Scott Harris speaks on progress of Detroit Tigers farm system.
Detroit Tigers President of Baseball Operations Scott Harris spoke to the media on Monday on the recent announcement of outfield prospect Parker Meadows getting his call-up to Detroit from Triple-A Toledo. Infielder Nick Maton was sent down in the corresponding move.
For several Detroit Tigers fans, this was long overdue. Several prospects have been putting together good seasons at Toledo. Infielder Colt Keith has surged onto various prospect lists, Justyn Henry-Malloy has hit over .300 over the last 30 days and Sawyer Gipson-Long put together one of his best starts of the season, which earned him International League Pitcher of the Week.
But Harris gave the media his perspective on Meadows, who the Tigers drafted in the second round in the 2018 MLB Draft.
"We decided to bring Parker up today because we think he has a chance to help us in all facets of the game. I think my evaluation of Parker for most of his minor league career has been, I think that glove and his legs were a little a bit ahead of the bat for most of his career."- Scott Harris (via Rogelio Castillo)
Harris continued, talking about Meadows's struggles in the minors to start off the 2023 season, referencing his ability to handle some adversity, helping him get to this point today.
"You know, the first six weeks of the season, he got punched in the mouth at the plate at AAA. He had a rough go of the first 160 or so play appearances. But the important thing is he didn't back down. He faced that adversity head-on."- Scott Harris (via Rogelio Castillo)
Harris then tipped the cap to the Triple-A staff on the Player Development staff, speaking to Meadows continuing to make some strides and show some improvements in his game.
"He made some real adjustments with the staff in, in AAA, and I think if you look at his performance over the last 350 play appearances or so since mid-May, the bat has answered a lot of those questions, I think defensively, and on the basis he was probably ready to play at this level, you know, several months ago."- Scott Harris (via Rogelio Castillo)
This move to promote Meadows also allows the flexibility to put Riley Greene in the corners. Greene, who played with Meadows at West Michigan, played in center while Meadows was in right field.
"I want to create the best defense we can as opposed to just putting the best defender, defender in each specific spot. But I think it gives us one or more athletic, one or more dynamic. And I think it's also a good way to protect Riley."- Scott Harris (via Rogelio Castillo)
"He' (Riley) has been banged up, especially with lower half injuries over the past few years. And, managing the workload through, moving him off from center to right field and then plugging in a guy who we think could be a plus behind."- Scott Harris (via Rogelio Castillo)
It's an excellent promotion for Meadows and one Harris and the Tigers are excited about for Parker, but it's also going to give them an advantage when it comes to positional versatility for Greene in the Tigers outfield.
There are several players in Toledo that are knocking on the door...
Harris spoke about Malloy and Keith more, who he believes are among several players that are close to major league ready and what work they need to do.
"But, with those guys specifically, in many ways, they're the opposite of Parker. I think both guys have had bats that were a little bit ahead of the others. I think both guys are working really hard on their defense."- Scott Harris (via Rogelio Castillo)
Harris mentioned that the two have both made strides in their development and even some areas where they can continue to improve to find their spot in the Tigers lineup when they do get their respective call to the big leagues.
"They're working really hard on their base running. But, you know, specifically with Malloy, we think there are a lot of big leaguers. It's pretty close to helping us for a long time in the future, but he's still only played 15 games in right field. Left field is still a pretty new position for him."- Scott Harris (via Rogelio Castillo)
Harris then touched on the positional versatility of Malloy and how both he and Keith could slot in, preaching that they need to keep taking their time, making sure they make all the right decisions.
"And we think there's some work he can do at third base to round out that part of his game. We also think he would be a better baserunner. That doesnt in any way temper my enthusiasm for Justyn and Colt and all the other guys down there. Its more just an observation. We gotta make sure that these guys are ready to help us in all facets of the game."- Scott Harris (via Rogelio Castillo
With just about six weeks left in the season, Harris may continue the youth movement, but for now, he is happy with the progress of the top 15 prospects in the system.
Overall, the Tigers' minor league system is in good shape. Double-A Erie is heading to a second straight postseason appearance; both West Michigan and Lakeland are in first place and in contention for a playoff spot. Several players may stay to help the teams stay in contention, so we will keep you posted on any major player movement going forward.