by the Cleveland Indians in the 2013 draft. Though he hasn’t received as much time in the spotlight as his high school teammate, Meadows is still worth noticing even though his minor league career has not yielded eye-popping results.
Meadows has posted a career slash line of .292/.357/.454 in six minor league seasons and was hitting .294 with one home run, 15 RBI, and eight stolen bases at Triple-A this year. He is primarily a contact hitter, though he did hit 12 home runs in 87 games across three levels in 2016. His power potential is there but has yet to materialize.
It’s also worth noting that a big reason fans may not be familiar with Meadows is something every young player hopes to avoid early on: injuries. Meadows only played in 87 games in 2016 and 81 games in 2017 due to oblique and hamstring injuries, plus an orbital fracture that cost him time in 2016. Thankfully, Meadows has looked healthy as a horse in 2018 and his injury issues appear to be behind him.