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Pirates Prospects by Position – C and OF

Austin Meadows didn't have the breakthrough season you may have hoped for, but he's still the Pirates' top OF prospect Photo by Cliff Welch/

Austin Meadows didn’t have the breakthrough season you may have hoped for, but he’s still the Pirates’ top OF prospect
Photo by Cliff Welch/

On Monday, I broke down the Pirates’ infield prospects. Today, I’ll look at catcher and outfield. Strange bedfellows in terms of position groupings, but bedfellows out of convenience.

I’ll do this a little differently than the last one in the sense that I will separate the catchers from the outfielders, but I will mix all potential outfielders in together. The Pirates don’t seem to care who fits where, as long as they fit. Their current outfield has three center fielders and no one asks any questions. On top of that, they have a number of center field capable players in the corners currently in the minors. Players will jostle around, leaving me with little reason to break them down now.


1. Elias Diaz (.271/.330/.382, 712 OPS at AAA)

Diaz broke out in 2014 and while the numbers haven’t looked as sexy in 2015, he’s showing enough bat to complement his International League-best defense. Diaz may not profile as an obvious choice to carry the load in the majors, but he profiles as a solid backup capable to playing 2-3 times a week.

2. Reese McGuire (.254/.301/.294, 595 OPS at High A)

McGuire has his many defenders and, certainly, there will be some questioning my placing him second behind Diaz. However, it’s a question of proximity for me. Diaz has already been called up to the majors and his offensive tools are playing at a higher level, and at a higher level in the system.

McGuire has youth on his side and while his defense is said to be advanced, he will need to hit some to stick in the majors. His power tool is almost non-existent, while his overall hit tool is generally overrated. Sure, he puts the ball in play a lot minimizing the strikeouts. That’s a very good thing, but he doesn’t walk much and the balls he puts in play don’t find grass. That could be a function of same bad luck as his BABIP has fallen short of .285 each of the last two seasons, but it might also suggest the balls he puts in play aren’t a threat.

Again, McGuire is extremely young for his level, but the bat’s not even playing with his peers at this point. He has time to improve, but it’s difficult to get excited about the early returns. That said, he wouldn’t be the first prospect to break out in AA if he reaches that level next year, as he seems destined to repeat High A.

3. Jin-de Jhang (.292/.332/.381, 713 OPS at High A)

I considered a few players here, but I landed on Jhang who might have the highest ceiling at the plate of any catcher in the system and therefore the highest upside of all. He puts the ball in play like McGuire, but he manages to hit for average and has shown power in spurts.


With Polanco’s July uptick at the plate and his continued improvements in August, the Pirates’ outfield is beginning to look more and more like the potential toolsy pasture many dreamed on for the past couple of years. Problem is, there’s no where else to graze and a number of players still looking capable of playing there. Some of these players below will become trade bait if the current arrangement holds up. Others might be insurance if future contract talks break down.

1. Austin Meadows (.310/.360/.420, 780 OPS across two levels at High A/AA)

Meadows’ 2015 numbers aren’t sexy, but one should not overlook what he did in 2014 when he hit well at an extremely young age for the SAL. He performed relatively well in the FSL in what appears to be a down year for the league and he continued his 2015 form in the Eastern League during a short six game call-up. However, this isn’t the big step you’d have liked to see him take.

With the Pirates’ outfield looking crowded, I’d love to see the Pirates give him a shot at third base in 2016. If nothing else it will give him position flexibility and a chance to contribute in the majors for the Pirates sooner.

2. Harold Ramirez (.337/.399/.458, 857 OPS at High A)

Meadows and Ramirez are considerably closer in value for me than many people might consider. He’s having a lights out season that included a standout performance against stronger competition in the Pan-American games. I kept waiting for his FSL numbers to come down to earth and they didn’t. A 20-year old with an .850 OPS in High A have a high success rate. Ramirez’s concern is his inability to stay healthy — just 49 games in 2014 and 80 games in 2015.

3. Willy Garcia (.275/.314/.431, 745 OPS across two levels at AA/AAA)

Garcia’s always been a toolsy player for Pirates fans to dream on, but his crazy strikeout rate caused us to temper expectations. It was still high in 2015, but it’s manageable. He hit for high average early in Altoona, but no power. The power slowly returned after an adjustment period in Indy, showing an all around game we’ve seen little of in the past.

4. Michael Suchy (.275/.362/.441, 803 OPS at Low A)

Suchy, like his 2014 draft mate Jordan Luplow, is quietly rising through the Pirates’ prospects ranks. In a system generally lacking power, Suchy’s at least got some. He’s a little old for the SAL and is the first player that I’ve mentioned that can’t at least play center in a pinch.

5. Keon Broxton (.273/.357/.438, 795 across two levels at AA/AAA)

I didn’t give much thought to Broxton last season, but his modest power, his speed and his base running skills are enticing. The problem is he strikes out way too often to lead off and he’s a probable loss in the Rule 5 draft.

6. Elvis Escobar (.296/.326/.407, 733 OPS at Low A)

He’s been living in Harold Ramirez’s shadow since the day he signed. Now a level down from the guy who signed on the same day as him, Escobar’s flashing the potential he showed when he signed for a six figure bonus. He’s hitting for better average, getting on base and showing a little more pop.

7. Tito Polo (.236/.313/.328, 641 OPS at Low A)

Aside from having a fun name, Polo’s got some tools that he’s flashed at times. He had a nice start to his career stateside in the GCL, but struggled in his sophomore season.

8. Jerrick Suiter (.299/.382/.394, 776 OPS at Low A)

Suiter’s was something of a surprise for the West Virginia Power by hitting for average and OPS’ing well. He’s yet another player drafted in the last few years that puts a lot of balls in play.

9. Casey Hughston (.224/.267/.311, 578 OPS at Short-Season)

Pickings are getting slim, but I’ll trust that the Pirates see more in Hughston than the bat that struggled mightily in his first months in pro ball after being given the overslot bonus he received.


Steve is a naturalized yinzer hailing originally from just north of Allentown, PA. He came to Pittsburgh to attend Duquesne University and decided to stick around after graduation. Steve is best known for his contributions to Duquesne hoops community as the owner of the Duquesne Dukes forum on Yuku and as the former editor of We Wear the Ring on the Fansided network. He is an avid Pirates fan, home cook and policy nerd. He is the co-founder of the Point of Pittsburgh. Easily irritated by people who misuse the word regress.

2 Comments on Pirates Prospects by Position – C and OF

  1. Meadows is left handed. Doubt he gets any looks at 3rdB.

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