Detroit Tigers Top Prospects for 2024: #4 Parker Meadows

Cleveland Guardians v Detroit Tigers
Cleveland Guardians v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages

Continuing with the top five in our top Detroit Tigers prospects for 2024, we have Parker Meadows. Meadows is techincally still a prospect despite 37 games in the big leagues last season. He had 125 at-bats, which was just enough to retain his rookie status for 2024.

Meadows is slated to be the Tigers Opening Day centerfielder in 2024, and for good reason. His defense is second to none. He can track down virtually any ball hit in his general direction. He's the perfect CF for Comerica Park.

You've probably heard us say before that he runs like a gazelle, but that's just the perfect way to describe him. Those long strides keep the wheels turning at a borderline-elite rate. He was able to reach the 90th percentile for sprint speed on Baseball Savant. His speed makes him a true difference maker.

Offensively, he's not perfect, but if there's one thing he does well, it's crush mistakes. If you throw him a cookie, he's going to send it into orbit. Nowhere was that more apparent than his walkoff home run against the Astros last year, which just so happen to be his first career major league homer.

The strikeouts have been a problem for him since he was drafted, and they will likely be a problem throughout his career. But he's also shown the ability to draw walks. He walked nearly 12% of the time in his major league stint last season. He works deep into counts with regularity. It's not that he has a bad eye. He's just not that good of a two-strike hitter.

It's crazy to think that many people, myself included, had written Meadows off prior to the 2022 season. It just looked like he had stalled out in High-A. He wasn't making any progress. But before the 2022 season, he made an adjustment to his swing. Here's MLB Pipeline with more on that:

"Meadows revamped his swing going into the 2022 season with help from his high-school hitting coach, shortening his path, removing a hitch and taking a line-drive approach. It’s still a longer swing thanks to his lanky frame, but the change allowed him to catch up with high velocity while still giving him time to lay off slower pitches outside the zone. He cut his strikeout rate under 20 percent and pushed his walk rate over 10 percent, the first time in his pro career for both, and he hit almost evenly to all fields. "

MLB Pipeline

This change has completely turned his career around. He's gone from bust to potential big league centerfielder for the next 5-10 years in the span of two seasons. Because of his tools, he has a pretty high ceiling, which is why he's ranked so high on our list.

If he's able to put it all together, we might have a five-tool player on our hands. He could be that good. There'a a good chance he never quite reaches those heights. But the sheer chance that it could happen gives us the confidence to rank him in the top five.