PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Pirates selected outfielder Austin Meadows with the ninth overall selection in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Thursday.
Meadows hit .535 with 14 doubles, one triple, four home runs and 28 RBIs as a senior this year at Grayson (Ga.) High School. He was rated as the third-best position player and the fifth-best player overall in this year’s draft by “Baseball America.”
He was also rated by the same publication as the best athlete, having the best strike zone judgment, as well as the second-best pure hitter and closest player to the majors among high school players.
The 18-year-old outfielder was also a Rawlings preseason first-team All-American. As a junior in 2012 at Grayson, he helped lead his team to the Georgia Class 6A state semifinals with four home runs, 28 RBIs and 19 stolen bases. He also led the USA Baseball 16U national team to the IBAF World Youth Championship in 2011 in Mexico, leading the team in hits (22), doubles (five), triples (three), RBIs (28) and stolen bases (six) while also setting a tournament record for the most RBIs and earning a spot on the all-tournament team.
With their second pick in the first round, the Pirates selected catcher Reese McGuire out of Kentwood (Wash.) High School with the 14th overall selection.
As a senior this year, McGuire hit .436 with 13 doubles, three triples, four home runs and 20 RBIs. He was rated as the fifth-best position player and the 12th-best player overall in this year’s draft by “Baseball America.” He was also rated by the same publication as the second-best defensive player among high school picks in the draft.
The 18-year-old was named the 2012-13 Gatorade Washington Player of the Year and received the 2012 USA Baseball Dick Chase Award after helping USA’s 18-and-under team defeat Canada and win the gold medal at the IBAF 18U World Championship in Seoul, South Korea, last September.
The Pirates selected left-handed pitcher Blake Taylor with the 51st overall selection in the second round.
Taylor went 2-3 with a 2.57 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 11 games this year as a senior at Dana Hills (Calif.) High School. He was rated by “Baseball America” as the 32nd-best pitcher in the draft. The 6-foot-3 Taylor was also a Rawlings third-team All-America selection and California all-region first-team selection.