Austin Meadows Named Second Best Prospect in AFL

Jim Callis at MLB.com posted the list of the top 20 prospects from this season in the Arizona Fall League on Tuesday morning. Two Pittsburgh Pirates made the list, with Austin Meadows coming in second place, followed by Reese McGuire, who was ranked 13th overall.

As mentioned in our AFL recap, Meadows didn’t have a strong season at the plate in the AFL, but there were numerous scouting reports that called him the best prospect in the league. Callis ranked Cardinals’ pitcher Alex Reyes as his top prospect, but Reyes has also been suspended for the first 50 games of the 2016 season, so that may have hurt his value with others who had Meadows ranked higher. Callis says that Meadows had the best all-around tools in the league, saying that he possesses solid average-to-plus tools in hitting, power, speed and defense in center field.

McGuire ranked 13th overall, and to quote Callis, he was “unquestionably the best defensive catcher in the fall league”. His offense kept him ranked lower, but Callis praised McGuire’s ability to make contact while saying that he needs to add some strength to be able to drive the ball better.

  • Here is one to think about : what’s the difference between having corrective vision surgery and/or TJ, and using PEDs ?

    • Tommy John I think is different since there doesn’t seem to be much evidence of it actually improving the player beyond repairing the specific injury, but I absolutely agree with you on corrective vision surgery. *Especially* when players are getting it done better than your standard 20/20.

  • I watched McGuire in the Fall League All Star game and he looked so relaxed and smooth catching the ball.

  • That’s the $64,000 question. Will McGuire add strength so that he can drive the ball better and not be a Chris Stewart clone at the plate?

    • It’d be a bit shocking if he didnt add much strength at his age. No telling if that will translate into power in games, but if he doesnt add just pure strength from age 20+ that’d seem odd.

    • It’ll also take more than just strength. Watch the swing in those videos…no loft at all. Some strength might help drive a few more singles and doubles, but there isn’t power in that swing.

      • With his defense, though, I don’t think anyone in the Pirates organization would have a problem with him just hitting for average.

        • Boy, I have to disagree there.

          McGuire wouldn’t be getting the attention he has if folks were projecting him to be a strong defensive catcher with an empty .270-.280 batting average. That’s the profile of a second division starter, at best.

          Not a failure by any means, but also not what you’re hoping for out of a first round pick and former Top 50 prospect.

          • There were 4 Major League catchers with 200+ PAs that batted .280 or better last year- 3 more batted between .270 and .280 – hardly second division

            • I don’t think you really understand what “second division” or “empty batting average” means.

              Of the four who “batted .280 or better”, only Cervelli posted an ISO below ML average and even he backed it up with a .370 OBP. That’s not empty.

              Of the next three “between .270 and .280”, only Swihart with roughly 3 WAR/600 PA would be considered a first division starter based on 2015 alone. Brayan Pena is a backup, and Yadi sucked last year.

          • Ok, that’s fair. I suppose saying “the Pirates Organization wouldn’t have a problem with him just hitting for average” isn’t quite accurate, but if that’s his floor, then I think it’s still considered a successful draft pick. You’re right though, with a 14th overall selection, I’m sure the FO is hoping for more than that offensively. Maybe it’s just me that wouldn’t have a problem with it, after the failure of Tony Sanchez.

            • Very much agree with you there. If that’s his floor, I bet you it’s not much worse, if at all, than what they were actually expecting to get when they traded for Cervelli. Serviceable, yet unspectacular starter for cheap(not said in a bad manner).

    • We can always fall back to Tony Sanchez.

  • Are these guys getting busted for PED’s or Controlled Substances? I believe Jacoby Jones was for Controlled Substances. I wonder if PBC had any idea that he was a user.?

    • That was Jones’ second offense according to a report I read, so the Pirates had to have some idea. I have to add though that I thought a second offense brought a longer suspension.

      • First offense only requires participation in a treatment facility, so im sure most teams do their best to not make that easily accessible information. 50 games feels about right for a 2nd offense, since for a decent amount of players 50 games of lost development time isnt nothing.

        For Reyes, he’s young enough it doesnt totally wreck much.

    • Reyes was weed.

      • Dumb.

        • Nuttings too cheap to buy good strains of weed. 🙂

          • I would be curious if Jones was for weed or something on the exotic side.

            • Weed. Maybe exotic weed, but still weed.

              • How stupid do you have to be…..really? At least PED’s are something you are taking to make yourself better. What possible decision making process leads you to smoking weed, knowing what the consequences are going to be.

                • I’ll preface this by saying this very well may be a case of a kid being dumb, but I can also absolutely see where weed could benefit these guys relax both body and mind. Plenty of folks in all walks of life would rather smoke than deal with stronger, addictive medications.

                  After the first failed test, though, I think you have to put it away until you get to the big leagues where they don’t even test. Stupid system, but ya gotta deal with it.

                  • Second paragraph does hit home. Rule may be a bit dumb, may need to be reviewed, but a major prospect has to know after that first fail that he’s done with whatever it is because he’s now messing with his, and the teams, stock.

            • I’ve read some of the recreational stuff on the list can help mask the performance stuff. What Luke said about treatment instead of suspension for the first offense is true. Just speculation over why they get caught.

              • Minors have a much more extensive testing process, in that they test pretty much year round. Seemingly much easier to get caught in the minors than in the pros.

                It is fair to point out that they dont always make what he tested positive for public, so the team/player gets to say what it was. A doubtful person could think a player/team saying he got popped for weed may have been on harder stuff, but that seems excessive for myself.

                • I didn’t mean weed. Some forms of MDMA can be used as a precursor to growth hormone.

                  • You heard from a friend, right? 😉

                    • No. Arguing with someone about that kid JaCoby Jones awhile back.

                      I think people would be surprised how many MLBers have prescriptions for adderall and other stuff thats use to treat for one thing but has side effects for something else they are trying to accomplish.

                      Its why I find the PED arguments hilarious.

                    • Oh, the adderall thing for sure. I forget the numbers, but the rate of MLB ADHD diagnosis is some ridiculous multiple of the American average *for children*. Guys are clearly using it as a PED, and Major League Baseball tacitly approves of it.

                    • There’s another one, for “testosterone deficiency”.

                      Gimme a break if some 25 year old has low testosterone.

                      Its ridiculous, man.

                    • It’d seem relatively simple to ban that type of stuff, and have clear exceptions for guys who prove they actually have the issues. If you actually do have ADHD or a testosterone deficiency, its not like you wont be able to either A) prove it via medical reports from dealing with it/having it diagnosed at some point in the past or B) Proving it via a current diagnosis and medical professional signing off on it.

                      You’d have some guys trying to find a friendly doctor writing them bogus stuff to get the pills, but thats at least easier to manager than the current “eh, just ignore that most guys their age arent totally lacking in testosterone or have this degree of ADHD”.

                  • Gotcha, i see what ya mean. Fair point for sure.

                    • Sneaky guys these pro athletes, especially NFL. Ive read that when they get surgery they arent tested for things, because obviously they will using prescribed stuff to heal. And of course not all of it is on the level.

                      You still have to put your work in the gym and on your craft. But they definitely bend and go around the rules for sure.

                • ” Drugs of Abuse ” , ( Jones’ suspension ) are cocaine, PCP, opiods and weed.

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