The biggest surprise of 2019: Austin Meadows
Austin Meadows first full season in Tampa was a breakout campaign.
You could easily make the argument that this season shouldn’t have been a surprise. When he was drafted 9th overall in 2013, Austin Meadows was a consensus 5-tool player. Upon entering the Pirates farm system, he was a top-5 prospect, rising to their #1 overall prospect following the 2016 season. Entering 2017, Baseball America ranked him as the 6th best prospect in all of baseball.
So no, this season really shouldn’t have been a surprise, but in many ways it was. After battling injuries and struggling to find consistent playing time with the big league club, Meadows was shipped off to Tampa as part of the infamous Chris Archer deal.
With the Rays he found consistent playing time and stayed relatively healthy. As a result, Meadows played in 138 games, hit 33 bombs, and was named an all-star for the first time in his career.
- 138 G
- .291/.364/.558 // .922 OPS // 143 OPS+
- 33 HR // 89 RBI
- 4.0 fWAR
You could have flipped a coin for the Rays 2019 MVP as Meadows led the team in doubles, homers, runs batted in, batting average, slugging, and OPS+. He finished second on the club in hits, falling short of Tommy Pham by one base hit.
The future is indeed bright with the young Austin Meadows under team control through the 2024 season. If he can put up similar, if not better numbers, we won’t be surprised. Instead, we will be talking about him as the Rays MVP.