By Jason Shetler
On Thursday, Baseball America updated their Top 100 prospects list. Three Pirates prospects were ranked in the Top 50 – Austin Meadows (#4), Mitch Keller (#18) and Kevin Newman (#50).
Meadows entered 2017 as the Pirates #1 prospect in the system. With the Starling Marte suspension, it seemed likely that Meadows was going to join the Pirates sometime in June, but he has been off to a very rough start for AAA Indianapolis, posting just a .544 OPS in 28 games played. Barring that Meadows’ struggles don’t continue all year, he should at least be in Pittsburgh as a September call up.
Keller is the Pirates top pitching prospect. After being named the Bucs Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2016 for his great work with the West Virginia Power, Keller is picking up where he left off. In seven starts to this point for the Bradenton Marauders, he has a 2.54 ERA, along with a WHIP of 0.87, which is currently the best mark in the Florida State League. Keller should be promoted to AA Altoona before the season is over.
Newman right now is the Pirates second best prospect in the organization. The former first round selection from 2015 has had an okay start to this season, as he has put up a .336 on base percentage and a .708 OPS in 26 games with Altoona. Newman will likely join Indianapolis by season’s end.