Small Changes Help Tigers’ Parker Meadows Make Big Gains

If you ask Parker Meadows to describe himself, he’ll give you an easy answer.

“I’m a pretty simple guy,” he said.

This simplicity has carried the 23-year-old center fielder through the pressure and expectations that come with being a second-round draft pick.

Selected by the Tigers in 2018 out of the same Georgia high school as his older brother Austin, the 6-foot-5, 205-pound Parker Meadows already knew how to get the most out of his athletic frame.

“Growing up, I was always that skinny kid who was surprisingly fast,” Meadows said. “I never really lifted weights that much . . . We’d have weight training class through high school, but not really until my senior year did I start focusing on the whole lifting aspect of just being an athlete in general.”

Embracing the Tigers’ shift to analytics made it easy for Meadows to break down where his swing needed the biggest adjustments. The lefthanded hitter introduced a toe tap last season that helped him unlock a new level of offensive production.

“You want to make sure to get your foot down, ready, right before the pitch is thrown,” Meadows said of favoring the toe tap to a leg kick.

“It helped me a lot with my rhythm. I wasn’t loading and then pausing for a second and then swinging, if that makes sense. I had the rhythm to go with my timing.”

“It really helped me not only be on time, but be ready on time, with intent.”

The results indicate as much. Meadows blasted a career high 20 home runs in 127 games last season, primarily with Double-A Erie. He hit .270/.346/.473 with 17 stolen bases, 56 walks and 108 strikeouts.

“I feel like prior years I was on time, but I didn’t have any rhythm. I just felt kind of awkward and I was always, from a mental aspect, sometimes guessing. But now, I completely just flipped the mental side of my approach.”

He makes it sound so simple.

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