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  • Twins MLB Draft Profile: Austin Meadows, OF

    Today, we continue our look at players that the Minnesota Twins could consider drafting with the #4 overall pick in next month's MLB Draft. Today we check out an uber-talented prep player from a baseball hotbed!

    Who Is This Guy?

    It can be argued that outfielder Austin Meadows is the top-rated high school position player in the 2013 MLB draft. It can also be argued that Austin Meadows is not the top-rated high school position player in the 2013 MLB draft from Loganville, Georgia. Depending on which scout you talk to and on which day, either Meadows (from Grayson High School) or outfielder Clint Frazier (from Loganville High School) might be ranked higher.

    Georgia has been a baseball hotbed for the past several years. Twenty players have been drafted out of high school in Georgia over the last six drafts. That doesn’t include several players drafted from Peach State colleges such as Georgia, Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State. The Twins used their second round pick in 2010 on Fayetteville, Georgia, shortstop Niko Goodrum. Just last year, the Twins used the second overall pick on Appling County High School (Baxley, Georgia) outfielder Byron Buxton. Among those drafted by other teams are Jason Heyward (Braves), Zach Wheeler, Tim Beckham, Delino DeShields, Jr., and Dwight Smith, Jr. At least two more Georgia prepsters will be added to that list in 2013.

    Austin Meadows, a 6-3, 215 pound outfielder, is a tremendous athlete. He has all five tools. He can hit for average and power, though these skills still need to further develop. This year, he has hit .535/.655/.930 with 14 doubles, a triple and four home runs. He has very good speed, demonstrated by his 17 stolen bases this year. He has been timed at about 6.3 seconds in the 60 yard dash. He is also known as a good center fielder. He also had nearly a 2:1 K:BB ratio this year, showing a good eye at the plate. The one question I keep hearing is whether he has the arm to stay in centerfield, so he more likely profiles in left field, though he has enough power potential that his arm might not be much of an issue.



    As mentioned, Meadows is a tremendous athlete. He played basketball until his freshman season. He played football through his junior season but focused on baseball for his senior year. Scouts also like to look at a player’s genetics. Meadow's dad was a three-sport athlete in high school who went to Morehead State on a full football scholarship. He also was a walk-on in baseball. He started in both sports all four years. Meadows’ mother received a fast-pitch softball scholarship to Georgia Southern.

    Who Could He Be?

    Meadows is very raw, but he has the potential, the upside, to hit for average and power while being a decent outfielder whose speed and arm may push him to left field. Best case scenario, he becomes a Josh Hamilton-like talent. Jay Bruce is another player who he could be compared to. Player comps seem always to be with all-star caliber players, rightly or not; when talking about what Meadows could be, the generic answer is a middle of the lineup power threat.

    How Soon Could He Be Playing In Target Field?

    When the Twins took Byron Buxton with the #2 pick a year ago, there was talk about him having a fairly raw hit tool. He signed quickly enough last year to spend time in both the GCL and Elizabethton. Since Meadows is not a Boras client, it is feasible that he might not wait until the deadline to sign. If so, it’s possible that he could play for both Twins' rookie league affiliates and start 2014 in Cedar Rapids.

    Because he is fairly raw, the assumption should be that he would spend all of 2014 with the Kernels. If he were to proceed up the Mauer path, he would split 2015 between Ft. Myers and New Britain and jump to the Twins in 2016. That’s the absolute best case scenario. Most likely, he would not debut until later in the 2017 season.

    If The Twins Draft This Guy, They Messed Up Because…

    Although the Twins traded Denard Span and Ben Revere, and Josh Willingham will be a free agent following the 2014 season, the Twins organization does have some outfield depth. Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia are already in the big leagues. Joe Benson is still in the picture. Byron Buxton and Adam Walker should end the 2013 season in Ft. Myers. Max Kepler could still develop. There is frequent talk that infield prospects such as Miguel Sano and Travis Harrison could move to the outfield. Although Best Player Available is generally conceded to be the best strategy-we don’t know what the needs of an organization will be in three or four years- outfield is not a position of need at this time.

    Despite the success that the Twins have had with athletic outfielders drafted out of high school in previous drafts, there is always a lot of risk when drafting 18 year olds and giving them $4 million to sign. Meadows is raw and could develop into a star, or his skills may never reach the potential that scouts see in him. That’s the nature of the draft and it is especially true with raw high school talent.

    Also, from the reports that I have read and people I have talked to, Clint Frazier may have more power potential and a better arm. There is a friendly competition between the two which may force the best out of each.

    If The Twins Draft This Guy, They Nailed It Because…

    Whoever they Twins draft, it will be because they have a conviction that the draftee is the best player to help the organization. The front office knows the importance of getting such high picks right. If Meadows reaches that Josh Hamilton-like potential, he is a guy you make room for on a roster. Meadows' potential is to be able to hit for high average and a lot of power. An outfield of Meadows (should he meet his potential), Buxton (should he meet his potential) and Hicks (should he meet his potential), with Arcia (should he meet his potential) DH'ing, sounds like a pretty strong group, especially if Miguel Sano and Travis Harrison can stay in the infield (and meet........).

    SUMMARY:

    Many thought it was a mistake when the Twins didn't draft a pitcher in the 2012 draft and instead used the #2 pick to draft a raw, athletic outfielder out of Georgia. Byron Buxton has, so far, done a great job of proving the Twins right. In 2013, it might seem to be equally silly for the Twins to consider drafting another raw, athletic outfielder (also from Georgia). If the Twins are convinced that he can be a four or five tool, difference-making type of hitter, then they absolutely should draft Meadows. If they have enough questions about whether he can reach those levels though, they should absolutely go in another direction.

    From my research and discussions, I’m not convinced that he is near the same level as Byron Buxton, so I think the odds of the Twins taking him with the 4th overall pick are likely pretty low.

    PREVIOUS Draft Profiles:

    LHP Sean Manaea - 5/20/13
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins MLB Draft Profile: Austin Meadows, OF started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 25 Comments
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Well, I was wrong about Buxton vs. Gausman. But now that it happened last year, I seem to be more justified in finding A PITCHER instead of AN OUTFIELDER for this pick. The context is now different. I am allowed to "flip-flop" and say that while BPlayerA worked well and I would not take it back, now BPitcherA really needs to take affect. Manaea is going to be available. I know of his abilities even while he was a "lazy student" in high school (dude could have gone to a Big Ten school otherwise) he is not lazy on the mound.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I admit that I wanted Gausman a year ago, and he's on the verge of the big leagues, so it would not have been a bad pick either.

      I always will advocate for Best Player Available, but if it's close between two players, go with the pitcher...
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      I don't think Meadows will be the best player available at #4. You say he has all five tools, but he does not have a ton of power and his arm is destined for left field. As a pure hitting left fielder, Frazier is the better prospect.

      Still, at 3-4, there are two better players than either of these high school position players--Manaea and Bryant. And if the Twins want a high-schooler, I'd rather have Stewart than either bat.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I agree... Most do seem to think that because of his size and his swing, that he'll develop a lot of power. hasn't shown a ton yet, but he certainly could.

      Note - I definitely don't think he will be best available by any means, but I do think he's a top 10 pick.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Meadows is not even in the top 7, let alone top 4. And, while Buxton has been great in low A, Gausmann is likely to pitch in the majors this year. And he looks even better than people expected. While Buxton slowly works his way up over the next three years, the Orioles will be winning games that Gausmann starts, starting this year. Meanwhile, Mauer will be getting older and older. So I think we are counting our chicks a bit here before the egg has even hatched. It doesn't really matter how good Buxton is, if Correia, Worley, Pelfrey, Marquis, Blackburn, et.al. are your pitching staff.

      I'll be very disappointed if Meadows is the pick.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      The projected pitching staff when Buxton arrives in 2015:

      Meyer
      Gibson
      May
      Diamond
      Baxendale/Worley

      When Buxton is the core of a team of stars including Sano, Rosario, Arcia and Mauer, the rotation will look like this:

      Meyer
      Berrios
      Gibson
      May
      Baxendale
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      cmat, I hope you are right, but the odds of that are pretty low. by 2015, I assume you mean a September call up. Buxton will be in A ball all year this year. He might be in AA next year.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      The projected pitching staff when Buxton arrives in 2015:

      Meyer
      Gibson
      May
      Diamond
      Baxendale/Worley

      When Buxton is the core of a team of stars including Sano, Rosario, Arcia and Mauer, the rotation will look like this:

      Meyer
      Berrios
      Gibson
      May
      Baxendale
      Well that's the plan. Though I think your optimism might let you down at some point. If a third of these guys pan out we should be extremely excited.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      cmat, I hope you are right, but the odds of that are pretty low. by 2015, I assume you mean a September call up. Buxton will be in A ball all year this year. He might be in AA next year.
      He's on the fast track. I think he will spend the second half of 2013 in Fort Myers. I think he will start 2014 in AA, and get promoted to AAA mid-year, with a September call-up. I think he'll be the starting center fielder in 2015. With his tools and uncommon maturity, it is not all that outlandish.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Like I said, I hope you are right.
    1. Turd Furgeson's Avatar
      Turd Furgeson -
      Drafted players are assets. Those assets can be traded to fill positions where our team is weak. They did that with Revere not even a year ago. Imagine that we had an Austin Meadows or Aaron Hicks or what have you who may end up being considerably better than Revere was last year and they could be used to leverage a better pitcher.

      I will never support the idea of drafting for need unless it's between two equal prospects.

      Also, I will add that the free agent market can and should be used to supplement our roster, and to fill any weak spots that we have. Granted, the Twins haven't been known to do that much, historically but hopefully this is a different Twins team when some of these high profile prospects finally come up.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      I don't know, man...I've been reading up on Clint Frazier, and he has a very Bryce Harper look to him.

      Baseball Prospectus | BP Unfiltered: Dissecting the Draft: Clint Frazier (Player Report)

      Check the vid of his swing. Look at that efficient power transfer, his superb rhythm. Easy power. Notice after his home run, he gets a discreet low-five from the opposing 2B. Frazier is a jock's jock. They have a little club, and he's in it. Team leader.

      The vid of his throwing arm also is revealing. I can't believe his coaches are letting him fall off the line of his throw after his follow through. The good news is, it's an easy thing to correct, and then you can add more accuracy to his upper 90's arm strength.

      He's got a plus arm, plus speed, plus power, and when he fills out a bit, add more power. I have a feeling a lot of teams will be sorry if they pass on the Ginger Dynamo.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Meadows is not even in the top 7, let alone top 4. And, while Buxton has been great in low A, Gausmann is likely to pitch in the majors this year. And he looks even better than people expected. While Buxton slowly works his way up over the next three years, the Orioles will be winning games that Gausmann starts, starting this year. Meanwhile, Mauer will be getting older and older. So I think we are counting our chicks a bit here before the egg has even hatched. It doesn't really matter how good Buxton is, if Correia, Worley, Pelfrey, Marquis, Blackburn, et.al. are your pitching staff.

      I'll be very disappointed if Meadows is the pick.
      I wanted Gausman (first choice) or Zimmer (second choice) in last year's draft.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      I wanted Gausman (first choice) or Zimmer (second choice) in last year's draft.
      Appel, Gausmann, Zimmer, Buxton.....for me.
    1. Dance with Disco Dan's Avatar
      Dance with Disco Dan -
      Although every report I've read lauds Meadows' overall skill set, some have questioned his interest in the game/intensity/grittiness or whatever that special sauce is that convinces Gibson that the D'backs should trade J. Upton. Usually, I dismiss that type analysis out of hand. But for some reason it is bothering me about this player. For that reason, give me Frazier over Meadows if the Twins go for a high school bat.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      JD Drew was a great player, if they get JD Drew with the 4th pick, you should be happy.
    1. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
      Siehbiscuit -
      I'm in the Frazier over Meadows camp as well. I personally value the power tool more than any other. Hit, speed, defense and arm are important but power is something that can only be developed so much. Much of it is just flat out, God-given ability. Same as the hitting tool. Average defense and average arms can be hidden. But a great power bat ALWAYS has value.
    1. Dance with Disco Dan's Avatar
      Dance with Disco Dan -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      JD Drew was a great player, if they get JD Drew with the 4th pick, you should be happy.
      You are right, of course. I actually tried to remove the JD Drew comparison out of my post before anyone responded. Drew was a 44 WAR player. I just have a deep and abiding disdain for him as a player that is not supportable when I look at the career he put together. Hence, my failed attempt to timely remove my snarky comparison.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Oh, I get the JD disdain, I never felt it, but I know why others did.
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      Put me in the Frazier camp as well. Meadows has some great tools but no one, this year or maybe any year, has the bat speed like Frazier. One thing to note; Meadows is about six months younger than both Frazier and Stewart.
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