Detroit Tigers: Is it time to be worried about Austin Meadows?
How concerned should Detroit Tigers fans be about Austin Meadows?
When the Detroit Tigers acquired Austin Meadows from the Tampa Bay Rays for INF Isaac Paredes on April 4, 2022, many fans were excited. They thought they had just acquired an All-Star caliber hitter for someone that was likely never going to pan out.
Fast forward about a year, and Meadows has played just 36 games for the Detroit Tigers and still hasn't hit a single home run. Paredes went on a massive two-week heater and then went back to being Isaac Paredes, so please spare me the comments about how the Tigers lost the trade.
Now that we got that out of the way, let's talk about Meadows' spring training. Honestly, it's looked a lot like 2022 pre-injuries/illness/curse. He's been hitting a ton of ground balls. There just hasn't been a ton of loft to his swing. Keep in mind that this way a guy who hit at least 25 home runs in each of the past two full seasons in Tampa Bay before the trade.
He's had a few hard-bit balls, but's been a lot of rollovers to second base. Most of his hits have been singles. So what's the deal here?
I have a very hard time believing he's forgotten how to lift the baseball. He has a significant track record throughout his professional career of being able to hit for power. Remember, he didn't play a lot last year. He even said he gained weight during the season because of it.
Now, he's lost some of it. It sounds like he spent a lot of time this offseason trying to get back in shape, and less time in the batting cage. In no am I saying that's a bad thing, I'm just saying his priority was probably to make sure he was back in top playing shape.
So ultimately, my guess is that he's just going through it bit right now, trying to find his swing again. I know his 2022 wasn't very promising when he did play, but for all we know, he could have been injured the entire year. I say we give him 100-125 at-bats during the regular season and see where he is then.
If he still hasn't hit for power, then we can start to worry. If he has found his power stroke, we can all breathe a sigh of relief.
Austin Meadows has not hit a single home run in a Detroit Tigers uniform. This is counting both last year in the regular season and spring training this season. I still fully believe the hitter he was in Tampa is still in there somewhere. He's still just 27 years old. There's just no way his decline has started already. Let's where he's at by mid-May.