Who's the PTBNL? Reviewing 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Picks Round 1


The Mets finally solved the Ike Davis situation Friday night before hosting the Braves. It’s been a long time coming and despite the disappoint by the fanbase over Alderson’s inability to move the enigmatic slugger, this seems like a decent return for the Mets. Of course, the yet to be named player is supposedly the key to the deal so let’s take a look at who this mystery ballplayer could be. I’m focusing on top 2013 Pirate draftees since that is rumored to be the reason for the PTBNL. A team cannot trade a draftee until June of the following year. We'll start at the top and work our way down.

Austin Meadows -CF
 18 years old
 #9 pick 2013 MLB Draft

2013 Stats: A Gulf League/NYPenn 
.316-7-22 3SB .424/.554/.977

 What the experts say:

“A top prep hitter who’s been compared to Jay Bruce, he possesses a smooth swing, hits for average with the potential for above average power.” 

“Heading into the spring, Meadows was widely regarded as the nation’s top prep prospect—and with good reason. There’s legitimate concern that Meadows' contact-oriented swing and calm approach will prevent him tapping into his raw power, which in turn hurts his value if he’s forced to move from center field.”

“#4 Pirate prospect Meadows was selected ninth overall in the 2013 amateur draft. Just 18, he hit a combined .319 with a .977 OPS in 48 games. He flashed good power with seven home runs but also struck out 46 times.”
“The Scouting Report: Meadows has the potential to develop into a very good hitter. He shows a willingness to use the whole field and he improved his pitch recognition during his brief pro debut. He’s a little too aggressive at times, which is natural for a young hitter. Meadows doesn’t flash a ton of home run pop right now but he makes hard contact and should hit a ton of doubles while learning to clear the fences more consistently. Defensively, he’s a strong fielder and can currently play a solid centre but his modest range and so-so arm could eventually land him in left field. The young outfielder has a chance to be a special player — especially if the power develops and/or he sticks in center field.” http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2014-top-10-prospects-pittsburgh-pirates/

MLB Player Comparison: Jay Bruce; Colby Rasmus
Projection: Above-average regular on a first-division team; occasional All-Star.
Scouting Grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 55 | Run: 65 | Arm: 40 | Field: 60 | Overall: 60 (source: MLB.com)


Currently the Mets have Juan ‘the Wizard’ Lagares patrolling CF at Citi and Nimmo The Kid is tearin’ it up early in the state of Sunshine. But who wouldn’t want another blue-chip CF 1st rounder to add to the pipeline. If Meadows is the PTBNL it’s a huge coup for the Mets because it gives them two of the top prep hitters from last year’s draft. Nimmo-Dom Smith-Meadows has the potential to be a devastating middle of the order by 2018. If Meadows is the 2nd player in the Ike Davis deal then Alderson deserves a parade and Met fans everywhere Pirate GM Neal Huntington to their Christmas card list . The win now Pirates are set in the OF for the next decade: Marte-McCutcheon-Polanco and have highly regarded Harold Ramirez and Josh Bell behind them. Even with a loss Meadows the Pirates would be well stocked in the OF and the Pirates need a power hitting 1B in the present more than they need a highly regarded teenaged CF prospect of the future.

Why not?

This isn’t football where teams horse trade draft picks. it’s almost unheard of for a team to just trade away their #1 draft pick less than year later. Top prospects in MLB are gold, sometimes fools gold of course, still you don’t just spend all that time scouting, dissecting, and researching  over $3 million on a and then ship him out.  I did research and couldn’t find any example so if you please leave a comment if you’ve found an example of a team trading it’s 1st round pick less than a year later. Also, the Mets seem in pretty good shape outfield-wise throughout the system: Puello, Lawley,Vaughn, Taijeron,  Nimmo, King and others. Their more pressing need is SS and starting LHP. This combination is why I would think that Meadows is not the PTBNL in the Ike Davis trade.

Reese McGuire –C
19 years old
14th pick 2013 MLB Draft

2014 stats: Sal
.216-0-4 .275/.243/.518

2013 stats: A Gulf/NYPenn
.323-0-21 6 SB .380/.380/.760

What the experts say:

“When Austin Meadows fell to ninth overall, the Pirates opted to take the outfielder, hoping McGuire would be there with the 14th pick. They lucked out, as he fell to them, giving them two of the best prep position players in the draft. Most high school catchers have problems sticking behind the plate over the long-run due to their body or lack of defensive skills. That’s not the case with McGuire. He profiles as a future Gold Glove defender behind the plate, with a ton of great tools to work with. He’s a great receiver who blocks well, and has a plus arm.”

“Sound, balanced swing from the left side; works the ball from line to line thanks to improved barrel control and simplified stride; compact swing with present bat-to-ball ability; keeps upper body and head still throughout weight transfer and contact; hits the ball on the nose and generates plenty of loud contact; pitch recognition has improved as he’s become more comfortable going the other way. Average power potential.”

“#7 prospect McGuire’s glove was highly-coveted as a draft-eligible prospect in 2013 — and it helped make him a first round draft pick — but he had unexpected success with the bat during his pro debut. Playing in Rookie ball, the young backstop hit .330 and struck out just 18 times in 46 games. He earned a late-season promotion to the New York Penn League where he appeared in five games.”

“The Scouting Report: As mentioned above, McGuire’s defense is his meal ticket. He calls a strong game, is a natural leader and receives the ball well. He also has a strong arm and isn’t afraid to get dirty and block pitches. At the plate, he showed a better-than-expected approach with above-average contact. He still has room to improve his swing to generate more pop, although he may never be a home run hitter. McGuire needs more experience against good left-handed pitching. McGuire plays defense well enough to make the Majors on that alone so any offense, really, is icing on the cake. If the catcher keeps hitting, the Pirates could have something really special.”

MLB Player Comparison: Kurt Suzuki
Projection: Everyday MLB catcher for first-division team; multiple Gold Gloves.
Scouting Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 45 | Arm: 65 | Field: 60 | Overall: 55


Who wouldn’t want the first catcher taken in last year’s draft in their system?  Sure the Mets are seemingly set behind the plate with d’Arnaud manning the backstop at Citi and Piawecki getting experience in AA. They also have the highly regarded Cam Maron and others in A ball. But can you really have too much catching? Teams are always looking for catching help. It’s a demanding position and for every Buster Posey success there’s a Hank Conger or Jesus Montero-players who mashed minor league pitching but prove unable to replicate that success in the big leagues. McGuire is also far enough away from the majors for d’Arnaud or Piawecki to prove themselves so that if either both players fail there’s a potentially top option waiting in the wings.

The question is, “why would the Pirates trade the top catcher taken in last year’s draft?” Well, Russell Martin is only 31, a fan favorite and looks to have the catching position locked up for the next five or so years. Also, the Pirates have Jin-De-Jhang, a top Taiwanese prospect, behind the plate at full season A Bradenton after serving as backstop for Jamestown in NYPL last season. The Pirates would like to make a repeat playoff appearance in 2014 but the NL Central is a tough division featuring the pennant winning Cardinals, a resurgent Brewers squad and the dangerous Reds. They’re in a position where trading away a piece that could help you win in the future for a power hitting 1B to help you in the present is the pragmatic and correct one.  

Why not?

As stated above teams just don’t trade away their 1st round picks a year later. The Pirates have options at catcher but what if Martin ages quickly or Jhang  can’t cut it above A or AA. The Pirates thought at one time that 2012 2nd Round pick Wyatt Mathiesen was the future behind the dish at PNC but after struggling at the plate and behind it he’s been moved to 3B. What once a surplus for Pittsburgh would become very thin if they moved McGuire. Even though they are in a win-now mode that doesn’t mean they want a glaring weakness at catcher in 3-5 years.

The Mets having more pressing needs than catcher. d’Arnaud, Piawecki, Maron and even the seemingly forgotten Juan Centeno give them a lot of depth at the position. Adding McGuire brings in another talented youngster but his presence would be a bit superfluous. That being said I don’t think the Mets would turn down a toolsy player like McGuire but I also seriously doubt the Pirates would offer him in a trade either. 

If the Mets acquired one of the two 2014 Buc 1st rounders I’d go with Meadows because the Pirates have depth in the OF throughout the system and with the arrival of Polanco later this season seem to have their OF situation solved for many seasons to come.

Acquiring either one in the Ike Davis deal would be a major coup for Alderson. It's also about as likely as snow falling at Citi Field in July. 


Bob Sugar said...

Great write up. After reading this l'll take the catcher even know we "appear" set at that position

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