Detroit Tigers prospect Parker Meadows needs to make that last jump.
The Detroit Tigers selected outfielder Parker Meadows with their second-round pick in the 2018 MLB First-Year Amateur Player Draft. He was a high-school product out of Grayson High School in Loganville, Georgia, and jumped headfirst into the Tigers organization.
It's been four seasons for Meadows with the Detroit Tigers, and he needs to continue moving in the right direction. As a prep outfielder, there's a bit of an expectation that it could take some time for the player to make it to the big leagues.
Meadows has only risen as far as the Double-A level, but there's a chance he could keep climbing. The Tigers took a step further with Meadows recently after his 2022 Arizona Fall League (AFL) season performance.
Meadows was protected from the Rule 5 Draft after being added to the team's 40-man roster. It's not to say that his debut is coming in 2023, but he is at least eligible for that now, after the recent promotion to the 40-man.
He's only 23 years old and carving his path to the big leagues. The next thing for him to do is to make the last jump that will help power him to the big leagues. For Meadows, that is the hitting tools coming around.
Throughout his time with the organization and in the minors, Meadows has shown flashes of what his hitting can bring to the table. However, he has stalled out a bit on the hitting front. In 2022, Meadows logged 14 games with High-A West Michigan, where he slashed .230/.288/.525 with four doubles, one triple, and four home runs.
Beyond that, Meadows spent more time with the Double-A Erie SeaWolves. He logged 113 games played, slashing .275/.354/.466 with 21 doubles, six triples, and 16 home runs. Then, he went out west for the AFL season.
Meadows played in 24 games where he slashed .224/.303/.433 with three doubles, a triple, and three home runs over 76 plate appearances while playing for the Salt River Rafters. The way for the Tigers prospect to really prove he can continue to hang at the next level is being able to hit.
The pop really does seem to be there. The doubles and homers are popping up. Meadows has improved on his swing & miss and has been able to limit the strikeouts. He's just got to keep finding ways to prove he's going to be a hitter as he reaches the big leagues.
With a 6-foot-5, 205-pound frame, the projectability is there. There still is plenty of reason to be excited about what Meadows can bring to the table. If Meadows can come out in 2023 and keep rising through the organization, swinging it along the way, the Tigers should be more than happy with the progression.
Meadows was protected from the Rule 5 Draft, and the Tigers bought some time for him to keep honing in on his development. I was up on Meadows before the pandemic and continue to think there's upside here.
If he makes that final leap, proving he can make it to the big leagues and hit, he's going to be beneficial to this team's future. After all, the overhaul of the Tigers organization is happening, and so far, Meadows has survived.
The off-season is not over yet, and a trade could change things up, but the new group of front-office leaders seem to think keeping Meadows around and safe from the Rule 5 Draft is worthwhile. Maybe that's me reading too deep into a simple move, but it feels like a vote of confidence in Meadows to me.