Austin Meadows Rumors
8:44pm: Meadows will sign for the full slot value, according to Baseball America's Jim Callis (on Twitter).
7:42pm: The Pirates and Meadows have officially reached an agreement, according to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. It's expected to be close to slot value, and Meadows is in Pittsburgh for a physical right now (All Twitter links).
6:35pm: The Pirates are closing in on a deal with first-round pick Austin Meadows, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Meadows, a high school center fielder from Georgia, was selected with the No. 9 overall pick, which carries an assigned slot value of $3,029,600 according to Baseball America. Meadows is advised by Excel Sports Management.
Meadows ranked as the draft's No. 5 prospect according to both ESPN's Keith Law (Insider subscription required) and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, while Baseball America ranked him sixth on their Top 500 list. Law and Mayo note that he has tremendous five-tool potential, though Law cautions that he's a risky commodity because of how much work his hit tool needs. Scouts and evaluators debated whether he or No. 5 overall pick Clint Frazier was a better draft prospect, as they live just a few miles apart in Georgia. The pair grew up playing against each other and have developed a friendly rivalry.
The Pirates received the No. 9 overall pick as compensation for failing to sign Mark Appel in 2012 after they selected him eighth overall. Pittsburgh also picked at No. 14, where they selected Washington prep catcher Reese McGuire.
Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN has a tremendous amount of information on the upcoming MLB draft in the most recent edition of his weekly "Scoops" column. Here are some highlights from his highly informative piece (though there is much more to see in the full column)...
- Twins VP of player personnel Mike Radcliff spoke with Wolfson at length Wednesday afternoon and said that the team's draft board for the No. 4 overall pick is down to four players: "We have enough guys we have no problem taking," Radcliff said. "Dollars, risk, creativity, we can go many ways."
- Wolfson adds that at least one of the potential players would be someone the Twins could sign well below slot value, in order to spend more heavily on their second- and third-round picks. He adds that that player is likely high school catcher Reese McGuire, as has been rumored occasionally over the past few weeks. Asked about McGuire, Radcliff side-stepped the question a bit: "Well, we want a catcher every draft," he said. "Looking for a star catcher is the hardest thing to find."
- The Twins have had a scout in attendance to see "every pitch" from Kohl Stewart over the past couple of years. Radcliff and scouting director Deron Johnson have seen him multiple times.
- The Twins have a great relationship with Matt Sosnick and Adam Karon, who are advising McGuire and Nevada right-hander Braden Shipley. They're believed to be more interested in McGuire than Shipley. Sosnick, the agent for current Twins Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit, also advises high school arms Matt Krook and Andrew Church, plus San Francisco right-hander Alex Balog and Cal infielder Andrew Knapp. Each of those prospects ranks in the Top 100, per Baseball America.
- Johnson has seen Arkansas righty Ryne Stanek numerous times, and the Twins have done more work on him than any team in this year's top 10.
- High school lefty Hunter Green, who ranks as the draft's No. 31 prospect (per BA), is among the prospects who will attend a workout for the Twins on Monday. High school outfielder Austin Meadows did not attend a recent workout the team held for Georgia-area prospects.
- The Twins aren't likely to pursue Minnesota high school outfielder Ryan Boldt with their second pick (No. 43). They will look at another hometown product in Gophers lefty Tom Windle at that spot, however. Boldt was considered a first-round talent before a meniscus tear ended his season. He hopes to be ready to play by August.
- The Twins have the fourth-largest pool to sign international prospects this year, and Radcliff says they will be "major players" in this year's market. Wolfson adds that the Twins very much like Dominican outfielder Lewin Diaz.
- The team didn't have scouts in attendance to watch Japanese hurlers Shohei Otani and Masahiro Tanaka in Japan this past week.
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo was asked on Twitter where high school outfielder Clint Frazier, whom many expect to go in the Top 10 of the MLB Draft, ranks in comparison to high school talents from previous drafts. Mayo notes that it's hard to ignore hindsight and view players in the same light as he did when they were amateurs, but he ranked Frazier as the eighth-best talent among 36 high school hitters selected in the first round dating back to 2009. Here's more on the draft...
- The Astros have six players on their draft board but Frazier looks to be edging out Austin Meadows, leaving them with Frazier, Mark Appel, Jonathan Gray, Kris Bryant and Colin Moran, according to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. Bryant and Frazier are seen as dark horses if the team decides Appel and Gray aren't worth the money they're asking. Should Scott Boras and Appel highball the Astros, money will become an issue. Smith notes that it's very close between Appel and Gray, adding that Gray has ties to the Astros and is open to negotiating (All links to Smith's Twitter account).
- Cubs president Theo Epstein, GM Jed Hoyer, top scouting/player development executive Jason McLeod and amateur scouting director Jaron Madison are currently in Oklahoma City to meet with Gray, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. The Cubs are still expected to take either Gray or Appel at No. 2 overall.
- Bill Kiser of MLB.com profiles prep right-hander Hunter Harvey, whose stock has risen enough that he's considered a likely first-rounder. Harvey is the son of former MLB closer Bryan Harvey, who saved an AL-best 46 saves in 1991 and made two All-Star teams. The younger Harvey has a 0.38 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 54 2/3 high school innings this season. Harvey, whose fastball sits in the mid-90s and has touched 97, also features a solid curveball. Mayo had him going 25th to the Giants in his mock draft, while John Sickels of Minorleagueball.com has him going 30th to the Rangers and ESPN's Keith Law (Insider req'd) has him at No. 24 to the Athletics.