Austin Meadows With a Big Home Run in the AFL Fall Stars Game

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The AFL Fall Stars Game has featured a lot of talented Pirates prospects in recent years. Andrew McCutchen made the game in 2007. Neil Walker was in the game in 2006. Gerrit Cole (2011), Alen Hanson (2013), and Josh Bell (2014) have also represented Pittsburgh in the featured AFL event.

This time around, the Pirates sent two of their top prospects in Austin Meadows and Reese McGuire, along with recent Pirates addition and late Fall Star Games addition Trevor Williams. As a result, the Pirates were well represented with prospects once again.

“It’s an honor to come out here, be recognized,” Meadows said before the game. “Just take it all in and enjoy it, get the experience.”

The Pirates didn’t see anyone in the starting lineup, but instead saw all of their players in the second half of the game. And they made an immediate impact when that time came.

Austin Meadows stepped up to the plate in the sixth inning and launched a two run home run that just cleared the fence in right-center field. You can check out the homer below.

The impressive thing about the home run was that Meadows worked the count deep and fought off a lot of difficult pitches before finally finding a pitch he could drive.

“I was able to put together a pretty good at-bat,” Meadows said. “He made some pretty good pitches on me, had a little bit of run on his fastball. But I just waited for him to leave one up and try to get the job done with a guy at third, and was able to get it out.”

Trevor Williams came on for the bottom of the sixth inning, which was a change of plans from the original schedule this weekend. He was originally set to throw on Friday in a regular AFL game. However, as he was putting on his cleats, he received the message that he would be playing in the Fall Stars Game as a replacement. The assignment had special meaning for the former Arizona State pitcher.

“I came here two years ago when I was at ASU and watched the game,” Williams said. “It’s cool to see it full circle. I was sitting in those seats two years ago thinking it would be great to play out here.”

Williams mixed in a lot of off-speed stuff, in order to keep hitters off balanced. He mostly relies on a sinker that was sitting 89-91 MPH tonight, although he hit 94 once with a four seam fastball. He looked to be working mostly with his slider, which appears to be the breaking pitch the Pirates like best so far. The pitch wasn’t consistent tonight in terms of command, however, he was able to get through the inning in quick order, thanks to a double play that erased a one out walk.

As for finally playing in this game, Williams said that it felt like a culmination of his hard work this year and this fall. It also felt good to be playing in front of other Arizona State students this time around.

“It was exciting,” Williams said. “It was nice playing in front of a crowd. It was good playing in front of a Sun Devil crowd too, which was nice.”

McGuire also entered in the sixth inning, although didn’t have as impactful of a night, finishing with two ground outs. He almost beat one of them out, just missing the throw by half a step.

The Pirates helped lead the West team to an 8-3 victory, with the home run from Meadows providing valuable insurance. Below are some videos of each player warming up before the game, along with photos of each player tonight.

Austin Meadows taking his home run swing.
Austin Meadows taking his home run swing.
Trevor Williams on the mound in the 6th inning.
Trevor Williams on the mound in the 6th inning.
Meadows and McGuire before the game.
Meadows and McGuire before the game.
Reese McGuire at the plate for his first at-bat of the night.
Reese McGuire at the plate for his first at-bat of the night.

  • Chris Crawford at BP has developed a serious man-crush on Meadows. Funny, BP has been slow to get on his bandwagon.

    CC’s article this morning on BP also has interesting takes on Clint Frazier and others. He thinks Frazier is in danger of becoming a platoon guy, apparently due to his issues with breaking balls.

  • Both players look to have moved some weight and gotten some muscle tone. Nice to see the work put in… Neil Walker could use a little time in the weight room.

  • Wait a minute, that can’t have been Meadows! He has no power, as has been established many times by the authoritative posters on this site.

    Ignoring the fact that he was in the FSL,which is the most pitcher friendly full season league in the minors.

  • McGuire looks like he is filling out a little since last time I saw a pic. He doesn’t look the 180-190 pound kid they drafted anymore. Hopefully he will come in stronger and show more power in 2016.

  • Reese has a lot of bat curl in his stance. That may be why he couldn’t get out in front of the two ground outs he had in the game. I am sure he didn’t face that speed in the minors. My son and I met both McGuire and Meadows after a GCL game their first year. Both couldn’t have been nicer and autographed a ball for my son. We can’t wait to see them in Pittsburgh.

  • I recorded the game last night. I can’t wait to watch our 3 guys in action. I have yet to see any of them ‘live’.

  • Meadows is going g to be really, really special…and look at the development time missed so far too.

    • He looks promising, but I don’t start to get excited until they at least do it in AA (and then AAA).

      Many a promising prospect has fallen once they’ve reached those heights.

      • Really really small sample size but in AA last year he hit for an 1.100 OPS…at his age and his limited developmental time so far, you can’t help but be impressed.

        • I just saw the opening of the AFL telecast. They compared him to Cliff Frazier. They said (paraphrasing) that Meadows has a higher floor than Frazier and will hit for average, on base and good (not great) power with good OF defense.

          Okay…I’m excited now! 🙂

          Now it’s time to fast forward to the 6th inning? 🙂

      • I saw him in AA, no reason to be skeptical. He is the real deal, and in a big way. He is going to force the organization to make a big decision, and in the not too distant future. The consensus of MLB scouts is that he has the best tools of all the players currently in the AFL.

        • If the NL gets the DH in the next CBA…

          OF (2017)
          Marte
          McCutchen
          Polanco
          Meadows

          The Pirates can rest each player 1-2 games per week by using him as the DH. The DH also enables the Pirates to have a deep bench with Ngope, Hanson, Frazier, Moroff, Osuna, etc. all getting in-game reps at a position while spelling Kang, Mercer, Harrison, Bell.

          A good problem to have.

          • If the DH did come to the NL, there is really 0 reason to rotate them that much. Cutch would be an obvious DH candidate, as he’d be the worst defender of the group and his value would likely already be mostly from his bat.

            He could be a spot starter to spell guys, but not a sure thing 2 times a week.

            • They rotate in order to keep them fresh, to diminish injury risk, to keep more players in the rotation.

              • You arent going to rotate Cutch and Marte that much. They are getting some days off, but not 2 a week.

                They went with a rest program clearly this year, and that didnt seem to stop them from feeling fine with Cutch getting 150 games. Thats not 1-2 days a week off, and really going without Cutch 1-2 times per week does make the team worse more than just him getting a scheduled day off once a month.

          • IF DH comes to the NL- i’m done with baseball

        • I guess that’s how you get into the Allstar game after batting .158!

        • Meadows might be only a year away…and might even push that timeframe. He’s got incredible talent. I think he’ll develop 20 HR power. He’s got the look for it.

          • um no offense Jared- but he’d better, otherwise we wouldn’t have drafted him. We were absolutely 100% counting on 20-25 homerun power from him along with a .300 ish hitter

      • …or once they reached MLB

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