BLUF: Easy first round pick and potential middle of the order batting average and power threat.
The Player: Austin Meadows (OF, Grayson High School) – One of the country’s elite high school players. Hit .390 with 10 doubles, four home runs and 19 steals as a junior. Heading into the National High School Invitational, Meadows was hitting .571 with three home runs this spring. He is committed to Clemson.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Industry Contacts
Body (6-3, 215): Very well built. Physically mature at a young age. Added muscle mass in the last year. Has potential to continue growing and adding muscle. Questions about where the body goes from here and whether his build takes on that of a classic slugger rather than a fast-twitch athlete.
Hit: Very balanced from setup through swing completion. Rarely finds himself out front of pitches thanks to good pitch recognition and plate discipline for his age/level. Has potential to continue developing pitch rec and discipline at higher levels. Hands work well. Plus bat speed. Can go the other way but rarely does so at this time. Swing can get a little long but has bat speed to make up for it. Good present leverage with some lift to the swing, allowing for over-the-fence projection. Quality overall hitter with potential for plus grades at peak but will need multiple grade jumps to get there. Grade – 40/60
Power: Easy raw. Ball explodes off his bat, particularly to the pull side. Has strength and bat speed to generate quality raw to the opposite field but lacks trust in hands to drive it that way with authority. Will crank when he turns on it. Has solid hit utility and plate discipline, giving projection for raw power to become game power. Physical maturity could cause grade jump in ultimate power ceiling. Easy plus projection now with reasonable chance to reach that ceiling with hit tool maturity. Grade (raw power) – 50/60
Arm: Average raw arm strength. Throwing motion can get a little deliberate from the outfield. Developmental staff may be able to coax a half tick more out of the arm with work on consistent mechanics and using his momentum to his advantage. Arm is playable in center or left field. Grade – 50/50
Fielding: Good feel for center field. Gets quality jumps and typically makes the correct break on the ball. Routes are good with frequent straight lines and few bad angles on balls in the gaps. Has present speed to handle center field but may slow with additional physical maturity and may be forced to left field long term. Doesn’t look the part of an up-the-middle player. Should be at least average defender long term, maybe a touch better; particularly on a corner. Grade – 50/50
Speed: Shows occasional plus-plus home to first times but not consistent. More of a plus runner in bursts and can show 70-grade speed once underway in the outfield. Already physically mature and likely to continue growing a bit as he reaches his physical peak, hinting at speed loss down the line. More likely an average runner at big league peak. Grade – 60/50
Summation: Massive raw talent. Very impressive physically with a good feel for the game as well. Excellent athlete with some quick-twitch tendencies. Body is already very mature and could move him out of the middle of the diamond long term. Athleticism will still play even if he bulks up more. Solid hitter with a good approach for his age. Good aptitude and a quick learner in the box; should have quality hit tool utility that allows plus raw power to translate to games. Potential .280+ hitter with 25 home runs from the middle of the order. Likely a left fielder long term but should be a solid defensive asset with an average arm. Potential All-Star caliber player if he maximizes the offensive tools.
Relative Risk: High. Likely LF profile puts pressure on the bat right out of the gate, but offensive potential is considerable.
Draft Projection: Easy first round pick with Top 10 aspirations. Has the offensive profile of a legit top of the round player. Not a true 1-1 candidate for me but a potential guy in the 4-8 range. A team that believes in his ability to stay up the middle could be more aggressive.