Meadows capping first season with a bang

Just three months after being the ninth overall pick in the draft, Austin Meadows already has a lot to put down on his minor league resume.

In fact, it’s hard to top an all-star selection and playoff appearances at two different levels.

After his Pittsburgh Pirates rookie team was ousted in the Gulf Coast League playoffs, the Grayson graduate was promoted to Jamestown in the short-season Class A New York-Penn.

All the left-handed hitting outfielder did there in five regular-season games was bat .529 with two homers and help get the Jammers into the playoffs as the wild-card team.

Talk about a whirlwind initial half season as a pro and it may not end for a while.

Meadows homered his first time up in the New York-Penn playoffs on Friday night and added a triple later, driving in three runs as the Jammers defeated division-winner State College 6-5 in the series opener. “He threw me two changeups, so I figured I’d see the fastball and was able to put the bat on it,” Meadows said of his first-inning homer. Meadows, a .535 hitter as a senior at Grayson, is already living up to his billing as the Pirates’ No. 4 prospect and the No. 69 player on MLB.com’s Top 100 list. Meadows, who had a scholarship to Clemson, didn’t sign immediately after being drafted. But he eventually received the slotted bonus figure of just more than $3 million in late June and got his pro career going a week or so afterwards.

The 18-year-old was an all-star pick in the Gulf Coast League after hitting .294 with 11 doubles, five triples, five homers and 20 RBIs in 43 games. He had 24 walks to 42 strikeouts while posting a .399 on-base percentage and .519 slugging mark. His OPS of .912 was second-best in the 16-team Florida rookie league.

Meadows’ Bradenton-based team, which won its division, lost a one-game playoff semifinal, but that just meant that he was promoted sooner to Jamestown, N.Y.

The Jammers were certainly glad to get him.

Meadows smacked a home run in his first game, collected three hits in his second and had a homer and three walks in his fifth as Jamestown made the playoffs with a victory on the final day of the regular season.

Meadows scored eight runs in five games and had an eye-popping OPS of 1.519 thanks to a .636 on-base percentage and .882 slugging mark. “It’s definitely a big difference with the fans and atmosphere,” he said. “The schedules are a lot different, you can sleep in here with night games, so it’s a little more of a professional feeling.”