Meadows remains atop Bucs' Top 30 Prospects

July 26th, 2017

PITTSBURGH -- With a handful of their top young players graduating from prospect status, the Pirates' Top 30 Prospects list looks different at midseason than it did this spring. But there is still talent in Pittsburgh's pipeline, from Triple-A Indianapolis down to the Gulf Coast League in Bradenton, Fla.

That much is reflected in MLB Pipeline's midseason reranking of baseball's Top 100 Prospects. The Pirates are represented by injured Triple-A outfielder Austin Meadows (No. 20), Class A Advanced Bradenton right-hander Mitch Keller (No. 22) and Rookie-level righty Shane Baz (No. 88), their first-round pick in last month's MLB Draft.

Meadows dropped 10 spots from his preseason rank due in part to other prospects' ascension and his own inability to stay on the field. Meadows has been sidelined more than a month due to a strained right hamstring. Meadows also missed time late last season due to a right hamstring strain and an oblique strain. He's previously been sidelined by hamstring issues and a broken orbital bone.

But when Meadows is on the field, he's effective. The 22-year-old enjoyed a strong Spring Training in big league camp and began the season in Triple-A, where he was hitting .248/.313/.358 with four homers, 35 RBIs and 10 steals in 64 games. He remains the Pirates' top-ranked prospect and figures to make an impact in Pittsburgh at some point next season, if not this September.

Behind Meadows is Keller, 21, who's also missed time due to injury this season but still climbed from 53rd to 22nd on the top 100 list. The Bucs' No. 2 prospect is 5-3 with a 3.36 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings over 13 starts for Bradenton.

Baz, 18, quickly vaulted into the top 100 and the No. 3 spot on Pittsburgh's Top 30 list. The 12th overall pick in this year's Draft owns a 2.08 ERA over four outings in his professional debut. First-day Draft picks Steven Jennings (No. 11), Calvin Mitchell (No. 14) and Conner Uselton (No. 15) also cracked the Pirates' Top 30 list.

Meadows, Keller and Baz are the Bucs' only three representatives among the Top 100 Prospects. The preseason list included (No. 9) and Josh Bell (No. 27), who accumulated enough time in the big leagues to graduate from prospect status, and shortstop Kevin Newman (No. 59), who fell off the list.

The ranking of baseball's top prospects is done by Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status are eligible for the list. Players who were at least 23 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.

Newman, recently promoted to Triple-A, is now the Pirates' sixth-ranked prospect. Rounding out their top 10 are Bradenton third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes (No. 4), Double-A Altoona shortstop Cole Tucker (No. 5), rookie lefty (No. 7), Bradenton first baseman Will Craig (No. 8), Indianapolis right-hander (No. 9) and Altoona second baseman Kevin Kramer, who jumped from No. 21 to 10th in the Pirates' system.

, , and all graduated from the Pirates' Top 30 list. Relievers (No. 22) and (No. 25) made their debuts earlier this season and could contribute down the stretch in Pittsburgh.