When Grayson High baseball coach Jed Hixson got word he would be coaching Parker Meadows, he already had a good idea of what to expect.
Hixson had coached Meadows’ older brother Austin at the Loganville, Ga., school until 2013, when he was the ninth pick in the draft. So the coach got to watch a second standout athlete and also observe the differences between the brothers.
“Parker has a much better arm, in my opinion,” Hixson said, “and is just a better defender overall, as far as going and getting the ball.
“There was just something about that stride to me.”
Arm strength, plus speed and raw power were just a few reasons why Parker Meadows appealed to the Tigers when they drafted him in the second round in 2018.
After signing the 6-foot-5 Meadows, the Tigers’ biggest challenge became balancing his development with his youth.
“(Midwest League) pitching is so much better than it would be at high school, or even college,” roving instructor Alan Trammell said. “When you’re facing better arms on a regular basis, there’s an adjustment to be made. Some make it quicker than others. I think that’s what Parker and others are finding out.”
Meadows hit .290/.377/.473 in his 2018 pro debut, but the transition to low Class A West Michigan this season had not been as seamless. Through 66 games he hit .211/.300/.284 with three home runs, but Trammell isn’t letting that dictate his opinion.
“I am not worried at all,” Trammell said. “I mean, this is a 19-year-old kid, one of the younger ones in the league, so there’s adjustments to be made, but the talent is there.
“It’s growing pains that you don’t want to see happen, but honestly, you actually do want to see at some point, because that’s really when you find out about a player.
Trammell envisions Meadows and 2019 first-rounder Riley Greene patrolling two-thirds of the outfield at Comerica Park.
“I can see that happening in a few years and look forward to it,” he said, “because that’s the kind of athlete we’re looking for.”
— Double-A Erie righthander Anthony Castro grabbed attention with his sharpest Eastern League start of the season. The 24-year-old fired seven innings of one-hit baseball, allowing one run, walking one and fanning 11.
— The Tigers aggressively assigned both second-rounder Nick Quintana and third-rounder Andre Lipcius to low Class A West Michigan. Both were drafted as third basemen, Quintana from Arizona and Lipcius from Tennessee. The Midwest League will serve as a sound introduction to the advanced pitching that awaits them.