Detroit Tigers: Could Parker Meadows play his way on to the Opening Day roster?
What are the chances Parker Meadows actually makes the Detroit Tigers Opening Day roster?
When Parker Meadows was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the second round back in 2018, people generally liked the pick. He was a high school outfielder that had a lot of tools, but was considered to be a project. Since the Tigers had just entered a rebuild, Meadows was a pick that made sense.
Unfortunately, his first three years of pro ball did not go well. He had trouble barreling up the ball and struck out a ton. By the end of 2021, he had become an afterthought in the prospect world. But in 2022, he put himself back on the map.
He reshaped his swing, and it paid off in a big way. He got off a great start at High-A West Michigan and was quickly promoted to Double-A Erie, where he spent the rest of the season. All he did was hit 16 homers with a 122 wRC+ and lower his strikeout rate by almost 6%. Parker Meadows was back.
The Detroit Tigers invited him to spring training ahead of the 2023 season, and he has picked up right where he left off. In eight games, Meadows is 6-for-18 with two homers and two doubles. He has struck out seven times, which leads the team, but when he's made contact, it's very loud.
He's also shown off in the outfield, making some nice plays and even cutting a runner down on the basepaths. This has raised a huge question. Can Parker Meadows crack the Opening Day roster for the Detroit Tigers?
When the spring first started, I thought his chances were slim. He has a lot of competition—Akil Baddoo, Kerry Carpenter, Matt Vierling, among others. He also hasn't played above Double-A. With those two factors combined, I didn't he had much of a chance.
But the more he plays—and the better he plays—the more I think he has a shot. He's shown out on both sides of the ball so far this spring. He plays a darn good center field. He's 6-foor-5 and runs like a gazelle. He hits the ball hard. There's so much to like about him.
Additionally, his competition hasn't done much to separate themselves. Baddoo has been rather pedestrian so far this spring. It looks like he's made some adjustments to his swing, which is good, but he's still ironing out the kinks. Kerry Carpenter is just 2-for-11 so far, though one of those hits was a home run. Meadows has been outperforming pretty much everyone so far.
The strikeouts would definitely have to come down for him to be a quailty big leaguer, but that's really been his only weakness so far this spring. So with all that being said, what are Meadows' chances of cracking this roster?
I think he's done enough to survive the first round of cuts at this point. I think veterans like Jonathan Davis and Brendon Davis are more likely to be to their spot before Meadows. I'm still not sure if he's done enough to make the Opening Day roster, however. Then again, you could say the same thing about his competition.
This is still a conversation worth having and likely will be for the remainder of spring. Let's see how he does the rest of the month.