Detroit Tigers Top 30 Prospects for 2023: #14 Parker Meadows
Detroit Tigers Top 30 prospects for 2023: No.14 - Parker Meadows
Perhaps one of the more disappointing names in the Detroit Tigers prospect mill is Parker Meadows. The former high-school draftee has certainly not lived up to the hype that he had initially provided. He was a second-round pick out of Grayson HS in Georgia in the 2018 MLB Draft.
Five years later, he's still working his way through the organization and has yet to reach the Triple-A level with the Tigers farm system. Coming into the organization, Meadows was thought to have a similar trajectory as his older brother, who became a rising star when he came up with the Tampa Bay Rays.
While the two brothers have been reunited and Austin Meadows is looking for a breakout season after an adversity-filled 2022, Parker will look to break out and break through the Tigers organization.
I led with Meadows being disappointing because of the slow progression he has taken through the organization. On the plus side, he has shown growth and made positive changes, like refining his approach and swing decisions. He just needs to keep taking steps.
The now 23-year-old Meadows has to come out swinging in 2023. He's fresh off a 2022 season where he started with the Single-A Lakeland Flying Tigers before jumping up to High-A West Michigan, where he spent most of the summer.
Meadows slashed .275/.354/.466 with 21 doubles, six triples, and 16 home runs for 51 RBI with 17 bags swiped as well. He's got a 6-foot-5, 205-pound frame and has been able to improve the build over the years with the organization as well.
He's got the corner outfield look and is also capable as a centerfielder; once again, he just needs to keep taking steps in the right direction. Let's take a look at the progression he's shown with the organization and why he might finally be able to make the leaps and have a breakthrough season.
(After all, even though it's been disappointing to this point, his development has taken steps in the right direction with the team's player development staff, 2023 could be the year he can piece it all together.)
Here's some high-school content from Meadows before he was drafted.
He starts very open, his back knee bent, hands high, and back elbow up. Hands drop, and he gets the barrel on plane to rope this one into the pull-side gap. As noted by colleague Vinnie Cervino, he showed off the speed out of the box, speaking to the athleticism there. Again, take this with a grain of salt since this was 2018. It's been nearly five years since that video was posted; let's take a look at some recent content.
He's got a similar operation, still open with his feet, still showing an inward stride to work to the ball, and still speedy out of the box. I noticed that he cleaned up the actions with his hands as he loads. He gets into a position to hit quicker with less wasted movement.
Here's an open-side look from 2020 as well.
The bat speed is still here and has some more strength behind it now, but he's slightly more direct to it. Beyond that, there are things you cannot see from just one swing. In the 2020 open-side look from colleague Kyler Peterson, you still see that extra movement in the hands, but it's cleaned up from what it looked like in his high school days in Cervino's tweet.
In Welsh's tweet, you notice the hands are almost immediate and direct to the ball, which could be partially due to the angle, but if you watch most angles of his 2022 swings shown on Twitter, you'll notice it's a more direct path to the ball—again, showing signs of development.
There's room to improve in the batters' box statistically, but Meadows seems to be priming himself for a big breakthrough when it does come. For that reason, he's still in the top half of the Tigers farm system in our eyes at Motor City Bengals.
Meadows has the makings to be a big-league outfielder. He projects as a left-fielder or center-fielder who's able to work gap-to-gap with speed and athleticism out of the box. The next step for Meadows is to come out in 2023 and impress.