INDIANAPOLIS - Pittsburgh Pirates prospects have received a lot of attention from the media this offseason, which might be foreshadowing good things for the Tribe come spring. Baseball America recently ranked five Pirates prospects in its Top 100.
Last season, the Indians set a franchise record with 12 players who made their major league debuts. The Tribe hosted each of the Pirates top four prospects in 2016, including Tyler Glasnow, Josh Bell, Jameson Taillon and Austin Meadows. With spring training underway, three of those four players are battling for spots on Pittsburgh's Opening Day roster.
Since the Pirates farm system has been so strong, Indians fans have seen talented players like Gerrit Cole, Gregory Polanco and Andrew McCutchen take the diamond at Victory Field. With a talented bunch ready to take the next step in 2017, Indianapolis will likely play host to several more future big leaguers.
Here are five prospects to watch in spring training:
Austin Meadows, OF
1st (Baseball America, Pirates Top 30) | 6th overall (Baseball America's Top 100)
Meadows split time at Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis last season. Injuries slowed his production in 2016, though he is fully healthy now and on the non-roster invitee list for the Pirates. He is likely to spend Opening Day with the Indians in 2017 and brings a lot of raw talent to the field. In his short 37-game stint with the Indians at the end of last season, Meadows had 16 extra-base hits and stole eight bases. He is also a solid outfielder and has great range from gap to gap.
Tyler Glasnow, RHP
3rd (Baseball America, Pirates Top 30) | 23rd (Baseball America's Top 100)
Glasnow has sped through the Pirates system, and last year spent time with the big league club. He currently is battling for a spot in the Pirates starting rotation. However, with the Pirates pitching staff so deep, Glasnow may end up starting the season in Indianapolis. In 2016, Glasnow was the Indians Pitcher of the Year after posting an 8-3 record with a 1.87 ERA. With great velocity and a nasty curveball, Glasnow has been exciting to watch with the Tribe for parts of the last two seasons. Even if he begins 2017 with the Tribe, he may not be in Indianapolis for long.
Kevin Newman, SS
5th (Baseball America, Pirates Top 30) | 55th overall (Baseball America's Top 100)
Newman has progressed fairly quickly through the Pirates system. He split time in Bradenton and Double-A Altoona last season and shined with the bat. The young infielder hit .288, drove in 28 runs, scored 41 runs and stole 24 bases. Although Newman does not need power to be successful, he is a great asset with his bat with a minor league average of .295. Newman has also been recognized as a solid fielder at his position. He is likely to begin 2017 in Double-A Altoona, but it should not be long before we see him in an Indians uniform.
Elias Diaz, C
10th (Baseball America, Pirates Top 30)
Diaz spent time up and down the Pittsburgh minor league system last season due to a right elbow injury he suffered during spring training. Although he is fully healthy, Diaz will likely begin this season with the Indians due to a logjam at the catcher position with Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart manning the position in Pittsburgh. Known for his glove behind the plate, Diaz has also improved his bat. He is a hitter who works counts and takes a lot of walks.
Jose Osuna, 1B/OF
26th (Baseball America, Pirates Top 30)
The Indians named Osuna the team's Offensive Player of the Year last season despite playing in only 63 games. He made the most of his opportunities at the plate hitting .291, slugging seven home runs and 31 RBI. He has raw power at the plate, which has only improved in his eight years in the minor leagues. Between Altoona and Indianapolis last year, Osuna had 54 extra-base hits including 13 home runs. He is likely to start the season with the Tribe, picking up where he left off as a right-handed power hitter anchoring the lineup.
Learn about other exciting players the Tribe could feature in 2017:
Videos courtesy MLBPipeline.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.