The Rays have recalled young outfielder Austin Meadows to the MLB roster, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported. Also joining the club are righties Austin Pruitt and Chih-Wei Hu as well as southpaw Hoby Milner.
Among these new additions to the active roster, the 23-year-old Meadows is the most interesting. That’s due not only to his top-prospect status and his recent acquisition — in a swap that also brought Tyler Glasnow and Shane Baz to Tampa Bay in exchange for Chris Archer — but also his strong offensive output this season.
Before the swap, of course, Meadows had impressed in a 165-plate appearance debut in the majors. Though his success was predicated in no small part upon a .345 BABIP, it was hard not to like the .292/.327/.468 line (with five homers and four steals) he produced against major-league pitching.
At the same time, though, Meadows had continued his less-than-stirring work at the highest level of the minors, so it was fair to wonder whether that was simply a mirage. The longtime top-100 prospect had hovered in the .700 OPS range in three attempts at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Since arriving in the Rays organization, however, Meadows has thrived. It’s only a 26-game sample, but he laid waste to the International League pitching over 106 plate appearances, slashing .344/.396/.771 with ten home runs.
Whether or not that showing ought to elevate expectations for Meadows is perhaps debatable, but it certainly increase the excitement of his promotion. Of course, he’s not likely to receive a long look just yet. But with Carlos Gomez set to hit the open market at season’s end, it’s possible that Meadows could be in the mix to crack the roster as part of the corner outfield rotation in 2019.
As ever, service-time considerations must be noted as well. Meadows was on the Pittsburgh active roster for 59 days already and will now add another dozen to his tally. That means he could well top a full year of MLB service next season even if he’s held down to open the year.