Player: Austin Meadows
Drafted by: Pittsburgh Pirates (No. 9 Overall)
DOB: 5/3/1995 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6’3”/215 lbs
School: Grayson (Ga.) HS
College Commitment: Clemson
Heading into the spring, Meadows was widely regarded as the nation’s top prep prospect—and with good reason.
Meadows put himself on the draft radar in the summer of 2011 while playing for Team USA in the IBAF World Championship. During the tournament the left-handed hitting outfielder batted .537—aided by three consecutive four-hit games—and tallied 28 RBI, as he went on to garner co-MVP honors.
Since then, Meadows has done nothing but solidify his status as a potential top-10 draft pick thanks to an impressive summer on the showcase circuit and solid spring playing for Grayson (Ga.) High School.
That being said, the 18-year-old does require considerable projection in all facets of the game, and especially at the dish. There’s legitimate concern that Meadows' contact-oriented swing and calm approach will prevent him tapping into his raw power, which in turn hurts his value if he’s forced to move from center field.
Regardless, Meadows is a first-rate athlete with the potential for at least five average tools at the next level. From a developmental standpoint, he’ll need significant time in the minors to hone his baseball skills, but the finished product could be a very special player.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is average, with the current score first and projected score second.
Smooth, balanced left-handed swing; potential above-average-to-plus hit tool; flat path helps keep bat head in the zone for an extended period of time; good plate coverage; already comfortable using the entire field; upright setup; quiet load and weight transfer; doesn’t explode on contact; some stiffness to swing; already recognizes spin; consistent approach with mature plate discipline for his age; will need to get off his backside more efficiently against advanced velocity.
Requires the most projection of all his tools; below-average; needs to add strength to athletic frame; flat bat path and easy swing result in more gap shots than over-the-fence pop; natural pop to left-center field; should hit for more power by adding either loft or creating leverage; power frequency stands to improve as he learns to pull more balls.
Above-average runner; could conceivably lose a step if he adds significant strength to lower half; long strides; more of a glider; instincts help speed play up.
Provided he doesn’t outgrow the position, Meadows has all the makings of a major league center fielder; bat is a clean fit at the position; highly impressive athlete but lacks physicality; long strides help him cover ground; solid actions and routes at all three outfield positions.
Only potential down tool; strong enough for center field but doesn’t project as favorably at either corner spot; accurate; long, clean arm stroke.
MLB Player Comparison: Jay Bruce; Colby Rasmus
Projection: Above-average regular on a first-division team; occasional All-Star.
MLB ETA: 2017
Chances of Signing: 99.9%