By Steve Samek
The Pittsburgh Pirates have named a 25-man roster for opening day against Boston. As a result of moves by the big club the minor-league affiliates are stocking their rosters. In this series of posts I plan take a look at each affiliates roster to see which is the team to watch in the Pirates system.
First up is the Indianapolis Indians triple A club. The obvious highlight of this club is top prospect Austin Meadows. Meadows hit at a .333 clip this spring including a hit in the final exhibition game of the spring against Toronto. https://www.milb.com/milb/news/pittsburgh-pirates-prospects-austin-meadows-josh-bell-log-base-hits-in-spring-training-finale/c-221858976/t-185364810
While Meadows is ranked number two on the Buc top 30 list he should slide into the top spot as Tyler Glasnow has made the 25-man roster and should lose his prospect status by acquiring enough major league service time. http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017?list=pit. Meadows is knocking on the door in Pittsburgh as well. He hits at a .300 clip during his time in the minors and as hit triple a at age 21. Plus, with the decline and possible trading of Andrew McCutchen, many have called Meadows the heir apparent in center field flanked by Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte. http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=640457#/career/R/hitting/2016/ALL
Joining Meadows in the outfield is 29th ranked prospect Jose Osuna. Osuna was one of the last cuts in camp. Osuna also has seen reps at first base.
Behind the dish is 11th ranked prospect Elias Diaz. Diaz is another high upside player getting playing time in triple A, though has seen some time in the majors last season. http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=t484&player_id=553869#/career/R/hitting/2016/ALL
The infield features Max Moroff and Gift Ngoepe. Both got extended looks during the spring and are on the 40-man roster. Chris Bostick is another 40-man roster spot holder joining the tribe this season. https://www.milb.com/indy-indians/news/spring-training-spotlight-gift-Ngoepe/c-221419300/t-196097292
The Indians Pitching staff is an interesting mix. Nick Kingham, number nine of the Bucs top 30 highlights the list. Other top 30 rated pitchers include 10th ranked Steven Brault, 23rd Ranked Clay Holmes, 24th ranked Dovydas Neverauskas, 25th ranked Edgar Santana.,stopped them from making an A.J. Schugel saw time out of the Pittsburgh bullpen last season and was very efficient, leaving a few to question why he was sent down. http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=t484&player_id=519263#/career/R/pitching/2016/AL
Pat Light and Drew Hutchison are two 40-man roster players to throw in the mix. Hutchison only recently being sent down after losing the battle for the fifth starter position. Hutchinson has seen major league action, but spend most of last season in the minors. Hutchinson also struggled this spring and has yet to show why he was traded for last season. http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=t484&player_id=571800#/career/R/pitching/2016/ALL. The rest seem to be roster filler, but never count them out as the could contribute should the circumstance require it. Though a look at the potential of each pitcher on the staff can be viewed here. https://www.milb.com/indy-indians/news/tribe-pitching-staff-starting-to-take-shape/c-221690076/t-196097292.
Indianapolis should be a good team. A team with a good mix of prospects both top and fringe making them an interesting team to watch. If nothing else the development of Meadows should be on Pirates fans radars. They could win a division and make the playoffs. It’s also interesting to note as of the writing of this post the roster isn’t all filled out yet. Additions may be made prior to opening day on April 6,2017. http://www.milb.com/roster/index.jsp?sid=t484