Jason Martin Heads Pirates' Outfield Depth
The Pirates paid a high price for 29-year-old Rays righthander Chris Archer, their biggest trade deadline acquisition in recent memory.
Dealing away outfielder Austin Meadows, whom Pittsburgh drafted No. 9 overall in 2013, was particularly surprising considering the 23-year-old's hot start as a big league rookie this season after five years as one of the organization’s top prospects.
But the Pirates were dealing from a position of strength, in part because of the surge in production from the big league outfield of Corey Dickerson, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco, but also to a lesser degree because of what they have seen at the upper levels of the system.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pound center fielder, whom Houston drafted in the eighth round in 2013 out of high school in Orange, Calif., hit .325/.392/.522 with nine home runs in 68 games at Double-A Altoona. He continued to produce at Triple-A Indianapolis following a promotion.
"He’s got bat speed,” farm director Larry Broadway said. "He’s got feel. His hands work really well. He doesn’t have a a big body, but it’s a twitchy body. The best way I could describe his swing is it has buggy whip.”
The Pirates are also confident that the lefthanded hitter can play center field in the big leagues. There are some concerns about his arm strength, but the Pirates like his speed and ability to close gaps.
The Pirates also believe they have a major league quality outfielder in 23-year-old Bryan Reynolds, whom they acquired in the Andrew McCutchen trade. Reynolds broke the hamate bone in his left hand four games into the season with Altoona, and he struggled upon his return at the end of May, but he hit .291/.381/.423 with four home runs in 49 games in June and July.
"He started off in not a real good spot, but he’s coming back strong, some of his strengths are coming back,” Broadway said. "I think he’s got a chance for some good bat-to-ball, good barrel (control) and some sneaky pop in there. I think there’s a good hitter in there.”