Prospect Stock Watch: Meadows, Mejia, Kieboom

With the 2016 amateur draft now in the rearview mirror and a new wave of talented headed for the minor league later this month as the short-season leagues get going, let’s take a look at some of the talented holdovers from previous drafts.

Austin Meadows | OF | Pirates
ETA: 2017
Value: Rising

The Pittsburgh Pirates currently have one of the best four-man outfields in the Majors and they’ll soon have to make room for Meadows. The young outfielder’s season got off to a slow start thanks to an injury but he’s looked sharp in his 41 games. He’s really doing a little bit of everything – at the plate (.962 OPS), in the field (handling center field) and on the base paths (8-for-11 in steals, 8 triples). Meadows, 21, doesn’t have to be added to the 40-man roster (and protected from the Rule 5 draft) until after the 2017 season so, while he’s likely to be promoted to triple-A during the summer, he’s likely not going to see The Show until next year – unless an unexpected and prolonged injury occurs to one of the veterans.

Francisco Mejia | C | Indians
ETA: 2019 (If he stays behind the plate) | 2018 (If he changes positions)
Value: Increasing

It’s been an ugly year for Indians backstops. First-stringer Yan Gomes is off to a terrible start at the plate (.561 OPS) and back-up Chris Gimenez has been equally bad (.553 OPS). The club also lost talented defensive whiz Roberto Perez to a potentially-season-ending injury after he appeared in just four games in 2016. Mejia himself is coming off of a disappointing first full season in the minors from 2015. Still, he’s just 20 and is enjoying himself the second time through the Midwest League. He’s hitting .338 through 50 games and has done a nice job of keeping his strikeouts under control at 15.5%. Mejia is also showing some gap pop and signs that he could eventually produce more over-the-fence pop. He has the necessary skills to remain behind the plate but there are questions over his desire to excel at the position.

Spencer Kieboom | C | Nationals
ETA: 2017
Value: Steady (but underrated)

Kieboom doesn’t possess the same upside that the two players above him do but solid all-around catchers are hard to find. The Nationals’ No. 1 catcher Wilson Ramos is enjoying a breakout season but he is also being buoyed by a .350 BABIP (high for a slow-footed catcher). Kieboom – whose brother Carter was the club’s first round draft pick in 2016 – isn’t flashy but he has a solid defensive reputation that should earn him playing time, he gets on base at a solid clip and he can also step into the odd extra base hit. He’s also a smart player with good instincts so he should only get better. Considering the lack of impact depth at the position in the organization, he should eventually pair nicely with Ramos or eventually replace him.





Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

newest oldest most voted
Cory Settoon
Member

Seems like Pittsburgh should pull off August’s 4 OF plan full time. They have a nice little glut going on there.

Seems like Pitt would call up Josh Bell before Meadows if a prolong injury happened, right? Unless it was in CF maybe.

Pirates Hurdles
Member
Member
Pirates Hurdles

Even if it is CF, they like Marte in CF, so it would be Bell this year under any circumstance. Harold Ramirez is also hitting well after a torrid ST, but slow start at AA.

buctober
Member
buctober

True, but i dont see Bell, or Jaso for that matter playing either of the corners in the case of an OF injury. Bells only real hope IMO is that either Jaso forgets how to hit/get on base or gets hurt

buctober
Member
buctober

Meadows big check against him is the fact that hes not in AAA yet. Right or wrong, the Pirates very rarely promote players without getting a decent number of PAs in AAA.

Daniel
Member
Daniel

He just turned 21 though and the average age of players in AA is like 24, so he’s well on his way. They don’t have a reason to rush him, yet.

buctober
Member
buctober

I completely understand and agree. Im just saying, he wont be called up until he checks off the FOs “required” number of AAA games/PAs.