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Austin Meadows is the Pirates Prospects Player of the Month for June

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This month’s Player of the Month race ended up going down to the wire and it was still a close call victory for Austin Meadows. Between Indianapolis and Altoona, he hit .308/.339/.738 in 112 plate appearances. Josh Bell has a seven point advantage in the OPS category, getting there with a higher average and on base percentage, but not quite the power. His .364/.433/.653 was quite impressive and would probably win most other months. But between the hitting streak that Meadows put up in June, the promotion he got to Triple-A a month after his 21st birthday, and the defense he plays in center field, he just edged out Bell for the Pirates Prospects Player of the Month for June.

Meadows didn’t have a good start to the season, getting injured before Opening Day when he got hit in the face by an errant throw, which fractured the orbital bone around his right eye on March 8th. That required surgery and put him out of action until April 25th, missing almost three weeks of the season. When he got to Altoona, he started off slow, hitting .148/.213/.185 through his first 14 games. From that point on, he has posted a 1.122 OPS in 43 games.

Last year for Bradenton, Meadows showed off the hit tool, speed total and the defense in center field. The power wasn’t there, but that wasn’t a surprise because he was only 20 years old and in the Florida State League, where home runs go to die. His .307/.357/.407 slash line had him third in the league in batting average and fifth in OPS. That earned him a late promotion to Altoona for a playoff-bound team, where he had a strong finish to his season. Meadows then went to the Arizona Fall League, where the stats weren’t much to talk about, but all of the scouting reports on him were off the charts.

He was already one of the youngest players in Double-A this season, so his promotion to Indianapolis two weeks ago after 51 total regular season games with Altoona seemed a bit rushed despite the impressive hitting stats he was putting up at the time. When he got promoted, he had just set the Altoona record with a 24-game hitting streak. Meadows extended his streak to two games before hitting a funk, going 0-for-20 over a five game stretch. Since then he has gone 7-for-17 with three doubles, a triple and a homer.

In 57 games this season, he has 19 doubles, ten triples and eight homers, with 11 stolen bases. The only player in the system last year to reach all four of those totals was Keon Broxton, and he did it in 133 games. Meadows has become one of the top prospects in the game at this point and once he adjusts to Triple-A pitching, it shouldn’t be long before he looks like someone who could possibly help the Pirates. The question once that happens is, where will he play?

PLAYERS OF THE MONTH BY LEVEL

Indianapolis – Josh Bell, 1B (.364/.433/.653, 134 PA, 7 HR)

Altoona – Austin Meadows, CF (.361/.391/.902, 64 PA, 5 HR)

Bradenton – Jordan Luplow, LF (.328/.438/.483, 73 PA, 1 HR)

West Virginia – Mitchell Tolman, 2B (.312/.418/.484, 111 PA, 3 HR)

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John Dreker
John Dreker
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball. When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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