It’s never been a secret that Parker Meadows can run.
When the Tigers selected the 6-foot-5 205-pound outfielder as their second-round pick in 2018 from Grayson High in Loganville, Ga., his speed was one of his selling points.
Understanding exactly how much speed he had access to didn’t really settle in until the start of the 2019 season with low Class A West Michigan.
In one game, Meadows hit a pitch with enough carry to look like it would clear the fence, but a bounce off the wall presented him with the opportunity to showcase his plus speed. Needless to say, it didn’t take him very long to do it.
“I saw him hit the inside-the-park home run, and I swear to you, it took 15 steps,” a National League scout said. “It was like I looked up and he was coming home and the (outfielder) had no shot.”
While the 21-year-old’s debut with the Whitecaps wasn’t as fluid offensively as some expected—he hit .221/.296/.312 in 126 games—his ability to display his strengths at the correct times have scouts around the league choosing to not sweat the growing pains.
“He does everything really easy,” the scout said. “The swing is always the last thing to come, so if anybody wants to fight people because he’s not hitting .320—that that doesn’t mean he’s a good athlete—that’s ridiculous.”
Meadows is regarded as the best baserunner in the organization. It simply comes down to the need for steady improvement, because as with most high school selections, the process doesn’t happen overnight.
“Meadows is faster than anybody else in that system,” the scout said. “So the mistakes he makes, youthful mistakes, he can make up for with his speed. But he does have an awareness, for a kid, on the basepaths.”
While the 2020 season was a must for Meadows, scouts aren’t buying into concern that his development has been derailed. The projection hasn’t changed.
It’s just going to take some more time.
— While Latin American winter league playing time allowances were still in the process of being confirmed, the Tigers are expecting to send Daz Cameron back to the Puerto Rican League, where he spent the 2019 winter league season.
— Prior to the Rule 5 draft protection deadline, the Tigers added righthanders Alex Faedo, Alex Lange and Matt Manning along with lefthander Joey Wentz to the 40-man roster. Wentz, currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, split the 2019 season between Double-A Mississippi and Double-A Erie. Lange, obtained from the Cubs in the exchange for Nick Castellanos, ended the 2019 season with Double-A Erie. Faedo and Manning are both expected to make their big league debuts in 2021.