BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates reassigned outfield prospect Austin Meadows to Minor League camp, where he reported Monday after a longer-than-expected stay in big league Spring Training.Meadows, 21, hit .326/.420/.558 in 43 at-bats over 20 games in Grapefruit League play. The Bucs' entire outfield was away for most of March
BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates reassigned outfield prospect Austin Meadows to Minor League camp, where he reported Monday after a longer-than-expected stay in big league Spring Training.
Meadows, 21, hit .326/.420/.558 in 43 at-bats over 20 games in Grapefruit League play. The Bucs' entire outfield was away for most of March due to the World Baseball Classic, so Meadows received more playing time than a typical prospect with little realistic shot to crack the Opening Day roster. He felt he made the most of it.
"It's been great," Meadows said Saturday after crushing his second spring homer. "To get the experience under my belt, first big league camp, I've been fortunate to get that experience and that playing time out there. It's been a lot of fun."
The youngest player in big league camp, Meadows admitted he didn't anticipate sticking around so long. But several rounds of cuts came and went, and Meadows remained.
"Just the overall game, being around big leaguers, facing big leaguers has been very, very good for his development," manager Clint Hurdle said.
Meadows is the Pirates' No. 2 prospect and the ninth-ranked rookie in all of baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com. He made his Triple-A debut last season and hit .214/.297/.460 with six homers and eight steals in 37 games for Indianapolis. That came after an outstanding stretch with Double-A Altoona in which he batted .311/.365/.611 with six homers and nine steals in 45 games.
Meadows may not be far removed from the Majors, considering his potential and his performance this spring. There is no clear spot in Pittsburgh's outfield for the lefty hitter, unless there's an injury or the Bucs eventually decide to trade Andrew McCutchen.
Whenever he makes it, he said, he'll be able to draw upon the experience and comfort that he gained during an extended stay in big league camp.
"It's huge, I think. Being a young guy and facing guys that have either been to the big leagues or are about to be there, it's cool to get that experience," Meadows said. "It's definitely a huge confidence-booster facing guys that you've never faced before that have been in the big leagues. It's pretty cool to be up against those guys."
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.