The Tigers had their guy.
Mere minutes after drafting Auburn righthander Casey Mize with the No. 1 overall pick in June, the Tigers’ focus shifted to the second round.
And it was no secret who they coveted: Georgia high school outfielder Parker Meadows.
After hours of impatient waiting, the Tigers snagged Meadows with the first pick of the second round at No. 44 overall. His abbreviated pro debut went fine, but the team was even more impressed with his performance at instructional league.
“He looked really good,” vice president of player development Dave Littlefield said. “I think he looked dynamite. There’s just a lot to like about him.”
Meadows is an 18-year-old center fielder and product of Grayson High, like his older brother Austin Meadows, who was drafted ninth overall by the Pirates in 2013 and traded to the Rays this summer.
Parker hit a pair of home runs in one intrasquad game at instructs and grades as a double-plus runner with developing power and a projectable body.
“His bat is very intriguing,” Littlefield said. “He swung the bat extremely well.”
“This is a real projectable looking guy who has the potential to add a lot of strength. And if his bat comes like the early signs are saying it’s going to, we could have a really nice-looking player here for the Tigers.”
Meadows reached short-season Connecticut in his pro debut but spent most of the year in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. In 28 games overall he hit .290/.377/.473 with four home runs and three stolen bases.
Meadows’ physical tools stand out. He stands 6-foot-5, he can fly and he swings lefthanded. Like many teenage prospects, he will need time to get acclimated to the professional lifestyle, but the Tigers are elated with what they have seen from him this season.
“He catches your attention,” Littlefield said. “He’s got some instincts to play. Really good-looking kid. I’m extremely happy we got him.”
• The Tigers re-signed righthander Anthony Castro to a minor league deal. The 23-year-old Venezuelan has a live arm and had plenty of success as a starter at high Class A Lakeland even though he was knocked around in a short stint with Double-A Erie.
• Catcher-turned-reliever Arvincent Perez is headed for minor league free agency and might not be re-signed by the Tigers. He pitched to a 4.96 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in 13 appearances for short-season Connecticut.