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Keller leads Pirates' trio in Pipeline's Top 100

MLB.com @adamdberry

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates' top three prospects remained on MLB Pipeline's list of baseball's Top 100 Prospects, which was unveiled Saturday night.

Right-hander Mitch Keller moved up to No. 16, while outfielder Austin Meadows fell to No. 45 and righty Shane Baz climbed to No. 67. Meadows could join the Pirates later this year, filling the outfield void left by the trade of Andrew McCutchen, while Keller may not be far behind.

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates' top three prospects remained on MLB Pipeline's list of baseball's Top 100 Prospects, which was unveiled Saturday night.

Right-hander Mitch Keller moved up to No. 16, while outfielder Austin Meadows fell to No. 45 and righty Shane Baz climbed to No. 67. Meadows could join the Pirates later this year, filling the outfield void left by the trade of Andrew McCutchen, while Keller may not be far behind.

• MLB Pipeline's 2018 Top 100 Prospects list

The annual ranking of MLB's Top 100 prospects is assembled by MLB Pipeline 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 entering the 2018 season are eligible for the list. Players who were at least 25 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.

:: Complete 2018 Top Prospects coverage ::

All three Pittsburgh prospects were previously ranked in the top 100. Keller moved up three spots from No. 19. Meadows tumbled down from No. 17. Baz jumped nine spots from No. 76. The Bucs did not have anyone join or leave the list. Their fourth- and fifth-ranked prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, were both acquired in recent trades: outfielder Bryan Reynolds (for McCutchen) and third baseman Colin Moran (part of the Pirates' return for Gerrit Cole).

Keller, 21, reached Double-A Altoona last season after a strong showing for Class A Advanced Bradenton. Keller should begin the year in Double-A after starting six regular-season games for Altoona last season. He started two postseason games and won both for the Eastern League-champion Curve, allowing two runs on five hits in 16 1/3 innings.

Keller, MLB Pipeline's No. 6 right-handed pitching prospect, has the potential to be a frontline starter. He throws an above-average fastball and curveball, and his changeup has improved over time. If all goes well, he should reach Triple-A Indianapolis later this year, with a realistic chance to pitch in Pittsburgh in 2019.

Meadows' stock fell after another injury-plagued season, but he still has the talent to become an impact player when he's healthy. The 22-year-old outfielder missed time due to hamstring and oblique strains and slashed just .250/.311/.359 in 72 games for Indianapolis. The Pirates added Meadows to their 40-man roster this offseason, but he should begin the season in Triple-A before receiving his first call to the Majors.

Video: Top Prospects: Austin Meadows, OF, Pirates

Baz, 18, was the Pirates' first pick in last year's Draft. The right-hander from Concordia-Lutheran (Texas) High School made his professional debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, posting a 3.80 ERA in 23 2/3 innings over 10 starts. He has a massive pitch arsenal, especially for his age, featuring a high-spin fastball that works well with his cutter and handful of offspeed offerings.

Video: Top Prospects: Shane Baz, RHP, Pirates

The Pirates were particularly impressed with the 6-foot-3 Baz's athleticism and makeup, two reasons they selected him 12th overall. He is years away from making an impact in the Majors, but scouts believe he could develop into a top-of-the-rotation starter.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Austin Meadows