Pirates select OF Austin Meadows

The Pittsburgh Pirates had two picks in the top-15 (no. 9, no. 14) because last year's pick, Mark Appel, did not sign. With the ninth pick the Pirates selected 18-year old outfielder Austin Meadows from Grayson HS (GA).

Kiley McDaniel National Baseball Analyst for Fox Sports Next has this scouting report on Meadows: He is a very well-known prospect that I've written about a ton and has been picked apart by scouts this spring as his hitting mechanics haven't improved, his arm is average at best and he added 20 pounds in the winter. The added weight has added another tick of power, with most scouts calling it 55 raw power, but he's also lost a step, as a 55 runner with good instincts that can stick in center field now but very well may have to move to left field. Meadows catches your eye with his above average tools, feel for the game and a pretty swing with power, but he was overrated entering the spring as a potential #1 overall pick.

Meadows is a five-tool player and he tore up the competition his senior year, hitting .535/.633/.930, with 14 doubles, four home runs, 28 RBI and 17 stolen bases. Meadows committed to Clemson last year.

The outfielder was also a 2013 Rawlings pre-season first-team All-American. As a junior in 2012 at Grayson High School, he helped lead his team to the Georgia Class 6A state semifinals with four home runs, 28 RBI and 19 stolen bases. He also led the USA Baseball 16U National Team to the IBAF World Youth Championship in 2011 in Mexico, leading the team in hits (22), doubles (five), triples (three), RBI (28) and stolen bases (six) while also setting a record for the most RBI and earning a spot on the all-tournament team.

"Meadows has a chance to be a very good hitter with power," Pirates GM Neal Huntington said. "Do we think that this guy can be a quality major league hitter with power? Yes, we believe this guy is going to be a major league hitter with power."

The Bucs followed that up by taking 18-year old catcher Reese McGuire from Kentwood HS (WA. McDaniel filed this scouting report on McGuire: Smooth cold weather prep athlete offers ideal catcher's frame, plus arm, true catching actions, advanced lefty swing and rare feel to hit any kind of pitch with great bat control. Two things keeping him from being a top five pick are his below-average to fringy raw power and the very very checkered track record of 1st round prep catchers. That's due in part to all the mental aspects of catching that are so hard to project with 18 year olds.

McGuire was the Washington state Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year hit .417 in his senior season with a slugging percentage of .778. He has committed to the University of San Diego.

He won the 2012 USA Baseball Dick Chase Award after helping USA's 18-and-under team defeat Canada and win the gold medal at the IBAF 18U World Championship in Seoul, South Korea last September. Previous winners of the award include Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and righthander Stephen Strasburg, Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak and Cubs outfield prospect Albert Almora.

"We really like the receive, the block, the throw," Huntington stated. "McGuire has called his own game forever, which is unique in this industry at the high school level. Coaches are calling games more often than not, so the defensive package is strong. We like the attributes to hit, we like the mechanics and we like the swing. We believe he has the attributes to be a major league caliber hitter."

Both players have college scholarships, Huntington feels good about signing them.

"They love baseball," Huntington said. "We've had good dialog with them to this point in time, until they are signed they are always challenges. There is no question about that, sometimes things change after the draft. But we've got two young guys that love to play the game and are excited to be Pirates drafts. But until we get them signed, there is always the risk we won't."

With pick number 51 in the second round the Pirates took lefty pitcher Blake Taylor from Dana Hills HS (Calif.). The scouts had this to say about Taylor: He's tall, projectable and left-handed. No wonder Taylor's name was creating some buzz as the Draft approached.

It doesn't hurt that he sits in the low 90s, with ease, and has touched the mid-90s at times this spring with a fastball that often has good tail and sink to it. His curve has the chance to be an above-average breaking pitch. He doesn't throw his changeup much, and he'll have to develop it to have prolonged success at the next level.

With good mound presence, decent overall control and some pitching know-how, there's reason to believe Taylor will be able to develop that third pitch and refine his command to be a future starter at the highest level.

Taylor posted a 2-3 record and 2.57 ERA in 11 appearances for a last-place Dana Hills squad. Taylor is a University of Hawaii signee.

The 6-foot-3 Taylor was also a 2013 Rawlings third-team All-American selection and California All Region First-Team selection.

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